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Plotting a world domination plan and dressing the part are only a few keys to unlocking girl boss status. Prepping for success calls for something beyond a boxy briefcase borrowed from the boys, and that's precisely the goal of new bicoastal brand Faike. Penthouse office, here we come.
Launched this fall by fashion industry veterans Maria Kennedy and Stephanie Otto, the Fortune-favored luxury label aims to deck out the desks and arms of design-obsessed, "self-assured, and self-made professionals" with its line of uber-luxe leather accessories. "She takes a lot of appointments and meetings where presenting herself in a polished manner is vital," says Kennedy, who previously worked at Calvin Klein in NYC before relocating to LA. (Otto remains in the Big Apple.)
The brand's take on desktop dressing is monochrome but decidedly anti-corporate: classic office carryalls have been re-imagined as the Non-Conformist Briefcase, a minimalist-yet-functional attaché finished with a lucite handle ($2,750), and the Editor Tote ($1,685). There's the very drought-tolerant snake plant ($775) for even the most black-thumbed boss ladies; for the future CEO still on a worker bee budget, the '90s-inspired lambskin scrunchie ($75) will simplify your "#PerfectPowerPony". Natch, the debut line is crafted in the same Italian factory used by luxury fashion houses.
Below, find out more about Faike's story, how America's capital inspired the brand's first piece, its LA-based co-founder's favorite local haunts, and more.
How was Faike born?
I come from a strong branding background with a keen interest in design, and Stephanie comes from a strong design background with a keen interest in branding.
We were introduced by a mutual friend who knew we both wanted to start our own fashion company and looking for a great partner. I then moved from NY to LA, and Stephanie emailed me out of the blue referencing an article that I happened to have open on my laptop.
Serendipitous signs kept urging us to entertain the thought of a bicoastal company together. I like to say that we are the 60/40 and 40/60 mix, but we do everything at Faike 50/50.
What inspired you to create the brand?
We both truly wanted to start something that was bigger than a fashion label. It started by riffing on a bunch of ideas, and a lot of Pinterest black holes. We knew our aesthetics aligned, though we couldn't quite figure out the product.
Unrelated at the time, my sister was working at the the White House. She needed a work bag that made her feel powerful and sophisticated, and she asked for my help. I realized quickly that there weren't really any fashion bags on the market specifically for working women, and that there was huge gap between heritage luxury brands and your basic utility work bags.
Stephanie suggested the look of a classic vintage attache, and then it all kind of organically took shape into a brand that would cater to modern, professional women, and could ultimately be so much more than bags.
Tell us more about the Faike woman.
She breathes quality and design. She stays on top of literature, art, politics etc. for both business and pleasure. She loves her technology, and her life necessitates that her products cater to this.
What the inspiration behind the designs?
Art and architecture are the main inspirations behind the designs. We have a massive Pinterest collection with all sorts of dissected topics and visual tangents. Living in LA, I love referencing places like the Eames Case Study House #8, the Lovell House, and all the random Art Deco treasures throughout the city.
There is this one house I'm obsessed with in my neighborhood on Mansfield Avenue by architect Walter Sydney Orme (who is not well known) that looks like a 1930s ship. The round windows and long straight lines with curved edges really speak to me. I also love researching artist who have been inspired by LA like David Hockney, Ken Price, and an all-time favorite, Isamu Noguchi.
We constantly look to our professional friends for inspiration on new products. The plant was inspired by one of my best friends who felt guilty about killing her office plants all the time!
Where are a few of your favorite spots to eat, play, and relax in LA?
Petit Trois and Trois Mec — I love the cozy atmosphere and delicious food and drinks. They introduced me to Beurre de Burrat (butter), and Trois Mec has the best comprehensive '90s hip-hop playlist, which decidedly makes your buckwheat popcorn taste better! They do first-come late night seating now too...shhhh! Good Girl Dinette is a new favorite. Everything on the menu is good, and I keep trying to replicated their house-made pop! And Salt's Cure burger with cheese is my favorite burger in LA.
For shopping, [I love] Ooga Booga bookstore. They have really fun openings/events and I love popping in there to see what new stuff they have for sale. My newest interest is the Los Angeles Conservancy; they have really interesting tours and events related to the history of this enigmatic city.
I love to relax at Barnsdall Art Park. A rather modest turn off Hollywood Boulevard and you are led up to one of the most incredible views of the city. Plus I love being in the company of anything Frank Lloyd Wright. I love to grab the paper, coffee, and a donut (S&K glazed, of course), and enjoy an early weekend morning.
I also really enjoyed going to the "California Scenario" sculpture park by Isamu Noguchi in Costa Mesa. It is an incredible place to collect your thoughts and worth the drive.
What does the future of Faike look like?
Our goal is to create a full lifestyle around the professional woman. We are definitely going to build out the line with additional products. Clothing, objects, furniture — the possibilities are limitless. We want to deck her out in all aspects of her professional life. Stay tuned!