Style Spotlight: Katie Gariepy
blog by Avery Hartmans • July 02, 2013 @ 10:34am
Katie Gariepy loves cropped tops.
Pay a visit to thrift store Second Chic on Elmwood Ave., the home of her eponymous line, and that becomes immediately apparent. The Orchard Park native and graduate of Buffalo State’s fashion design program has created a line of brightly colored, youthful pieces that are unlike anything you’ll find in Buffalo.
But Gariepy’s line isn’t limited to tops that showcase your bellybutton. Second Chic carries an array of her skirts, tops, handbags and accessories right up front.
“I design for a trendy, 20-something-year-old who’s got fashion sense. That’s really who I’m going for, which is myself. So it works out,” Gariepy said in a recent interview.
Though Gariepy describes her own personal style as “wacky” — she’s currently sporting purple and blond ombre hair and doesn’t shy away from neon — her designs are bound to make any young Buffalo fashionista happy: young, hip, colorful clothes that are on-trend and at price points so reasonable, your closet and your bank account will be equally pleased.
And the best part? Gariepy’s designs are nearly one-of-a-kind.
“I don’t really duplicate much,” Gariepy said. “I make a couple of the same thing or if somebody’s looking for something just like that, I’ll make it again, but otherwise everything is one-of-a-kind. And either way, it’s all really unique because it’s all made by me. No one else makes anything like my line.”
Gariepy said she first became seriously interested in fashion in middle school when she began re-fashioning clothes she already owned. She began ripping apart her clothes and sewing them into something new, which she eventually began selling in high school.
With the advent of Etsy, Gariepy began creating what she calls a more “cohesive line” and selling them online, making them more accessible to the masses. Though she said her page is currently under construction since she became the featured designer at Second Chic, customers will soon be able purchase her clothes again at the click of a mouse.
Shopping online for Gariepy’s clothes seems somehow appropriate, since she said that the Internet is where she gets most of her inspiration.
“I’m an avid fashion blog reader. I’m always looking at blogs and trying to grab inspiration from anywhere,” she said, noting Jane Aldridge of “Sea of Shoes” and the blog “The Clothes Horse” as two of her favorites.
Gariepy also said that the two months she spend traveling around Europe also served to open her eyes to “all the cool things people wear all over the place.”
But what really sets Gariepy’s line apart is the fabrics and prints she uses to create her pieces. Though she will often travel to Toronto for special fabrics or scour Ebay — though she said that can be hit or miss — Gariepy credits her mother for most of her fabrics.
Gariepy’s mom is a fabric collector, and she stores her textile gold mine in the basement of the family home. When Gariepy needs something new, she pays a visit downstairs.
Said Gariepy: “I will go down there and take peeks, see what I can find that goes along with my current collection and inspirations. I have a lot of stuff from her that I use.”
Photos courtesy of Facebook