We recently chatted with Kate Austin of Kate Austin Designs about her fashion company to find out more about the brand and what they are about.
What is your brand called and what do you make?
Kate Austin Designs. I make colourful, sustainable, casual clothing and accessories for women featuring my original prints.
When did you launch?
I launched my line in 2017.
What are some of the things that differentiate you from the competition?
I design not only the styles, but also all the fabric we use. I create the prints and patterns so every piece is truly original and unique. Kate Austin Designs is deeply committed to ethical, fair trade production and sustainability. We have a zero-waste goal which leads us to innovate new products, from fabric off cuts as well as new and lovely sustainable packaging options, like our hand printed reusable cloth bag that comes with every product. All Kate Austin designs are also consciously created to be one size only. One size that fits and looks amazing on a wide range of bodies – usually XS to XL and petite to Tall.
Where is it made?
The Kate Austin line is designed in Toronto. Some pieces are made in Toronto as well. The fabric is block printed by hand in India by fair trade artisans who have had this incredible skill passed down for generations. Recently we have also partnered with wonderful makers in Ghana and Ecuador for some new coming-soon pieces!
What are some of your favourite materials to use?
I love working with natural fibers. Fine Indian cotton voile is so light and so airy and one of my absolute favourites. I love how it feels like almost nothing but it’s still very strong and long-lasting. I’m also loving working with a very fine cashmere – also super light and airy, yet warm and cozy. I love luxurious, organic, natural everyday materials. I love that they can bring joy and delight into our day-to-day lives and that they’re great for the health and future of our planet.
Who is your target audience?
Women and the people who love them (Kate Austin Designs make AMAZING gifts)! 35-55, gen Xers – women seeking comfort, quality and individual style while upholding their deeply held social justice values. Women who LOVE their wardrobes, and who find JOY in dressing for every day.
Who are some of your fashion influences?
Armi Ratta from Marimekko. I love the bold prints and women-centric styles. Vera Neumann – the iconic colourful 60s’ designer of scarves and more – love her playful and bright approach to fashion. Sonia Delaunay – the 1920s’ legend of colour and pattern. The way she blurred the line between art and fashion will always be a huge inspiration to me as an artist and a designer.
Where can we purchase your brand?
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto fashion brand or designer that you like?
I love the colourful African prints at kwesiya.com and the bold fun body-positive styles in Lesley Hampton’s Indigenous-influenced Athluxury line as well!