Friend of a Friend: What inspired the line?
Margaret Kleveland, CEO and Co-Founder: It’s a combination of new motherhood, and LA-zen energy. I think the line actually evolved by us taking a look at the market and realizing a little bit after we became moms the need to feel feminine and easy. But we both have a background in contemporary fashion, and I think that there’s also a digital, technological revolution happening right now. We really felt like the emerging [digital] consumer platform spoke to us. We just wanted to create a different experience. That was part of it from the get go.
Katherine Kleveland, CCO and Co-Founder: We noticed in our previous careers working in the wholesale world that there is no direct connection with the costumers. When you work with wholesale and department stores, theres such a filter and so much static. So we wanted to keep our product authentic and really analyze the responses that we got from costumers—as opposed to maybe, doing a certain color red because all of our competitors are doing that red. We are really able to define our aesthetic based on direct feedback and not worry about what other brands are doing.
Margaret: We also really noticed more of a push towards “Buy now, wear now”, so we’re trying to be super cognizant of that when we roll out new products. Our summer delivery will deliver to summer, not earlier.
FOAF: Where does the name Dôen come from?
Margaret: The literal translation means “to do” but it’s mostly an aesthetic, a sound, and a blank slate for us. Keeping in mind that we were creating a digital company, we wanted something that was kind of a clean slate and that was easily searchable. There was a basic functionality to the name, but also we wanted a name that was both strong and soft.
FOAF: How would you describe your brands aesthetic?
Margaret: I think really nonchalant, elegant, coastal, romanticized notions of decades past in California. Right now my favorite thing to buy is Victorian and Edwardian vintage and taking those things and modernizing them, making them wearable and flattering, but keeping them feeling special and unique.
FOAF: Do either of you have a daily uniform that you’re in all the time?
Margaret: Katherine and I very often end up wearing the exact same thing on the exact same day. I definitely think our super off duty look is vintage [Levi’s] 517s or a cropped sailor jean.
FOAF: What are your favorite pieces from the collection?
Katherine: I definitely think our hero piece is our Quintana Dress fabric is casual, but the silhouette is so refined—even the neckline is kind of old Hollywood, but then it has the Indian handwork… It’s just incredible.
FOAF: Whats one thing you really want your shoppers to know your brand by?
Katherine: I think a special, feminine casual piece that women feel really comfortable in. I don't think we’re going to become your major print or lace vendor. I think we are going to keep it really lifestyle and dynamic but something that you could wear off-duty. I want them to have a very light and enjoyable experience with our clothes and our brand.
FOAF: Who do you feel is your quintessential Dôen girl?
Margaret: That’s really hard because I feel like our clothes can be worn by such a huge age and body range and also all over the world. We definitely have many muses and they range from fashion icons of the Seventies that were able to tap into a casual chic look, and then I think also so much our female peers right now. I definitely want to spend time thinking about women that I know personally that are within in our community that I’m like, “Ok, what would she wear, what would she need to wear when she's doing this?” I feel like it ranges. I think our inspiration is from different periods and also a lot of different people, it’s not just one person.
FOAF: Who are some of your favorite designers right now?
Katherine: We both look at a lot of stuff but theres nothing that I'm running out and purchasing, besides a lot of white Edwardian vintage. I can’t get enough right now.
Margaret: Of course there are a million designers that we idolize, but not necessarily in terms of what’s shoppable in the market right now. The brand sort of evolved as a response of not being able to find anything. In terms of designers, I’m more inspired by their careers and their power in the industry. Like Phoebe Philo—I’m not running out to buy Celine, but I have so much respect for her and what she's done and how she's prioritized her family and walked away from certain things that weren't working for her. I respect her most as a businesswoman.
FOAF: What’s up next for the brand?
Margaret: I think were really excited about developing our ecommerce offering into a bigger lifestyle offering and carrying some really special pieces. And really learning, growing and evolving. It’s all about rounding it out.