Interview: Kathryn Wilson left me at the Altar

 Clothing designer Kathryn Wilson contacted me about her clothing line Altar, made here in New Orleans. Each of her designs are named after the streets of New Orleans and are reconstructed primarily from vintage materials. She’s offering Slow Southern Style readers 15% off at her Etsy store with coupon code SLOWSOUTHERNSTYLE15. Learn more about Altar clothing by reading the interview below and see what inspires Ryn.

SALE Burnt Orange Textured Satin Top with Sash size small medium - Calliope

Describe the Altar clientele. What type of woman would be drawn to your designs?
A woman with a unique sense of style who wants to appear creative and put together at the same time. Someone who is not afraid to reveal their dark side, but in a subtle way. She reveres their clothing as a personal statement and is confident and sexy inside and out. I think the clothing hints at these elements while the woman emphasizes it in her own personal way.

How does the South, and New Orleans in particular, influence your work?
New orleans seduced me the first time I visited on a short trip many years ago. There is a magic about this city that I’ve never felt anywhere else. I was so excited when I got into grad school here a year and a half ago, because the thought of immersing myself in NOLA was thrilling. There is a thriving art and fashion scene which provides endless inspiration and if I have a lack of ideas I just need to step out my door and take it all in.
For fashion specifically, I am drawn to the lace and frills aesthetic of the south. The white linens and loose gauzy materials capture my imagination. I love to counter that innocence and airiness with a bit of black leather. It’s like the swamp to me, absolute breathtaking beauty to look at, but with a presence of great danger. 
Euphrosine Lace Blouse with Bow Tie and Vintage Buttons XS/S/M/L/XL made to order
Aside from fashion design what are some of your other interests and hobbies?
I am a photographer and video maker, currently midway through the MFA program at UNO. I pretty much spend all of my time working on or researching my clothing designs or my photo/video projects. The time spent researching is some of my favorite because it involves going to galleries, reading books, watching films and talking to other inspiring artists. I also count traveling as research because every time I do I am guaranteed to come home with a new vision and a sketchbook full of notes.
Joliet - Black gray satin lace ballet slip dress tutu XS/S/M/L/XL made to order
 What does the future hold for you?
I have a few possible paths. When I get my degree I plan to apply for photography/art teaching positions. I hope to stay in New Orleans, but I’m open to change. I am also excited about the possibility of attending artist residencies in the US or abroad. Something else that has been on my mind for a long time is moving back to Shanghai (I lived there for a short period in 2008). I’d love to get a studio there to continue the Altar business full time while also working on my other art endeavors. Shanghai is so inspiring and the fabric markets are orgasmic. I definitely need to do that at some point in the future.

Keep up with Ryn by reading her blog or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tapping our way down Frenchman Street

Halloween is exhausting y’all. I love it but I’m always secretly glad when it is over since it is a CRAZY time of year for me at work. Anyone who works in a shop that sells costumes, whether year ’round or seasonally can attest to my tiredness and enjoy a good night’s sleep come November 1st. I’m not getting that much of a break though, in the next two weekends alone I’ve got three wardrobe consultations lined up and I’m getting my butt out to the Freret Market this Saturday since I missed the October one. Oh and I’ve already got some fabulous Mardi Gras costumes this year. How’s that for planning ahead? But back to the present, err recent past our Halloween costumes this year were Broadway performers, for lack of a better description.

When in doubt, the more sparkle the better

I failed miserably at making a 2 foot tall treble clef fascinator so this plain gold topper had to suffice. Jumbo pipe cleaner doesn’t cut it kids, stick to foam if you want a sculpture on your noggin. Aside from my headpiece woes these were easy, no sew costumes. I’m putting so much effort into our Mardi Gras costumes that I slacked for Halloween but I still think we looked pretty darn good.
See that expression? I’m so excited to have my brother in law’s thumb in the shot.
And not to stray off subject too much but the Halloween shootings in the downtown area were sad and unacceptable. It’s bad for locals and tourists alike when such stupid decisions are made.

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