Her earliest memories of fashion date back to late night hang outs in Wal-Mart parking lots with Matchbox 20, perusing the aisles for cheap poly chiffon fabrics at 3 a.m., along with her childhood friend turned Rolling Stone rock star. “That was just last summer,” says Kate Beeman, who often traveled on tour with her friend Kate Earl. “Before then, I didn’t know a thing about garment construction. This is the 21st century. I learned by draping and watching YouTube videos.” Kate Earl posted on Instagram wearing Kate’s dresses. Her designs have appeared in Portland RAW Artists, a Northwest event featuring local and Indie talents in the creative sector. Like many blossoming designers, Beeman used Etsy as a way to make a profit but admits sales have been rough.
When it comes to fashion, Beeman prefers to keep it real, expressing the best part about designing is making women look and feel beautiful. “All the other stuff, the fluff and the name recognition, and walking down the catwalk after presenting your collection isn’t my favorite.” ORIGIN is the name of her line, which started as a “retro and hippie” handbag line that she’d later transition into her clothing label, keeping the name. Her first line of clothes consisted of light, summery kimono tops and dresses inspired by her rocker friend, Kate. “It’s important for me to make clothes for almost every body type. I have a signature dress made from just one yard It was my best seller last summer,” Beeman said.
Beeman’s work leans toward ready-to-wear, although she admits to having a crazy and dark side, and gets inspired by the film Space Cowboys, along with vampire and sci-fi channels. This perhaps translated into Beeman’s Looking Glass summer 2013 collection. “I really went with what I loved most from my childhood, because I feel so foreign in this industry. I’m a girl who followed a rabbit down a hole and found myself in this fantastical world of queens and hatters,” Beeman said.
Her spring 2014 collection is filled with lightly printed fabrics, flowing crop tops and wrap dresses that mark an ode to the 70s in San Francisco. The Portland fashion industry may be further along than Vancouver but this doesn’t change the fact that they’re both emerging markets. Both support local, and both are home to the creative. “The Northwest, particularly in Portland, has always been rich in artists that are brilliant but are also starving.” Beeman admits to Vancouver having a greater marketing potential over Portland, only because their designers are able to choose their model line-up and represent their brand exactly how they see fit, as where Portland is not. But doesn’t this just mean that Portland is run more professionally and thought of less than as a family-style restaurant? Either way, Beeman remains loyal to Vancouver’s fashion scene