Sophomore to be future designer

Annalisa Huge

Sophomore Kate Hinkens has kept a sketchbook of clothing designs since grade school, and for the past few years these scattered designs have finally come to life. This talented young designer is not intrigued by the superficial nature of the fashion industry, so she plans to let her passion for creating unique and imaginative clothing lead her in her her creative endeavors.

Hinkens received her first sewing machine as a gift about three years ago; it sat in the box for eight months because she didn’t know how to use it. “I finally just spent an afternoon determined to make my first stitch,” said Hinkens, “I honestly am still not very good at sewing, I sew for the sole purpose of making my ideas come to life.”

She has created everything from book bags to swimsuits to hair accessories and jewelry. “It really depends on what gaps I see in commercial merchandise at the time,” said Hinkens, “Last summer, my friends and I went salsa dancing and I couldn’t find the kind of dress I had in mind; I ended up buying fabric hours before going out and was still altering the dress as I walked out the door.”

“I have travelled a lot and believe that everywhere from our cabin in Wisconsin to Monacco can ignite a spark that might integrate into future designs,” said Hinkens. Before travel, passion is the most inspiring thing to her. “It is incredible to encounter people who have a certain drive and vivacity to do what they love to do with no ulterior motives.”

Currently, school and extra-curriculars take up most of her design time, so she is very limited on how much she can produce, so selling her projects is not important to her. “I’m working on making all the accessories I have promised my friends before I can even think about selling anything,” said Hinkens, “And I want to immerse myself in the nuts and bolts of fashion design and look into an internship for the summer, first.”

Never using patterns to create her pieces, Hinkens usually just starts with a concept, some fabric, and old materials to repurpose. “Zippers become flowers, and silk scarves become halter tops. Transformation of materials is the essence of design, and it is so much fun to play with even when the end product doesn’t turn out beautiful,” said Hinkens.
Her favorite piece is usually what ever she is working on at the time. “I am rarely satisfied with my completed work, so I always think of the way to improve it next time,” said Hinkens, “The creative process is much more important than the completed piece.”

Hinkens’ love for design may have stemmed from her dislike of shopping. “The fashion industry dictates our choices; everything from color, style, and length. Our fads are pre-determined and if you dont like the chosen look of the season, shopping becomes more frustrating,” said Hinkens.

Her ambition is to make pieces that have style, not just fashion. “I’m not sure I have succeeded in doing this just yet,” said Hinkens, “but it’s worth the effort to strive for it regardless.”