Tell us about the name Kolae what does it mean literally, and what does it mean to the brand?
Kolae (pronounced ko-lay) is a name that we [designer Cameron Spear and her business partner Kristen Depalma] came up with when playing around with letters we wanted something that wouldn’t have an association with a meaning. However, when we researched the word it turned out to be these gorgeous fishing boats in Thailand, considered “art of life” to many because of two things: “the greatness of its design” and the fact that it’s the primary instrument used for the fisherman to make their living. In some villages in Thailand they say that to not have a Kolae fishing boat is like not having any clothes, but we like to think that to not have any Kolae clothes is like not having any clothes. (On a side note: my brother just had a baby girl and named her Kolae because he loved the name so much. I felt very honored.)
How would you describe the Kolae woman in one sentence?
The Kolae woman is confident, sexy and cosmopolitan, with an edge.
So you just officially launched the brand for Fall ’10 do you remember the exact aha moment when you decided to go full force with creating Kolae?
The two of us were introduced by a mutual friend who knew that we both had the dream of starting our own line. We met at a Pinkberry in Chelsea and had an instant connection. We both kind of made the decision then to give our dreams a go together and haven’t looked back since. It has been the perfect partnership because all my weaknesses are her strengths and vice versa. We really complement each other perfectly.
We read that your Spring collection is inspired by a few things including vintage Dracula photos and costumes from the Addams Family show so we have to ask, are you big Twilight and True Blood fans? Why all the vamp inspiration?
I am very inspired by what happens to the city as it turns to night. There is such an energy that comes alive when the sun sets, so this is kind of where the idea of vampires and creatures of the night came in. For Fall ’10 there was definitely a huge influence of Dracula, Addams Family and Gothic architecture. And to answer your question, yes Robert Pattinson may have a small part to this vampire obsession.
For Spring ’11 I again was feeling inspired by the energy that comes alive as the sun sets. In the summer and springtime this energy begins a little earlier in the evening, so for Spring I didn’t go so dark. I was sitting on a rooftop in Brooklyn in spring and the sun was setting. The view was the dark geometrical New York City Skyline against this amazing sunset. I remember sitting there and being like, okay, this is my inspiration for Spring the colors, the energy, everything. It was one of those great New York moments.
All the pieces in your lookbook have their own names Estelle, Luna, etc. What are they named after? Anyone in particular?
For each of our collections we chose names that were synonymous with our inspirations; for Spring we chose names that originated from words such as light, sky and sun. For example, Luna means night and Estelle means star.
Again, a lot of the silhouettes and fabrication go back to my main inspiration of the strong and structured cosmopolitan backdrop against a soft and feminine sky. I love the idea of pairing such opposite fabrics such as our washed silk chiffon and crepe de chine with leather, suede and RiRi industrial zippers.
Where do you shop online?
I am a huge online shopper. Especially since starting Kolae, I dont have the time I used to to visit stores. My new favorite place to shop online is Styleetoile.com. They are a new and amazing online website and will be carrying many of our pieces for Spring 11. I might be mildly addicted to shopping on eBay, but I also love Lagaronne.com and of course Shopbop.com.
What can we expect for next season?
Well, considering I have just finished Spring 11, I will have to get back to you on that, but I have an incredible amount of exciting ideas percolating. A huge part of Kolae is making sure our collection is extremely versatile. Many of our pieces are reversible or have removable pieces, such as arms and waistbands. I want the Kolae customer to be able to have options when wearing our clothing and to also know they are getting more for what theyve spent. So what you can expect is to hopefully see more of us!