“Asylum Fashion House”
Katrina was kind enough to sit down with me for this “Designer Dish” interview. Read on to learn more about “Asylum Fashion House” and how you can start rocking these looks as soon as the weather turns warm!
Tell us about you and your background in Fashion:
I have been sketching and illustrating since before I can even remember. In 5th grade we started a “Fashion Club” where we would submit fashion sketches every week to a folder and then show each other at the end of the week what we came up with. My teacher caught a glimpse of one of my sketches and said “I would actually wear that one!” From then on, I continued sketching fashion illustrations and went on to AP art in high school, which in turn helped me obtain a First Place $1,000 Scholarship to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where I obtained my AS in Fashion Design and fell in love with designing swimwear.
Many of my peers loved my swimwear in college. The line I created for my swimwear class, I actually came out with the zebra/turquoise combo before Target and other major retailers started carrying that look. My mom has always sworn that there is a “Big Brother” watching me from somewhere! Which always kind of made me laugh, but you REALLY never know who is watching. I was asked to do a show with my swimwear, called Hot Import Nights, the month after my graduation in my hometown of Orlando. Just so happened I was moving back to Orlando that same month, so of course I accepted! The crowd’s reaction to my swimwear was AMAZING! They loved it, and I knew from then on that was what I was meant to do with my life.
How and why did you start “Asylum Fashion House”:
Since graduating in 2006, I have been designing freelance for several clients, including a former Orlando Magic Dancer, from wedding dresses to custom swimwear. A couple of years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to manufacture my collection. This is my second manufactured collection, and am in hopes of it taking off fairly soon. I am ready to work for ME, and I want show my daughter (and 2nd daughter to be) that you can achieve your dreams if you work hard enough. I have been through so much with family, finances, business deals, traveling, and much more. It has been a long road and I have learned so much… with only so much more to learn!!
What made you choose the name for your brand?:
I started out as The Kat Collection, but I didn’t like the image I was beginning to make for myself. I was doing lots of shows at clubs and making not much money. People only wanted to see hot chicks in bikinis while getting drunk. So, I decided to revamp and change the name to Asylum Fashion House. Asylum, because my designs aren’t ordinary, they’re a little on the crazy side. Fashion House, because I want to become more than just swimwear and eventually branch out into other designs. I also do stylist work, which fits into a “fashion house.”
In 3 words, describe your design aesthetic:
My designs must always be 1. Flattering, 2. Colorful, 3. Intriguing
What sort of people, music, art, films etc. inspire your designs?:
My number one would be Katy Perry. I have been designing retro swimwear for about 3-4 years, which are have recently become the trend, and have used fun, colorful, unexpected fabrics for as long as I can remember.
What is important to you when it comes to the functionality of swimwear?:
SO MUCH! I used to surf and have always been a curvy girl, so functionality is huge to me. I believe in proper support for “the girls,” adjustability, and comfort. So, underwire for some tops, adjustable and/or removable straps, and several different styles of bottoms that can be mix and matched with tops.
What is your favorite piece from your collection & why?:
This is such a hard question! I love them all, otherwise I wouldn’t have designed them. But seriously, if I REALLLLY have to pick one, I would say the bottoms with the double peplum skirt and the rouched top. They are flattering, well made, and just really cute!!
Designs from your 2014 “Electrostatic Collection” were recently featured in “Business Cycles Ink” magazine in a classic “Pinup style” photoshoot. Is the retro look something your fans can expect with each collection?:
Absolutely! As previously mentioned, I have been designing this sort of look for about 4 years. BEFORE it started becoming a trend again.
Your brand had a successful showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Can you describe your experience at the event and what it meant for your brand?:
It was actually a side event during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I am definitely AIMING to have a runway show in the actual MBFW tent one day soon though! My experience though… it was so much fun, there were fabulous people all over South Beach, and my JailBirds (aka Asylum models) stole the show! I love my girls, they are so supportive and so much fun!
What can we look forward to with your new collection?:
For my NEXT collection… I’ve been pondering on that one! But definitely more custom made fabrics, fun details, lots of color, and of course vintage inspired!
Where can we follow your career and where can we purchase items from “Asylum Fashion House”?:
AsylumFashionHouse.com—There is an online shop, blogs, and links to all of my social media.
In the month of February, stay posted… I have a few meetings which could take this business to a larger scale and the swimwear may be available publicly, rather than just online. So, hoping for big things to happen! 🙂
***Editors Note: Thank you to Katrina for this interview! Photo Credit for Asylum Fashion House goes to: Mike Spectacle ***