After earning numerous accolades for her radically unconventional and “dangerously beautiful” menswear collection, British fashion designer Katie Eary appeased her female friends and fans with the launch of her first womenswear line. Eary has consistently proven, with each new collection, that she’s a master of fashion’s yin and yang, evoking either a macabre madness or that of a colorful, contemporary storybook. Eary’s collections represent a newly revised trend which blurs lines between gender appropriate-fashions. With the help of Catwalk Genius, a platform which allows the public to buy shares of a brand they love and thus help fund the upcoming Catwalk Genius-exclusive collection, Eary was able to create a fan-funded diffusion line of womenswear.
JC Report: When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?
Katie Eary: I’ve been creative from the word “go.” I never actually thought “when I grow up I’m going to be a fashion designer,” more, “I’m going to be an artist!” The Saatchi exhibition, Sensation, changed my life and my outlook on what I could do to leave my mark. And here we are in 2010 and I think I’m getting there.
JCR: Can you talk about your passion for literature and art?
KE: I decided that as much as I love art, I would like to enjoy it from the outside and let it continue to effect me in the way it does. I couldn’t do what Emin, Hirst, Lucas, and the Chapman brothers did. I could only add on to that movement. My decision to become a fashion designer was quite organic and came so naturally, that I went with it and will continue to do so till I have a change of heart. When you’re creative I think you can pretty much turn your hand to anything design wise. Except, in my case, writing! I love Irvine Welsh‘s books so much. To me, his writing is so contemporary and exciting, it’s like a Saatchi piece made from language.
JCR: How would you describe the evolution of your personal style?
KE: Again, it’s a very natural process. I like what I like and just do it. It’s the way I’ve lived my life, really, and I guess that a certain ruthlessness reveals itself every time I do a show.
JCR: How did your collaboration with Catwalk Genius come about? Why did you decide to cross over to the womenswear industry and what worried you the most about it?
KE: I was approached by Helen, the director of Catwalk Genius. She offered a win-win proposition and I couldn’t say no! I thought it would be a great way of giving something back to all the women who have been waiting for me to hurry up and do womenswear. A lot of the pieces I have made in the past are delicate, couture, expensive pieces, making them quite unobtainable. So I thought it would be ideal to do a commercial range at an affordable price that coheres with the AW10 collection I just did. The thing that worried me the most was when the shares for the collection went on sale, it felt like sending out invites for your 14th birthday party, saying “Will anyone come?” But after a month, over 80% have been sold, so the party is going well so far!
KE: You know it will sell because the share buyers are interested and believe in you. It makes sense and it’s not as risky as getting a loan to do a womenswear collection, it might go nowhere! But this way, the customer is buying in before the clothes have even gone on the site. Its a good sign!
JCR: Do you see a clear distinction between men’s and women’s clothing? What did you want to bring to the world of women’s fashion that you thought was missing?
KE: I think womenswear is full to the brim of amazing talent. The only thing I can bring to womenswear is a bit of my menswear.
JCR: Can you describe your aesthetic for your womenswear collection? Do you have creative control for this collection?
KE: The aesthetic is sexy jungle. I’m designing for bold, sexy women who hold their own and enjoy the way clothes make them feel. I’ve worn my t-shirts from the AW10 collection and get a lot of comments, so when they are made into amazing, sexy, bodycon dresses and tights, they’ll look even better! I have creative control. The garments are going to be affordable, wearable, and simple. The prints speak for the whole garment.
JCR: What was one of the most interesting lessons learned after designing your womenswear collection? Was it easier or harder than the previous collection?
KE: It was a really nice, relaxing project and the team was lovely and chilled. Thats the only way I like to work. As the ideas started to flow, it organically turned into a nice, little capsule collection, branching from the AW10.
JCR: Now that you have designed both men and women’s clothing, do you plan on designing and developing both collections?
KE: Not yet, I’m sticking to menswear for now. I only did this womenswear collection because it landed in my lap with no risks.
JCR: What are your short-term goals for the men’s and women’s collection? What are your five-year goals?
KE: Short term: A few more catwalks and more amazing collaborations. Long term: Paris, please!
JCR: What is your ideal scenario as a designer?
KE: I work for myself, wake up and do or design whatever I want. I think I’m quite lucky now. I try not to get too greedy with dreams, what will be will be!
Eary’s final message perfectly captured her spirit and love of fashion: “A message to all the ladies: I made this for all the women who have asked me to hurry up and do womenswear. I hope you enjoying wearing it as much as I enjoyed designing it.”