The Insider – Katherine Feiner
Katherine Feiner launched her own fashion label in 2012, becoming an inspiring fashion designer based in the heart of New York City. She offers Magnify Musings an exclusive sneak peak into her busy world of managing, designing and living with her contemporary women’s fashion label.
Q: Was there a defining moment when you realised you wanted to be a fashion designer?
A: During a gap year (which is nearly unheard of in the States) I reflected on what it is I loved to do and what made me happy. Fashion had always been that thing for me. Whilst working in a designer store, I really got to know high-end fashion and decided I could do this, but make it my own.
Q: What enticed you to start your own label in such a competitive industry, rather than designing for another company?
A: Moving home after studying in London was a fresh beginning and although I did interview at several companies for a few months, nothing got me very excited. I only really found a sense of purpose when I finally put my foot down and said this is what I want to do, I don’t mind the work load, as I’m building this brand that I love and believe in – everyday I’m excited to wake up and work hard.
Q: Since launching your label, has it been the journey you had expected?
A: The amount of careful planning that goes into the first two years of a label has definitely been the biggest learning experience for me and my knowledge of the industry has increased tenfold since starting. It is so important that I handle the bulk of this work at the moment. I want to know the foundations of the business, how it works, where we started, and where we’re going …
Q: It is so impressive that you are achieving all this when you are comparatively much younger than your contemporaries. Does the age gap create any challenges?
A: I hardly notice it! I believe that because the industry is so competitive, kindness goes a long way. I have been blessed, experiencing a genuine desire to help, give advice and connect through the people I have met. I am also very fortunate that all of my friends are exceptionally driven, motivated and talented entrepreneurial women carving their own way, and inspiring me everyday.
Q: Can you describe the energy you feel living and working in New York?
A: NYC is like a living thing whose personality you interpret. I find it very fun with an energy level I have yet to see anywhere else in the world; this city is incredibly motivating! But I am also a big fan of peace and quiet, which is definitely hard to come by here, so I have had to carve out my own personal oasis through my studio and apartment.
Q: Do you have an ultimate ambition for the Katherine Feiner label?
A: To establish longevity and a loyal following. My main goal for this label is to reach that point without having to compromise on the quality of the designs and construction. I want to maintain the brand integrity, and continue producing mainly in the USA.
Q: Could you describe how your beliefs and faith support your work as a fashion designer?
A: They are absolutely the backbone of the whole operation. Starting this label in the first place was a huge risk, and a life changing decision. I cannot imagine making a decision like that without my faith and asking for guidance. Because of this, I am able to weather the stressful times, times of hardship and tough decisions, because I know I am not alone in these struggles. I probably stop at least three times a day and ask God to lift whatever problems the day has handed to me off my shoulders. I ask Him to give me a clear mind to help me understand and see the right solutions. It acts as a regroup and more often then not, immediately calms me down.
Q: How do you seek inspiration and encouragement from the people around you?
A: My family. I speak to my mother probably five times a day. She is my constant sounding board and a woman of unfailing faith, she has this insane ability to judge the situation and help me find my way back to the answer. My friends never fail to give me their honest opinions or to be outrageous and hilarious on occasions. I also am extremely blessed to have the kindest and most loving and patient boyfriend ever. He has been an unfailing pillar of quiet strength since I’ve been back in NYC.
Q: Finally, could you summarise your label in five words so the Magnify readers can appreciate the ethos of Katherine Feiner?
A: Classic, feminine, strong, beautiful and empowering.
Visit Katherine Feiner at www.katherinefeiner.com
Interview by Alice Bowring