“I want my own fashion empire,” the ambitious 23-year-old says. “Yeah, world domination,” she adds with a laugh. “I want to dress the world, covering as many areas as I can.”
Katey has racked up some notable successes as she strives to realise her lofty goals. She has her own eponymous label and designed and created a winter collection that is being showcased in a newly-opened art gallery in Ahuriri, Napier’s up-and-coming seaside suburb.
From Hastings, she completed EIT’s Certificate in Introduction to Fashion after leaving Karamu High School, and then took two years out to care for her baby son, Max. Katey decided she was ready to return to study after EIT launched its two-year Certificate in Fashion Apparel.
In between study stints, she was invited back to EIT to take part in the students’ end-of-year fashion show where she featured as the celebrated event’s “up-and-coming designer”.
While Katey acquired the basics of art and craft media in her first year of study and benefitted from what she learned about pattern drafting, she’s now focused on developing commercial nous and is enjoying using a pad programme to work up her designs.
“I am constantly learning new skills and techniques,” she says of her study programme. “This year, the small business side of the course stood out for me as well. Anything that helps build my label is good.”
Katey’s style aesthetic is driven by a need to create fashion that is unique.
“I like to do feminine with an edge and am drawn to contrast in anything – themes, colours and materials.”
Her winter collection underscores these design preferences with strong pieces that mix and match velvet, merino wool fabrics and leather. Katey has called the collection Catching Midnight Butterflies – the warm comfortable garments are a reflection, she says, on her childhood and journey into motherhood.
By way of that, she points to the piece hanging around her neck on a chain she made herself. The inspiration for the design was wooden clothes pegs that did double duty as babies’ teething pegs.
“I am always trying to be unique,” she says of the spray-painted bronze amulet. “I’ve always had this love of fashion in me. As a toddler I was interested in hats and dressing up. After I’ve finished studying at EIT, I want to be out there and doing it.”