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An Interview with Katie Eary

Subversive photo-prints, underground movements, and youth subculture are constant and easily recognisable themes in any Katie Eary collection. A mainstay in the London menswear scene, Katie Eary’s career skyrocketed when Mario Testino shot Kate Moss in her graduate collection.

With a slew of awards under her belt, as well as a couple of high-profile celebrity friendships, Katie Eary remains a resolute and refreshingly rebellious presence in the industry. In conversation with Katie Eary, we learn about her humble creative beginnings, and the spirit of disobedience that has inspired not just her collections, but also her way of life.

Back in Stevenage, it was actually your mother who first introduced you to art. In what ways has she inspired you to begin a career in fashion?
I wouldn’t say she introduced me to art. We had no money, when I was younger she made all my clothes and we also made a lot of our own furniture — so I was bought up in quite a creative environment. Not because we were Bouji, but simply because we were broke. This experience was probably the biggest influence on my life, I learnt that money should not get in the way of your dreams. If you want something, go for it.

You graduated with an MA in Menswear Design at the Royal College of Art back in 2008 and Mario Testino shot a piece from your graduate collection on Kate Moss nonetheless! What was this experience like?
While the experience of a stylist calling up to borrow my pieces for Vogue was exciting; to see it in print on Kate Moss was amazing! Nothing came off the back of it, but I certainly felt like a winner at that moment. I guess that’s just what fashion is — a moment, and then, onto the next!

What do you think has changed in the menswear fashion industry since you first started your brand? How do you think your brand has evolved throughout the years?
It has definitely changed immensely. Everyone wants to be a menswear designer these days! The market has completely opened up, and is becoming just as competitive as womenswear.  My brand grows up with me; it is also becoming more and more refined through the years.

You often refer to your brothers as your muses. In what way do they inspire your collections?
All 3 of my brothers are so different, but they offer good honest feedback. I really do care what they think because they are REAL.

Your collaborations range from high-street to high fashion. How do you go about choosing the people to collaborate with?
If I feel that I can work with a company, stand-out, and really do something fun — then that’s what influences my decision. I am very lucky that I have worked with some really big brands. Seeing how they work is always a great learning curve, for them and for me. I would love to do an accessories line soon.

How important is the Far-East market to your business?
Not as important as it used to be. I used to be in the sportswear game, and now I just dip my toe in and out as it’s no longer my market. However, I must say that the Asian luxury market is not one to be ignored, and we would definitely love to stock womenswear in Asia. I also love how passionate they are about accessories there.

You’ve just launched your first womenswear capsule in matchesfashion. Could you tell us more about this collection?
The collection is more of a contemporary take on classic print. Executed in a Luxe-chic 70’s aesthetic.

What are you working on now? What can we expect from Katie Eary in 2017?
I am relaunching my on-line store, working on a range of pop-up shops, pushing forward the AW17 sales, as well as working on some exciting collaborations. I really want to do more home wear, so that idea is on the table,  as well as a diffusion womenswear range.

Finally, how do you think designers like yourself are changing the London Fashion scene?
Other than over saturating the market? I think the London fashion scene is always so vibrant and exciting, and I am proud to work here.

KATIE EARY

MATCHESFASHION

Portrait by Chris Baker

Interview by Hannah Tan