Sisters and Doen Designers Katherine and Margaret Kleveland.
That 1970s California vibe is an ongoing influence in fashion and it’s the inspiration at the center of a newly launched line by designers and sisters Katherine and Margaret Kleveland, called Doen.
And rather than this take on 70s Cali turning out to be a tired trope of heavy handed and predictable boho wear we’ve seen from other brands for years, Doen imbues the pure spirit of the decade in clean, easy and thoughtful items that look and wear like the chicest pieces your mom owned throughout her 20s (especially the breezy printed cotton dresses and light and loose tops she wore in old photos-she may have even been holding you as a baby in said photos). And that mother-daughter vibe is no accident, the sisters are both new mothers and in addition to making the line mom-friendly, they’ve also created one mommy and me look per season with proceeds benefitting charity.
The Klevelands have taken that timeless sentiment and poured it into neutral colored lace trimmed dresses, flowy ethnic print caftans and the perfect pair of flat front pocket cropped jeans all ideal for new moms, busy ladies and yes, even during pregnancy. Case in point: the embroidered white Provence dress is proof of how versatile these pieces are.
These talented women had that ease and effortlessness in mind when designing, ensuring each piece feel like one you’ve owned forever (and will continue to own forever).
Here, the sisters speak to The Hive about launching a new line and business while caring for very young kids and how the current California attitude and aesthetic informs their exciting new collection.
– How has your personal style changed since having kids?
I have felt such a shift towards femininity. It might be cliché, but discovering such a natural strength and beauty in bringing our children into the world and the relationship that follows, it effects everything. I’ve abandoned anything contrived or fussy. I like to feel and look nonchalant, feminine, and confident. -Katherine Kleveland
Since becoming a mom my personal style has evolved, I find myself less drawn towards a minimal look and more drawn to feminine, timeless pieces. Our mom always incorporated vintage pieces in her wardrobe, she always had a pulled together timeless look- a Gucci purse from her mother, vintage Levis, the perfect t-shirt or blouse. She always looked beautiful without trying…that is very appealing to me. -Margaret Kleveland
– Who is the Doen woman?
She is happy. She is a new mom or a career woman who needs a casual wardrobe that she feels relaxed, comfortable and beautiful in. She cares about quality and considers carefully the pieces she acquires. She enjoys nature and natural elements of design, fluid lines, organic/natural feeling fibers, hand made unique elements. She is creative and interested in the world and all things beautiful.
– As mothers and entrepreneurs, what are the most challenging aspects of building a business from scratch while raising very young children? What are the most rewarding aspects?
-The impact having children has had on my life is profound. On one hand I have felt more inspired, creative, and efficient than ever, but on the other hand I really couldn’t make myself fit into the normal corporate structure. I realized how much more I could contribute if I was able to blend family and work life, if I was able to work on a different schedule, a flexible one. I am working harder than ever before, but more efficiently and joyfully, creating a balance. A lot of it has to do with being able to independently determine when you are ready to sit down and crank it out, and not force it in a moment when you are wanting to be with your child, or needed elsewhere. -KK
-I became a mother 2 weeks before we started actively working on DÔEN. I was a first time mother so I was unsure how it would be splitting that precious time with baby and new business, but there was a definite sense that this was the moment, that this adventure couldn’t be delayed, so I threw caution to the wind and dove in. As a new mother I felt more capable, determined, and connected to my future than ever before. I have discovered a new level of efficiency in work, and also learning how to be truly grounded and present at home. -MK
– What were your main points of inspiration for this launch collection?
Our upbringing in Santa Barbara; a powerful natural beauty and relaxed elegance, coastal landscapes mixed with a sophisticated history…I think these things have been imprinted on our visual memory and will impact the design of all collections. Currently we are so inspired by our women peers, seeing other new moms and career women having such dynamic and inspiring lives and contributions…an endless supply of muses. It doesn’t hurt that Los Angeles is having quite a moment in art and culture, i think people are tapping into a California attitude more similar to that of the 70’s-a bit more relaxed, creative and inspired.
– Where do you envision the brand going in the next 5 years?
We want to build a really well rounded lifestyle brand. We want to make our website a trusted and inspiring destination for our customer whenever they are looking for their next special purchase. We want to thoughtfully and organically expand into different product categories that make sense for our customer. We are so excited to have the direct connection with our customer, and learn about her.
Photo credit for the portrait shot: Hilary Walsh