Perth designer Kate Watts’ newly launched label Only One Ashley portrays a successful, elegant woman full of confidence.
But behind the 39-year-old’s glamorous creations are memories of a harrowing past that have helped shaped her into who she is today.
Kate suffered from pre-eclampsia before Ashley’s birth.
Kate created her label in honour of her late daughter Ashley, who she fell pregnant with after being raped at the age of 14. Ashley was born with a terminal brain condition that ultimately cut her life short at just 18.
Kate grew up with her close-knit family of four in Geraldton, but was far from your stereotypical country girl.
She reminisces about how an early interest in fashion meant she refused to buy outfits for her Barbies – insisting on making them herself – and how she was handpicking her own outfits from the moment she could talk.
But Kate’s innocence was short-lived.
She was sexually assaulted by a much older man, known to the family, having just started high school.
“He [her attacker] said that if I ever told anyone, he would kill me. I was 14 years old, how was I supposed to know any better?” Kate said.
“He beat me while I was pregnant to try and get me to lose the baby.”
Throughout her pregnancy Kate suffered from pre-eclampsia, a condition that left untreated could lead to serious health complications or even death to her or her baby.
Despite all this, she went to school every day.
Her parents didn’t find out about their daughter’s pregnancy until she was in labour.
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