From record Atlantic rower to chic designer in Dubai
What’s On meets Katie Pattison-Hart, a designer in Dubai trading as Boho Princessa. She has world records for rowing across the Atlantic.
Double world record rower Katie Pattison-Hart puts down her oars to launch a fashion label…
You broke two world records by rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. What made you want to do this? I was part of an all female crew of five and we rowed the Atlantic to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking. We rowed an old slave route from the Canary Islands to Barbados because we felt that part of history was relevant to this form of modern-day slavery. We’re the first team of five women to row the Atlantic and the fastest women to row it, completing it in 45 days.
What was the most difficult bit of the journey? Battling sleep deprivation was really hard as we worked on a two-hour shift system, meaning we rowed for two hours, then slept for two hours all day and night. We lost sight of land after a few days and didn’t see anyone but each other and the vast ocean. We ate dehydrated food and consumed 5,000 calories a day to give us the fuel we needed. There were some challenges, such as our auto steering breaking along with our water maker, which meant we had to hand pump the seawater when we should have been resting.
And now here you are launching Boho Princessa. How did that happen? I love art and creativity and found myself using it as a way to express myself while out on the ocean. I find creating new pieces very therapeutic.
Did your time at sea affect your designs? Definitely! When I wasn’t rowing I would write in my diary how I was feeling and any major events that had happened that day. Being away from the real world, I found myself sketching designs. All my designs are very fluid and move like the ocean.
How would you describe the style of your brand? It’s very bohemian. I try to combine the earth’s elements with life’s luxuries.
What’s your favourite piece in the collection? The kimonos are my favourite as they are so versatile. I also love the headbands as they make a statement on their own. I spend weeks making some of the wedding headbands as I hand stitch them myself.
Did you always want to work in fashion? I’ve been in the UAE since 2005 and originally had a career as a banker. However, my friends told me I was in the wrong job. I’ve always had an interest in unique clothing and I love going to markets to find one-off pieces. I was a director of a local UAE finance house and this experience gave me a good grounding for business.
What’s next for Boho Princessa? I’m currently designing my own wedding dress so who knows where that will lead.