Today, I’d like to introduce you to the amazingly talented Katie – the passionate and creative person behind Papercut!
Katie, thanks for joining us here today. I adore your designs, and I’m really looking forward to hearing more about Papercut! So, to start….
What inspired you to get into patterns designing?
I’ve made patterns for as long as I can remember. I taught myself the basics when I was about 10 years old by cutting around my own clothes and figuring out how all the pieces went together.
It was sort of out of necessity as I was one of five children, so it was either wear hand-me-downs or make my own clothes.
I’m a very logical thinker so patternmaking came quite naturally to me. As I grew up I wore a lot of me made clothes and did a lot of refashioning.
When it came time for me to leave school I desperately wanted to study Fashion Design but was scared of the lack of job prospects at the end and decided to study Graphic Design instead. After a year of study I decided to follow my true passion and transfer to Fashion. Having that first year in Graphic Design however has proved so valuable to me with the path I have followed as I have done all my own branding.
I worked for Global Fabrics for many years after that forming my fabric obsession. Global Fabrics (now called The Fabric Store) is a really cool fabric shop that seriously has the most amazing beautiful fabrics sourced from designers all around the world. We sold to both the public and local fashion designers.
I constantly got asked if there were patterns for the clothes I made myself and it wasn’t until one day I sat down with one of my customers flicking though the pattern catalogues that I realised how little choice there was out there. I wondered to myself why no one else had filled this void.
A few weeks later I decided to take a pattern home from the shop for a quick make garment to wear to a party that night. A quick make it was not! After a huge rant about how the instructions were indecipherable and “how can anyone follow these things?!” The idea dawned on me… I should start my own pattern company!
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would say my aesthetic is modern/pretty. I like to keep up with current looks and put my own spin on it.
What do you consider your point of difference?
Papercut Patterns major point of difference is the innovative design – not only of the fashion patterns but also the packaging and the use of recycled and recyclable products.
How similar are your designs and your own day to day wardrobe?
Every design is made because it’s something I want to wear, however the reality is I don’t have much time to sew for myself and I find it really hard to justify spending a lot of money on clothing as I can easily make it, catch 22, so ironically I think I’m the worst dressed in town. I live in my skinny jeans, cashmere jerseys and ballet flats, so comfy and practical but when I have an occasion I always dress up in my own designs.
Which is your favourite of the patterns you’ve designed?
That’s a hard one! I love so many of them. My Pleated Pants and my Undercover Hood get the most use in my wardrobe, but I love La Sylphide and Midsummer’s Night Dream!
If you could make that one for anyone at all, who would it be for, why, and what fabric would you make it in?
If I could dress anyone up, it would have to be Alexa Chung! She is my style icon at the moment (and my hair inspiration). I would dress her in my Rite of Spring shorts though, teamed with a Sloppy Josephine tee and a blazer (a pattern which I actually designed to go in my Covent Garden collection but didn’t quite make it as I hadn’t finished the instructions) which is coming very soon!
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt since you started your pattern label?
How much of a multi tasker you have to be when you run a small business. For me, there’s design, production, distribution, marketing, accounting not to mention being a mum to two kids. It can be really hard to get your head around sometimes.
Why did you choose that name for your label?
I actually came up with the name on the same night I came up with the idea for the Company. I was brainstorming all evening and came up with Papercut as it is the paper cut of the garment.
How did you decide what to call your patterns?
When I design a collection I generally have a theme that runs through and that sort of decides the names. My last collection had a strong ballet feel so each pattern was named after a famous ballet. Covent Garden is a group of theatres where these ballets are performed, so it kind of fit to be the name of the collection.
Thanks again Katie! I love the ethos of your label (and the packaging! Oh my – seriously folks, if you don’t yet own a Papercut pattern, you need to buy one just for the experience of opening it up!!), and I’ll be looking forward to your next collection! (A blazer, you say? Hmmm… I may just have the perfect fabric for that waiting in my stash…)
Also, Papercut currently has free international shipping! Which is a pretty amazingly good deal really, so you should go and check it out. (And don’t forget – the prices are in New Zealand Dollars, so they’ll cost less than you first think. And are totally worth it. But then, I may be biased – I’m nearly finished my La Sylphide dress and am already contemplating what fabric to make the blouse version up in…. Yes, I like it that much.)