Nataliya Meyer is a stylish success, right here in KC
By JACKIE HOERMANNThe Kansas City StarWe know the fashion capitals: New York, Paris, Milan, London and Los Angeles. So what’s an aspiring Kansas City fashion designer to do? Pack up and leave?Or just take a cue from Nataliya Meyer, a Ukrainian-born designer who’s finding success right here in KC. Meyer’s designs will return Saturday to the West 18th Street Fashion Show for a third year, and she promises to give spectators “the show of their lives.”Q. Have you always wanted to design clothes?A. Since I was a little kid I always drew clothes or I was asking my mom if I could sew this or that.Are you self-taught, or did you attend school?I went to college in the Ukraine and got an associate’s in tailoring and an associate’s in pattern-making. Then I got my bachelor’s in fashion design and graphic design, which is called calligraphy in the Ukraine because it’s not done on the computer.How did you break into KC’s fashion scene?I used to say “I just sew.” I wouldn’t call myself a designer until I went to the West 18th Street Fashion Show and met Peregrine (Honig). She was impressed with me, and she was the one who told me I was a fashion designer.How often do you work on your designs?All the time. I barely sleep.Any extra jobs to make ends meet?I do have another job (at Perfume Max in Zona Rosa) — where I make nothing — but it gives me a reason to get out of the house for a few hours each week.Why KC and not New York?My life is here. Kansas City is also an amazing city to start in because designers, models, photographers and stylists will trade work for work.Any aspirations beyond here?Maybe someday I’ll move to Chicago or New York, where the competition will be tougher. The tougher the competition, the better I am.Has the competition ever gotten too tough?No. When people criticize me, I consider it valid. I am driven by other people’s opinions.What about fashion skeptics?When people say fashion is stupid, which they wouldn’t dare say to me because I look so intimidating, I say, “This is a form of art. It’s about beauty.”Intimidating?I’m 5-foot-5, but when I wear heels I float above everyone else’s heads. I wear high heels all day.Every day?Pretty much.Any words of wisdom for aspiring designers?Make one piece every day. You can’t stop. Oh, and copying is the best kind of compliment.Tell us about your “Summer in Spain” collection for this year’s West 18th Street Fashion Show.I use a lot of blood-red color and a lot of vertical lines to make it look like passion is coming right out of the dress. They’re structured for power and passion, with some ruffle.How’s this different from past collections?I haven’t used red in the longest time, and there’ll be pleats, peach colors, more lace than usual and less bling. My friend, Faith Evangeline, who owns Evil Pawn Jewelry, is designing jewelry made out of horns with stones crystallized all over. She’s a genius and takes a lot of inspiration from her Native American heritage.What’s next for you?On June 23 I’ll be dressing everyone for a huge party Faith (Evangeline) is throwing in Los Angeles. I’ve heard Dita Von Teese (burlesque artist) and Kat Von D (tattoo artist) may be there. Before that I’ll be at “Models on a Mission: Benefit Fashion Show” for Joplin (www.joplin-modelsonamission.blogspot.com) on June 16 at the Vox Theatre, 1405 Southwest Blvd. in Kansas City, Kan. All proceeds go to Joplin relief efforts.And where can we buy your threads?Oblivion Clothing at www.etsy.com.
WEST 18TH STREET FASHION SHOWWhat: “Summer in Spain” to feature 18 collectionsWhen: 8 p.m. SaturdayWhere: West 18th Street between Baltimore and WyandotteAdmission: Free; limited VIP seating is available for purchase.Details: www.westeighteenthstreet.comTo reach Jackie Hoermann, call 816-234-4767 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.Posted on Sun, Jun. 05, 2011 10:15 PM