By Kristen M. Foley
It’s fitting that Katharine “Katie” Hire’s collection is entitled “Golden Passion.” The name not only reflects gold utilized throughout her designs, but also her dedication and devotion to something bigger.
“The golden thread is what ties the garments together and the passion is for me,” said Katie “That’s where my heart and my love is.”
That love started when she was pursuing another dream: becoming a professional ballerina. She took a position in a small ballet company in Colorado as a dancer, but soon fell in love with the process of creating costumes for the company’s productions.
“I just started draping things on forms while looking at other garments and mimicking them with different fabrics,” remembers Katie. “I would also cut very quickly into final fabric. It would turn out OK for a costume, but looking back it wasn’t up to par.”
Even with that seed of fashion planted inside her, it would be a few years before she would allow it to grow and flourish. After attending the University of Akron for a year then moving to Columbus with the notion of studying dental hygiene at Ohio State University, Katie decided to apply to CCAD on a whim.
Whim or not, it was an obvious choice for her, but not exactly for the obvious reasons. It would certainly help her further her understanding of pattern making, construction, and design; and CCAD’s location meant she would also be closer to family and friends. There was, however, another motive to Katie’s creative choice.
“I’m dyslexic and book things aren’t for me. If I had gone into dental hygiene I would have been so miserable. Hands on is really good for me.” she admits. “Of course, it’s been a hard road, but CCAD has really challenged me and showed me that I can accomplish a lot of really great things and that I’m good at something. I feel like I’m still learning, but that my perspective is valid as a designer.”
Katie’s “Golden Passion” collection reflects another one of her life experiences.
“I went to Africa a few years ago on a medical mission trip and just got really inspired by the people, the culture, and the fabric there,” said Katie. “I used all African fabrics [in the collection] with suede, leather, and gold detailing; but I also tried to transfer it to modern day with classic silhouettes and dresses—things that I tend to gravitate to more.”
That trip not only inspired her senior collection, but also a dream to use fashion for social good. Katie has a vision for a design company that employs women in Africa and purchases African-made textiles—providing women, like those she met on her trip, with a source of income.
“What can we do? We are women of fashion. How can we give back?,” she reflects. “It’s a big, big dream, of course, but it goes back to my inspiration—freedom for women. I want to design and create women’s clothing that is empowering and flattering at any age and size. I would like to also work to give women dignified jobs in another country and use fashion as a vehicle to accomplish this goal. I would also like to leave everything I am involved in a little better than how I found it.”
Katharine Hire is a native of Mansfield, OH, and a graduate of Mansfield Christian High School.
The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.