Katie-Maree Cole is a 26 year-old fashion designer living in Auckland, New Zealand. She studied in Dunedin, and after receiving her Bachelor’s in Fashion Design, she started her own label, Katie-Maree Cole. Her label features classic, feminine designs, fabulous textures and fabrics, and dreamy photo shoots. She was kind enough to answer a few questions that I had for her.
How did you go about starting your own clothing company?
In my final year at Uni, I won a prize which was sponsored by one of the fabric wholesalers in NZ. I didn’t spend it for ages, as I think I was to scared to commit to anything at the time, but finally I just ordered a whole lot of New Zealand Merino, not knowing what I was really going to do with it. I knew that I wanted to have my own label, but that was about it at the time — I ended up doing a basic NZ Merino range for a year to learn more about the industry side of the whole process (working with manufacturers, etc).
What are some of your biggest inspirations?
I basically go on inspiration searching expeditions. I get out lots of movies, visit some places I haven’t been before (mainly around NZ) — waiting on something to click, that feels right for where society is, and what I think I will want to wear in a year and beyond. I am quite old-fashioned, in terms of romanticizing the “days gone by” quality of classic garments. Vintage Chanel, Dior, and Valentino make my heart stop.
I am constantly inspired by women around the world from different backgrounds and cultures; how where we live can shape how we see life and love. I also love watching old movies and finding female muses with interesting personalities.
From your site, I see that you’ve made two collections so far… are you working on a new one as of now, or did you just finish with the Autumn/Winter collection for this year? Do you have any plans for your next project?
I have already made Summer 2012, and that is in production at the moment. I am just starting to design for Winter 2012. I am really looking forward to showing the Summer range — I feel that it has really captured an interesting, quirky, cute aesthetic that is really me.
What’s a normal day like for you?
I work by myself, so I have to do everything for the label, whether that be pattern-making, designing, marketing, sales, production, dispatch, etc, so my days really fluctuate over the cycle of the season. At the moment I am in an accounting phase, so that means waking up, getting coffee, and heading to the office for days in front of the computer, looking at spreadsheets. It’s not very glamorous. I am just starting to work on my Winter line as well, which is more fun. Developing a small seed of an idea into a whole collection is really satisfying. In the next couple of weeks I will be visiting the fabric wholesalers to see the new ranges, and that is always really inspiring for me. I love fabrics, colour, and texture, so the fabric choice is a really important part of the process.
Featured photos are from Bonnie. be good, the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection.