Design Challenge Reveal

That week between opening the box and having to present the results went pretty fast, and as I mentioned before, it was way more stressful than I anticipated. 

So, on April 17th we had a special Facebook Live event that featured a bunch of "Few of A Kind" special order styles and then also pieces I designed using the fabrics from the 'mystery box' of fabric. 

By Monday afternoon I had finished ONE of the 4 design challenge pieces.

By Monday afternoon I had finished ONE of the 4 design challenge pieces.

By Tuesday at about 4pm, we had finished the main 4 fabrics and so...what the hell, why not do something cute with the 5th fabric???

By Tuesday at about 4pm, we had finished the main 4 fabrics and so...what the hell, why not do something cute with the 5th fabric???

(Thank Goodness the video worked. The last two FB Live events we did were simply horrible video quality and we lost a lot of viewers because of it. I was really nervous and trying to be confident which you can see at the beginning of the video.)

I really loved the results, and the 'audience went wild' (muffled cheering in the background), no seriously, the reaction was so fun and it's been even more super fun to get messages and emails the last few days from people who have since watched the video wanting to order the Few Of A Kinds from the show. 

So, here it is, the FB Live Show with the Design Challenge Results plus other super limiteds and Few Of A Kinds.  

Laine reveals the results of the "mystery box" fabric challenge and many other 'Few of A kind' limited edition designs available during this Facebook Live show!

We'll be doing more FB Live shows, and many more 'Few of A Kind' designs because...a couple reasons...it's a great way to use up little bits of fabric, so it's 'sustainable' (such an abused word) but most importantly, clients love it. 
And it is actually really fun.

(please join our VIP Group! For advance notice of stuff, updates, FB Live videos, and things like that)

XO,

Laine Sou

Behind the Seams ~ Spring 2017 Development

Happy Holidays! 
I hope you all enjoyed a great one! 
This was a particularly exciting year because Hanukkah started the same weekend as Christmas, and that felt very special. 
I've been working non-stop lately, so I literally had just Christmas Eve day to do all my holiday shopping, including groceries for 3 family meals. I had no idea that the liquor store and Jerry's (our grocery store) closed at 4pm! When I walked in to Jerry's, there was non a single grocery cart. Which was funny because the parking lot wasn't very full. When a check-out boy walked towards me with 3 carts, I smiled and said, "oh thanks, I'll take one of those" but he just looked at me and kept walking. I'm like, "excuse me!" And a manager appeared and said, "M'am, we close in 6 minutes."
I hate being called M'am. My mouth must have gaped open. He kinda stood there a few seconds and then he nodded to the kid and said, "Go ahead and give her a cart." 
The kid wasn't supposed to give people carts! 
I was so grateful. There were sheets over parts of the produce stands, the butcher was gone, lights were off in some sections. I RAN through the store trying to remember the menu for all three meals. I forgot a few things, but it all ended up just fine and I was just so happy that I hadn't had to go home to 2 days of staring down a fridge containing only a half carton of eggs. 

The holidays are always one of my busiest times of the year. When I'm not at the studio, I bring patterns to work on at home. Yesterday was the first day I could start to see the line coming together, and felt a little less panicky. 

Preppy isn't usually my thing, but I'm just crazy about this gingham seersucker! This was he first test, I had to calm that ruffle down quite a bit as it was very balloon like over the boobs. It is SUPER CUTE!!!  

Preppy isn't usually my thing, but I'm just crazy about this gingham seersucker! This was he first test, I had to calm that ruffle down quite a bit as it was very balloon like over the boobs. It is SUPER CUTE!!!  

First test of a little fit and flare dress. I love this navy and coral jacquard knit, a perfect weight for early spring.

First test of a little fit and flare dress. I love this navy and coral jacquard knit, a perfect weight for early spring.

And...I think this is might have to be my mother of the groom dress for Sam's wedding this summer. This is an embroidered stretch tulle....really gorgeous fabric!! Very excited about this one ;-)

And...I think this is might have to be my mother of the groom dress for Sam's wedding this summer. This is an embroidered stretch tulle....really gorgeous fabric!! Very excited about this one ;-)

So, that's what's been going on. Follow us on Instagram @kokoonfashion for more sneak peeks as we get ready for spring.

And, now is the time if you or someone you know is interested in becoming a KOKOON stylist for spring 2017! Inquire here.

Happy New Year, Everyone!!

What's in a Name?

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked about designing for KOKOON is, "How do you come up with the names of the styles?"
Sometime I can just look at the item and a name will reveal itself, other times it's not so easy to come up with a name that feels right. 
Today I carried on a word association game in my head trying to come up with a name for a new design and the word Savoy randomly popped up in my brain. I think I like the word. But I don't really know what it means so I plugged it into google...and this is what showed up on UrbanDictionary.com:

savoy

a fairly slutty woman who often is too skinny and enjoys being with men of a different race. a savoy often is crude and inappropriate and also lacks morals, a conscience, and a social filter.

"I heard that girl sleeps with a lot of football players"

"Yeah, she's a total savoy"

#slut #jersey chaser #rude #inappropriate #skinny

First of all ~ WTF?
Second ~ Now I've got to go with it for sure!

Savoy Pullover/Spring 2017

Savoy Pullover/Spring 2017

Happy Fri-Yaaayy!!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...Seriously, this week's KOKOON Steal is one of my all time fave's, The Miles of Smiles cardi.
Versatile? Check. Slimming? Check. Pockets? Check.
Wear it a bunch of different ways.
There's a random variety, but not many, and they won't last long.
$59 to $69 this weekend only while they last. Shop HERE.

Behind the Seams ~ New Orleans

I thought today would be the perfect day to do a Behind the Seams throwback to a photo shoot we did in New Orleans. 

I had never been to NOLA, and after Richard spent a couple days there and told me all about it, I started envisioning a photo shoot. So last spring we scheduled a tourist weekend for the two of us, then tacked on a couple extra days and flew our photographer and model down.

We were on a pretty tight budget, and we booked last minute, so we were staying in a pretty marginal AirBNB, but the location was pretty good and it was just a place to sleep so, not a big deal. I booked a different AirBNB for Melissa and Giana, in what was described as a bohemian, up and coming neighborhood, and we drove there straightaway after picking them up from the airport so they could get ready to shoot. 

Just a word of advice. if you are looking to book a place to stay, 'bohemian' and 'up and coming' are code words for the hood. 

This was kitty corner from their place:

Seriously. And there were roosters randomly wandering the streets. 

I was pretty mortified. 
The AirBNB I chose for them was very highly rated and the host was considered a 'super host' and had raving reviews. She was a super interesting gal, and her home ended up being appealingly eclectic/kitschy. The first thing I saw when we entered the house were these awesome stairs.

The next morning I asked if we could do some photography in her house and she didn't mind. 

I loved her old school kitchen, where she had dozens of fresh eggs available for guests and she had made freshly baked bread and delicious, homemade apple butter! 

She informed us that she used to be a model also. 
She did fetish modeling for 10 years.

She told us about Hurricane Katrina, and showed us photos of the back of her house that went missing during the storm, showed us an entire photo album of the re-building process. I couldn't help but want to capture the authentic kitchy-ness. These weren't decorations, this was her home, her life. This was in March. 

NOLA AirBNB 5.jpg
NOLA AirBNB BUnny on Mantle.jpg
NOLA AirBNB coral tunic.jpg

After we left the AirBNB, we had a long day photographing all over the city, and ended it in a cemetery before we rushed to the airport. 

Richard and I had scouted this cemetery over the weekend and fell in love with it.

What ended up being so cool was seeing the cemetery transform in the camera into the perfect ambiguous neutral backdrop. 

Photo credit to our awesome photographer! Melissa Louise Photography Minneapolis. 

Hope you all have a Happy Halloween!

XO, 

Laine Sou

A Little KIS for You

At long last, we are about to launch our active wear capsule.

Dik-San has been asking me to do this for years. I've always resisted just because my plate is so full designing KOKOON.
But, here we are.
My philosophy has become, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I may not be able to get you to wear a dress everyday, but if you're going to live in your workout clothes, maybe I can help in my small KOKOON way.

So, I introduce to you, KOKOON Inspired Sweat. KIS for short.

We're starting with a small capsule collection, basically a beta test, and we will build from there. Here's a sneak peek.

Of course, it's all about leggings. 
It's not like I'm workout obsessed, but I've tried my fair share of different brands as I'm sure you have also. 

I like a pair of Athleta just fine, was not impressed with Fablethics (they just sit in a drawer) wont do Lulu (for a number of reasons, and I gave mine away) my favorite fit is from Nike, but even those I just wish were a bit different.
So, like most things, I started with what I wish for.
1) A higher waist. I'm always pulling up to hide my muffin but then have to pull back down to avoid camel toe. Such an annoying dilemma!! 
2) A waist elastic that STAYS PUT. Just STAY where you're supposed to stay!!
3) MORE compression! I want those leggings to SQUEEZE my thighs!!
4) Please tell me I'm not the only one whose thighs rub together. That 'flat seaming' that decorates the seams of most (all) active wear...because my thighs rub together, the thread wears out before the fabric does. So I skipped it. I also like the leggings looking like street wear and not from the gym (KOKOON Inspired Sweat...it means something).
 

These (above) are the Erin Leggings. They were our bestselling cropped leggings for KOKOON, and in this fabric they are AMAZING.

We're going with the mantra, "Looks Funny, Fits Great!" 
Because they do really look funny ~ all wrinkly and puckered...until you put them on and then they are smooth and sleek and feel AWESOME. 

The material is a quick dry, anti-microbial, true performance fabric.
The day we made the first test sample I wore them to a Core Power Yoga Sculpt class (basically hot yoga with weights and cardio), the kind of class where you come out SOPPING wet, which I definitely was. Dik-San was playing tennis across the U of M campus so I walked the 8 minutes to meet him and my leggings were literally DRY by the time I got there (there was admittedly a lovely breeze outside at the time, but still.)

This was our first 'road test', and during class I noticed the fabric was sagging a bit in my crotch area, and so the next day at work I asked Emma to try them on (I'm an XS, she's a S) and she loved how they felt, so I gave them to her and she wore them to roller derby practice that night. (i forgot to tell her I had worn them and not washed them, but they seriously smelled terrific!) Emma reported back that they were the BEST fitting spandex she had ever worn and didn't have to pull them up once during practice. Her boyfriend saw them and said he wanted a pair!

So, I guess to me that meant we had the green light to start an active wear line. 

Next, we took our all time bestselling Peggy Flegging and tried it in this fabric.
Why is it so popular? 
The fold-over tummy panel...it just gets you hooked. I like it folded over, some people like to wear it up as a torso slimmer.
Adjust according to your preference.
 

Workout tops are always a challenge. I like a coverage, ya know? I also do not know a single woman who can workout without wearing a bra under their tank, so I don't really see the point of a built-in shelf bra. Even if you're flat chested like me they are just inadequate. I'd like something cute that I can wear with my favorite sports bra, and I would be happy to have something that covers the lady parts.

Tank Top Purple Back.jpg

And most of all (not most of all, because the leggings are most of all) but really, the biggest non-performance challenge, the 'how we really live life' challenge, is how do we dress to and from the gym? The other 80% of the day?

Already I see crossover from KOKOON to KOKOON Inspired Sweat. 
At the July meeting the discussion inevitably turned to "can you put that into KIS?" and "I would wear that after working out to meet a friend for coffee".

This is a mesh version of the Figlio Pullover, a new bestselling body for KOKOON early fall. 
It works perfectly as a 'skimmer' over your workout clothes, but I know we'll all be wearing it out with jeans as well. 

I love the idea of 'skimmers' by the way. Pieces that skim over your body, either for working out or for transit.

As we grow, the technical side will evolve, but the lifestyle portion will really grow. And that makes perfect sense because that's what KOKOON has always been ~ casual, feminine, active, modern lifestyle.

Anyway, I hope you will love it as much as we do! 
KIS launches September 6th. Stay tuned for more in the near future.

XO,

Laine Sou

Trends My Friends! Fall/Winter 2016

It's always so fun to see what's IN and what's OUT for the upcoming season. 
The thing is, not much is out...everything just keeps rolling forward and women are not quick to be dictated to and not likely to give up their favorite items simply because the powers that be proclaim it so.
Choice is power.
Even the ultra feminine exudes strength, not vulnerability.  
Viva the age of #girlbosses.
The attitude has latitude, yo. 

The color stories this season offer a new perspective. How exciting to see pinks and blues alongside traditional fall colors! That feels powerful to me...like a freedom that has not existed before. Once women shed the notion that they could wear white jeans only in the summer, it was inevitably going to lead to all sorts of color anarchy. 

Every hue of Blue.

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I've always loved Mustard and Gold, and I think they are among the most versatile of colors and I often view them as a neutral that unexpectedly compliments so many colors. 

 

Talk about the ultimate power color...From Ruby to Tomato to rich Burgundies, Reds are being embraced by every woman. 

Green is the color of calm. It's also the color of combat. And envy. Go figure. 

Eeeeekkkkk!!! Can it finally be time for Pink to make it's long awaited comeback? I hope so. I think so. So much love being thrown this way. 

What's color without a straight man? Neutrals prevail in mostly Greys and Beig-ey Taupes this season. 

White is Right. Right on. 

When you wake up to freezing temperatures it's so easy to get all wrapped up in safe colors...try these combos and you'll give yourself and your spectators a happy boost! 

Luxe abounds with rich velvets, brocades, & jacquards. Downton Abbey's influence is alive and well.

Favorite!!! Knits...Rib knits....I'm obsessed!!!! So, so good. I mean, it's really impossible to survive winter without knits, and rib knits have an innately very forgiving quality. This season the rib knits rule.

Life is better with balance, and sheer elements are a foil to all the heaviness of fall textures.

Denim and Chambray take on new vibes with patchwork and a distinctly 70's influence. If I should come home with something acid-washed, I trust you will save me from myself. I'll do the same for you.

Leather and Suede is everywhere this fall. Loving the retro patchwork & modern trims! 

Yes! Exaggerated everything. Be it color or shape, this is the most interesting fur (faux over here) has been in a long time! 

Designers get creative with quilted textures and bring puff daddy coats to a whole new level. 

Metallic, The other neutral. Shine makes some star appearances. 

Plaid isn't just for grunge anymore. 

Tie Dye is always a crowd favorite, and the 70's influence is just fuel for the fire.

My other favorite...Houndstooth!! In all its incarnations...this feels the freshest and most exciting to me.

Animal prints shift back to favor Leopard prints, which is always welcome. Just ask Mrs. Robinson.

Love children, unite! And meet me at Coachella. 

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Good fabric draping is a supremely feminine trick. 

Pleating, razor pleating, ruffles, all making a huge comeback.

What looks sporty, tough, sexy, sophisticated, and even sweet, all at the same time? Yup. 

And the most popular cut out concept right now across the board is the cold shoulder. It prevails as the most recognizable trend out there. 

Turtlenecks are at once sexy, demure, conservative, and did I mention sexy? I want one, or three, don't you?

You know I love ties...be it a waist tie, a neck tie, a sleeve tie...

Peplums are BACK...with a vengeance!

Hemlines short? Long? Why decide when you can have the best of both worlds?

And I have a long love affair with midi lengths. I personally feel they are extremely sexy. I hope everyone else is with me. 

I never thought I would embrace cropped pants...then I became obsessed. 

Jumpsuits keep on truckin'.

Loving cape-let shoulders and capes!

Well, there's a way to make this trend cute....

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Biker chic is everywhere. Even in the gym with moto inspired workout wear turned to street wear. And it's not going away anytime soon.

And really, I feel this is the biggest trend of all...Tough Mother...reflecting a growing cultural mindset of girl bosses, Game of Thrones house leaders, fierce maternal instincts, and all around strong female role models everywhere you turn. 

I take it back...THIS is the biggest trend of all...

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 
Stay tuned for the next incarnation of KOKOON.
KOKOON Inspired Sweat. 

XO,

Laine

The Future is in Good Hands

Thursday marked the inaugural event of The Clothing Collective, a fundraiser to benefit sex traffic victims in the Philippines.

This was an ambitious project...the goal was to raise $50,000 to fund 2 safe houses in the Philippines. The creators, (mostly young twenty-somethings) Sami Huerta of Simply Sami, Paul Weaver, and a group of their friends got together and just made it happen. At Aria no less!

We donated some KOKOON overstock, as did some other local designers and retailers, and there was lots of additional gently-used clothing and accessories from individuals. The vibe was one of a slightly sophisticated and elevated clothing swap. 

Racks of gently used clothing were grouped by price point, $5, $10, $15, etc. What I thought was most brilliant was the signage at the ends of the racks ~
$5 buys a girl 3 meals for one day.
$15 provides transportation for a month.

The new donations from designers and retailers was a bit more confusing, with bid sheets on high tables next to each rack. I think next time the organizers will arrange that differently, but they adjusted on the fly and made it work. I suspect that if they continue with this event they will attract a tremendous amount of support. 
I, for one, will donate more next year, and probably a younger assortment, as I noticed my more mature styles were still on the rack, and my friend and I were double the age of just about anyone else there. 
But that's what was so striking and hopeful. It was quite emotional to see these young, energetic people use their time and talents to reach so far outside themselves to benefit others so desperately in need. 

I scored this cool cuff for $10.

And this cute little jean jacket for $25, along with a fantastic BCBG wool sweater, and a sky blue knitted sweater coat. 

Here's adorable Sami and her equally adorable mom.

Keep your eye on this girl, she's going to change the world.

What-r-ya Jonesin' For? Trend Watch ~ Spring 2016

Our Spring season officially launches on Monday, and every season I start with the trend report. I don't think we're a 'trendy' company, but I definitely want to help our clients look On Trend, and current.

I always start with color. Color is the most influential trend, because it pervades everything. You absorb it without even knowing. 
Last year's Pantone color of the year was a disaster ~ Radiant Orchid ~ total bust IMHO. So when I heard rumors they were going to go with Rose Quartz this year, I was bummed out and a little confused ~ to my mind Blue should have been the obvious choice the past 2 years. 
And in a bold move, Pantone announced a  tie for the first time ever...Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue would share the top spot ~ what a revolutionary idea! 

Woo Hoo! A Tie!! 

Woo Hoo! A Tie!! 

Pantone's top picks for spring are mostly punchy-and pop-y. Saturated, cheerful, and bright colors with a few softer tones and grounding neutrals.

The Golden Globes is kind of the public's first look into which trends will lead for the upcoming season. White and Ivory, Red, Metallics, and deep saturated colors like JLo's Buttercup gowns were standouts. Below is a broader color forecast from Lenzing. 

Blue...every shade and hue...is right on. Deep dark Navy, Marine, Baby Blue, Aqua, Seaglass, all feel right now. 

And Coral is what Radiant Orchid should have been. This is a high demand color and looks good on every skin tone.

Intense colors are unusual for spring, we usually don't see them until high summer. The rich jewel tones of Fall are spilling into the new season and they couldn't look better!

Black and White. Boring? NEVER. Solid White and Ivory look just so good.

Our eyeballs need a break from all those brights. Icy Grays and neutrals ranging from nude to blush help keep things grounded.

There's a lot going on this season for sure. prints are getting bolder again. This is the first season in a couple years that I've actually been able to find a variety of prints in the market. 

Stripes are still important (thankfully) but they aren't the only visually interesting thing available.

Rib Knits ~ Yay! 

Lingerie details are making a big splash again. Lace is everywhere.

And denim and chambray are a whole category developing outside of just jeans. 

Texture blocking continues as patchwork looks are still popular.

Pleating details, lots of gathering, and Ruffles! Ruffles and ruffle-type looks are making a comeback.

One of my favorite trends is the return of the bell sleeve, fluted sleeve, and sleeve details in general. If any of you watched the latest season of The Voice...Gwen Stefani's finale dress...the ivory crepe dress, super fitted, with the bell sleeves...? Get. Out. 

Necks are IN. Necklines are IN. Collars on shirts and mandarin collars, turtlenecks and mock t's are hugely popular, the 'X' factor, yoke details, ruffles, and skinny neckties...so much fun to choose from!

Cutouts are still happening...it was easier to count who didn't have a cutout detail on their gown at the Globes than who did.

And I would have to guess that the bare shoulder will be the biggest trend of Spring 2016. You will see it everywhere and in every incarnation. We might all be sick of it by August. Who knows...but until then let's just enjoy it!

No one is going to tell us girls how to wear our skirts again. Apparently. Anything goes.

The same is kind of true for pants again, too. Anything goes...Long and full, full and cropped, long and flared, short and flared, long and skinny, cropped and skinny, pleated, flat front, printed, tuxedo striped, paneled, ripped...The freshest look is cropped and flared for sure. It looks modern and retro and funky. Cute with a wedge or kitten heel. I usually hate cropped and full...culottes = gross...but I have to admit the silhouette is creeping into my psyche. And as one of our Stylists reminded me at the sales conference, a few years ago I said I would NEVER do printed pants. And as I stood there in my printed pants, I thought to myself, I won't rule it out.

Crop tops, or least the idea of a cropped layer over a longer layer, continues and looks super cute.

Jumpsuits are having a heyday! And they're interchangeable with a maxi dress or sundress.

Nerds rule the world.

Love the skinny neck tie look, and ties and drawstrings in general are everywhere.

The sporty trend isn't going away, it's a whole category that will be an important part of every woman's wardrobe. Sneakers, flatforms (I actually bought a pair!) are being highlighted on streetwear blogs everywhere, and PYT celebrity sightings are fueling that trend. This is how we live, and sometimes the only way to get women out of their workout clothes is to give them clothes that look...like their workout clothes. 

Yay, 70's!! Everything 70's all the time! Except when it's 60's. Or 80's.

Shoes are the only thing that matter besides clothes. Mules, slides, whatever you want to call them. They are the big shoe trend this season. 

Do you have a favorite trend or trends you're jonesing after this season?
I kind of love them all...I'm pretty excited about the bell sleeves and the neck details. And I think the cropped flared pants are going to be great. And the more sporty styles, because they are just so easy. but I love dresses in the spring and summer, so I will probably end up loving those best...who knows? It's just exciting to even to be talking about spring and what to wear!! 

Xo,

Laine Sou