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Designer Katie Gallagher mourned after death ruled homicide

Friends of the late fashion designer Katie Gallagher mourned the death of the creative visionary following the shocking news that her drug overdose had been ruled a homicide.   

Alexandra Plazas-Herrera, who runs the Good Six brand development agency and worked with Gallagher, 35, said that the promising designer was always “ahead of the curve” with her collections, which were worn over the years by a slew of A-listers including Lady Gaga and Laverne Cox. 

“Everything that she did became a trend and popular in the last two years,” Plazas-Herrera, 43, told The Post Saturday, noting that she had used mesh material and cut-outs in her clothing and designs, which became popular following the pandemic. 

“She was always ahead of the curve. The world needed to catch up to Katie.”


Katie Gallagher
Gallagher’s death from a drug overdose had been ruled a homicide.
Angela Pham/BFA.com

Plazas-Herrera worked with Gallagher from 2018 to 2021, and in that time helped her sell her collections to a slew of notable boutiques and stores around the world, including Edem in Munich, Germany, and the now-defunct Forty Five Ten branch in Hudson Yards.

“The reaction from buyers was always how beautifully made the samples were, how beautiful the collection was,” she said.

“We were trying to figure out how to make that commercially viable.” 


Katie Gallagher
One brand developer said Gallagher incorporated cutouts and mesh fabric in her clothing before it became popular after the pandemic.
WireImage

“I’m sad because when I saw her last collection… I think she was getting there, and she didn’t get a chance to show it.” 

Gallagher was found dead from a drug overdose in her Eldridge Street apartment in July, after a neighbor spotted her keys hanging in the door and went in to check on her.

On Friday, the medical examiner’s office ruled her death a homicide after determining that she died from acute intoxication from the combined effects of fentanyl, ethanol and the designer opioid p-Fluorofentanyl. 


Katie Gallagher
Gallagher’s clothing was sold to stores around the world.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Detectives believe that her mysterious death could be linked to a pattern of at least 26 recent “drug-facilitated” robberies around New York City, including the East Village, the Lower East Side and the Bronx, police sources said.

There is no explanation yet for how the drugs got into the system or whether her apartment was robbed.

Cops are investigating whether Gallagher’s death is connected to Kenwood Allen, 33, who was arrested in December and charged with murder in the overdose robbery deaths of two club-goers in the Lower East Side, police sources said.


Katie Gallagher
Detectives believe Gallagher’s death could be linked to a pattern of at least 26 recent “drug-facilitated” robberies.
REUTERS

Allen is a person of interest but has not been charged in the case, the sources added.

“It’s heartbreaking, because she was somebody so talented,” said guitarist and friend Alex Skolnick, 54, who attended metal shows with Gallagher over the years. 

“I’m not a big fashion aficionado…but even I noticed her fashion right away,” he said.


Katie Gallagher with models
Gallagher started her eponymous fashion label in 2010.
Penske Media via Getty Images

“I had a few friends in the scene, females, who knew her and were friends and who wore her things, and I could just tell it had a very distinct style.”

Gallagher, who grew up in rural Pennsylvania, set up her eponymous label in 2010, a year after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, according to an obituary published on its alumni website. 

She had worked as bartender at Flats Fix Taqueria & Tequila Bar in Manhattan before making a break with her clothing, and also got work as a florist while she lived in Los Angeles for a period, according to Plazas-Herrera

In addition to Lady Gaga and Cox, Gallagher’s garments were worn by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Rita Ora.

Her collections were also featured in magazines such as Vogue, Glamour, and W, and Gallagher had completed 26 collections under her label showed at New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.

She had been working on a 27th collection at the time of her death, which was set to premiere this fall.

Gallagher’s family started a GoFundMe July to make sure that the last of her work could be completed. GoFundMe

“The funds raised here will first be used to ensure that Katie’s latest work is finished and seen in a celebration of her life and work later this year in her beloved NYC,” family members posted the campaign page, which has raised over $30,000 with a $50,000 goal as of Saturday.

Gallagher’s father, Barry, declined an interview request and referred to a family statement. 

“The homicide determination shared by the medical examiner today…what we knew: Katie was the victim of a crime,” the family’s statement reads. “We have been holding this information while awaiting the official ruling.”

The family added that they “are grateful for any developments that help us move forward, focus on Katie’s life and legacy, and bring more awareness to fentanyl and similar drugs being used as weapons against innocent people.”

A memorial service for Gallagher was held in Pennsylvania in August, and a celebration of life will take place in May. 

Additional reporting by Joe Marino