Happy New Year, JFashion Community Friends!
2022 is just beginning, and while we're hopeful that it will be an even better year than 2021, so much has already happened. Even with its challenges, 2021 brought some positive experiences to our lives, including new collections by several of our independent designers.
Today we will be learning more about The NEW Alchemy Collection by our long time friend and collective member, Lina Gato of A. Gato Designs. We had the chance to chat with Lina about these new pieces, which were debuted at the Tekko 2021 JFashion Show in December.
LC: Hello Lina! It's great to get to chat with you about your new series, The Alchemy Collection. It was so fun to see the pieces in person at Tekko. Let's talk a little bit more about this collection and how it came to be!
Tell us about your inspiration for this collection. Did you design this print yourself? What inspired the colors and motifs?
L: I was really inspired by the fabric itself and the theme for Tekko this year! Most of my designs are made from commercially available fabric, I tend to buy whole bolts and keep them until the moment is right. Most of the original print designs I work with are typically collabs like the Dogs n’ Desserts release.
LC: We saw a variety of cuts and colors for this collection at Tekko. What are all of the styles that it is available in?
L: I decided to make JSKs, Skirts, and a single vest (that might have ended up in my personal closet after the event)
LC: This was your first in person fashion show since the beginning of the pandemic, correct? What was that experience like? Did you feel nervous attending a large event in person?
L: I started going back to conventions back in June and slowly scaled up the size of the events so that I would be more comfortable at an event like this. It was my first fashion show since 2020 but honestly it was such an amazing experience. The Tekko Fashion staff were wonderful to work with.
LC: What was the most rewarding part about making this particular collection for you?
L: For this event I sourced my own models and I was really happy to have all plus size folks who were kind enough to work with me. There is still not enough representation in the Lolita Fashion community and anytime I’m able to work with POC, Plus Size, or Gender nonconforming models I will happily jump at the chance to be as inclusive in my brand as I am able.
LC: You have a lot of sewing and patterning experience. Were there any particular challenges that you faced while working on The Alchemy Collection that were new for you, or any challenges that you perhaps expected but still struggled with?
L: Not exactly a sewing challenge but when I first revealed the teasers for the Alchemy Collection a lot of people saw the planetary symbols and commented how much they were reminded of sailor moon. I was incredibly humored by that but it did make me determined to style them in a way that was more over the top witchy.
LC: Tell us more about the fashion show itself. There was an overall witchy/spooky vibe to this collection that we loved. How did you emphasize this on stage?
L: I wanted to really play up a techno witch theme with the music and accessories. I made a few witches brooms as props and also paired some of the garments with witches hats. For the stage directions, I worked with all of my models to tell something of a story on stage.
LC: What was your favorite part of the Tekko 2021 JFashion show? Were there any special moments you'd like to share?
L: After the event most of my models came up to me to buy their looks, and I can’t tell you what a heart warming experience that is, for them to like their outfits so much that they wanted to keep them.
LC: The Alchemy Collection will not be restocked once it is sold out, is that correct? Have you started a new project that you can tell us about? What should we expect from you next?
L: Due to supply limitations there will be no restock (as the fabric used has been discontinued) I’m currently planning my Katsucon Fashion show collection which is a suprise! I’m also planning a Spring collection that is called “Pardon my French” and features motif of the French countryside.
LC: What ways do you feel like you have grown or changed as a designer during the pandemic?
L: With so many of us isolating in our homes I have definitely had a huge increase in my online orders. One of my 2020 goals was to have more of an online presence, and while I could never have predicted this is how I would fill that goal. Doing in person events has unfortunately been a bit too much of a strain when combined with how popular my last few online releases were so I plan to cut most in person events for next year.
LC: 2022 is just starting, and it's hard to say what the event atmosphere will be like over the next few months. Do you have plans for any upcoming events?
L: Currently I am planned to be at Katsucon February 18th-20th, BlerDCon July 8th-10th, and DragonCon September 1th - 5th.
It’s really impossible to confirm things more then 2 weeks out at this time but we can hope for the best and plan for the worst.
LC: Do you have any big goals or dreams for 2022 for yourself and for your brand?
L: I am also hoping to do at least 1 lolita specific event in 2022 to share my work with the community. My ongoing goal is to create designs that celebrate every body and ANY body.
The Alchemy Collection won't last long! If you're interested in getting your hands on these very limited pieces, be sure to shop Lolita Collective now!
And, as an added bonus, you can see the fashion show for yourself! Check out Lina's video from the event to see the magical experience with your own eyes.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Lina! We can't wait to see what you make next!
Be sure to follow A. Gato Designs on Instagram here. @a.gatodesigns