BAIIA Brisbane based seamstress / Kate Waskiw
In the heart of Fashion Revolution week that we believe should be every week, we wanted to shed light on who makes our clothes and the importance in always questioning brands manufacturing, fabrics and ethics.
In unprecedented times, COVID-19 resulted in late arrivals of our swimsuits that continued to be delayed. We couldn't stand having our customers wait any longer than they already had and so we knew we had to find an alternative solution to save any extra wait for our patient pre-order ladies.
We grasped the opportunity to support local production that led us to cross-paths with beautiful Kate, a Brisbane based seamstress who was happy to work with us on carefully recreating these pieces. Thanks to her, we were able to avoid further delays for our customers.
Kate's love, knowledge and specialities in dressmaking has now become invaluable to Baiia. We are in awe of her talent, and knew we had to share her magic with the rest of the world! Kate was kind enough to spare some time answering a few getting-to-know questions, giving us a glimpse of her everyday life as a Mother, talented seamstress with a love for fashion and thoughtful design.
What inspires you in the fashion industry that encourages the way you work?
I’m inspired by timeless design. I love looking at old fashion magazines and finding pieces that withstand the test of time, pieces that people are still wearing without change to the original cut. When I create something I keep in mind that I want mine to be timeless.
I love that in fashion there’s room for everyone. I make things I love to wear and not everyone loves the same things. To me it’s more important to use your own voice by making things you love then trying to appeal to the biggest audience. Do what you want but do it well!
How important is the type of material you work with and quality design?
I love feeling fabric! It’s part of the way I decide if something is good or not. Quality fabric can be spotted from a distance because of how it hangs and keeps its shape. I usually fall in love with fabric because of how it looks and how it feels. I find that quality fabric and design go hand in hand. Something that isn’t well designed is usually not made out of beautiful fabric whereas a quality design that has a lot of thought behind it isn’t found made out of low-quality fabric.
What is your favourite design you have created and does each of your pieces hold an emotional attachment to you?
I discovered yoga after years of struggling to find any exercise that I actually liked. I have never had any motivation to exercise so when I started yoga I remember thinking this isn’t exercise at all. During my first three years of practicing I lost 50 pounds and found a calm I had never experienced. I made my first yoga bag for myself and then another for a yoga teacher friend. Making beautiful yoga bags is my way of sharing my love of yoga and spreading a bit of joy into people’s live. I put a bit of myself and a lot of love into everything I create!
Are you selective with the brands and people you work with?
I enjoy being calm in my work and because I work for myself I’m allowed to be a bit selective. You definitely get back what you put out into the world so I prefer to work with like minded people, I am often drawn to quirky projects but quality speaks volumes to me given my background. I put a lot of love into anything that I work on so it’s wise for me to be mindful of that!
What is the best thing about working independently and on your own time schedules? The worst thing?
I find I get the most done when I have balance, I can take a morning off, work late into the night or before anyone else is awake. In saying that though the best part of working independently is that I’m available for my kids and I can stop what I’m doing at anytime and give them my attention! The only not great thing is that my sewing is everywhere and depending on the project sometimes my work takes over my entire house.
For our women, what advice would you give them being an aspiring dressmaker or advocate for change in the textile industry?
My advice to aspiring dressmakers is actually the same as it would be for any anyone... Aspire to find what brings you joy and run in that direction, have a voice, know your worth and stand by it, show compassion, be authentic, have integrity, trust your intuition, view setbacks for what they are: lessons learned and opportunities for growth, have gratitude for everything, make it positive even if it doesn’t feel that way, don’t be a follower lead, if it’s not broken don’t fix it, be kind to yourself as we are all our own harshest critic, don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow, take what you need and leave the rest as far as advice goes from anyone including me! The day you wake up excited about your work as time races by you’ll know you're winning because work won’t feel like work, your life will have balance, everything falls into place and you’re crushing it!
How are you dealing with the COVID craze and have you discovered any hidden hobbies or talents? Or how do you spend your free time?
The COVID craze has not reached my house. It is mostly business as usual. I have been making a point of taking time to do other things aside from sitting at my sewing machine. I’ve been reading actual books, attempting to improve my gardening skills and taking advantage of cooler days baking.
Who are your favourite artists or designers that influence your designs?
My favourite artists are van Gough, Salvatore Dali, M.C. Escher, Frank Lloyd Wright and Dr. Suess. My all time favourite clothing designer is Oleg Cassini because he designed for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and to me she is an icon of both fashion and strength. Many of his designs came from a timeless perspective and are still seen in American fashion today.
If you would like to work with or reach out to Kate, you can find her at either of her IG pages: