Wit and Froufrou

Romantic, detailed and elegant, every piece of Portland-based designer Kate Towers is inimitably precious.

Inspired by nature and romance, self taught through experimentation, an artist’s vision, and hands on execution, Kate Towers creates non-seasonal, one of a kind pieces. We get up close and personal.

Tell us a little about yourself.
i live in portland, with my husband, and 2 year old daughter – really, this is how i spend most of my time – running around with her! i used to own a clothing store (for about 8 years) but when i had my daughter i wanted to be able to raise her full time and just concentrate on my designs. it’s been a huge adjustment and one of the hardest things is not having much time to create. i have to say no to a lot of people wanting special orders – or stores who want to sell my things. sometimes i really miss being able to work whenever i want but i wouldn’t give up these precious few days while my daughter is young for anything!

Who would you most like to see wearing your work?
anyone who loves it. it’s also nice when i know someone will be wearing one of my pieces to an event – so i get to show it off a little!

What motivates you?
A lack of time. sometimes i feel desperate to work in my studio. having a fashion show on the horizon, a little bit of pressure to rise to the occasion.

Do you have any stranger side which few people know?
i think i used to. i’m fairly tame now that i’m a mom. too bad. but maybe if you asked my husband or close friends they might have some stories! i used to be very social but these days i’m mostly home with the family, i don’t mind though!

Is there anything in particular that amplifies your creativity?
my mood plays a big part. the weather. i feel energized in the fall. having new fabrics or ideas that i’m excited to play around with.

What artist/designer do you respect internationally?
eeeks…olivier theyskens is amazing and creative and beautiful. lanvin, viktor and rolf, alexander mcqueen. i love the dramatic pieces. there are a lot of big names that i really respect and admire – but also plenty of local designers who i think do amazing work.

What style of music do you mostly listen to?
i like a little bit of everything. my husband is always bringing new music home, he’s got really good taste! so whatever is on the ipod shuffle really. that and i live in portland, where the local music scene is amazing.

What can we look forward to from you?
i wish i knew – hopefully more something specials. that and i can never seem to get enough ruffles! i have talked about producing teeny tiny seasonal collections forever now. a few things i could have produced locally in small batches so i could distribute to more stores, but still work on my one of a kinds. this may never happen as i think in the long run i really enjoy doing the one of a kind pieces. it’s not the best way to get ahead but i feel like i’m working more as a painter or sculptor would, in the moment.

Kate’s one of a kind pieces are available from her Etsy shop and Seaplane in Portland.

Photography by Peter Van Beever