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Katharine Kidd

Limelight: Katharine Kidd | CLOTH & KIND

Hi. my name is… Katharine Kidd Shippey

My company is… Katharine Kidd

I’m the… Designer

I make/design/create… I design a women's ready-to-wear collection, including cocktail dresses and day to night separates.

Limelight: Katharine Kidd | CLOTH & KIND

Something you need to know about me is… I grew up believing that it was important to give back and do something that helped other people.  Both my father and my grandmother were big community organizers.  It was this feeling of giving back that lead me to get a masters in Special Education.  But I had always loved fashion and in my 30s I shifted my lens toward this direction. I began to see that if you do something you love, you’re also serving others; you’re developing relationships and building trust. You realize quickly you can’t do it alone.

Also, I love to write.  I am now working on my second book (fiction). It is just something I enjoy doing, not something I am necessarily talented at, but it just helps me process life and stay grounded. It’s a great mental escape!

Limelight: Katharine Kidd | CLOTH & KIND

Here’s how this company came to be… About 5 years ago, I apprenticed under a veteran couturier in Santa Barbara.  She taught me the foundations of fashion design beginning with fashion illustration and proceeding through the various steps of creating a garment: draping, pattern making and sewing. I worked in this way for a few years, designing one-of-a-kind pieces, experimenting with fabrics and detailing. An interior designer stumbled upon the scene (I was draping these mannequins in my house) and told a friend in New York in the fashion industry and ultimately he came to Santa Barbara and helped launch the line.

My absolute favorite thing we sell right now is… With the fall collection we’ve introduced a custom print and I’m crazy about it, especially on the multi-paneled Alina dress (below). The Charlotte blouse with pleated cap sleeves in this same rose print has been our top seller. There is a pleated coat that is also very special!

Limelight: Katharine Kidd | CLOTH & KIND

Here’s a sneak peek of something we’re working on now… We have modified our print from fall by altering the color palette, as well as added another one that evolved from sketching the outline of our rose print. Creating custom prints is like making art and is one of the best ways to guarantee that your designs are unique.

Limelight: Katharine Kidd | CLOTH & KIND

I’m most proud of… I am really proud that we are self-financed, and that along with my husband, we have started this from the ground up.  It has been challenging to be responsible for so many other aspects of brand growth outside of the designing but we have a great team who are loyal and hard working.

I really detest… A real challenge is when you put a lot of time into a design and for whatever reason it just does not work out, and you have to end up letting it go.  It can be really disappointing and feel like a "failure", but I have now found editing easier knowing these pieces may be reinvented by using a different fabric or changing a small detail and end up feeling right.

I could never have done it without this person… I absolutely could not have done this without my husband, Crawford.  He is the company President and CEO and handles most of the business but he has also given me emotional support when it comes to the challenges that arise during the creative process.

Limelight: Katharine Kidd | CLOTH & KIND

I consistently read these for inspiration… Favorite blogs - Man Repeller,Fashionista, The Coveteur. I have subscriptions to all the main fashion magazines and also take monthly trips to the magazine stand to peruse editions from around the world. I still like the joy of turning down the pages in a magazine.

I would like to share the limelight with… Monika Knutsson. We carry her Gilded Lace jewelry in our store.  Monika started her career in Paris working for Isabel Marrant.  She has a true artistic vision with her brand. She takes vintage lace and dips it in gold, and silver. Each piece is hand made and there is a story that goes with each lace that is used.  She is also a great person.

Limelight: Katharine Kidd | CLOTH & KIND