100 Creatives 2014: Kate de Para, Textile and Clothing Designer
Kate de Para doesn't worry about making women look sexy when she designs her clothing line Evens; she worries about making them feel sexy. "I think of Asian cultures where clothing is designed with the textile in mind," she tells us. "In Western cultures clothing is designed with the body in mind. But really, there's nothing sexier than loose silk touching your skin. When I put one [of my designs] on, even though you can't see my figure, I feel like a million bucks and I think that's something you can see. Also, I feel confident about not having to show off my figure. That's sexy."
Photo by DO Photography
Evens is a small operation with just five outlets, including New York, San Francisco, Austin and Houston. Working with a seamstress/pattern maker, de Para creates all of the textiles and designs she uses. The name Evens comes from de Para's dedication to finding balance. "With my clothes I do lots of different techniques from hand dying and salting to digital dying and digital printing. If I was just doing one technique, like if I was hand dying everything then I would worry about how much water I'm consuming. If I was digitally printing everything, I'd worry about all the chemicals that I'm using. This way, I can make sure I have a broad balance in my work even when it comes to my clothing."
What She Does: "I'm a designer and maker. Overall I identify the most as a maker of material and that includes everything from paper to textiles. I most often call myself a textile designer these days because of my clothing line, that's my main focus right now.
"I'm also a storyteller. When you get into productions and making multiples, the story can get lost. That's why I think it's so important to have other people involved in the grunt work so that I can focus on the storytelling aspect of my work. The story I'm telling is about my alone time, it's a documentation of my quiet time."
Why She Likes It: "Creating is just like eating or sleeping to me; I need it. I have a lot of energy to expel and being creative is one of the few things that gives me a sense of purpose and solace. Being able to create something useful adds a wonderful layer to it; I feel connected to the people who wear my clothing."
What Inspires Her: "Most of the time I get my inspirations from spending some time being quiet, like taking walks. A lot of my prints that are coming for next fall are based on natural mica.
"And Texas in general really inspires me. The textures and colors of the landscape are really special to me. It may be because I grew up in Texas but I love what I see here. My jaw drops every time I drive out to west Texas."
If Not This, Then What: I started off studying art history but I realized that I didn't want to spend all my time trying to get published so I changed course. Now, besides design, I'm really into forensics and especially forensic anthropology. I love history and putting stories together. Of course, it might be just because I watch too many detective shows on television."
If Not Here, Then Where: "Honestly, I think Houston is the best place for me to be as far as my business. This community is unreal. People are excited and interested in what other people are doing, they support each other. People here, I've found anyway, are really nice. There's a healthy sense of competition and camaraderie. I found other cities to be more competitive without the peer support. I've lived in Austin and New York and I found artists there much more self-indulgent. Houston is amazing. Everyone's just so open.
Photo by DO Photography
"Now for me personally? I want to live in Big Sur. I think it's just the most epic landscape. I don't understand why everyone doesn't live there."
What's Next: "I've got a pop-up shop is coming up in May. And we're looking for ways to bring our design, craft and art friends looking friends together.
"Also, I really want to have a store. That's a new idea for me and I'm really terrified of it - I think of it as retail jail - but I'd love to have a store front."
Find out more about Kate de Para and Evens at shopevens.com.
More Creatives for 2014
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Shawn Swanner, video game painter
Andy Gonzales, painter
Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher
Theresa DiMenno, photographer
Jessica E. Jones, opera singer
Atseko Factor, actor
John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker
Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist
Rabēa Ballin, artist
David Wald, actor
Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist
Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston
Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist
Heather Gordy, artist
Mark Nasso, comic artist
Marian Szczepanski, novelist
Jonathan Blake, fashion designer
Doni Langlois, interior designer
Kat Denson, dancer
Blame the Comic, comedian
Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist
Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer
Rene Fernandez, painter
Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer