This is the first of (we hope) many “Designer Spotlight” features meant to connect you to the people behind the clothes/jewelry/artwork/beauty products you buy at Union Rose. We hope you enjoy reading about our amazing designers and thank you for supporting independent makers! ~Your friends at Union Rose
‘Accidental Wish Fulfillment’ — Talking With Katrina Dimick of KD Designs
It’s First Friday at Union Rose and the shop is buzzing with visitors. In the middle of it all, designer Katrina Dimick, creator of KD Designs, pulls skirts, dresses and loose-cut tops from a giant bag, infusing the shop with pops of blue here and peeks of red there. Customers have questions about fit and fabric, and Dimick — a designer and model — has answers.
When she thinks about the women who love her clothes, Dimick says she envisions someone who “is not constrained by age” and who can be professional, spontaneous and put-together — all at the same time.
“My target customer is a girl like me. I started selling my clothes when I was 18 … So it’s grown up a bit as I’ve grown up,” Dimick, who is in her early 20s, says. “Now, I envision my woman as relaxed, smart, cultivating her own life and definitely fun. Personally, I think the beauty of my line is that it’s simple enough to produce everyday items that you’ll go back to again and again.”
Dimick designs her KD Designs pieces in a cozy Milwaukie studio and says she tries to work in the studio at least two days each week — unless she’s prepping for a show or a big sale, and then she might be in her studio every day of the week for two weeks straight.
“I have this super-small, very cute, all-mine studio in Milwaukie that I’ve been making my own for the past two years and I really love it,” Dimick says. “Sometimes I just go there to sit on the couch and watch Netflix by myself!”
Before she gets to the studio, Dimick needs to find the right fabric for her designs.
“Touch is definitely where I start,” she explains. “I have to be able to feel the fabric and totally fall for it in order to use it. This can make it hard to go and buy fabric with a certain garment in mind, because sometimes the right feel of the fabric just isn’t there and I’m out of luck.”
If you’ve ever worn a KD Designs dress, top or skirt, you’ll want to thank Dimick personally for her attention to fabric-feel — her clothes are incredibly soft and flow just right over curves, without feeling “too fragile” for everyday wear.
And if you find yourself thinking that Dimick’s designs look perfect for the Portland fashion scene, there’s a reason for that: “I have a part-time job in the Pearl District,” Dimick says. “And I definitely draw a lot of inspiration from people-watching. … I often sketch on receipt paper while I’m on break, and then take it home and organize it a bit, then dive into prototyping it.”
Dimick, a native Oregonian who came to the Portland fashion scene after earning her bachelor’s degree in bio-anthropology and modeling for local designers during her college years, says she loves the diversity in Portland’s fashion world.
“We have so many amazing people doing literally anything you could ever want here,” Dimick says. “There’s athletic wear, swimwear, wedding dresses, business, casual, ready-to-wear, custom, jewelry, shoes, outerwear, millinery! Anything fashion-wise you could want is being made somewhere in this city by a small-scale, dedicated artisan.”
Dimick credits Cassie Ridgeway of Altar Boutique for giving her her first push into the fashion-designing world, and says her design business was the result of “accidental wish fulfillment.”
“I always said I wanted to be in fashion or be a forensic anthropologist, but I really didn’t want to invest all the money in fashion school and risk coming up exactly like all of my peers,” Dimick explains. “So, instead, I went to school for bio-anthropology. But, along the way, I did a fair amount of modeling. Being around the Portland fashion scene and having a history of making my own clothes slowly turned into what KD Designs is today.”
Nowadays, you can find KD Designs at two southeast Portland shops — Altar Boutique and Unione Rose — as well online at www.etsy.com/shop/KDdesignsOnEtsy. For more information, visit KD Designs’ Etsy shop or follow Dimick on Facebook at Facebook.com/kddesignspdx.