Audrey Swart and Katt Khadzko on Their Fashion Inspiration and Design Process for HighBall Halloween

Audrey Swart and Katt Khadzko

By Sara Wolff, Marketing & Communications Manager for the Short North Alliance

On Saturday, Oct. 21, HighBall Halloween will celebrate 10 years of costumes and creativity for HB: High Fashion. Designer team Audrey Swart and Katt Khadzko look forward to showing their collection for the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show, after local favorites The Deeptones, The Wet Darlings, Parker Louis and Nina West & the West Family perform. HighBall Halloween starts on Friday, Oct. 20 for HB: On The Rocks, as 10 local musical acts pay tribute to music and style icons and the era they defined. Swart and Khadzko talk design inspiration and working together as a team.

Sara: You’ll be presenting your costume collection at HB: High Fashion on Saturday, Oct. 21 for the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show. What excites you the most about this competition?
Katt: The most exciting aspect of being involved in this event is that not only is it our first time participating in HighBall Halloween, but that it is also the 10-year anniversary. And this being a Halloween event, it leaves us with endless possibilities for design creativity.

Sara: From where are you drawing inspiration for your HighBall Halloween collection costume designs?
Katt: We are drawing inspiration from the story of Aradia. To most people she was known as the first witch. She was empowering and wise. We love that she is also known as the moon goddess and the goddess of nature. We are pulling inspiration from the story, but also interpreting it in our way by our use of a light color palette.

Sara: What artists (visual, design, music or otherwise) inspire your work?
Audrey: In addition to the story of Aradia, we also draw inspiration from designers like Balenciaga, McQueen and Givenchy. We both love the art from vintage tarot cards and all things strange.

Sara: How do you approach the creation of your designs?
Audrey: Like most concepts it starts with compiling images, fabric swatches, color schemes and sketching. It this case it helped being familiar with the story and creating visual component from it.

Sara: You attended classes together at Columbus College of Art & Design. How did you start collaborating on projects?
Katt: The first “project” we worked on together was a Christmas window display in the old Lazarus building downtown, which was an opportunity brought to us by Suzanne Cotton at CCAD. We had never really worked together on anything before that but we had to come up with a fashion aspect to the concept, and ended up making gowns completely out of wrapping paper over a span of two days and it was a ton of fun. That’s when we realized that we had a natural connection and it was easy to communicate creative ideas back and forth to each other.

Sara: What do you love about the creative community in Columbus?
Audrey: People are free to be weird and who they want to be, and that is absolutely amazing. There are so many different outlets for people to use and groups to be a part of, to show off their creativity. We have always loved Columbus and what it is becoming.

Sara: Without giving too much away, what can we expect when your models stomp the runway during the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show?
Katt: To be as vague as possible, there will be lots of white and silver and creepy witchy vibes.

Catch Audrey’s and Katt’s work in the Battelle Costume Couture Fashion Show during HighBall Halloween’s HB: High Fashion event on Saturday, Oct. 21. That night also includes The 10th Anniversary Costume Couture Runway Show and performances by The Deeptones, The Wet Darlings, Parker Louis and Band, and Nina West & the West Family. Both nights feature over-the-top public costume contests and hosts Nina West and NBC4’s Monica Day. Tickets are available online Oct. 13-20, or at any entry gate at the event; early bird pricing ends Oct. 13. For more information visit highballcolumbus.org.



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