parental guidance from katie eary's mum, georgina
The parents of fashion designers are often the greatest collaborators of all... Mums and dads of fashion, we salute you!
Georgina and Kati Eary
Collaboration is second nature to many of London's new wave of designers: whether interacting with a stylist to bring a fresh perspective to a new collection and show, or hooking up with a high street store, resulting in more affordable ranges for a wider public. But behind the scenes comes a much less publicised, though no less meaningful collaboration - from the parents of the designers. Far removed from the sentiments portrayed in Philip Larkin's 1971 poem, This Be The Verse - 'They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do' - the mums and dads you meet below are the ever-supportive long-term champions of their talented offspring. From day one, the Katie Eary's mum has witnessed, nurtured and encouraged her daughter's commitment to design, from tentative school projects, to accomplished graduation collections, prior to professional success and its accompanying media acclaim. Such enduring loyalty has ensured that 21st century fashion is a better-dressed place! Mums and Dads of fashion, we salute you!
When did Katie first show an interest in fashion?
By the time she was six she was busying herself cutting up materials and stitching together clothes for her Barbie dolls, unlike her friends who were happy to just play with their dolls.
When Katie expressed an interest in pursuing fashion as a career, did you have any doubts?
No, I was delighted! I have never had any doubt about her being able to make it. At that time none of us knew how tough the career was going to be though - I think if I had known, it would've changed the dynamics of everything.
Was there any specific advice you gave her at that time?
Yes, I remember telling her that boyfriends take a lot of emotional energy so she was better off surrounding herself with friends whilst studying. Once she completed her degree we spoke about the possibility of undertaking a Masters at the RCA. I remember advising her to follow her dream and not let the costs of study stand in her way.
When did you realise Katie was becoming successful as a designer?
When she was asked to design an outfit for the Pirelli calendar. This was shortly followed by pictures of Kate Moss in Vogue, wearing a pair of trousers which were made out of an antique Union Jack flag and Katie's military hats. I remember thinking, "She's made it!"
Do you go always to Katie's shows?
I've been to every one! They just get better and better. I find them thrilling. During the lead-up to the show, I love to know everything, starting from the concept right through to the actual design. I always make or buy Katie a gift that compliments her concept. I give it to her a few days before each show. I love to do this, it helps me have an understanding of what's going on in her mind and gives me a deeper appreciation of the show.
Do you wear any of her designs yourself?
Yes, I love to wear Katie Eary! I am currently sitting in a hotel lobby in Nashville - I have come here for a conference - and I am wearing a Katie Eary shirt from her show last year.
What advice would you give to any young person thinking of becoming a fashion designer?
Stick to your dreams. I am a great believer that if someone really wants something, they will find a way to get it. We have had to be very resourceful and I think that adds an element of fun and feelings of achievement. This quote sums it up, 'Life is a safari, it's not about getting there, it's the journey.'
Text James Anderson