Sassafras: Tell us about your background as a designer.
Katy Flynn: I began altering my own clothing when I was 13. By 18 I was sewing basic patterns, and my first collection was my final year of college. I've made custom wardrobes, high-end tailored women's shirts, camel hair jackets, and now I focus on simple versatile ready to wear.
Sassafras: Who or what has played the greatest influence throughout your career?
KF: I am inspired by all the amazing women in my life. Style is expressive, and I'm inspired by people and art daily. It's all drag. I look for classy, sexy and interesting pieces in my personal wardrobe.
I studied feminine symbology in college so I want to accentuate all states of femme, and I try to avoid trends. I try to make classic, timeless and comfortable pieces.
Sassafras: Can you describe the materials you work with and the design process you go through?
KF: I work with bamboo jersey, I love wool and silk, and I'm starting to work with recycled polyester. The fashion industry is a huge polluting aspect to our globe. I am trying to be as sustainable as possible.
Patterning takes so much time and attention to detail. I really have tried to simplify a lot of my patterns to make the garments more affordable and seemingly seamless.
Sassafras: What do people seem to love most about your customer-favorite reversible knit dress?
KF: It's so comfortable and easy. It's versatile, classy, sexy and interesting. It makes athletic bodies look curvy, flatters all bust sizes, and can be dressed up or down with just shoes and gems. This dress fits whether you gain or lose weight, it's perfect for traveling and it's really easy to care for.
Sassafras: Who is your target market? What type of women do you envision wearing your pieces?
KF: This dress really captures a huge audience. My returning clients are women ranging from 30's to 50's. I am making extended sizes this year which is really exciting. I just want women to feel comfortable so they can be confident and not worry about fussing with their outfit.
Sassafras: What do you love most about the Seattle fashion community?
KF: I've participated and worked in many aspects of the Seattle fashion community for years, and I have found the group of women at Sassafras to be the most encouraging and inspiring aspect of this community. I am so thankful to be a part of something so empowering and positive.
Sassafras: Could you tell us about the other aspects and areas of your work besides fashion design?
KF: I instruct all over the city, from teaching beginning sewing, pattern drafting, to tailored shirt making. I am also a jewelry buyer for Sassafras, and I tirelessly cheerlead for all the incredibly talented people I am surrounded by.
Sassafras: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
KF: Be ready to work harder then you ever have, for no money, all the time. Delegate jobs that take you too much time or energy, collaborate with all forms of tech and art, and be dynamic. Most importantly, it's ok to make mistakes, not sell anything for years, and to receive criticism, because all of those experiences are going to make you so much stronger. Make what works for people (you'll know with sales), listen to your client’s feedback, and keep adjusting. Take solace in the fact that things are always changing and surf that wave.
Sassafras: What do you envision for the next five years?
KF: I need to become even more sustainable. Our world needs us to think about all that we do.