Johnathan Kayne who was on Season 3 of Project Runway has his own line of evening wear and owns Southern Charm/Alter Ego in Norman, OK. Designer of Miss Tara Conner’s dress, Johnathan has been appearing at Southern Women’s Shows this year and was recently in Charlotte.
Johnathan says he “loves Charlotte” and was “super-excited to come back”. There are no photos online yet of Johnathan’s newest designs. Southern Women’s Show Charlotte was the first venue for the entire collection to be shown, which is very exciting!
When asked why he decided to focus on evening wear out of all the design options, Johnathan shared his story. Two of his five sisters were involved in pageantry and one sister actually paid her way through school with scholarships. He would help her with her dresses and eventually went to work for the local shop in his hometown of Nashville, where she got most of her gowns and accessories. His interest and talent for evening wear just really took off from that point on.
Something else to learn about Johnathan: he loves animals and had plans to become a veterinarian. Even after he discovered his passion for design, he still never lost his love for animals. After graduating FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York, along with his evening wear line, Johnathan started his own doggy couture line-Kayne9. Most of this line is sold in pet boutiques in Oklahoma and a portion of the profit from Kayne9 is donated to ASPCA. Johnathan is also the proud owner of 2 cats and a blond yorkie named Tiara.
When asked about if and how his style has evolved since his days of helping his sister with her pageant gowns, Johnathan answer is two-fold.
First, he mentions that his style has become more sophisticated and more classic over time.
“I’ve learned that it’s okay to have those cutting-edge designs but you need to have classic designs too,” he says.
In addition to his actual style, Johnathan discusses his efforts to continue to offer custom-made gowns (starting at $2,000) while also reaching out to the average prom girl and event-goer with dresses this year as low as $115.00 Over time, he has diversified his gowns and dresses. The line is no longer event specific, he is leaning more toward gowns for weddings, parties, prom, homecoming and gowns and dresses that ‘celebrity-watchers’ will want to wear.
When listening to stores and clients that have supported him from the beginning, Johnathan received mixed feedback about offering a lower budget line.
“The way I see it,” he states, “it is a different product, a different name and a different price than my higher end lines. However, it gives girls the chance to wear a Johnathan Kayne name, popularity and style inspired dress without paying the Johnathan Kayne price.”
That being said, Johnathan does not intend to get away from his high end aspirations.
“I want to see more of my product on the Red Carpet! For a young designer like myself, that would be huge, to be like Valentino, a Red Carpet designer.”
“I also want to develop more lines. Some ideas that come to mind are like a Johnathan Kayne Prom Line, Platinum Line, the sky is the limit, really. But you will be seeing other evening wear lines, that’s for sure,” says Johnathan about future aspirations and hopes.
Johnathan also designs amazing shoes which are very popular and perfect for any special occasion. Johnathan’s designs can be found in several specialty stores in North Carolina.
Johnathan is an amazing young man with true vision and talent. If you didn’t have a chance to meet Johnathan at the Charlotte Southern Women’s Show or to view his newest collection, stay tuned for future appearances and collection releases on his website.