A lot of us are huge fans of the word ‘adventure’. For all I know a lot of people like to associate it with different meanings. Does adventure mean braveness and boldness? It can be amusing and slightly nostalgic; ‘adventure’, being the best label to attach to those experiences of something new, when we travel to jaw-dropping waterfalls or stunning vistas. It can be fun, sometimes painful though. Adventures are life lessons. Those who know this, value it more than gifts of gold. A true adventurer is one who goes in opposite direction, one who deliberately escape from a routine and travel roads that have never been tamed.
Katya Fernandez is a true adventurer. Born in Brazil, Katya moved to Europe where she immersed herself in the rudiment and core areas of fashion design by attending reputable schools in fashion at that time. She specialized in precious and exclusive embroidery, focusing on on embroidery techniques for Pret-a-Porter and Couture for various luxury brands.Her work has been prominent in the collections of Romeo Gigli, Krizia, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Svarowski. She created for La Scala, Milan and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice. Moreover, she exhibited her invaluable antique tradition of hand embroidery scarf at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan.
We can go on and on talking about Katya’s adventurous journey in the fashion industry. But one thing that swept us off our feet, when we sat with her, was her humility. You know when you are with a great person you are overwhelmed with this feeling of how small you are and how great you can be. Tag along as we engaged Katya in a conversation where she talked about her luxury bag brand, sustainability in fashion and the most expensive fashion piece in her wardrobe.
Spy News Magazine: A lot have been said about fashion not being responsible enough, especially in the luxury segment which involves the killing animals for exotic leather. What do you think the fashion brands and the industry can do in other to be more responsible?
KF: Nowadays, there are many governmental laws and association that controls exporters of exotic leather and there is also a documentation of each animal skin called “cities”. A kind of identification card that has to be providing for the commercialization and exportation. Leather that we import are mainly from Asia, where the biggest farms are placed. Those farms belong to 2 major companies that supply European and American markets. We know for sure and for us it is absolutely important that those suppliers are submitted to several strict rules and laws that protect animals and avoid any kind of cruelty.
Spy News Magazine: Your successful story is a great example for those of us who are immigrants. It is inspiring. It gives hope for some of us. Where does your story begin?
KF: Thank you for your kind words. I think that when you work hard it is possible to make your dream come true everywhere. It is true, often success and its timing can depend on your financial possibilities, your network and luck. But definitely hard work pays off.
I came to Europe from Brazil when I was very young as a classic ballet dancer. Then my interest in fashion started growing, from behind the scenes working with the costumes at the La Scala Theatre, I started restoring fabrics and important pieces for various Museums. From there I started to work with top fashion designers until few years back when I decided to create my own line of accessories.
Spy News Magazine: When I first met in Milan, one thing that caught my attention aside your passion, was how humble you are. You are a good listener. You have ability to make everyone around feel important even though you’re more experienced in your field. How do you remain humble in the face of achievements?
KF: Very kind of you, I really think that everyone deserves respect and attention and I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated, I think that I’ve done a good job and honestly I am happy about my work, but I also think that all of us who participate activity in the fashion business has collaborated to the success of fashion industry. About been humble, I see myself a person who does her job and leave and love her own family life. About being humble, I fell as a very normal person and could never compare myself to any of the famous fashion icons.
Spy News Magazine: Your design exclusive pieces of timeless elegance. This what luxury is about, isn’t it? What does luxury mean to you?
KF: Exactly. First of all, luxury represents extremely good quality and timeless elegance. This means you can use purchased piece, which was carefully handcrafted for you, forever. Good design is never out of fashion and quality always stands the test of time.
Spy News Magazine: Let’s talk about your brand. What is the greatest source of inspiration for your works?
KF: Everything inspires me! Anything I see around can be a font of inspiration, but one thing in particular, is art, any kind of art.
Spy News Magazine: How do you want women to feel when they carry your bag?
KF: Secure and sated. This is what every woman needs.
Spy News Magazine: Tell me about your new collection,
KF: We have permanent collection, and each season we add 2 or 3 styles, that become part of the permanent collection.This season we included more pieces in fantastic new material called “Amazon leather” -a special leather available only in Brazil. The forms are more basic, as we want to bring the attention to the materials and its value.
Spy News Magazine: Where can we buy your bags?
KF: You can contact us online on our website. Our brand is also presented in stores in Europe, Asia and America.
Spy News Magazine: What plans do you have for the future of the brand?
KF: We are planning to make some corners in few important fashion malls all over the world to get closer to our customers.
Spy News Magazine: Finally, what is the most expensive fashion item in your closet?
KF: I have few gowns from Valentino, Dolce Gabbana, Issey Myiake and some vintage from Courreges and Romeo Gigli. Lately I got a beautiful red jacket from Christian Lacroix. Perfectly goes with a nice evening dress or with a pair of jeans. I think the most expensive piece is a royal blue silk Versace gown, designed by Gianni Versace.
Photo: Steve Thornton