In the earliest days of my business, I met Professor Kate (full name Dr. Kate Annett-Hitchcock) for coffee to ask her about the best performing fabrics for the biking woman (Kate commutes on foot and by bike). Our lives kept intersecting from there. She co-led a group–Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs–that I joined to learn business skills and connect with other women business owners in the Triangle. Kate got a pair of Riding Denim and became a Reid Miller Apparel proselytizer. Kate offered to make my Summer Riding Blouse prototype and we discovered our mutual love for a problem solving sort of design where feminine lines, high quality tailoring, fabric and garment performance all form parameters.
The more I learned about Kate the more I felt inspired by the way she lives her life. An associate professor at NC State’s College of Textiles, she is constantly dreaming up and executing new ways to educate and inspire the students and contribute to a vibrant local design community. For example, she started a product development class partnering local designers with student groups to collaborate on their lines and is working, with Redress Raleigh, on the creation of a fashion incubator for students to connect with and assist local designers.
With so many responsibilities and exciting projects as a professor, I was surprised to learn that Kate is in a British American Folk band: The Barred Owls, where she sings, plays the mandolin and writes music with her band mate: Scott Boggs. She wakes up early and starts her day by practicing the mandolin for an hour to an hour and half. She tells me that she notices that the more time she makes for her music, the more the lyrics and inspiration come to her when she wakes or when she is walking down the street.
It was inspiring to hear this since I am in the midst of a battle to sketch each day. I was curious if Kate experienced resistance to playing music. And Kate responded with something very interesting: She does not put creativity on a pedestal. She sees creativity in her everyday work, problem solving as a professor, cooking in the evenings. Music is just another outlet.
She shared with me her initial anxiety about performing. Kate began playing the mandolin in her 40s. There are plenty of people who have played since they were children. She thought about all the people who would be more skilled than her. But she decided that she would not let that stop her from getting out there and performing. She reasoned that with so much really cool stuff going on out there, everyone should have a chance to be a part of it. So awesome.
And their music is beautiful. Today they released their music video on YouTube: Triple Play and Every Flower Has a Face directed by Nate Myers and the Malkuta Project. (You will notice that Kate sports her Reid Miller Riding Denim in the music video.) Their CD will be out this coming weekend. You can find information on their music and local concerts at their website.
Follow the Barred Owls on FB or Instagram.