Designer Profile: Kate Brierley
The harsh truth is that effortless chic takes a lot of effort. Behind every Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow, there’s a team of stylists helping them create their nonchalantly gorgeous looks. But what about the rest of us?
That’s where Rhode Island–based designer Kate Brierley comes in. Through her company, Isoude, she’ll design custom pieces to give your closet a dose of glam—leather A-line dresses, minimalist swing coats—or craft an entire new wardrobe that suits your personal style.
“We sit down and talk to our clients to get an understanding of what they need. We’re like interior designers for your closet,” says Brierley, a Fashion Institute of Technology alum. “We’ll make a plan and draw sketches and then pass along an estimate. It’s a very cooperative process.”
To address the specific needs of her clients, Brierley has created three made-to-order programs for Isoude, in addition to releasing two collections of her own, which are completely manufactured in New England, every year. The most intensive option, at $100,000, is a complete wardrobe makeover conceived by Brierley and her team. Sometimes the package will include a few pieces from her existing collection with customizations in fabric and pattern. But if those items don’t feel right for a client, she’ll design a new look from scratch.
Brierley’s hands-on, individualized approach to style evolved over time. After working as an apprentice to designer Ralph Rucci, Brierley noticed a pattern in the industry: a fashion- magazine editor would identify the next trend that women would have to wear, and consumers would follow suit. She wanted to change that. “That kind of positioning isn’t the way women should be treated. We’re smart and interesting and dynamic,” she says. “We shouldn’t have to adjust—we should express ourselves in a more holistic way. Isoude is meant to represent the complexity of the female spirit.”
For now, Brierley splits her time between clients in New York City, Connecticut, and Boston, while running her atelier in Newport, Rhode Island. But Boston is always on her radar: “We’re in Boston every week for client meetings, and we’ll open an atelier in the city soon,” she says. “I don’t want to just be another New York designer; it’s important to get out of New York to get to know who we’re designing for.”