A Houston textile designer shows that the art of dyeing isn't dying.
Photograph by Jeff Wilson

In the sprawling backyard of the Houston Foundry, an industrial site turned artists’ studio just north of downtown, 29-year-old Kate dePara looks a bit like a mad scientist. Crouched over twenty yards of fabric spread across the ground, her hands sheathed in sturdy rubber gloves, she applies dye with an assortment of tools—spray bottles, sponges, a bamboo paintbrush, a fork. Nearby, another length of fabric sits in a bucket of steaming-hot water, while others dry on a giant wooden rack. Eventually, these fabrics will be transformed into the garments and accessories that make up Evens, the minimalist clothing line dePara launched in 2012. 

In addition to hand-dyeing her material, the Nassau Bay native also designs her own prints, and she chose the name Evens to reflect a balance between natural and digital processes. Regarding her decision to leave her fashion-industry job in New York and study fibers at the Savannah College of Art and Design prior to starting her own company, dePara says, “My job was more on the sales side, and I found myself being drawn to what the designers were up to. But it was also just growing up. Over time, you realize you can do anything you want—you are the only person in charge of your future.”

Q&A with Kate DePara

How did you decide to pursue textile design? 

During my last semester as an undergraduate at Baylor, a professor saw me drawing a lot of repetitive motions and suggested I look into textile design, so it all started there. It is such a quiet field and is often overlooked as a profession.  

Why do you think that is? 

Designers throughout history have treated the creation of the textile and the construction of the garment as though they are interchangeable. They aren’t often broken down into two different things, but I think they are very different.  

Obviously you love textile design. Do you also enjoy garment design and construction? 

I don’t spend

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