"Introducing an emerging designer creating captivating leather fashions."
NEW TYPE #7: EKAT - Katya INTERVIEW
"Introducing a new generation of designers"
Ekaterina Malysheva, also known as Katya, is the founder of EKat, a line of body suits, leotards, leggings, and swimwear. EKat was founded in 2013 after Katya had a life-changing trip to the Burning Man Festival. The festival and her muse - an independent woman who is freethinking, confident, ambitious, and not a trend follower – lead to the creation of the Katsuit. Her unique designs and attractive patterns have been featured in some of the top fashion magazines and have been worn by celebrities like Rita Ora, Poppy Delevingne, Sienna Miller, and much more. TWELV had the chance to ask Katya a few questions. Check out the interview here!
------------------- Katya's INTERVIEW -------------------
1. What did you study at the International School in Prague or LCF that led you to start creating documentaries? Were you a film production major?
Katya: I’ve always had a passion for film in general. My mom was a theatre actress back in the Soviet Union & film a medium that was very prevalent in my life growing up.
My best friend Dina ended up in the midst of the Egyptian Revolution in Tahrir Square which brought together a group of people who started filming The Square – I was looking for a job and they got me involved as production coordinator.
2. Do you have a documentarian that you look up to or that strongly influenced your own work?
Dina ended up working with Jehane Noujaim whom she met in Tahrir Square – I’ve studied Jehane’s documentaries & learned about them in school. She’s now a very close friend & is married to Dina’s brother. I look up to her as a documentary maker & a human being.
3. Burning Man. How in the world did you end up there? Was it the idea of a crazy friend? Or was it your idea?
We’ve wanted to go for a long time – the combination of music & art in the desert appealed to me for a long time but it was always a bit of a hassle to plan. A string of coincidences led me to go that year.
4. Do you have any fun stories from the Black Rock Desert that you’d be willing to share?
Definitely not sharing :)
5. Would you be able to pinpoint any specific things/pieces of art/experiences from the festival that directly inspired your creation of the KATsuits?
I had a very difficult time finding a cool catsuit to wear at Burning Man that doesn’t have either marijuana leaves or skulls on it. Once I found an amazing one and wore it to BM, I realized how many girls have the same problem and that a big niche is missing in the market. I came back and launched EKAT.
6. So, you design your own prints for the suits. Tell me a little bit about how you do that; for example, do you sketch them first?
I start with a theme, for example this season’s theme was Geometry. I then looked into architecture and design in places that I’ve either visited or dream to visit and voila…!
7. Do you have a favorite print of yours, or one that’s particularly meaningful? Why is that your favorite?
I love the Flamingo print from collection I which was the first print I’ve ever worked on. It was a best seller and Marc Jacobs did something similar a year later. I’m thinking of bringing it back. It’s my favourite because it launched the brand & got such positive feedback which gave me the confidence to continue.
8. The KATsuit is incredibly unique. Were people slow to adopt the concept? Or did it take off relatively quickly?
It took off very quickly in London. Our very first gifts were worn by multiple celebrities & picked up by so much press during Glastonbury. I think America will be a little bit more difficult.
9. Have you had any men express interest in a KATsuit?
Many, many men. My very first costumer was a guy in NYC who bought 5 suits.
10. You seem like someone who tries things no matter how difficult they may seem or how large of a task it is. Do you have any advice for women looking to find the courage to do the same?
Whatever you do, be different. If you’re different you will stand out. The legend Mary Angelou said: life is a bitch, go out there and kick it in the ass.
INTERVIEWED & WRITTEN BY: JASON GREENSPAN
INTRODUCTION: SUSAN SCHELL
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CHIAKI KATO