PHOTO BY NIKOLAY SAVELIEV
Katie Gallagher has come a long way from central Pennsylvania. After stints at Anna Sui and ThreeAsFour, the recent Rhode Island School of Design graduate has been garnering serious fashion cred with her contoured dresses, jackets, and pastiche leggings. Juxtaposing high-end materials like silk and leather with gauze cut outs and a faint air of athleticism, her pieces resonate beyond her Chinatown studio to a place far, far away.
ARIELLA GOGOL: Did you always know you wanted to design?
KATIE GALLAGHER: No, I went into RISD thinking I'd major in painting. I did a lot of gray monochromatic paintings, then these drippy paintings, before switching to apparel, where it became all about these girls [pointing to sketches], and these clothes.
GOGOL: How do you feel about all this attention?
GALLAGHER: It's a lot. I was really scrambling to do this collection. I think it was maybe two days after SS10 that I started painting and sketching.
GOGOL: What was your inspiration for the Fall 2010 Collection?
GALLAGHER: This season all started with a landscape winter painting I made to get a color concept. I always make little paintings, and I have all these drawings I started doing–I got really into the models' hair.
GOGOL: Do you only wear black?
GALLAGHER: All black or all white usually. I don't like a lot of color. Everything I was making, I was thinking, "I see it in black only."
GOGOL: Do you fit the clothes to yourself?
GALLAGHER: The first collection, I just fit everything to me, which was a bad idea. You forget that the models aren't small–they're thin, but wide. The leggings wouldn't go up their legs. So this time I didn't fit on me–I used the mannequin. Otherwise I just get confused, thinking that if it looks good on me, it will fit them.
GOGOL: Do you think it helps that you look like a model?
GALLAGHER: I always thought it was helpful that I could try stuff on myself. I usually try to make what I would want to wear.
GOGOL: What do your parents think of your designs?
GALLAGHER: They don't really get it. They come to the shows, and they're nice about it...sort of. But they don't get it at all.