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We've been admiring the all-female operation of Los Angeles-based clothing brand Dôen since we first covered its launch in February. While the exclusively e-commerce business has an entire collective of talented ladies working hard behind the scenes, Dôen was first dreamed up by sisters Margaret and Katherine Kleveland, and the duo still use their sororal bond — as well as the connection they share in motherhood — as a cornerstone of their company.
The Kleveland women, who hail from sunny Santa Barbara, both came from corporate fashion backgrounds with a common goal to create a line with the vintage vibe of muses like Jane Birkin (the icon is frequently featured on Dôen's Instagram), a brand rooted by the identity of its customers, and a collaborative creative team of women to work with. Their direct-to-customer clothing line is exactly that, and Margaret and Katherine have already made a mark with their locally/ethically produced, Californian collection — as evidenced by their fashionable following.
We got the chance to chat with the ladies about why it works to work with a sibling and how they collaborated on a common mission, as well as which pieces best capture their current personal style and what's coming up for fall.
What would you say each of you is specifically bringing to Dôen?
KK: The process has been an equal collaboration from the beginning; from brand concept to design to strategy, we have worked hand in hand. Our skill sets both compliment each other's very well, while overlapping enough to be able to support each other in a very comprehensive way. Margaret is responsible for running the business and I am responsible for running design and development, but we both have our hands and eyes on everything. We are basically each others main muses!
What was your common goal in creating the brand?
The goal was to create a line of wearable, bohemian, feminine pieces for our women peers; with high quality and design at an affordable price point. We are both moms and are very inspired by motherhood, wanting to embrace more of our feminine side while still needing all pieces to be functional. We decided to sell direct to consumer via our website so that we could extend the best value to our customer by removing the middleman (retailers). It has been so fun connecting with our customers on all channels and understanding what speaks to them.
Which pieces from the current collection are you each most obsessed with at the moment and how do you style it?
KK: I have been living in my Deep Ink Wrap Dress. I wear it barefoot around the house and at the pool or throw on flats for a simple date night.
MK: I'm usually not a sleeveless person but I basically only want to wear the Neroli Dress these days. I joke that I'm going to start sleeping in it and never take off, which might actually happen soon.
What's next for Dôen?
We are very excited for the knitwear pieces in our fall collection; they are really essential but also feel novel and covetable — specifically a hand knit take on a traditional fisherman sweater in an exaggerated cable. That sweater is hand knit by women in Peru, through a program that teaches export to a community that would otherwise not have access to this type of market. We both were able to visit Peru and our partner there, which was a huge inspiration and turning point for the brand.