The other month Kate and I sat down to explore the idea of comfort in fashion and how it all began. We bonded over coffee, our confusion for American fashion trends and the obsession over gluten in many a hipster cafe.

photography// Nicole Fang
words// Kate Anderson
fashion direction// Kate Anderson & Nicole Fang

Nicole Fang (NF): With the wave of South Australian fashion designers and their own labels bursting onto the scene and even going international, a bit can be said about the entrepreneurial spirit that Adelaide does tend to bestow many of them. You (Kate) being such an example. So far The Potential Corporate has covered various topics from the focus on e – Commerce to the theoretical paradoxes of specific fashion trends or the concerns of today in fashion. And I wanted to dial it down a notch for today’s discussion and talk about something a little closer to heart: Can fashion be comfortable? Especially with the post-millenium woman and still be able to afford creativity?

Comfort is no longer a want anymore, it’s a need. Something that So it Goes (SIG) the Label has dedicated itself to explore. To start, could you give us a brief background on how you started?

Kate Anderson (KA): I was with Australian Fashion Labels (AFL) for six years when they started out as a very young company. Worked out of their house in Stonyfell, and when I left they had an increased staff count of about 85 people in Adelaide as well as staff offices in LA and other parts of Australia. I was under Finders Keepers for about five of those years, starting as assistant designer and then working my way up to head designer. After I left, I took two weeks off to decide what I wanted to do. The brand (SIG) was always on my radar, and it was always something that I wanted to do, it was just finding the right time. I wouldn’t say that it was started by an accident, but I did start out thinking something completely different to what we had now and it slowly kind of morphed into what we are today.

We as women have achieved, are achieving and will achieve many great things in our lifetimes, and we can’t afford to let our clothes to restrict us in doing so.
It has been quite a good growth journey for myself and the brand as well, I never had a plan. My plan was to never have one. Which threw my business-oriented friends off and questioned me endlessly as to why (laughs). But it has changed and evolved into something more workable instead of trying to force it to be what it is and instead, creating something that was more workable that I could help develop. Which is exactly what the brand is all about. Development and change. For SIG I look at it with the customer I have in mind, which is a person that is extremely multi-faceted. We aren’t one-trick ponies anymore. Our clothes need to fit in with out lifestyle and not the other way around. Dressing for events or just a movie with your friends is what SIG has evolved to focus on. I like the fact that the pieces I create doesn’t have any set rules and embraces change.

NF: You mentioned previously that when you were still deciding on what to do with SIG, it was very different to what you did when you worked in AFL. How was that different?

KA: With Finders Keepers, we were creating and brainstorming around a specific type of girl. A certain age group. A certain style. After I left I think I still embodied certain elements of that particular girl. It was only after a period of time that passed with different experiences in the industry had I started evolving. Something which I realised that changes from a creative perspective was needed, because it was quite hard to design for someone I didn’t quite understand anymore. SIG is definitely a good reflection of who I am in my life right now and how I like to dress. I guess I look at myself as my own muse? Not as a floating my own boat kind of way, but if there is something in the range that I can’t see myself wearing or if I don’t quite like it, those pieces won’t make the cut. If I can’t even champion what I designed, how can I expect my own clients to do the same too?

NF: I have an addiction to turtlenecks and a heavy inclination to boyfriend jeans, anything to get me around. I would love to hear your opinions on the various factors – cultural, economic, societal – that could possibly impact how women today dress in regards to comfort with an insider’s perspective such as yourself. The dynamics revolving around such a school of thought. What is the everyday woman looking for in fashion nowadays in respect to comfort?

KA: I think this all stemmed from the athleisure trend a few years ago, along with the thought that fashion can in fact be comfortable. Not necessarily just wearing your gym gear for working out, but instead as day-to-day wear you know? That need for comfort to help you get your job done. I feel that clothing can get in the way of what you’re doing where the clothes end up wearing you instead of the other way around, as it should be. And it’s so evident when you go to a party or work event for example, you see a girl that you know right away she’s uncomfortable with what she is wearing. She’s fidgeting and not enjoying herself. That’s why I think it’s so important to be confident with who you are and how you represent yourself because that helps you project yourself as a person. I just don’t think there is any point in having or wearing something you can’t enjoy because you are not comfortable. Because that’s not looking at the big picture, we as women have achieved, are achieving and will achieve many great things in our lifetimes, and we can’t afford to let our clothes to restrict us in doing so. There is a line that should not be crossed however, you still want to feel really good about yourself. Through all of the clothes and makeup etc. you still need to still see the best version of yourself that you want to be.

NF: With our recurring topic here on the TPC on individualism, how can comfort play it’s role in that? With SIG itself?

KA: Fabric’s is an important element. I like reviewing and researching comfortable types of fabrics to base my creations around when I start conceptualizing the theme for each collection . Nothing that’s too stiff, or structured. I like layers, and my favorite way to style anything is to chuck a pair of skinny jeans underneath everything that I wear because it helps to dress everything down. It all comes down to fluids, fabrics and shapes, you know, stuff that you can mix and match with. SIG isn’t all about wearing the brand and a brand only. It’s meant to mix and be matched with other brands. It can behave as a buildup to an entire entity as such and be a bridging gap between other brands as well as anything that you already have in your wardrobe.

I like it plain on it’s own as well which is a comforting thought if you aren’t too keen on spending hours in the morning getting dressed because you already know that everything you got in your wardrobe can work with anything. It’s not just about the level of comfort you experience on a physical level anymore, and more of the idea that you won’t be stuck in front of your closet worrying about what to wear the next day.

NF: Precisely why I had to get the skirt pants combo from your last collection despite it being quite late into the season. But I still wear it whenever I have a chance. There is just something in the way in which it drapes and slouches that makes it so easy to alternate between formal and casual wear.

KA: Exactly, yeah!

NF: I want to hear from your perspective as someone who is extremely familiar with the industry as a whole with many independent labels coming out of Australia who have done groundbreaking work on redefining what contemporary fashion is; especially on social media nowadays and for young women on a global scale as well. How would you envision the future direction of such an industry, or segmented markets when it comes to individuality and comfort?

KA: Fashion’s really changing, especially in the last year or so with certain practices like runway designers not showing their collections so far in advance and I think there is almost a step away from higher end products as investment pieces. I wouldn’t say that fashion for that select group is spearheading towards fast fashion, but there are brands that are doing clothes at a similar level of quality as luxury but at a better price point for the customer. That shift has happened, and it has happened so fast with so many brands looking to differentiate themselves. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s going to happen in the future because they are all doing amazing things and going in many different directions. As I always say fashion is something that you can never keep up with, it’s a spinning wheel that you can never be at the front of. Maybe today you buy a brand new pair of shoes that are trending, but they’ll bring out a new pair two weeks later. You can never win. So who really knows what’s around the corner to be honest? That’s why it’s really important to ensure that every designer stays true to their own brand. There have been so many people who has told or suggested to me to do this or do that, “Make it more sexy, we want more boho“, but you have to be careful not to take that on board too much. It’s good to get feedback from the people who can see your brand from an outsider’s perspective, but not too much that it changes your brand image into something else entirely. This is something that I’ve learnt in my past experiences and something that I’ve been trying to stick to since day one of starting my own label.

wearing SIG the label’s Kingsey Shirt and Bermuda bustier dress in denim
featured collection will be available at
in March