Newcomer brand questionnaire / Katharine Kidd ＜LAFC＞
Los Angeles Fashion Council
Katharine Kidd / Katharine Kidd
Contemporary Women’s / Clothing
Brand information / About the designer
―What inspired you to become a fashion designer? Describe developments leading up to the brand launch.
I Have been into fashion as long as I can remember. As a little girl I had pictures from Vogue pinned everywhere in my room, and in high school I made my prom dress. In college I started to take a different path, but then the birth of my son made me realize that I wasn’t doing what I had always wanted to do. So, I stopped. At that point, my husband was willing to uproot from Atlanta and allow me to pursue my dream. After moving to California, we met a woman named Jodi DeMarcos, who took me under her wing and allowed me to hone in on my aesthetic and approach design from and unconventional route. We set up a studio in the living room of my house and we started learning fashion illustrating, then pattern making, draping, etc. We started out basically sewing up couture pieces by hand. She was amazing but knew nothing about the business of fashion. From there, we had a long learning process of transforming the initial designs from one offs, to patterns, to learning about the whole process of making garments for a fashion business. That was a long process with many bumps along the way. During that time, we also met a woman named Murphy Lewis, who had been high up at Badgley Mischka. She saw what we were doing and introduced me to a guy named Jeffrey Moss, who had also worked in sales Badgley Mischka, as well as in atelier on Madison Avenue for many years. We went to NYC with a bunch of sketches and a few of our early samples. Through our conversation he ended up coming out to California and helped us develop our first collection. That is how the brand Katharine Kidd started.
―What is the brand’s concept? What do you want to communicate through fashion designing? What are the images of men and women you want to project?
Our brand’s concept has really evolved from the beginning as we have honed in on who our customer is and what they are looking for. My design aesthetic has been described as feminine with a modern edge and we cater to women who still like feminine lines in design but want modern design concepts and fabrications. Fall 2013 was our first season to create our own print. This has become one of the stepping blocks for the entire collection. For Fall 2014 we have created five of our own prints. We feel this is the perfect way to ensure originality in design, to make sure you have something that no one else has.
―What is your source of inspiration in creating fashion? What is your process of developing a design concept?
Inspiration in design is highly tied to the interworking of my life. That is not to say that we don’t start with a building block or design concept each season but my designs are an evolutionary process from season to season that build off what came before. I sketch all the time. It truly is a meditative process for me. At the end of the day, once my kids are in bed, I have a glass of wine and my sketch book in hand. I both journal and sketch as an observation of is going on in my life, of the daily goings on that inspire me, creative ideas that I have, as well as challenges. Writing is another important part of my designs- from both fictional and journaling about what is going on in my life.
Each season as we are creating our sample line, I am sketching the whole time- Design ideas that spawn off what is happening in the studio, what is going on in the marketplace and how I see that welding together with our current direction.
―Who are your current stockists (areas, retail formats, etc.)? Describe the typical followers of your brand.
We are carried throughout the US, South America and the Middle East. We have a large following of specialty boutiques, that cater to the modern woman who wants to be unique but still functional.
―Which brands, designers, styles and cultures have had the most impact on your fashion designing, and why?
As far as fashion designers that I admire, from the past I love Madame Gris, Gaby Aghion of Chloe and of course Coco Chanel. I really admire women who have made a name for themselves in professions that have been highly dominated my men. I think they were all amazing that they were the early feminists in fashion, who worked to transform the way women dressed by desiging modern clothes for women, designed by women. I do feel like women designer bring a certain spirit to their designs, an understanding of what works, their needs at the time. When I was younger I was obsessed with Coco Chanel and Parisian Culture, as any budding lover of fashion is, and luckily my mom’s best friend was french so I took many trips there when I was younger. Since I have had kids, I haven’t traveled that way in awhile, but I am hoping to take a trip there this summer.
As far as brands I love currently, that is also always evolving, although as in my own design, what helps a designer is the desire to find something new and different. I really don’t have any go to brands because if I get a say a handbag from one designer one season, I would be looking for something completely different the next. I am also never interested in having the “it” item. I would not want to have an item that everyone else has. I think that is what I like to do with my designs, create a platform of items that can be mixed and matched in a way the is individualistic-there is not right way to wear it. I do admire Stella McCartney because not only do I feel like she brings a unique sensibiilty to design with her style but I admire her social awareness. I really admire that she had created an entire line with our the use of animal products. Like her I am a vegetarian, and I love the challenge of creating items in the collection that use faux leather/fur in innovative ways. I think if there was more access to fashionable items without animal products people would buy into it.
I am really inspired by all forms of design from interiors to fine art to architecture. The older I get the more modern my tastes become, and deeper understanding for the intrinsic art found in minimalism and reinterpreting common objects into a way no one would have expected. I like to think I am trying to do that same thing in my designs.
About 2014-15 A/W collection
―Why have you chosen Tokyo (or MBFWT) as the venue for presenting your collection?
Because the Japanese embrace every area of fashion, they are trendsetters. My collection always has a strong feminine influence that I feel corresponds with so many Japanese fashion subcultures such as Lolita street fashion. I am hopeful that because of this the people will understand and embrace my vision.
―What is the concept / image for your brand’s 2014-15 A/W season?
We started out with several concepts-Magnolias, Butterflies, and the Aurora Boreallis, all beautiful things in nature that we love. I love how nature translates into fashion. We also work each season to evolve our prints from each season. We took our first print, which was the and all over black rose and we zoomed in on one part of the print and blew it up in an oversized print in a completely different color palette. I like to think of design as creating something that evolves from the past into the present, a study of of design concepts in previous seasons to create the current look.
―What is your vision for your show / installation?
To portray Bohemian Society for what it is: A unique, artistic and individualistic lifestyle brand produced and based exclusively in very exciting Downtown Los Angeles.
―What are your brand’s future outlook and goal for 2014?
Clean, Vibrant, Modern Femininity with an Edge. A juxtaposition of time periods.
―What does Tokyo represent for you?
It represents an audacious spirit. The people here are fearless innovators of fashion and culture. Never afraid to take risks.
―Which parts / sites of Tokyo do you like most? Why?
I love the areas around the Harajuku station. It is such a great place to be with the local people and I always leave feeling inspired. A melting pot of teenage fashion culture.
―What are your favorite / recommended shops (of any genres, e.g. fashion stores, homeware stores, food services), facilities and sites?
Harcoza in Shibuya! I love the whimsical modern feel of this store. You can always find something exciting and eclectic.