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It may be winter in New York, but Margaret and Katherine Kleveland seem unfazed — even in the aftermath of a blizzard. The sisters are in town to talk about their new clothing brand Dôen, a line of women’s separates that convey the ease of California life.
“We wanted to design things that we want to wear, pieces that go with our lives,” they explain in tandem, while flipping through their look book. There are gauzy, embroidered dresses (the kind that can serve as vacation cover ups just as easily as they can be worn with boots, belt and a floppy fedora); cozy, whipstitched sweaters, with just enough weight to combat the chill of a sunset on the beach; worldly-looking tops and jumpsuits with earthy Indian block prints; and artisanal leather gladiators and seagrass straw totes. And it’s all captured in a natural light that can only be found on the West Coast.
The Santa Barbara-raised, Los Angeles-based sisters are not the first to export California with their creations: Designers like the Elder Statesman’s Greg Chait, accessories purveyor Kendall Conrad and jewelry doyenne Irene Neuwirth have all successfully translated the state’s perfect weather, natural beauty and subsequently carefree attitude into luxury brands that specialize in the artisanal.
But while Dôen may be similar in its pro-Golden State message, it’s how it is producing and retailing the collection that sets the brand apart. The Klevelands have partnered with both local, in-state manufacturers as well as international partners in Peru and India to create its hand-woven, hand-knit and hand-embroidered items, and every overseas factory that the brand works with is female owned or co-owned.
The sisters are also paying attention to consumers, and by only selling on their website, they have cut intermediary markups. Case in point: The brand’s embroidered voile Antibes top, inspired by Edwardian clothing and made in India, is priced at a palatable $135. Check out Dôen’s collection here.
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