We’re thrilled to have Kat Dudden of KatyBelle, back at one of our markets! We met Kat a few years ago and she’s done a couple of the Fashion Denver markets. We always know what she’s up to in style because she does an amazing job keeping the world informed on the latest styles that she’s finding, her fashion inspirations, and much more! Come and find Kat’s booth at the 303 Magazine White Party this Thursday! Until then, here is our interview with her!
What were your obsessions growing up?
As I child I loved hats and dressing up(so basically nothing has changed). I also loved to read, especially the Baby Sitters Club. I always loved playing with Barbies and all kinds of craft projects. I did ballet my entire childhood and I was always busy idolizing the elegant dancers, the beautiful costumes, and admiring and relishing in the dedication and discipline dance takes; from daily practice to point shoe preparation.
How did fashion become the symbol for your creative expression?
I’ve always loved dressing up and playing with costumes. But I really began to apply fashion to my daily life in high school. Everyone wore Abercrombie & Fitch and North Face. It was so…. granola and boring. We weren’t allowed to wear jeans in high school, so dresses and skirts became my way to differentiate myself from the khaki and fleece.
Do you see a stylistic connection between the things you do in your daily life that is reflected into your collections?
There is a 100% connection between my daily life and my curated collection. I have always loved wearing girly dresses and have dressed a little “fancier” than the average Denverite. Today, that’s still my style and it’s reflected in my collection of dresses, tops, skirts, and shorts. You won’t find any t-shirts at katybelle, but we’re all about dresses and tops that can go from day to night.
What is your research process like before starting a collection?
Really my entire life to this point has been research; living in New Orleans and Hawaii has really influenced my style; which is reflected in the more ladylike traditional foundations of katybelle and also in the easy breezy pieces that the collection is known for. On a day to day basis however, I am reading fashion magazines and blogs to stay abreast of new trends and styles. One of the more difficult parts of my job is picking pieces from my vendors. I usually go directly to them in LA or meet up with them at trade shows. There are so many amazing pieces, but I have to think of each piece and how it will work for my Denver customers. How will this work in our casual, sporty Colorado lifestyle? Then I have to come back to earth and think of more basic things; price, if it will work well for the Denver seasons, do I have similar pieces in the collection? Buying is probably my favorite part of the business and it’s so easy to get carried away. I really have to be disciplined and take in all the cues from my research and the more business based factors to carefully pick each piece.
How has fashion impacted you?
Well I suppose fashion has shaped most of my life. I”m always known as the girl in the dress or the girl in heels. Aside from katybelle being my livelihood and my more than full time job, fashion has certainly enriched my experiences when traveling. Going to visit my grandparents in rural Colorado, my grandma and I would always visit the “Rummage Room” in her town; I have so so many amazing vintage jewelry pieces and purses that I picked up for a song. Further afield I have had such a greater appreciation for items I’ve discovered in other countries. The lightweight woven white straw in my Panama hat makes perfect sense for their hot sunny climate and the Ikat patterns of textile pieces I picked up in Turkey can be seen in buildings from the 1400s. I love seeing the reason behind a fashion or style.
What is your opinion on the fashion scene in Denver from a designers perspective?
The Denver fashion community has been incredibly open and positive which was a wonderful surprise. I’ve met so many fellow boutique owners and designers and rather than being the catty and competitive people are so helpful and inclusive. The fashion scene in Denver is also much larger than I expected and it’s fabulous to see local designers and companies gaining national recognition!