ARTIST INTERVIEW: The Dôen Collective
Dôen is a collective of creative Los Angeles-based women. They make elevated yet wearable pieces for the everyday. Their line is inspired by vintage designs and their nostalgia for the California of past decades. More than an online boutique shopping experience, they believe in presenting the Dôen lifestyle and products to their customers with compelling story-telling, idyllic imagery and content featuring the real women who wear their clothes. Santa Barbara born-and-raised sisters Margaret and Katherine Kleveland founded Dôen in 2015. As veterans of the industry, they observed how atypical it is to see women at the helm of fashion brands – although women are largely the ones designing, purchasing, and wearing the clothing. Their collective aims to improve that model. They support women in the workforce in all aspects of our organization, supply chain, and community.
We spoke to the Dôen collective about their inspirations and creative process.
What is your background and how have your past experiences fed into your art?
We are a collective of women, so our backgrounds are varied. Margaret and Katherine Kleveland’s experience in contemporary fashion inspired them to set up a company that sourced in a way that promoted women, and as a company, was owned and run as a collective of women partners. Becoming mothers inspired them to design a product that they wanted to wear, which was california inspired, nonchalant, comfortable and feminine. Hilary Walsh’s background in photography and fashion highlighted a void in the fashion industry for thoughtful, compassionate companies who create finely crafted pieces that are not watered down due to bottom line profit margins.
Do you feel that your environment feeds into work and if so, what makes your work distinctively Californian?
Our (Margaret & Katherine’s) main source of inspiration was our Santa Barbara upbringing. The natural beauty and landscapes of Santa Barbara have inspired us to create pieces that have organic fluid lines, patterns and natural feeling fibers. Growing up next to the beach in Santa Barbara and then living in Los Angeles for most of our adult lives, we are very drawn towards collections that are transitional and fit into the California lifestyle.
What are your top 3 studio essentials?
Measuring tape, inspiring partners, sunlight.