Not too long ago I was at the shop and these two effortless stylish women came in, I felt an instant connection to their style but more than that, to their persona.. around an hour later we had already made an appointment for me to see their line and less than a month later that line was at the shop ready for San Francisco to discover it and be amazed by it.
Marta: Well I guess the first question would be how did it all start? How did this line come to life? How did you meet etc..
Kathrin: We met three years ago through a friend who connected us, actually specifically, to talk about working together. I had just quit my job and Molly was searching for a partner to get things started and move forward. I don't know, we were just a match in what we wanted and started working together the week after we meet. The first couple of months were a lot of research, administration and inspirational work. We launched the very first collection in our apartment studio. We kept it quite private and cosy, invited friends and family and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon together. I mean we are talking about two women who take everything very serious in how they do things, so everything was set up in a professional way and the feedback was very promising to proceed in what we started. In the next half year we did another 3 capsule collections, two events and had two shootings. We just went for it, haha.
Molly: I had been wanting to start a fashion label for some time, but wasn't sure how to approach it. I was for sure looking for someone I could work with, but at the time I had a different sort of project in mind. When I met Kathrin the project took on a whole new life, there was a lot of energy there, it felt like this thing that already existed, almost tangible, we just needed to bring it to life.
M: Did you always know that this was what you wanted to do?
Kathrin: For me not really. I was surrounded by art during school and even studying experimental arts in Vienna did not really set any passion for design. But fashion itself was for sure important to me for many years. I never thought I would launch my own label though. It feels very liberating.
Molly: I guess in the back of my mind, or deep deep down somewhere I knew it was what I wanted, but it was kinda hard to admit that even to myself. I had always gravitated towards clothing construction, but this whole “fashion” world was so intimidating. It still is I guess! But I try not to think too much about the idea of the industry and just keep doing what feels good. We make clothing that feels good to me, when women try our stuff on and smile, raise their chins up high, I know we are on a good path.
M: What are the first steps when designing a new collection? Do you start by a color palette, or a textile, or a pattern? What is the first inspiration that sets all in motion?
Kathrin: Well, the process is not always the same I guess. Sometimes we already have fabrics we wanna use and then thats a starting point. We collect a lot of design ideas through out working on a collection, which we push into the next season and adapt them bit here and there. But colors for sure are very important. We create moods and refine them step by step until we can both see a setting for the collection. The setting could be a combination of a mood, an environment, colors, a fictive woman that inspires us and the story that we create around her. It feels like everything stays within a frame and seems homogenous. But sometimes it can just be one idea that sets the core of a collection.
M: I know this is very tricky but how would you describe in a few words what your brand is? What are the fundaments of it? And what keeps you motivated to continue doing what you do?
Kathrin: Its the understated elegance and the innuendo to a sophisticated and affordable design that's hand made in Berlin. There is an ethic motivation that is idealistic and, in regards to this industry, naive, but we wanna create outfits and clothes which are not anonymous and copied from other designers, which are not necessarily seasonable or out of fashion in 3-6 month. The design motivation is creating something humble and editable for the person who wears it. Simples to sporty shapes, elegant to particular fabrics and an androgynous design approach create pieces which are wearable every time during a day.
M: Why did you choose Voyager/Revolver as a retailer? What excited you about us and made you decide to let us carry the brand?
Molly: When we discovered Voyager in San Francisco it seemed like the perfect location to launch our label on the West Coast. We love the interior of the shop and how playful the mix of everything is. All the garments and products are so thoughtfully put together, but with such ease, nothing feels overly thought out or too perfect. Its the kind of shop that really pulls you in off the street. So many of the brands there are ones I really love and admire, but the way everything is presented is so approachable. In some shops I almost feel hesitant to pull things off the rack and try clothes on because its all so picture perfect, like it doesn't want to be disturbed, but in Voyager there is a sense of freedom in the shop, and everyone working there is so friendly.
M: Aww, thank you so much! That is really the best compliment anyone can give us, that freedom and that approachability is the thing we care about the most! We love curating a space and the awesome designers we carry in it but we would be nothing with our customers, and knowing that our vision is palpable at the shop just means the world to us!
And now to finish, the classic question of how do you see the line in 10 years, but I want to know more about where would you like to see it?
Kathrin: It would be really great to live from what we are doing. I think this is fair to say that at the moment we put so much time and energy into this brand and want it to be successful and profitable, haha.
Molly: If I were to be honest, when I look so far into the future, I don’t necessarily see our label in a million shops, thats just not what we are all about. Its always been more important to me to be in the right shops and to build meaningful relationships with those shop owners. Since our clothing is so subtle its very important to stay connected to the women who are actually buying the designs, to continue this personal feedback. Of course I want our label to continue to spread out, but I see us doing that in exactly the way we have gotten to where we are today, with thoughtful connections. I see us hitting interesting cities one by one and finding the right fit shops rather than the many.
M: I can't wait to see what the future has in store for you guys! And we are so honored to have you at the shop and be able to tell your story! Thanks so much!
Shop Ade Velkon here
All picture courtesy of Ade Velkon