Meet the Art Girls: Kate Strong

While all Chicago Art Girls work hard and most drive a lot, Kate Strong of Strong Wear is one of the hardest working, and definitely racks up the most milage.  Very few weekends are not show weekends and long distances do not seem to phase her in the least.  While many people get to the show destination and sit in the hotel between setting up and show time, Kate is out there exploring the area, finding the best food and most interesting museums and most off-beat attractions.  The word indefatigable comes to mind.  She must be tired but you would never know it. 

Strong Wear began 25 years ago after a yearlong trip around the world in which Kate found herself collecting children’s hats.  These cultural artifacts seem to say so much about the people who made them and their feelings and hopes, while also giving object lessons in the use of materials and sewing techniques.  Having received a degree in fiber, it seemed a natural transition to use her knowledge and her passion to create her company. 

The basic philosophy of Strong Wear is to marry the most modern of materials with the working methods of the past to create hats and outerwear that are both soft and warm and incredibly well made, so they are practical and beautiful.  Her love and understanding of ethnographic materials has given her numerous techniques, from rug hooking to quilting to paper cutting, all in the service of the perfect hat.

The next development in Kate’s evolution as both an artist and a business woman is to concentrate on women’s hats, a new line of men’s hats, and women’s coats.  This transition has involved research and study at the Art Institute of Chicago.  She is also working on a line of UV protection summer hats. 

You can find her work at numerous art fairs as listed on her website  and also at the Chicago Art Girls Pop Up 


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