This incredibly inspiring interview with Lindsay Katt became a conversation not only about fashion and music, but about women in the industry, how important it is to spread the truth about attaining pure freedom as an artist, and the need to become the change for future generations. She opened my eyes to the deeper issues that were hiding behind the more trivial questions I was prepared to ask.
Lindsay is a warm, grounded, humble, and absolutely lovely person who is a light in the overwhelming darkness that can cloud our vision as artists. It was such a joy to talk with her!
Q “How do you choose what to wear for a live show?”
A “I think for fashion to work, you have to be able to hear your own voice. We do a lot of modeling when we are trying to figure out who we are; when I was younger I used clothes as a catalyst to fit my particular mood on any given day. Once I found what I was the most comfortable in, I began planning my outfits as little as possible. The same idea goes for things like my weight. As a female in an industry that is hyper critical and places an extreme amount of focus on those surface level aspects, I want to be able to focus on the work. I do think clothing is art and it’s fun! But I think when we lean on that as females to congest the actual work, clothing only becomes a distraction. This sort of hyper critical thinking in terms of female bodies is really destructive, especially to people who are creating art. It shouldn’t be about that.”
“The joy of fashion is that it’s either really fun and whimsical, or it feels so much like myself that I don’t even have to think about it and I can let go of it. Sometimes that means a fancy dress and feathers or jeans and a t shirt.”
“Clothing also helped me a lot with stage fright. I would think, I’m not feeling very powerful right now, what garment can I dawn? This helped me get into a comfortable head space and then I was wearing the clothes. I see it happen the other way around all the time when artists have stylists. The clothes end up wearing them”
Q “What pieces do you have that make you feel the absolute best?”
A “I think first of all, it’s really about knowing your body. So I’ll choose classic pieces that I know fit me really well. Then I go for assets like big chunky jewelry. It’s kind of like how I write songs; if there are simpler instrumentals, I’ll go for busier melodies and vocals. But then again, Picasso said ‘learn the rules so you can break them’ so sometimes you have to be migraine man and just put on all kinds of crazy things! But I do have one hair piece made and I could be wearing anything, but if I clip that on I still feel like me.”
Q “And you create everything yourself? How did this garment you’re wearing come to be?” (She is wearing a floor length, black dress with black feathered wings)
A “All the creatures and characters I think of are all developed on storyboards which I hand sketch then build myself. To watch the little zygote idea evolve to be physically real is something to behold!”
Q “How has your style evolved and how closely do you think that connects to the evolution of your music?”
A “I think I rocked a ‘frumpy, hippy chic’ look in high school! But I really ran the gauntlet with looks and I remember thinking ‘what job pays you to play all the time, be goofy, and experiment with creativity? Rock star! I want to be a rock star!’ But fashion, to me, is whatever I want it to be. The same goes for my music. Break away from those external voices; there is no you have to. At the end of the day, we just want real and own it.”
Q “For having such strong beliefs about how you use clothing, how do you, if at all, approach the idea of creating a brand for yourself?”
A “This is such an important question. I think if you establish the terms that I’m an artist and that means art and that means chaos and that means I’m going to do what ever I feel like doing, then no one will be shocked by your fashion choices. And THAT is pure freedom. I want that level of freedom for every artist allows you to have the most ripe and prepared climate for creativity. Then everything your doing is fun and has nothing to do with impressing anyone or selling anything. You can just breathe through your work and let it be alive without any barriers.”
“You can try things and you don’t have to marry anything! That’s the beautiful thing about the human experience and I feel like we miss so much because we keep ourselves from new things due to the fear of ‘what if I look silly?’ or ‘what if I don’t look beautiful?’ or ‘what if people think I’m this kind of person because I’m wearing this kind of outfit?’ and I do think it’s a female problem. Think about how often women don’t get taken seriously when we wear something that makes us look more feminine and sexual as opposed to wearing pants and a beanie. I know I get a very different reaction from people when I’m working dressed in a different way and I want that to stop. It’s not about which choice is better, it’s about the freedom of the choice and if we feel like there is going to be a consequence, then it’s not a fair choice. The consequences are that you aren’t allowed to work or be taken seriously which traps you in a system that doesn’t give you any freedom.”
“We need to have control and agency over fashion, it can’t just be something that happens to us. I don’t think about taste, I make choices that just feel really good to me. If we are hiding behind clothing, our authenticity becomes lost and it makes it harder for people to connect because nobody can see us. Attaining true authenticity will attract the people we want in our lives, the things that we want, and will make our art better. Part of the way we learn is authority and often times we’ll stumble into our first adulthood leaning towards the choices that our parents made because it worked for them, but now we can make the decisions. It’s important to quiet those external voices and find a calm place that allows you to hear your voice because that’s the voice you can trust. It’s in your gut-brain!”
The end of our conversation was the most meaningful to me. Not only did Lindsay share how she thinks we can shift our mindset in order to help future generations, but she pointed out how valuable this interview is in that very shift.
“Today with Instagram filters and photo shopping we’ve got this weird, non human thing that everybody thinks we’re aiming for, but it doesn’t actually exist. People feel like they have won at life when they achieve money and fame, but a lot of the artists I’ve talked to think that stuff is cool… but it’s not the thing. Until we start realizing that and start cutting the bullshit, it’s going to keep happening. We can stop it because we are in charge. We talk about ‘they’ a lot, when they say this or they say that. We are all people and if we want things to change, all we have to say is…’ya, no I’m not doing that.’ If enough of us do that, then ‘they’ withers because any time we separate things into us and them, we all loose.”
“We need to stop the younger generations from feeling like they have to follow the rules set by our conventional past. And we talk about ‘them’ a lot. You are part of the solution by doing this, you’re creating a railroad tunnel for this kind of dialogue. Because now there is going to be some young child in the world watching you and thinking, ‘I can do that.’ This gives someone else permission to do the thing. That is an invaluable contribution to the world.”
I will always keep this moment close to my heart. Because at this moment I looked at her and thought, ‘I can do this.’
Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/lindsay-katt