Throughout the world of fashion, there’s a constant tug of war between following trends vs non conformist style. And total fashion babe/self confessed misfit Katie Muszanskyj has got the latter down to a T. The driving force behind the breakout brand Reap What You Sow, Katie’s vision has perfectly captured your teenage soul through her line of unisex clothing. Including collections inspired from its Camden birthplace, to her own Northern roots, RWYS is on the rise and rightly so. I sat down with Katie to find out all about her brand and style secrets.
Charlotte: Hi Katie! Can you tell me how RWYS was created?
Katie: RWYS was created during my final year of fashion school in London. I’ve had the desire to start my own business for years, and it was a perfect tie in with my end of year project. After receiving a grant through my University, I launched the brand last year and it’s been growing ever since.
C: How would you describe RWYS as a brand?
K: It’s a celebration of individuality, like feeling different and not fitting in on the outside. I’ve felt that way on the inside for as long as I can remember, so for me, RYWS is about accepting the misfits in society. It’s my dream and vision and not everyone’s going to agree with it.
C: How did you find that niche in the market?
K: When I was younger I’d shop at Drop Dead and Babycakes, two brands which were built up from nowhere by individualists. This brand is essentially something that I’ve always wanted for myself – something inclusive and that would be comfortable for everyone. I think getting to 24 and finally being able to be the confident person that I wish I was at 14 – I’ve been able create that for myself ten years later.
C: What’s the message behind the brand?
K: I want people to feel confident when they wear my clothes. Comfortable in themselves. The entire range is unisex, and I want the brand to be inclusive for everyone. There were always people who thought it was going to be weird, but I’m here for a 21st century audience.
C: How would you describe your style in three words?
K: Dark. Simple. Classic.
C: Who are your style influences?
K: I love Alex Turner and Miles Kane. Kate Moss is another icon, because as cliché as it sounds, she just doesn’t give a shit. She looks great in everything. Bowie and Patsy Stone are also huge inspirations. Being from Manchester, I also get a lot of my influence from the city too. I attend exhibitions and fashion events in my spare time, and love finding the different brands within the city. We have a little hub of indie influences here.
C: Do you need to study fashion before you get involved in the industry?
K: I don’t believe academia has anything to do with creative talent. It’s a natural concept – if you’ve got it, you’ve got it. Sure, you can attend school and learn about it. But you can’t be successful without that talent, passion and drive. I didn’t even get into fashion school the first-time round. For anyone whose tried applying to schools but hasn’t got in – don’t see that as the end. You can create whatever you want to.
C: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
K: Never give up. When things feel like they’re going wrong, they’ll probably go wrong some more. But don’t accept no as an answer, you’ve got to compromise and keep going. You’ve got to wrap your head around the fact that things might not go smoothly, so be available for the scenic route of things. Keep open minded, otherwise it won’t happen.
C: How important is it that your brand is financially accessible to your audience?
K: It’s a very important concept. When I looked at my competition, I noticed that most of us pay for the brand name rather than the quality of clothing. I don’t want money to stand in the way of my brand and a customer – it’s a personal concept. My main focus is doing what I love rather than making a profit.
C: Do you have any style advice for all the broke babes out there?
K: Get on Depop. Recycle your clothes. Make things yourself. My first ever RWYS item was created through a Primark t-shirt and a pen. Fashion is about being creative, so don’t be afraid to experiment.