Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Ward.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
From an early start, I was always attracted to light, form, and especially, color. I started my love affair with photography and design in middle school, continued on through high school and college until I graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in studio art and advertising. I had an inclination to avoid risky career moves until my 41st birthday when my existing safe, comfy world cracked open.
Six hours after I officially turned 41, my mom lost her battle to cancer. My little brother and I sat quietly with her in hospice room, holding her hands and wiping tears, encouraging her to let go. At that stage in my life, I was a busy, married, part-time-working mom of 3. I was comfortable, life was busy, but I knew how it would end each day. No real risk involved.
As an artist, I’d sort of put all my creative desires on the back burner to care for my mom and my family. After mom’s death, though, I could no longer ignore what God was calling me to do. Losing your parent on your birthday is awful. I had no control over losing her on that day; however, I did have control over how I would handle it moving forward.
Looking for respite from my anxiety, I dove deeply into yoga, which led me into a deeper, more individual relationship with God. As I continued to pray, meditate, and ask God for direction, I was introduced to Jen Sincero’s book, You Are A Badass by a friend. That book set me on the course to launch my apparel company, Saints of June.
The company was the perfect marriage of creative design, marketing, and philanthropy. My mission was to serve women with love and fashion. I started designing clothing for the busy mom who really missed the “single gal” days spent shopping and curating their daily outfits. This gave me the opportunity to speak directly to a group of amazing women who hadn’t been spoken to properly in fashion for a long time. In addition, to honor my mom, I started giving back a portion of proceeds to two charities serving teen girls with our first sale.
Please tell us about your art.
Saints of June was born over a bottle of wine with my hubby. We were discussing how women are cramming so many responsibilities into our days, and we all defer to yoga gear with no time to get dressed. I started sketching and creating my first collection from this common pain point. I wanted to create a line of clothing that could help me to roll out of bed and into the carpool line in something more fashionable than my pajamas or uniform black yoga pants. When I started to talk to other women about their morning rush, the pain-point was the same. My bomber jackets are like eye candy, instantly lifting your mood and disguising the fact that you haven’t showered. They can be paired with a no brainer base like white jeans and a T or dressed up over a fitted dress. My spring maxi dress hugs in all the right places but allows my client to still eat bread at lunch and not feel insecure about it. My pieces allow you to look cool and collected while maybe getting an extra 20 minutes of sleep instead of constructing an outfit in the morning.
The message I most want women to receive when they approach my brand is that they are seen and understood. When I became a mother, and again, when I turned 40, I felt like I was no longer the target for most fashion lines. I felt like there weren’t many brands designed for the new generation of mothers – who are taking better care of themselves, who still love fashion and who still see themselves as pretty hip. I sensed there was an opportunity there to directly speak to this woman. Not as a secondary target, but directly to her. When women see Saints of June, I want them to know they don’t have to be Pinterest perfect to wear SOJ. We are all in this crazy life together and frankly, let’s support each other in its messiness and in its miracles. Women are amazing creatures – we work hard – at home or at an office, with kids or without, we are all sizes, shapes, and ages and are all beautiful and valued. Let’s have some fun with ourselves and celebrate its messiness. When I started to really celebrate our shared story in my branding story, I really started to have fun creating and communicating.
What do you think about the conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
As many have said, we are in the “Age of Upset,” and I think it provides an amazing opportunity for new and emerging artists. Access to potential customers via online resources makes it so much easier to bypass the traditional gatekeepers that used to make it possible for only the lucky few to enter the market with any success. It’s also easier to find new vendors, new resources, new sales channels outside of your smaller circles.
I would love to see more art fares and pop-ups like we typically see in larger cities like Chicago & New York. Austin has done a great job at this, and I’d love to see Dallas follow suit!
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I am in the throws of manufacturing my second collection. Right here in Dallas! I started production in New York and have brought everything back home to Dallas. I am so thrilled with the professionalism, talent, and relationships I am making in the garment industry here in Dallas. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
My next collection of bombers, kimonos, and maxi dresses are inspired by Cleopatra. She’s the perfect muse for this collection as she was a total badass working mom, and fashion icon of her time. I chose patterns based on what I thought she would wear if she was living in 2019. The fabrics are composed of rich golds, deep purples, and vibrant, sexy snakeskins. I am also thrilled to be doing a collaboration with fellow friend and artist, Ashley Woodson Bailey in this collection. Her work perfectly embodies the deep lush tones inspired by Cleopatra.
You can check out Saints of June via our website www.saintsofjune.com. I produce in small batches and oftentimes sell out quickly. I encourage customers to get on our email list as we give first dibs to this list with each collection.
- Website: www.saintsofjune.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @saintsofjune
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaintsofJune
Greg Blomberg Photography