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Fashion Writer Puts Her Best Foot Forward

Young Alumna of the Year 2013

By Clint Kelly ( | Photo by Luke Rutan

Kate CalamusaView more photosView more photos

Kate Calamusa was honored as Young Alumna of the Year at the "Beyond Nickerson" Young Alumni Council dinner on October 18, 2012.

Kate Palmen Calamusa has a thing for shoes. She owns 35 to 40 pairs and appreciates that unlike pants that don't fit, “shoes never betray you.”

As senior fashion writer for the e-commerce shoe division of Nordstrom, the 2007 Seattle Pacific University graduate and 2013 Young Alumna of the Year is focused on footwear. Kate and her team craft enticing text for lookbooks, blog, web, and social media. She not only engages the culture, she helps define it.

“I love fashion design,” Kate says, “but I can barely sew.” What she does do well is writing about fashion. Until September of this year, she was fashion and lifestyle editor at Seattle magazine and Seattle Bride.

Kate, a communication major, honed her journalism skills at SPU on the student newspaper, The Falcon. By nature a shy person, she says that interviewing and writing to deadline “kicked it out of me” and gave her a new boldness.

Seattle Pacific's mentorship program landed her an internship at the two magazines. “It was an immersion experience,” says Kate. “As young as I was, it was risky, but I had to see where God would lead.”

Degree completed, internship over, she told the Seattle magazine staff she'd like to join them. While waiting for an opening, she sold them freelance articles, and she took a receptionist position, which kept her connected to top staff. Two years later when a full-time editorial position opened, she landed the job.

Her favorite feature spread combined high fashion with Seattle's unique love of outerwear. In addition, she produced Seamless in Seattle, an annual contest in search of Seattle's brightest new fashion designers.

“We run a lean, mean operation,” says Seattle magazine advertising executive Lisa Lee. “Kate's can-do attitude and willingness to carry boxes moved her up quickly. She's genuine.”

In a field where appearances take the day, Kate's grounded personality and solid faith stand out. “Fashion is a vain industry,” she says. “When I'm asked why I'm so darn cheerful, it allows me to share my faith.”

“Kate is a prime example of our savvy and growing group of young alums who make a significant impact in their vocations,” says Ken Cornell, SPU director of alumni relations. “She is professional, focused, strong in faith, and by her own initiative takes the calculated risk to achieve her goals.”