Teen Fashion Queen: Kate Miles, PFW Emerging Designer Winner
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Portland Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer competition supports young local designers by giving them a chance to show a capsule collection during Portland Fashion Week.
“We help them get media coverage and connect them to local and international buyers, [as well as] in front of the press, VIP, and thousands of guests,” says Joanna Powiertowska, Portland Fashion Week's marketing manager.
Miles beat out more than 30 competitors in the 2014 Fall competition and will be showing her capsule collection during Couture/Bridal Show night Oct. 1 at the Tents in Pioneer Square.
SLIDES: See Kate's Couture Slideshow BELOW
GoLocalPDX: What is it like to be 15 years old and win Portland Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Competition?
Kate Miles: Winning a contest such as “Emerging Designer” for Portland Fashion Week is an amazing honor. I cannot begin to express how excited I am to be able to get this boost so early in my career.
Why did you decide to enter the contest?
A friend of mine sent me a link to the site that contained all of the contest info. I didn’t expect to win, but I thought I might as well enter as an excuse to get my portfolio together. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but deep down there was a part of me that wanted to win more than anything else.
That part of me knew that if I won, it would be the start of my whole future in the fashion industry.
Where are you from and how does that influence the dresses you make?
I was brought up in Silver Lake, which lies about 80 miles off the end of the Earth. It was a two-hour drive into town, and we never had television or Internet. This conceived an inventive spark in me that led me to where I am today. I always had to come up with ways to make my own fun and how to get by with what I already had to work with, and that is one of my favorite blessings.
Growing up on our family farm gave me a passion for Mother Nature’s color palette, and has inspired my own greatly.
Who taught you how to sew and design clothes?
My grandmother is the 4-H sewing leader in our little community in Central Oregon, so she had me at her sewing machine in a booster seat as early as four. I remember that I had to get a stool, pile some books on it, put my booster in my seat, and then proceed to my project.
I was very active in 4-H sewing in elementary school, which gave me a lot of the basic clothing skills that I now use every day.
Can you describe the first dress you created?
I was 6 years old. The skirt was full, the sleeves capped, and my client was Lady Arora, my blonde, 18-inch doll. That was the first dress I designed and sewed, making a few simple changes to the pattern my grandma gave me. I was so proud of my design, and from then on I was completely hooked on fashion design.
Can you describe your creative process?
Color and texture has always been another language to me. I read them like poetry. Drape and movement speak to me, and the dress just takes shape. Ideas lie in everything from a brick wall to a flower in my garden. Sometimes I will sketch it out, but usually I just pick up my scissors and go for it.
How would you describe your fashions and style?
My designs are always a juxtaposition of vintage with a modern edge. I love taking the delicate fabrics and laces from old garments and pairing them with newer and bolder aspects to create something timeless, but exciting.
Is there anything else you would like to say to GoLocalPDX readers?
I love the life I have been blessed with. I love that I can get on a horse and go move cows one day, getting completely covered in dust and mud, and then turn around the next day and go play fashion designer in our state’s largest city.
I am so grateful for having the opportunity to grow up on a farm, and still get to experience the excitement and energy of the city.
To see Kate Mile’s capsule collection at Portland Fashion Week buy tickets here.
Homepage Photo Credit: Portland Fashion Week Lavenda Memory
Related Slideshow: Slideshow: Kate’s Couture
See Kate Miller's (winner of Portland Fashion Week's Emerging Designer Competition) beautiful prom dresses and childrens dresses below.