In Fashion: Designer Katie Gallagher

Television’s Project Runway may have ended for the season but the cutting, creating, and sweating by young designers who aspire to produce that breakout collection has not.

One such designer still hard at work is Katie Gallagher. The Ride talked to Katie about her inspirations and Spring/Summer 2010 collection, her first.

The Ride: Would you describe yourself as “fashion designer” and if so, what does that term mean to you? If not, what would you call yourself?

Katie: I guess I would call myself a “fashion designer” for lack of a more appropriate term. I design and create clothing. I think to call myself an “artist” sounds too pretentious.

The Ride: In your bio, you said you were “born between a farm and a forest somewhere.” Where might that be and how has it influenced your work?  (I was born between a rock and a hard place myself)

Katie: I was born in Western PA and lived in Central PA from 7th grade through high school then moved to Providence, RI to attend art school at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). I’m sure that growing up where I did had some sort of influence on my work and what I do but I don’t have it directly pinpointed to why or how.

Fashion Designer Katie Gallagher

The Ride: And about your creations, how would you describe them?

Katie: My creations are representations of myself and the things I believe in. The Clothing should speak to that: they are about the image I like to see and through that the ideas about fashion that I’d like to project.

From Katie Gallagher’s Spring/Summer 2010 Collection

The Ride: Why did you choose to set up shop in NYC?  What is it about the city that makes it the place for you to create?

Katie: I chose to move to NYC after graduating because it is what I know right now. It is where I can source great fabrics and meet the people I need to meet. I don’t believe one can easily design creatively and successfully with all the advantages of NYC anywhere else in the US.

The Ride: I checked out your website and your Spring/Summer 2010 looks. Very dark fabrics. Very badass beytoch. Reminiscent of 70s punk rock. And certainly not what we would associate with the airiness of spring and summer.  Am I getting it all wrong?

Katie: I didn’t really like to think of fashion in terms of seasons and color. Since this collection (SS10) was my launch, I wanted it to represent my image: the things I like and the things I like to see. I generally wear the same clothes and the same colors all year round.

From Katie Gallagher’s Spring/Summer 2010 Collection

The Ride: Who do you see wearing your fashions?

Katie: I create my designs based on the things I like to wear. I usually wear head to toe black. Sometimes head to toe white. I like a total monochromatic look. I would like to see people with my similar interests wearing my clothes. I never want my clothes to be age specific.

From Katie Gallagher’s Spring/Summer 2010 Collection

The Ride: What materials/fabrics do you like to work with?

Katie: Mostly leather and silk and lycra.

The Ride: What art and/or architecture inspires you?

Katie: Right now, the artists I love are Peter Doig and Gerhard Richter. I don’t usually claim to gather inspiration by other artists or their bodies of work. I usually like many different pieces of art by many different people. There are never constant bodies of work that I love.

The Ride: What music inspires you?

Katie: I like sound without voices usually.

The Ride: Since this is your first launch, what were some of the challenges you faced, some of the wonderful surprises if any?

Katie: The biggest challenge I faced by launching this collection and still, is a monetary one. I do everything myself, everything from drawing an initial concept to pressing a finished garment to licking the back of 1000 invites and all forms of PR. The amount of work to do something like this;  is very stressful and definitely requires more than two people — my boyfriend, Nikolay and I produced the entire thing ourselves — pulling it off.

The Ride: Random: What’s your cat’s name? I saw him/her pictured with you on your web site.

Katie: He is a Maine Coon cat named Sveater. It means “sweater” in Russian. I rescued him as an adult cat from an animal shelter in Providence when I was beginning my junior year at RISD.

The Ride: Back to Business: Where can people find your fashions?

Katie: Right now, my SS10 stockists are just a couple: I.T in Hong Kong and EVA here in NYC (available in late January 2010). I am also doing small special orders upon request for individual people here and there.

The Ride: How can/should people ge in touch with you for individual requests?

Katie: Email me!

The Ride: And finally, what’s the dream?

Katie: I want to be able to survive by designing my own collections. I don’t ever want to someone else’s employee.

The Ride: Love it! Thanks Katie.

For Katie Gallagher’s web site, click here.


Katie will be showing her Fall/Winter 2010 collection on February 15, 2010.  And yours truly will be in attendance.  Stay tuned for details.

Also, you can check out a Q&A with Katie in the March issue of Elle magazine. (“New Designers: Talent Watch”)


Here’s the post on Katie’s New York Fashion Week show for her Fall/Winter 2010 collection  (click here)

A look from Katie’s Fall/Winter 2010 collection



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