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Fashion Talk
Katie Gallagher

Katie Gallagher

Designer
Label - Katie Gallagher

Fashion in New York has become diluted

An internationally recognised American fashion designer, Katie Gallagher’s collections have been celebrated by Vogue, The Cut, Elle, Glamour, Refinery 29, W, Interview and Nylon, among many others, for her attention to detail, superior craftsmanship, and creativity. In an interview with Kiran Sahija, the designer expresses her love for New York and shares her thoughts on upcoming trends.

Fibre2Fashion: When did your love affair with fashion begin? How would you describe the emotion?

Katie Gallagher:

I’m not sure if I’d call it a love affair with fashion, but a love affair with design and creating stories through clothing as my medium. I love patternmaking and figuring out how to make a garment/style ‘new’ and interesting with pattern work. I used to vintage shop a lot as a teenager and try to make whatever I sourced fit me on my grandmother’s 60’s Singer sewing machine. I think it started there. Then, I started making things from scratch, I didn’t care about pre-made patterns. I basically took fabric and made it into things based on what I thought would work. Later, when I got accepted into Rhode Island School of Design, ideally to major in painting, I shifted that decision and majored in apparel design. The first thing I made was a dress entirely from metal springs. I even crafted the springs. Eventually that dress was worn by American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga.

Fibre2Fashion: What drives you to design today? What inspires you to design one season after another?

Katie Gallagher:

I love to design. Believe me, if I didn’t love what I do, I wouldn’t do it. It is hard work and I’ve suffered a lot in this industry to simply survive. It’s like a competition that does not end. I am a pretty competitive person, for better or for worse.

Fibre2Fashion: Who is your target audience? Where is the clientele majorly from (in terms of geographies)?

Katie Gallagher:

Anyone, since I do a vast range of styles and pieces. I do everything from leggings and swimwear to outwear and gowns. I tend to think that I wouldn’t design something that I wouldn’t personally wear. I think my collections grow with me. I do still include pieces that have become a part of me and my brand aesthetic, whether I can wear them or not today.

Fibre2Fashion: What do you find most exciting and, conversely, most challenging about fashion in the New York City?

Katie Gallagher:

I physically left New York City (NYC) in 2019, and I am currently in Los Angeles. I like to call myself bicoastal, for now. But I left my heart in NYC.I go back and forth, even during the pandemic. I still work with all my NYC textile and notion suppliers and most importantly, my factories. I won’t give NYC up for anything. It is being challenged now. One of the ladies in my factory cried in front of me when I went to visit her this past December because of the loss that the pandemic and the industry change has caused them.
     For me, Los Angeles was a great place to be during the pandemic compared to NYC. I was living a 10-minute walk away from the Pacific Ocean, but there is not a lot of inspiration here, not like NYC. But to answer specifically about NYC’s challenges, I think it has become so diluted. At one point in time, fashion designers were recognised for their craft and now, you can just pay to be recognised. If you can’t pay for press, you’re out. And that’s genuinely sad. I don’t even know many of the designers listed on the fashion calendar. It’s all about the sales and not artistry. So, it’s very hard to compete. I love the life of that city and with that, the grittiness.It’s beautiful to me. It’s like nowhere else that I’ve ever been.

Fibre2Fashion: What does sustainability mean for you?

Katie Gallagher:

Everything.To go back to my previous statement, there’s just a lot of nothing being heavily produced. I believe in recycling fabrics from previous seasons, etc. All of my orders are generally made-to-order. I hate waste.

Fibre2Fashion: What is the signature style or niche of your brand and how difficult is it for a designer to stick to a particular niche or signature style?

Katie Gallagher:

My pattern making is special. I rarely use side seams and traditional ways of getting a garment together. I like to follow the curves and lines of one’s body,so the fit is perfect.This costs a lot more, which creates issues in production. So, I personally do much of my production and I still, a decade plus later,make all of my samples with minimal exceptions. 

Fibre2Fashion: What is the one current trend that you see on the runway today that can become a rage among fashionistas going forward?

Katie Gallagher:

I have always been obsessed with leggings and other body con pieces. I love flare legging right now and just loose cuts in general, keeping my lines alive.

Fibre2Fashion: Where do you want to see your label five years from now?

Katie Gallagher:

Oh, in five years, I’d be a millionaire, with everyone wearing my designs as a staple. In all seriousness, if the right company comes my way, like always, I’m not opposed to designing for other brands, to both gain knowledge and to share mine.

Where do you want to see your label five years from now?

Published on: 16/02/2022

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