Katherine Pont

Australian born Katherine Pont is an inventive and talented designer of two labels. Her former clothing line ‘Mine’ became a success story, with her collections selling in boutiques across the globe. Her designs drew a following from international artists such as Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes, She Keeps Bees, Alela Diane and Au Revoir Simone.

She once again creates beautiful, clean silhouettes in easeful fabrics, this time around under ‘Katherine Pont’. With label number two she wishes to step outside the “box,” not restrict herself to seasons, while keeping to a more sustainable approach. She sources all fabrics in London and her manufactures are only a bike ride away from her studio.

Besides working with her label, Katherine co – directs designer collective Swanfield Boutique. Swanfield initially started as a one off pop up store in 2008 on Swanfield rd (hence the name). Now Swanfield is a beautifully curated online and traveling boutique with a growing number of creative contributors of artists, photographers and designers.

 On a sunny morning – after a pleasant visit up to Katherine’s east London home and studio, I have the great pleasure to offer a glimpse of her symbiotic workshop of design, drawings and visionary ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your approach to fashion?

I was born in Sydney and moved to London after I graduated from art school and travelled Europe for a while. I’m a very visual person and always liked dress ups and drawing, so fashion design seemed like a natural progression. Since those days, my aesthetic has changed over and over, but certain things stay true, and certain artists and movements continue to inspire. I hope that my approach to fashion is with an artful eye and a sense of fun.

Was there a certain time in your life where you knew you wanted to work creatively?

I think people create because they have to. I guess if you have any creative bones, you move in circles with others who think similarly and whom you are inspired by. It can make you quite stubborn too, as you wish things to look a certain way, and creatives are not always the best business heads, so this is something that has to be constantly worked on. Fashion is my main creative outlet these days and I really enjoy sketching garments and developing prints and trims.

Having previously designed the label ‘MINE’, how do you work differently with your new label ‘Katherine Pont’?

The design process is still very much the same, but I wanted to keep things smaller and bend the rules a little. As I wish to work outside of the constraints of the seasons and two yearly drops of AW and SS, it suited me to work this way and bow out of the wholesale/retail model. This way I could bring the price down a little too, and just sell my collection online and through my mailing list. Keep things smaller and more personal for this project and source production locally within the UK.

You are the co founder and director of designer collective – Swanfield Boutique. How were S.B initiated?

Swanfield began as a designer collective back in 2008 with a focus on womenswear, accessories and artful things. Our first pop-up space was on Swanfield Street, off the now famous Redchurch Street near Bricklane. Originating as a travelling boutique, we took Swanfield on the road leasing temporary spaces from Shoreditch to Soho. Our next pop up initiative will be housed at The Hackney Shop, with opening night on Tuesday October 1st… which we are very excited about. Love the chance to play shop, and the collective spirit thrives when we host a physical store space. It offers our customers a tactile shopping experience and a chance to meet the designers themselves. We will also exhibit photographs instore from our next muse shoot, soon to be released.

When you start a collection/project – do you normally follow a creative process?

When working to a design brief, I usually begin with research, collecting imagery and creating mood boards. For my own collection, this process is a lot more relaxed. In designing my own range, I get to create garments I wish to wear, so in imagining a new collection… this is what initially informs my creative process. I also work to the whim of what beautiful fabrics I can find so gathering swatches is one of the first things I do, even before drawing shapes. The colours available also help you to begin to select a palette for a collection, and things begin to form into little stories and capsules from there. Often an album or artist will become a soundtrack when first designing something and helps you romance yourself into drawing.

What do you think are the pros and cons of being a London based, independent designer?

From an ethical side, now that I am producing my label locally it works well as I can be involved with the whole production process from start to finish. There are ups and downs to any city but I have met some great people here. Natural collectives form within friends with a similar urge to create, so having that energy around you helps you to keep designing.

 Future dreams?

For Swanfield, I hope it will continue to grow and reach a wider audience, that we will woo new and amazing labels and to gain exposure for our designers and the Swanfield Muse Project. We also wish to art direct a new ‘Swanfield’ brand collaborating with different designers each season to create a signature collection. This will utilize the wealth of talent within the nest working under a singular concept.

For Katherine Pont the label, I want to see it on strangers in the street.

In a fast moving fashion industry, what do you think is important today to communicate as a designer and independent label?

Having produced garments abroad previously, for this collection I did not want to be bound to production minimums nor have to worry about shipping costs and the environmental concerns this carries. I have a seamstress and pattern cutter I work with locally, and production sourced within London so that I can hand deliver patterns, trims and fabric, and keep a much closer eye on things. This also allows me the luxury of making very limited edition runs, so it feels more special.

This is partly why I relaunched a new namesake collection. To have that constant creative outlet, to loosen the rules, and to adopt a more sustainable approach.

 

 

 



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