Superstar mod Garrett Neff (also one of the nicest guys in the biz) is jumping into new waters with his own swimwear line with the debut of KATAMA. The line officially launched yesterday with a showing at the roof at Jimmy at the James Hotel. Mr. Neff fills us in!
Details on the line, please.
It’s if Bjorn Borg and GI Jane mated, and sent their love child to a summer camp on a lake in New Hampshire. The line grew organically from my own upbringing in the Northeast United States, spending summers with eclectic family members on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. The vibe is elevated outdoor sportsman. An intersection of the utility in my Uncle John’s Navy Seal and outdoorsman lifestyle, with my father’s mid century racket-sports chic aesthetic. With a nod to the world traveled.
Some of my fondest memories from life were spent wearing swimwear as a kid, and well documented by my mother’s photographs. I know swimwear really well as I’ve been shooting a lot of body advertisements and catalogs over the past 10 years as a model. There are swimwear brands, and swim trunks by designers I really like, but there aren’t any that tell the story I identify with best. I also spend half the year in Miami where one sees lots of bad swimwear decisions. I’m trying to do my part.
Was this something you always wanted to do?
I love the creative side of fashion, and the story telling element, and the way as a designer, one can pull from experience to build something bigger than themselves. Thats what I’ve been most drawn to, capturing these moments, but in a practical medium. If I had worked over the past 10 years as a painter’s apprentice, maybe I’d be painting.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned in the process?
The resources in midtown Manhattan. I thought I had seen everything in New York, from meeting with photographers and casting agents and designers, but those are the front rooms, the show rooms. Step through that door in the back of the room and there are fully functioning factories with hundreds of sewing machines and people working all day. We’re making our swimwear here in New York because we’re able to assemble every garment here. I hoped it was possible and I’m seeing that it is.
How’s your swimming?
Sub Olympic but not bad. I could swim to shore if my sunfish overturned in the bay.
Where will you celebrate after your show?
Sometime in August! On a plane to Martha’s Vineyard.