I love reading success stories from people who grew up in small towns and make it in the Big Apple. KahriAnne Kerr is no stranger to small towns. She grew up in a farm in Tripoli, Iowa which she describes as "a tiny town in the middle of no where" and taught herself how to sew and design clothes. After going to school for fashion design and moving to New York City in 2003, you can now find her designs online and in boutiques all around the world! Her fashion line Kahri has found celebrity fans such as Fergie, Aubrey O'Day, and Paris Hilton. With her motto, "be rebellious!", it's easy to see why women looking for unique designs go to Kahri. Her inspiration for her Spring 2009 "Baby Love" collection came from listening to music from the 1960s and she hits the right notes with clothes that the modern day pin-up girl will want to wear. Her clothes are sexy without being trashy and it's definitely not something you can find at the mall! Keep reading to learn about how she's using fashion to fight cancer and click the slideshow to see her Spring 2009 "Baby Love" collection!Stylehive: You're self-taught in sewing and design- what do you think about formal design training and its relationship with the fashion industry?
Kahri: Actually, I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology for two years for fashion design and also took fashion design courses at Iowa State University and BYU-Idaho prior. I think it's very important to receive technical fashion experience from an accredited fashion school. It is definitely important to go to fashion school if you want a job in the fashion industry. However, just attending a fashion school is not enough. I love to learn any way I can, from school, from work, from life and just living is a great way to learn. I say I taught myself how to sew and design, because I did, at first. My mom doesn't sew and so she couldn't teach me. So when I was in high school, I experimented and practiced sewing and designing. I would cut up my clothes and add stuff to them. I would take store patterns and mix them up and make them my own. I didn't come from a family or an area where fashion was of concern, so I had to do the research myself. I created my first collection when I was 19, when I was a freshman in college at BYU-Idaho. Looking back on that collection now, the construction was horrible! I am a much better sewer now, and pattern maker and draper. My line has grown and evolved over the years. I'm definitely glad I moved to NYC and expanded my skills at FIT and then working on my line since then. I'm still learning. Although, I went to school to learn technical skills and I think that's important, because no one can teach you how to be creative, only the skills to implement those ideas practically. And school can't teach you about the real world or the real fashion industry or how to run your own business, it is all something you have to learn for yourself. Stylehive: What are some of your favorite trends for spring and summer?
Kahri: Well, anything from my Spring 2009 Collection is good! I love sexy lil jumpsuits, high waisted pencil skirts and miniskirts, and cropped motorcycle jackets, exposed zippers and studs. Stylehive: Where do you get inspiration for your looks?
Kahri: Each collection I like to pick a specific inspiration or title for the collection, like for Spring 2009, it is Baby Love by the Supremes. When I was designing the collection I was listening to a lot of 60's music and made some screen print designs inspired by the songs. I even named each piece after a 60's song or group. I don't take the inspiration too literal for the actual design of the garments, just a hint of influence, but mainly I keep it contemporary with my own signature twist. Stylehive: How has growing up in Iowa influenced your line?
Kahri: Seriously, I have no idea how I ended up a fashion designer in NYC, after growing up on a farm outside a tiny town in the middle of no where. It's pretty weird when I think of it and when I go back home. I don't think my upbringing directly reflects on my line, but it has definitely grounded me as a person and I will always be glad that I grew up in such a simple place. I can't believe high schools are really like those on Gossip Girl or 90210, it really baffles me. I'm so glad I went to a nice small high school without all that drama. Stylehive: Who would be your dream client?
Kahri: Gwen Stefani. LOOOOOOVE her Stylehive: If you could sum up the feel of your designs into one sentence, how would it go?
Kahri: hip, funky, rocker chic Stylehive: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Kahri: Stephen Sprouse, Luella, Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui. Stylehive: What's next for Kahri Clothing?
Kahri: Well, on Tuesday April 21, 2009, I'll be fighting cancer one dress at a time at the "Fashion Fights Cancer" event in NYC, where you can buy my clothes and 10% goes to charity. The admittance fee also goes to charity. After that, just keep on trucking and see what comes up.