Ilana Kohn is a line of clothing and textiles both designed and produced in NYC. Prior to working in fashion, designer Ilana Kohn worked for close to a decade as a successful commercial editorial illustrator for clients such as the New Yorker, the New York Times and Kiehl’s among many others. With a life long love of fashion, in 2011, Kohn began to craft ideas for a clothing line with a mind to creating easy to wear, clean & classic clothing that would serve to be a new canvas for her bold, colorful patterns. Having evolved from four basic silhouettes, the collection has grown into a full-fledged collection, providing boutique buyers and shoppers a wealth of choices for easy everyday dressing.
We spoke to her about her influences and creative process.
What is your background and how have your past experiences fed into your art?
My background is actually in illustration/painting, I worked as an editorial illustrator for close to a decade before falling into fashion. I’d say that background influences my current work to a huge degree – designing my textiles draws on the illustration and I use my graphic design skills almost daily doing all the odd design jobs that running a line requires (linesheets, promo materials, etc.). As an illustrator, I was entirely freelance, so I’m very used to working for myself and running a business (and being broke and having no benefits, ha), albeit working as a freelance illustrator is VERY different from running a clothing line?!
Do you feel that your environment feeds into work and if so, what makes your work distinctively Californian?
Definitely! Granted, I’d say my work is more distinctly NYC. Folks might beg to differ, but to me, Brooklyn style is pretty casual, almost pathologically so at times. When I’m in LA, I become so acutely aware of what a slob I’ve become (I’m sure it doesn’t help that I work alone and my life revolves around going back and forth to the studio and garment district)… On the other hand, so many times folks have mistakenly assumed I’m based in LA — surely due to my choices of unfussy fabrics and easy silhouettes, a totally west coast thing?
What are your top 3 studio essentials?
COFFEE, a good vacuum (I am my mother’s daughter), an entire drawer full of baggu – the regular & jumbo sizes – they are the handiest things EVER for hauling various materials, samples, you name it.