Catherine Gee is a Chinese American artist and designer from two generations of career artists. She received her B.A. in Art History and Fine Arts from Sewanee: The University of the South and studied Fashion Design under the tutelage of Jodi De Marcos of De Marcos Fashion Academy. Strongly influenced by her parents' art and music backgrounds combined with travel, education and work experience abroad, art and design is deep in Catherine's DNA. Gee is committed to her aesthetic of clean, no-fuss design.
Q&A WITH DESIGNER CATHERINE GEE
1. How did you first become interested in design?
I grew up learning to draw and paint with my father who is a career fine painter. The early memories of learning line composition and color really made an indelible mark. In school and college, I studied art and art history and always had this dream of making beautiful silk dresses. I suppose this is the manifestation of my adolescence and work merging into the brand. It’s wild!
Seeing the first designs come to life in our first fitting was the most exciting moment. It's the moment where 2-D becomes 3-D, and it was such a gratifying moment. A close second was winning the WWDMAGIC / Galeries Lafayette Emerging Designer contest and going to Paris to meet with buyers from Galeries Lafayette!
A typical day in the office is waking up at 6:30 for my exercise class / bootcamp (Jenny Schatzle Program) then to the office at 9:00 / 9:30. I write a daily log of what I need to achieve the night before the next day's work so I immediately start working on these items. I answer e-mails for the first 30 minutes then outreach to buyers, send out shipments, design, plan the calendar around designing. We manufacture in LA so I am usually in LA at least once a week seeing our pattern-maker, manufacturer, fabric vendors etc. Maintaining deadlines and time goals is a major part of success in this business. I also travel a lot for trade shows. We exhibit in 10-12 shows a year. Every day is completely different and very busy - very stimulating and exciting.
I've lived in Santa Barbara for ten years now, and before I was designing, I was in the fine art realm. I really love Santa Barbara's climate, the outdoors, the beauty and close proximity to Los Angeles. The mediterranean climate definitely inspires the DNA of the brand so I would say Santa Barbara is a big reason the brand exists. It all happened here.