Up Close with O’More Alumni-Designer Kat Seaton-Giarratano
By Jamie Atlas, Chair-Fashion Design, O’More College of Design
Kat Seaton earned a BFA in Fashion Design at O’More College of Design, and following consecutive wins with her junior collection and senior thesis projects, she joined the MILLY team in NYC and is successfully growing with the company. She is also founder and designer for her Kat Seaton line.
Kat always makes time for others, and was more than happy to answer some questions about her journey as a designer.
What most influenced your desire to design?
I am very fortunate to come from a family that supported my dreams. My parents have made a living in music & my sister works in production/video. I also truly believe I was born with an eye to see fashion & style in a different light. It was only natural that I wanted to pursue a career in something that was second nature to me.
Where do you find creative stimulation?
Pressure. In my initial design process I work best in getaway places- where I can get lost in the time & my brain isn’t pulled in a million different directions. It could be a quiet weekend in the city, spending time in Central Park or a new coffee shop. After the initial inspiration, I need a deadline and pressure to get it DONE.
What turns on your creative juices?
Fabrics! This is my first area of inspiration! I don’t even think of new silhouettes or concepts until I find a fabric to get the ball rollin’. I spend countless of hours going in and out of fabric stores, going through tons of fabric headers to find that one fabric to set the tone for the rest of the collection.
What has most surprised you in your career as a designer in the field of fashion?
Talent can only get you so far. Being nice & saying yes to opportunities will take you places! If people don’t like working with you or think you aren’t a team player, then your career will not last long. Because I was personable with my coworkers, people were willing to invest in my goals and me.
Who is your design hero/ine and why?
Marc Jacobs, Rosie Assoulin, Mk & Ashley Olsen, Ellery, Stella McCartney- these designers are very much so of this generation! I think it’s so intriguing to live alongside these designers.
What is one thing we can do to become better designers?
Get to know other designers! Make connections and friends within the industry. You only know what you know from your own experiences—there’s so much more to learn through other people’s eyes!
What’s the glimpse of wisdom you can offer about the future of design?
Fashion is one thing that is ever changing! No one can predict it—so be ready to go with the flow and have an open mind!
What is the one thing you would tell anyone who wants to be a designer?
Move to a fashion hub. Learn the business inside & out. You most likely will not get your dream job out of the gate, but strive to get a position in the industry & make it known to everyone around you your purpose and your goal. If you start from the bottom, you will have so much more of an advantage when you get to where you want to be because you know every angle of the industry.
What is a story that you like to tell about design, the state of design or your life as a designer?
When I first moved to New York, it was such a different culture that I became confused about my personal aesthetic. It was like sensory overload and I didn’t know how to edit my new influences. I created a small “collection” and presented it to some mentors who had seen my past work. They told me I had “lost my voice,” I wasn’t “staying true to my esthetic,” & it didn’t feel “natural.” Those words will forever stick in my mind—one, because I was so embarrassed and disappointed in myself, and two, because even at a young age in a huge city my own style was something new, different, and apparently refreshing to others. Come up with your own point of view, stick to it, & explore through that angle.
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