Senior Natalie Koch chats about her European style influences and future in fashion. Photos by Xan Korman.
EMMA QUASNY | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
Natalie Koch, a senior human communication and organizational leadership and international studies double major, combines feminine and masculine pieces to create a visually striking, elegant and eclectic style.
The Butler Collegian: How would you describe your style?
Natalie Koch: My style, I would say, changes day to day. It’s never really the same but I would say at the core it is really conservative chic. I really love trying to balance masculine and feminine pieces and mixing up different styles that maybe wouldn’t necessarily be thought of together. I feel like that gives it the effortlessly chic vibe that I try to go for, and I love just mixing up different pieces and making it look unexpected.
TBC: What would you say influences your style?
NK: I spent a full year abroad my junior year in Europe and I think that really influenced my style. I think that gave me a lot more confidence to try different outfits and looks that I wouldn’t have really had the confidence to try had I just stayed at Butler and not gone abroad. Europeans just have a very distinct sense of style and they always look so put together than the general “American” style, so coming back from traveling abroad has definitely given me more confidence to try different things and experiment more.
TBC: Was there any specific style that you were drawn to in Europe?
NK: I remember seeing a lot of layering and I have definitely brought that back here. I have tried to incorporate that into outfits and layering different pieces that you wouldn’t have necessarily thought to put together.
TBC: Have you always been into fashion?
NK: I have always really been into fashion, but I never have really thought about it as a possible career until maybe the last year or so. I’ve always been the friend in my group that they would come to for advice and I never really thought much of it. It was just like, not to sound pretentious or anything, but a second nature; I just liked what I liked and would put it together. So yeah, it’s always been something that has been there for me but only very recently has it been something that I have gotten more serious about and am thinking about it as a possible career.
TBC: So speaking of a possible career, what do you want to pursue after college?
NK: So I am currently planning on doing something in fashion. I am currently interning at Pattern Magazine downtown and that has been a really great exposure to the industry. I am really passionate about sustainability in fashion, whether that’s through thrifting or making pieces that are from more sustainable materials. I am really interested in that so I’m not exactly sure what that’s going to look like straight out of college, but eventually I want to go into opening up my own sustainable fashion company.
TBC: What are your responsibilities as an intern at Pattern Magazine?
NK: I’m a marketing and public relations intern, so I do a lot with their social media and I honestly do a lot more. I recently helped style a shoot, so I got to pick out all the clothing and accessories and style the model, and that was a ton of fun. [Styling the shoot] didn’t necessarily relate to marketing and PR but [Pattern Magazine] is open to letting us try whatever we want to try and that is something that I am really interested in. So yeah, helping at events, marketing and PR coverage and stuff like that is what I do at Pattern.
TBC: How did you come across this internship?
NK: I remember coming across the internship my first year actually but it never really fit with my schedule because you have to work twice a week for eight hours, so scheduling classes and everything was difficult and this was my first semester where it actually worked out with my schedule.
TBC: If you look back at the past 10 years, what are some of the biggest changes you have seen with your style?
NK: I think [my style] has definitely gotten a lot more refined. I wouldn’t say that I really have been influenced a lot by my friends or like the people around me, but I would say I was definitely a lot more worried about what other people might have thought about doing my own thing. I think after going abroad and maturing as a person I’ve been able to refine my style a lot more and feel more confident.
TBC: What would you say that your favorite article of clothing is?
NK: It’s a tie between a coat thrifted from Prague when I was studying there. It’s a fur coat and it’s beautiful. I just feel so elegant when I wear it. It just makes every outfit look so much better. Then I also have these black leather Oxfords that I just purchased from a sustainable shoe company and they are just beautiful leather shoes. I haven’t really been able to wear them because it’s been cold but yeah, again, it just makes every outfit look nicer put together.
TBC: Would you say you go thrifting a lot?
TBC: What kind of items do you like to thrift?
NK: I’m always on the lookout for leather items, specifically leather jackets, as well as any items that normally retail on the higher side. I’m not big on brand names, but if I can score a higher-end item for cheap I’m all for it. I’m also a huge sucker for coats — I’ve found some really high-quality coats for super cheap while thrifting. I also really like thrifting for accessories like belts and purses because you can find some really fun pieces.
TBC: How do you determine what outfit you wear each day?
NK: There is definitely a process. So I used to always just get dressed in the morning and pick out my outfit in the morning, but it was always a rush out of the door. I never have enough time, so I would never be happy with what I would end up wearing, so I would say the past year or so I started picking out my outfit the night before and that really has helped me be happy with what I end up wearing. It gives me more time to put different things on hangers and really gives me the chance to try different things that in the morning I wouldn’t have the time to.
TBC: Do you have any advice for students who may be struggling with their style, or the confidence to wear what they want?
NK: I read somewhere that having great style takes work and so some people might have more of a natural eye, but really it takes time and effort and work to really refine your style and make it something that you love and something that truly reflects who you are. It’s just like anything else, you have to put in time in finding things that you really love.
TBC: What would you say made you overcome the fear of people judging you for your style?
NK: I would say going abroad and getting out of this Butler bubble. I am originally from Hawaii and my style there also doesn’t necessarily fit in with typical Hawaiian style, but then my style here at Butler doesn’t also really fit in. Going abroad I was like, ‘Oh I really fit in here more with the style,’ so after seeing that I felt like I kinda found my place, the fashion realm, and so I think that has given me a lot more confidence.
TBC: Could you see yourself in the future living abroad and doing fashion?
NK: Yes, but ultimately I think I do want to end up back in Hawaii because I really am passionate about the sustainability aspect of it. There really isn’t a huge market for that back home yet and so I think that would be something really great to bring there just because of the location and everything, just because we do prioritize that but sustainable fashion is still pretty new.