Thursday 6th of August 2020

Nairobi, Kenya

Meet Kat Van Duinen Fashion Designer and Creative Director From South Africa

Posted On : September 28, 2018

Ann Mumbi


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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.

Ann Mumbi

An expert in style and image, Fashion Addict focuses on brands worn by showbiz stars who have large numbers of fans worldwide Member Of #NairobiFashionHub Team