Notable Designer Profile: Kat Marks

Kat Marks is helping create fashion that will be a mainstay on the runways of the future, her style marrying bold creativity with a pride in craftsmanship. Kat’s pieces start with classic concepts, which she then makes her own with an artistic twist. Using the mediums of film, photography and exhibit, this bright young fashionista has made a name for herself internationally, receiving notable mention in ELLE, Glamour, Flare and W Magazine. 

At 28, this brilliant girl has launched her own online boutique, been awarded an International Design Award for her collection The Braces (2009), and was shortlisted for the International Talent Support Award 2011 and the Creative Enterprise Award 2012. Kat will be showcasing looks from her most recent collection at the Schmancy Style event happening in Calgary on January 30th.

When did you first know that fashion was your calling in life? 
When I was seven years old. My Grandmother taught me how to sew when I was very little and I always knew that I would be working in fashion. I’ve explored many different avenues in fashion, from tailoring to film, and what remains steadfast is the pursuit of creating interesting and avant-garde aesthetics. 

What was the inspiration to start working with leather, plastics and PVC?
It was all very serendipitous. I moved to London, UK in 2009 to attend London College of Fashion for a Master of Arts in Fashion Design and Technology. During the first days of studying I became aware of a course called MA Fashion Artefact, which is a course dedicated to fashion product and fashion ideas; I had not heard of this course before. I strongly felt this was the right avenue for me and I switched programs. Everything changed for me from the moment forward. I started to explore product design, leathercraft and material manipulation and I haven’t looked back since. I am a designer who works with all kinds of materials to create my vision. 

Which designer/artist has been the biggest influence on your work? 
My dear friend, designer/artist Patrick Ian Hartley in London, UK.

You spent time in London working with respected industry people and making a name for yourself. What was the inspiration for returning home to Calgary? 
Change is the only constant. After four years in London it was time to change course again and hit refresh so to speak. I’m enjoying being back in my home city of Calgary. There is a fresh perspective here and it’s influencing my creative work in a positive way.

Can you tell us a little bit about your fashion film, The Karass?
The Karass is my 2011 graduate MA collection for LCF. The collection is a series of acrylic chest plates and molded leather bibs. I wanted to produce a film about this collection and I wanted to do that with SHOWstudio – the “home of fashion film” in London. I approached SHOWstudio about a collaboration and after months of planning with Nick Knight and the SHOWstudio team, we developed the film featuring an original score by Canadian Goran Boskovic and industry model Edita.

What is the craziest accessory that you have ever created/attempted to create?  
The Granfalloon. During my first year of studying at LCF I made this intricate acrylic harness-leg brace. The design came viscerally and I just felt I had to make it. I’ve never made anything quite like it since. I produced my second fashion film, The Granfalloon, based on this piece from 2010.

Biggest career milestone to date? 
In 2013 I sold a piece while on exhibit at SHOWstudio in London to fashion icon Daphne Guinness. 

What fashion advice do you have for others? 
Stay true and honor your process. 

Can you tell us anything about the upcoming Schmancy show?
Schmancy is an annual fundraiser for the Calgary Glenbow Museum. This year’s theme for Schmancy Style is ‘Worn to be Wild’ –  all about leather. I’ll be showcasing a few looks from my 2014 collections as well as placing a piece up for auction. 

Click here to learn more about Kat Marks, her collections and her fashion films.

#LYNL | Live Your Notable Life


Cover image by: The Karass Fashion Film with SHOWstudio/Photography by Nick Knight at

Other Images: Phil Crozier

Want more updates on the most Notable things happening so you know before your colleagues do? Get our exclusive newsletter here and follow us on Twitter for all the latest.