We had the good fortune of connecting with Imani Batts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Imani, why did you pursue a creative career?
As many people during the pandmic, I lost my job and was forced to reevaluate my whole life. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to pursue a career in fashion. For many moons, I’ve been running away from my calling of being a fashion designer. The sewing machine intermediated me for a very long time because it tested my patience and the inability to finish what I started. After having several internal battles with expanding my brand, Catherine Trendz, I finally surrendered to God and started consistently sewing. Personally, I felt this was the only road for me. I could not see myself working for someone else’s dream anymore. I recognized my power to put forth all my energy in a creative career as a fashion designer. Waking up to doing something that feeds my soul daily is truly unmatched. I believe in my work, in hopes to change the fashion industry towards a more sustainable future.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a sustainable fashion designer and thrift enthusiast. My happy place is the thrift store. Something about scouting vintage items that are older than me does something to my soul. While thrifting, I realize that we have more than enough clothing on this planet to last us several lifetimes. With that being said, we can repurpose all these fabrics that we currently have right now. This is exactly how I started reworking thrifted items into modern day outfits. I recreate a pair of pants, usually Adidas, into a comfy matching two-piece set. Also, I reworked denim and take inquiries for custom-made items. From simple alterations to unique reworked pieces, I love to repurpose items for others to enjoy.
I went to college for Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Small Business at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. While attending school, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy at Florence University of the Arts. Those 2 months at FLY (Fashion Loves You), the fashion program for the FUA, changed my whole life. This was a huge stepping stone for my career in fashion. I had an amazing opportunity to have my leather handbag collection feature on the cover of the magazine. Also, I was an Assistant Creative Director for an event that I hosted at the school. I had the pleasure to have my designs sold in our store for the university as well as in fashion shows. FLY will always hold a special place in my heart for teaching me so much about fashion and myself.
The road was not easy at all, but the reward was worth every tear shed. If it was not for God and my family, I have no clue where I would be in my life. Constant prayer, meditation, self-care, and laughter go a long way. I learned that it starts with you. You have to believe in yourself and the work you do on this Earth. Also, realize that there’s a bigger picture. God is working through you to help others. Not to be selfish with your gifts. Spread love and light to people around you. Show up as the person you wish you had when you were younger. Have faith that you are going through everything because God has a bigger purpose for YOU. Do not compare yourself to others and keep striving for greatness.
I want the world to know that Catherine Trendz will be more than reworked pieces. I’m going to help my community and build an empire for sustainable fashion. It will not be an easy process, but I’m ready to shift the future for generations to come.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania so I know where all the cool spots are. The first place in I’ll take my first-timer is The Point. The Point is where the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio River meet. There’s a park and a huge fountain that everyone enjoys the view on a lovely sunny day. We can have a picnic and enjoy the good vibes in the city.
We would go on a smoothie date at Live Fresh on 8th Ave in Homestead. Black-owned juice bar that has everything from smoothies to immunity shots.
Afterward, I’ll take them to the Andy Warhol Museum. It’s my favorite museum in the city that showcases a lot of Warhol’s work and features new artists as well.
For a great food spot, we’ll go to Eon to support black businesses. It’s located in Homestead, PA where I’m from. Great food, drinks, and music.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First, I would like to give a Shoutout to God for creating this path for me. I’m so excited to see what the future has for me with Catherine Trendz. Shoutout to my mother, Dawn Batts for giving me the time and patience to figure all this out. Shoutout to my step mother, Ms. Pettrice, if encouraging me to start sewing again. Also, my father, Eric Lewis, for buying my sewing machine to start creating unique garments. Thank you to my aunt, Kenise Batts, for literally helping me with everything business-wise for my company and for keeping me sane. Lastly, thank you to my sister, Brandey Smith, for being the best ride or die I could ever ask for. I love you all so much and I can not thank you all enough for being in my life & helping me throughout the way.
Youtube: Catherine Trendz