What do you think the most beautiful dress you have ever designed?
Kat van Duinen: It is very difficult to be a judge of one’s own work. I feel we had a privilege to complete many interesting projects enjoyed by our clients.
My favorites are always the simplest pieces – which aren’t overpowering. I like understated shapes made out of phenomenally luxurious materials – with an incredible attention to detail.
Which supermodel do you have the closest relationship with?
Kat van Duinen: My husband Kelly John Gough. hahahaha
but jokes aside as much as I love working with our models – we rarely socialize – perhaps it’s because I like to eat with my friends.
My closest social circle consists of artists, architects, floral artists, doctors, and lawyers – models not so much.
Which competitor do you have most respect for?
Kat van Duinen: I don’t judge other designers in terms of competition. I love to see others on the same mission – especially when I feel they are doing a fantastic job.
The more we can manufacture locally, the stronger the industry – the more benefits to all of us.
I really enjoy pieces produced by Laduma Ngxokolo’s – for his label MAXHOSA – I also find Rich Mnisi extremely inspiring and the Duo – Christian and Malcolm Kluk…
There are so many incredible, talented people.
What role social media plays in the fashion industry today?
Kat van Duinen: I think it connects us all. Can also be overwhelming at times – but it gives designers a platform to showcase their work worldwide rather than just to a local audience.
What was your biggest fear starting out?
Kat van Duinen: My biggest fear was not lasting… not being able to put it all together, losing all the financial resources invested into the label… same as everyone’s I guess.
What challenges did you face as a fashion designer in Poland?
Kat van Duinen: Even though I was born and grew up in Poland, I left the country being quite young – so never got a chance to test the waters as a fashion designer in Poland.
What is your favorite thing about being a fashion designer from Poland, working in South Africa?
Kat van Duinen: I really wouldn’t know. South Africa is my home. My children, friends, my work, my team – my entire life is here. The fact I was born in Poland doesn’t make much of a difference.
I do recognize and appreciate my heritage – yet again South Africa, Cape Town is the most cosmopolitan place to work and to live – with 11 official languages spoken.
South Africa is my favorite thing
Who do you consider the most important face of the industry in Kenya?
Kat van Duinen: I am sad to admit, I know very little about Kenyan fashion industry. The most incredible fashion statement is made by the Masai tribe – also their traditional cloth is used by all other designers across the entire continent.
I am aware that EDUN manufactures – large majority of their pieces in Kenya – and that is definitely one of my favorite labels in the world at the moment.