In her recorded song “Buckskin and Cashmere,” Emily Katz croons, “I have lots of lovely things, pretty dresses and diamond rings.” The designer’s garments, too, include pretty dresses and gemstones sewn into the fabric.

After dropping out of art school at the Maryland Institute of Art, Katz walked out of a vintage store with some shirts and began doing embroidery on them. To her surprise, her boyfriend at the time had been secretly working on his own embroidery project. They decided to go into business together.

The boyfriend fizzled, but Katz blazed ahead with flair. Soon she was selling into premier fashion venues across the country such as Anthropology and LA’s iconic Fred Segal.

More recently, Katz began to specialize in custom garments with gemstones such as a dress she made with mother of pearl sewed into its collar and this red gown with rubies nestled in its collar. “I never realized how powerful the gems were and how they could heal and uplift my life,” she says. “It ‘s about empowering women.”