Fashion designer Katie Battersby

Meet the artist Katie Battersby. Trudi Brewer discovers why her fashion is a work of art.

For most fashion designers the path to launching a label is often with a degree in design. However, Katie Battersby used her degree in sculpture to construct the most stunning collections. Working from her charming family home in Auckland where she creates her eponymously named label, her timeless style is evident in every room. 
Here's a sneak peak into her world.

How did you become a fashion designer?
I have always been fascinated by fashion. I studied sculpture at Elam and like to think of my designs as a continuation of art making and applique as another form of collage.

What’s a typical working day for you?
Being a jack of all trades often I can be found designing, making and marketing, simultaneously.

What do you love most about your career?
I get to work in a job I created with all its challenges, ups and downs; it’s always varied, never dull.

How has your career influenced your style?
I’m entirely selfish; I design clothes with myself in mind. They have to be easy to wear but have an interesting aesthetic. Life is too short to wear boring fashion.

What has been your career high to date?
Seeing someone I don’t know rocking my t-shirts in fashion capitals of the world.

What is your style secret?
I’m not afraid of embellishment; I don’t do plain, and as Oscar Wilde once said, “You can either be a work of art or wear a work of art.”

What is the one fashion item you will buy this summer?
Ironically I just bought myself a leather jacket…I think I had the Ramones song Rock-away beach in my head.

Who are your favourite local and international fashion designers?
Love the local label Penny Sage. Isabel Marant has always been a favourite, as she designs elegant yet practical clothing – and it’s French, need I say more?

What handbag will you carry this summer?
I will pull out my faithful cadmium yellow vintage Prada, it goes with everything and is bottomless.

What is your fashion weakness?
Shoes. My latest purchase; pink Allbirds. Genius merino sneakers designed by Jamie McLellan you can throw in the washing machine.

Who's style do you covet?
Tilda Swinton her style is effortless chic.

What are the up and downsides to working from home?
Flexibility. Being able to run a creative business from home and be around for my kids. They love that I’m here and have always enjoyed seeing my collections evolve. If I want to wear trainers every day of the week, nobody’s stopping me. Downsides - I can’t think of any.

How would your describe your home?
Traditional, with a touch of modern-day teenage accouterment.

What makes a great interior?
Heart; we are definitely not in the minimalist camp – although it’s quite nice to visit the showrooms and fantasize about it.

What do you always have on your bedside table?
Books and hand cream.

What is your favourite room?
The Green room; it’s the smallest room in the house; it is light and airy and cosy all at the same time.

What are your most treasured possessions?
My beautiful family of course, but I quite like my carpet from Designer Rugs, too.

What does beauty mean to you?
Feeling happy in your skin.

Who are your beauty icons?
Tilda Swinton, Frida Kharlo, Brooke Shields.

What are the products you would never be without?
Pure Fiji Dilo Rescue Body Butter and Mango Hydrating Body Lotion, Clarins Lip Perfector and MAC Haute & Naughty Lash mascara.

What beauty advice do you find yourself sharing?
Telling my daughter not to be in any rush to grow up, just to enjoy being a girl.

How do you stay fit and trim?
Walk the dog every morning, I would like to adopt my mothers amazing regime of doing Jane Fonda exercises every day religiously for over 30 years!

What is your wellness philosophy?
Eat mostly healthy and relish the naughty, do exercise that is enjoyable, work in moderation, spend time with people you love, and always try to have at least one meal together as a family every day.

How to you stay balanced and happy?
Being creative and making stuff. When the initial ideas, planning and sampling finally come to fruition, you have your finished garments and a resolved collection. You can take a breath, step back and assess your accomplishments. A momentary feeling of self-satisfaction washes over. Five minutes later and you’re back in the real world.

What is your best advice for other busy working mums?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think mums today feel a lot of pressure to do everything well and be covering all bases at all times. You are only human, breathe and enjoy the small pleasures.

Photography Milana Radjocic
Makeup Lochie Stonehouse from MAC