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Katama's Garrett Neff On Australian Style And Launching His Own Label

Time:2017-05-16 13:34Underwear site information Click:

Swimwear Garrett Neff katama resort

Model-turned-designer Garrett Neff spoke to GQ about his most recent collection, and his approach to the design and manufacturing process.

Drawing inspiration from the outdoors, and an interest in helping people "reconnect with their deeper selves through an active outdoor experience", Garrett Neff's interest in visual storytelling began during his childhood in the Northeast.

After a successful career as a male model the 33-year-old knew he had the tools and experience to move into design, creating his swimwear label KATAMA, inspired by his grandfather, his uncle, and those youthful summers. 

We sat down with him ahead of his Resort 2018 show to pick his brain about all things design.

GQ: What sparked the jump from model to designer?

Garrett Neff: I’ve always been interested in the visual storytelling of fashion. As a model and wearer, it allows you to take on a certain character, and to help express yourself. I’ve been fortunate to have the ultimate fashion education, working with some of the best creative and business minds. But as time goes on, so do our needs to express ourselves in different ways. And though I love telling the stories of other brands, it came time to tell one of my own. I knew I had the tools and experience to do so.

Do you think your career has given you an appreciation for the design process?

I so value my college experience, but my career gave me the education necessary to build KATAMA. Designing, manufacturing, marketing, it’s all a series of endless options. It is quite daunting. But because I’ve developed such an appreciation for the process over the years, it has taught me how to approach the design and manufacturing process with that reverence.

Why swimwear?

KATAMA is a lifestyle brand, one that goes far beyond swimwear. But swimwear is such a versatile base, especially when cut with the precision and fabrics that we require. Looking at my favorite family photos, swimwear appeared as the common denominator. So we decided to start there. As the process has refined and the team has grown, so have the collections. Even in some of our earliest collections you will see vests, tank tops and hoodies. We provide all of that apparel and more now.

Katama's Garrett Neff On Australian Style And Launching His Own Label

Photo: Saskia Wilson. Styling: Trevor Stones.

Best piece of advice you received from someone in the industry?

I’ve gotten so much great advice over the years I fear I stop recalling some of it. But the best advice always comes back to appreciation. Showing appreciation for those around you in the most important thing. I’ve missed moments to stop, relax and thank those around me and have consequently seen things fall apart when this happens. I make a concerted effort to tell my family, friends and team how much they mean to me.

Best piece of advice you have for people wanting to start their own label?

Don’t overspend. Trust your instincts and employ only the necessary people. There are so many decisions you make early on which will set the precedent for your eventual coworkers. Not to run the risk of sounding trite, but avoid too many cooks in the kitchen.

What was the greatest moment of your career so far?

The greatest moment was in fact launching KATAMA. It has been my most challenging and rewarding experience in fashion. Of course there have been very important steps along the way—getting discovered in an airport, shooting with Karl Lagerfeld and Bruce

Weber, signing as the face of Calvin Klein Man, Jeans and Underwear—but those moments all seem to have led to this chapter.

Katama's Garrett Neff On Australian Style And Launching His Own Label

Photo: Saskia Wilson. Styling: Trevor Stones.

How does it feel to be included on the Observer’s American Menswear Powerlist for 2017?

What more can I say than it feels great to be appreciated. The most one can hope for in this business is to be recognized for what they do and the integrity with which they do it.

What do you think of the Australian fashion industry?

Australian fashion is only recently on my radar, but I thank social media and our global news for introducing me to this exciting industry. I’ve been so impressed with the bounty of young Australian designers, and the MBFWA is growing to be such an important retail show destination.

American style vs. Australian style—what’s the difference? And which do you prefer?

This is one of those questions that’s becoming increasingly hard to answer. Fashion now caters to even the most niche lifestyles, and trends are so much more global, that I do have trouble differentiating from country to country, continent to continent. I’ll be diplomatic: My preference lies wherever the weather is nicest.

Lastly, are you a speedos or board shorts man?

I really do wear all lengths of swimwear, but I find more opportunities to wear the boardshorts. That said, I’ve been known to layer KATAMA styles, preparing me for any tan or activity.


Katama's Garrett Neff On Australian Style And Launching His Own Label

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