Designer profile: Kathryn V

U student Kathryn Sterner tells A&E the ins and outs of local fashion.

Designer profile: Kathryn V

Kara Nesvig

MNFashion WeekâÄôs SCENEaSOTA event was a bevy of inventive, impressive designs from a diverse pool of local designers. One line of particularly sophisticated pieces came from Kathryn Sterner, better known as Kathryn V, a design senior at the University of Minnesota. Sterner took a few minutes to chat with me about her line, inspirations and plans for the future as a promising talent. What is your design background? Were you interested in sewing as a child? I got interested in design in middle school or late elementary school. Every girl goes through that phase where they draw clothes and say, âÄúIâÄôm gonna be a fashion designer!âÄù [When I was] 13, we had a sewing machine in our house and I started that way. When I was 16, there was a boutique in St. Paul called TashaâÄôs Eclectic Clothing and Furnishings and I walked into it with a friend âĦ and started talking to the owner about [my designs.] She was like, âÄúBring your stuff here!âÄù They were just crafty little poorly-constructed pieces and it got both of us motivated. That place closed in about a year and then I went Uptown and walked into Design Collective and sold there for about a year or two. During my senior year of high school, I was talking to [a TA] about designs I was doing and she told me about Cliché and how she liked the owners. I called Cliché and got a really great vibe from them. I love Josh and Delayna [the store owners]. I picked my stuff up out of Design Collective , brought it to Cliché and IâÄôve been there ever since. Besides selling your pieces at Cliché, you take design classes here at the University. What are they like? ItâÄôs a four-year program. The first year is the pre-clothing design program. We take our first sewing class, an intro to fashion merchandising class, and at the end of year you go through portfolio review. Sixteen to 18 of us continue on in the program. I think they cut about four or five people. What do you do in classes? Each semester we have a studio class. ThatâÄôs our main clothing design class. We do different projects through the year, each focused on different aspects of clothing design âÄî the last one we took was about fitting a real human being instead of a form. The one IâÄôm currently in is about working with knit fabrics and tailoring. I will be here five years. I saw your stuff walk the runway at MNFashion WeekâÄôs SCENEaSOTA event. How did you get involved with that? I hadnâÄôt been involved in anything outside Cliché before. Cliché has a spring show called Avoid the Grey, and a summer anniversary sale. I had never done anything that wasnâÄôt at Cliché. They donâÄôt do anything in the fall. IâÄôm a part-time student this fall so I was eager to do something. I talked to Josh [owner of Cliché] and he said one of the girls from SCENEaSOTA was looking for another designer. Ivan Idland wasnâÄôt able to do it, so I contacted Maritza and I was super glad I did. What was your inspiration for your SCENEaSOTA line? This summer I went to Washington, D.C., and I saw the Native American museum [National Museum of the American Indian] for the first time. It blew me away! I was focused on the clothing; I loved the idea of how everything wraps and ties around. I donâÄôt like buttons or zippers, so I thought that was beautiful. I wanted to incorporate not being able to see the closures. I still had zippers, but I really liked the simplicity of it all and bold primary colors. ThatâÄôs where I wanted to go. I liked the slouchy drop shoulder in the clothing that I saw. How long did it take you to complete? IâÄôm a huge procrastinator. [laughs]. I started middle of July and finished two hours before the show. So whatâÄôs next for you? Are you going to apply for Voltage in the spring? IâÄôm not going to apply to Voltage. IâÄôm going to be a full-time student next semester. I want to be a part of Voltage next year, but I want to go into it at a time when I can go into it wholeheartedly. I hope to do something for spring, though. IâÄôve been talking to a few girls who are seniors in the clothing design program about putting on some kind of show, but no for sure plans. What inspires you in your work? IâÄôm really inspired by environments -âÄî not just one thing or building, but just the mood that certain things create, which is difficult sometimes because I canâÄôt get something done unless IâÄôm inspired by it. I love traveling and experiencing new places, new people, understanding how people interact with each other. I think about how IâÄôd incorporate it through fashion design. Do you follow fashion? Who are your favorite designers? I donâÄôt follow it as much as I would like to or as I should. I like Dries van Noten , how he plays with texture and color. Everything IâÄôve seen of his is gorgeous, the movement created in those designs. How about locally? I love my darling Amanda Christine. She is super friendly. ItâÄôs really easy for people to start being pretentious, but sheâÄôs nice to everyone and her garments fit everyone, she designs so flawlessly.