Cate Latham, Owner and Creator of Van Herten Outerwear
Amidst the stacks of leather and industrial trims, Richmond, native Cate Latham is hard at work creating a custom order for the holidays. I’ve known Cate a good 10+ years. Since then, I’ve seen this talented woman go from bartender to top-notch designer. The VCU alumna graduated in Fashion Design and now heads her local brand, Van Herten Outerwear. With stints at Shockoe Denim and costuming local institutions GWAR and the Richmond Ballet, there is no denying her talents.
Created in 2014 as Bruma Outerwear and then changing the name to Van Herten two years later, Cate is figuring out how to expand her market and her merchandise. VHO specializes in beautiful utilitarian creations from tool rolls to tote bags to accessories, designed with the outdoors in mind. Her merchandise reflect her love for mechanics and although the construction, sturdy, has a unique and rugged sophistication. Latham concentrates on leather and waxed canvas as her medium and she hopes to start incorporating apparel in the near future. She’s also looking to broaden her mostly 30 to middle-aged male clientele with more gender specific items featuring apparel with subtle vintage elements. Her merchandise is well executed and meticulously stitched and is definitely worth the price tag.
Cate’s bags and totes are her signature items, but she has many unique contributions to the brand, maker’s aprons and cutting board cases to name a couple. Most of her orders are through appointments where she meets with clients to discuss their ideas or direct orders from her website. Her lair lies in the Shockoe Valley warehouse and is a fitting environment for fabricating her designs . As we sat and talked about the challenges of having a small custom business in Richmond, we talked about living in Richmond in general and how much things have changed from when we first met. We both agreed that we enjoy living in medium sized cities with beautiful old architecture and that we live in a very cool city these days. What was once no-go neighborhoods are now bustling sectors of culture and small business.
Not only does Cate run Van Herten, but she is also Adjunct Professor at VCU teaching students about draping, patterning, garment construction and fabrication. When she isn’t driving or working on her 1985 K5 Blazer, she’s enjoying the local music scene. She loves Northside and Saison is one of her favorite dining spots. If you want to make a statement, check out Cate’s creations or make an appointment and dream up something new. She truly is a skillful craftsman and a delightful person to know.
More on Cate and her fantastic business:
Van Herten Outerwear
2300 Hermitage Road
Richmond, VA 23220