Katie Linacre, graduate of Northumbria , has been collaborating and focusing on experimental fashion since showcasing her pink hued collection at GFW17. From working with Notion Magazine on editorials to being part of the youth culture at ASOS, Katie has retained her eclectic style and passion for vintage pieces.
Viewing fashion as a method of storytelling, Katie used her graduate collection 'Sweet Nostalgia', to explore the coming of age process, through the work of 21st Century European artists Balenciaga, Antoni Gaudi and Bridget Riley. We caught up with the emerging designer to find out why she loves contrasts, how current affairs are channeled through design and celebrating female empowerment with her 'QUEEN' bags.
Which university did you attend, and what is the most valuable thing that you learnt there?
I graduated last Summer from Northumbria University and the most valuable thing for me to learn was exactly who I was as a designer. I found that I gravitated towards bold, striking designs with intricate garment details and found I enjoyed using contrasting fabrications and being experimental- all of which sums up my graduate collection! Key lessons from Northumbria were adaptability and commercial awareness, giving me the skills to be able to design for different market levels and brands. I’m proud to own such a varied (colourful!) design portfolio after four years of study.
Graduate Fashion Week provides a platform for emerging fashion graduates to showcase their work regardless of the specific discipline. Which area of the industry have you chosen to pursue, and what informed this choice?
The journey I took in final year working towards Graduate Fashion Week, prepared me for industry and also enabled me to experience working across many garment categories as seen in my collection from denim jackets to organza dresses and faux fur everything! When my collection came out onto the Graduate Fashion Week catwalk I nearly cried, it felt so amazing. Being able to physically see and experience that outcome after a year of hard work is definitely my greatest achievement so far.
As for my career, I have chosen to pursue a role on the Day Dresses team at ASOS in London - who have a very individual take on fashion and have more room to experiment within their designs than other high street brands. I interned with ASOS during my university course and loved everything from the people to the product and I knew I’d want to come back.
Tell us a bit more about your career journey since showing at Graduate Fashion Week.
Since presenting my collection at GFW17, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with The British Style Collective catwalk event in Liverpool, and more recently with Notion Magazine for an Issue 78 editorial, which have both been exciting to be involved with. Working and making contacts with the photographers, stylists and organisations that I have, makes me love what we do in fashion and my fashion family continues to grow. I’ve also recently announced my plan to make and sell an accessory from my graduate collection after finding a demand for my faux fur bag on Instagram!
How have you found life in the industry?
I’m fortunate to have found work within six months of graduating as I know how difficult getting started in this industry can be. A highlight of working in industry is definitely when we receive samples back that I’ve designed and to know those garments will go on to be worn by millions of people- it feels so rewarding. I really enjoy how fast paced working life is, with keeping busy from researching to designing all whilst working alongside such inspiring people who are as passionate about fashion as I am.
Do you explore any political, social or historical notions through your work? If so, what messages do you hope to convey?
I believe that there is much to learn from historical garments and have always found inspiration from vintage samples which are great for garment details but also tell stories. Fashion is a method of storytelling so I find it is important to draw inspiration from artists, fashion history and also to acknowledge current affairs and translate them through fashion design. The women’s marches have been a key inspiration for my work, and I feel it is important to celebrate the notion of women’s equality and female empowerment- a key element behind my QUEEN bags.
Where are you hoping to be in five years time?
In five years time I’d love to be setting my sights on different challenges and trying something completely new such as working abroad. I’ve always had a dream to pursue an international fashion career and America has always been at the top of my list.
Many say that the industry is undergoing a huge change, with sustainability, diversity and responsibility becoming huge themes. Do you have any opinions on these movements?
I love the conversations happening within the industry right now, with brands like Versace joining Gucci and Tom Ford in banning fur from their collections. I only used faux fur in my graduate collection and it's so true that brands can and should source more responsibly; how important it is to design with integrity. The diversity movements involving gender fluid fashion also shows how important our industry is for helping people feel great in their own body, in whatever way that person wishes to be defined/undefined.
Lastly, to any students that are reading this in admiration of your career-what advice would you give to the students hoping to showcase this year?
Try to give your design concept as many avenues as possible for you to explore in the initial research stages, from a variety of non-fashion sources for originality (e.g interior design, social movements, film). When you’re at the stage of designing and constructing your collection, run with your ideas whole heartedly: be as outrageous with your designs as you wish and put all your effort in as this will be the most rewarding. You never know, this could be the only opportunity for you to have your own collection under your name so work hard and enjoy being your own fashion brand. Good luck!
Words by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins