New York City-based fashion house Katie Gallagher is perhaps our ideal label. Between her dark, romantic designs, coupled with haunting runway shows and conceptual elements, Ms. Gallagher hits all the right points. Her aesthetic undeniably explores the realms of all things black and as it turns out, she's got incredible taste in music. We recently spoke to Katie about her vision, her runway shows, the new webstore and her favorite mixes. (Interview below)
The Brvtalist: When you first started designing your own collection, what was your initial vision for the clothes and brand? Has that changed at all over time?
Katie Gallagher: I launched Katie Gallagher 3 months after graduating (June 2009) from Rhode Island School of Design. I showed the first collection during NYFW SS10 (Sept. 2009). Unconventional pattern making and monochromatic looks have remained the most consistent parts of the brand since the beginning. You'll rarely find a side seam or unnecessary embellishments on my garments. The brand identity has been defined since with this quote of mine: "I don't believe that fashion is the end goal; stories, personalities, moods, ideals and attitudes are. Fashion, when executed successfully, communicates these attributes quickly and eloquently."
TB: Talk about some of your influences. We love your use of black and your dark, romantic aesthetic. Where do you pull inspiration from?
KG: For every season/collection, I develop a theme. I usually like to help myself develop the color story by painting. In the past, collections have been inspired by music, nature, color and the lack of color, for example. Examples of this includes SS14's "Bloom" (pictured below), which was inspired by Einsturzende Neubauten's song called "Blume". And Last season, FW15 ("Navy Eyes") was inspired by the neurological condition, color synetheasia.
TB: I love that not only was Einsturzende Neubauten just mentioned, but that it inspired an entire line. How else have you incorporated music?
KG: The Fall/Winter 2010 collection is called, "The Heart of the Wood and What I Found There", named after the Current 93 song. For show sound tracks, I've played Coil, Current 93, Strawberry Switchblade, Neubauten (I sang the intro to the track for Spring/Summer 2011!), Nick Cave, Rowland S. Howard, etc etc! I had an amazing black metal mix created for Fall/Winter 2013 featuring Akitsa, Burzum and more. The mix is probably still my favorite!
TB: One thing I really wanted to ask you about is your runway shows. They have easily been a favorite season after season. For example, I loved the Fall '14 show with the burning fireplace and the amazing ornate setting (pictured below). Talk about how you approach each show.
KG: Thank you! The setting really just becomes part of it, naturally. When I'm creating a collection, it's never just about clothes. I like to create a little world around the inspiration and concept and place the characters inside to match.
TB: Lets move on to your creative process. I know that each line is very conceptual. So how do you get from the concept in the abstract, to creating an entire line?
KG: This is the hardest part. My process---I begin every season by painting and drawing...gathering swatches of fabrics I like and go from there. After that, I sketch croquis and garments. Then, I simply try to recreate whatever I've drawn two-dimensionally, in a three-dimensional form. I love this part. There are sometimes a million trials to get something the way I imagine it. And I love the accidents that turn into a whole new garment!
TB: Fall '15 is out now and it's called "Navy Eyes". I love the use of red and some of the finishing pieces like the capes. What was the concept or idea behind it?
KG: "Navy Eyes" is based on the neurological condition of synetheasia - that causes one to feel, taste, see, smell or hear in colors.
*Photos of "Navy Eyes" below by June Canedo.
TB: You just launched a new e-store! How did that come about and what is available in the shop?
KG: Yes! I launched an e-store via Tictail. They contacted me early in the week a few weeks ago, and we had the store set up within the week! I selected personal favorite separates from the FW15 collection to launch with and now they are up for sale. You can check out the store here: www.katiegallagher.tictail.com.
TB: What's next for Katie Gallagher?
KG: Spring/Summer 2016......Chinatown!
Thank you to Ms. Gallagher for taking the time out to speak with us. It's always amazing to connect with people on so many different levels. Her collections are some of the most unique and well executed in fashion today and her conceptual approach and artistry will no doubt keep her well ahead of the curve for years to come.
Top row: S/S 2015, Bottom row: F/W 2013. All runway photos courtesy of Style.com