Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mama Interview with Killa Kate

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Do you feel your company has successfully integrated East coast flavor into a west coast lifestyle brand?
I think so. Ali is originally from LA and I’m originally from NY – our backgrounds have influenced us so much that I think it’s impossible for anything we touch not to have some reference to our past. It’s kinda funny that Ali and I ended up in living in SF, San Francisco is like the perfect mix of LA and NY, on the mellow tip. Kinda like us.

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Being that you are originally from the East, how do you think fashion differs greatly between the coasts?

I don’t really think it does. I think this whole fashion thing, or in our case streetwear, is pretty much the same everywhere. Either you're in it, or your not. Plus, the internet has changed the whole game. Those dope sneakers you have on right now can be copped in NY, LA, and SF the same exact weekend. Shit, you'll even know about the release six month before. Plus, almost every clothing company has a web presence so you can pick up the hottest stuff around the world so long as you have internet access and a credit card. It’s too easy. I find that there are only a few ways one can differentiate oneself. At the end, it all comes down to style, and you either have it or you don't.

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What made you want to design clothes in the first place?
Damn, I’ve always loved clothes – I was getting’ customs from the time I was a little girl ‘cause my nonna was a sample maker for Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass and Bob Mackie. Pretty crazy. My grandmother was even making dresses for Cher – you know those beaded gowns with the beads in all the right places? Yeah, my grandmother made some of those. Anyway, she made me clothes all the time. Growing up around her I just got into it at an early age. She taught me how to sew and I started out designing and making handbags. Eight years later I’m doing what you see today.

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When you look back on this, what do you want to say you accomplished more then anything?
First and foremost, I want to be known for starting from nothing and taking Mama to a place where people can expect dope quality products on the regular. But it doesn’t end there. I want to make sure that people understand that I'm trying to create something for the ladies that gives them other options than looking like a chicken head. I want to create a movement where ladies realize that they don’t need to take their clothes off to get attention. I want women to realize that they can be recognized for talents beyond making their asses jiggle.

What makes your company different then a lot of other female run brands out right now?
First, I gotta say that I’m happy to see so many women’s lines out today. Everyone does it in their own way which is cool. Mama’s just me trying to be me through design and creativity. No drama, no gettin wasted, just Gabriella being Gabriella.

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Tell me about M.I.S.S?
Awww, yeah. M.I.S.S. has been something that I’ve had on the brain for over a year now. After doing a lot of thinking I finally got together with my homegirl the Liz "Busy Lady" Baca to get the M.I.S.S. show on the road. M.I.S.S. – Mama’s International Secret Society is a place for women in the industry to get together, promote, network, and communicate. It’s tremendous. We launched in early April and the response has been crazy. There are so many dope women in this world. We are going to take M.I.S.S. further. Eventually we’ll roll out an online women’s street culture magazine. We also want to develop an arena for mentoring the lil’ Misses out there on how to get to where they wanna go. I gotta thank all the women out there for contributing. Big Ups Ladies. Big Ups!!!

What music are you listening to right now?
DJ Elle's Mama Mix 3.

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How would you describe your own personal style?
Comfort. Comfort. Comfort. Comfort is the most important factor. I get down with the big accessories. I've always loved big ass eyeglasses, door knocker earrings, LV, etc. and I can’t do anything with my hair so I
keep it simple and big. I also have a little problem with the kicks – Ali calls it an addiction, I call it a love affair. I also have a soft spot for stilettos – they’re so pretty! I hate wearing them though but there are those
occasions when you gotta get gussied up.

Who are your favorite companies and designers, past and present.
Back in the day: LA Gear, Jordache, Reebok, Chanel, anything by Sanrio, Love’s Baby Soft

Today: Mama!! Nike, Maharishi, Carhartt, Bijules NYC, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, W)Taps, Guerlain, New Era

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What/Who inspires you and your clothing?
I basically design stuff that I want in my closet. I get inspired by everything around me – the city, music, my childhood and teenage years, lunch, whatever – you sometimes find inspiration in the least likely of places.

Any last words?
Thank you! And don’t forget to Live the Glamorous Life! http://www.mamaclothing.com/home.php

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If you dont know, now you know...Thank you Gabriella for your continuous inspiration.

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