Thursday, July 17, 2008

Designer to Watch: Kate Boggiano

Kate Coxworth, the local Chicago fashion designer of label Kate Boggiano, is enjoying some much deserved fashion fame after the publication about her fashion line in WWD today! We caught up with the fledging designer to discuss fashion in Chicago, learn the details about her fall collection and what she thinks about fashion in Chicago (she moved back two years ago, after working on the technical design team at Polo Ralph Lauren) to start her own company.

Tell us about your fashion line.
Kate Boggiano is a women’s apparel company that designs and manufactures women’s blouses, shirts, and tops. We focus primarily on quality, craftsmanship and fit rather than trendy silhouettes that will be out of fashion next season.


What can we look forward to with your fall collection?
For fall ‘08 we have a great new shirt jacket made of a beautiful Italian wool/silk blend perfect for the office or a formal occasion. We also have a great tunic made from matte jersey trimmed in silk that again can be dressed up over leggings and a great boot or down over jeans depending on your occasion. This fall, we have also revisited the fit of our classic styles ensuring our line has 2-3 different perfect white blouses for any occasion. Make sure to check out our Isadora blouse which I think is the perfect white blouse of the season.


What is the biggest change for you by doing your line in Chicago?
Chicago is much different than New York. For me personally, it's a much different situation owning your own business than it was working for someone else (especially in the pay check department)! As far as the cities go, Chicago used to have a much stronger manufacturing tradition that it currently does. Now, there are smaller factories starting to pop up here and there that are interested in fashion, however, the majority of remaining cut and sew factories in Chicago are only producing uniforms. In New York, there is a centralized garment district with factories, fabric vendors, trim vendors, and a fashion industry to support it. Both cities are great, it has required some adjustment on my part to seek out the correct vendors in Chicago and help to promote an industry that is in its’ infancy instead of being an industry that helps define the city.


How did you decide to make the move from New York?
I decided to move from
New York to Chicago after reading about all the great resources and fashion initiatives starting in Chicago.

What do you love about living here.
I am from
Chicago and like most Chicagoans my favorite thing about the city are the summers. I also love how clean Chicago is, how open the city feels, and how great the people are who live here. I love anything close the lake or involving the lake such as beach volleyball, running on the path, and cycling.

What are your hang out spots?
I live in Bucktown and really love that area for dining and shopping. Since I have moved the business into Macy’s, I am also getting reunited with The Loop, River North, and the West Loop. It’s amazing how much growth has occurred since I was away at school and then NYC.
Chicago continues to amaze me and I love it here!

How do you think fashion in
Chicago is changing?
Wow, this is a difficult question. Fashion in
Chicago has yet to really be defined, in my opinion. New York has its style, LA has a definite feel, and Chicago, well, it’s still too early to tell. I think all the things that the Mayor's Fashion Council, AIBI, and other organizations are doing to promote industry and growth here are spectacular. It feels like Chicago fashion has the support of the people that know how to get things done which is the hardest part. The next step is making the rest of the country realize that there are great designers in Chicago and they need to be noticed. The manufacturers and vendors, in my opinion, are also following suit and becoming more willing to work with fashion clients than they were when I moved back in ’06. These are all great things and Chicago fashion is definitely changing.

What is your signature style?
I guess my signature style would be a woman’s tailored blouse, shirt, or top!

Check out Kate's work and shop her site at

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