In her clothing line tati & me, Katy Hadad designs and creates beautiful and joyful clothing for the spirited girl. The dresses of tati & me immediately catch your eye, and I couldn’t help but smile at first glance. Seeing the dresses hanging in Katy’s studio brought back the feeling of joy I had as a girl wearing a special dress for a special event. I could easily imaging a girl twirling to show off her new dress. These dresses are not just brilliantly colorful, but also masterfully sewn and amazingly designed. I am not surprised. Each dress reflects the spirit of the woman I met.
Joyful Energy and Design
From the moment Katy answered the door and invited me up to her studio, I felt her warmth and joy. She was bubbling over with it. Katy is obviously passionate about the clothing she designs and the space where she works. It’s as if her spirit, the dresses, and the space are inextricably intertwined, all moving together in one joyful force of energy to share and empower that passion and joy of life with the girls who wear her clothes. I felt it too.
Katy says tati & me started in her kitchen about seven years ago. One day she hauled out her old sewing machine and made her daughter a skirt. Her daughter loved it and twirled around as she wore it. Soon, people starting asking about the skirt, and Katy was sewing and designing in her garage.
Katy’s talent and passion for design go back many years. Not surprisingly, she attended the Portland Art Institute and was an adjunct instructor there for 10 years. Additionally, Katy tells me how her grandmother was a talented seamstress and would sew Katy dresses. The two of them would pick out a piece of fabric, and Katy’s grandmother would then sew up a dress with it. Katy’s eyes lit up even further as she told this story. I sensed that these moments with her grandmother were joyous times and made a large impact on who Katy is and what she does.
I gather that Katy was a spirited girl herself. While pregnant with her oldest daughter, Katy bought a book on how to a raise a spirited girl. It turns out, Katy says, she didn’t need to read the book because she has two very spirited daughters. When I asked what makes them spirited, Katy responded that they are joyful, courageous, confident and adventurous, with minds of their own. Although this spirit might require a little more energy to raise them, Katy adds, it’s worth it for the women they will become. I think they have a good role model.
Katy also beamed as she told me about her studio, which is attached to her home. “It was once a violin studio,” she happily reported. It’s a space designed for creativity. Katy spotted the house with the studio several years ago while walking her dog. When she saw it was for sale, she and her husband rushed out to buy it, but someone else snatched it up first. A few years later, the house was for sale again. It seems the first buyers wanted to subdivide the beautiful lot, and could not. This time, Katy and her family did get the house.
Katy remarks that the house and the studio are perfect. The studio is large, with a cozy sitting area and a huge, custom-built sewing table in the center. Dresses hang around the perimeter, neat stacks of fabric adorn the shelves, and the room is full of inspiration and a wonderful energy. I spotted a few garments hanging in the window and asked about them. They were French garments Katy had purchased for her children and were an inspiration to her. She believes that the French just know how to dress their children. Girls look like girls, and not little women. Yet, the clothing is very fashionable and fun, with its own sense of style.
I think Katy has definitely captured that spirit with tati & me. Each dress is unique and full of bright colors. The fabric and design grab you. The quality is outstanding. Girls will have fun wearing these dresses and feel proud. Perhaps the dresses will empower self confidence within them to be playful, courageous and joyful. That spirit is the magic in Katy’s work. It’s also the spirit I sensed when meeting Katy. She shares it easily, and I left our meeting feeling more inspired than I had in awhile.
Katy says in a traditional sense, the growth of her business might be limited because she just can’t keep a huge inventory, or have the same dress in multiple sizes. But, she’s following her spirit and staying true to her art. Like her, I think her approach creates more opportunity or advantage. It’s the uniqueness, the yumminess as Katy says, that make the dresses sparkle and so special. I think that is the reason her customers continue to buy from her collection again and again. There is just something magical about these dresses that you can’t find in a department store or from an on-line retailer.
If you’d like to see these dresses in person (and I think you should), they are for sale at a few places in town, including the Multnomah Athletic Club and Polliwog. You can also find her collections and learn more about Katy and her amazing story at www.tatiandme.com. Also make sure to follow her on Facbeook and Instagram @tatiandmeclothing.