Words and photography by Rand Niederhoffer
When designer Ilana Kohn enrolled in a Masters Program for Historic Preservation, she imagined herself graduating into a comfortable 9 to 5 with job security, but little room for creative expression. Four years later, the designer now uses her degree to source references for the compelling 60s inspired patterns and prints that comprise the Ilana Kohn Collection. She never did end up graduating.
By the time I was ready [to graduate], I figured screw preservation. Im doing this full time. Im starting my line, says Kohn.
Kohn launched her first full collection in SS12, shortly thereafter she was able to stop hand-sewing her line and outsource production to In God We Trust. Her label has since become a fixture in the Brooklyn design community. Kohn is now sold at specialty stores around the country including Belkina and Myrtle in L.A. Her clothing and scarves are bartered and traded by designers like Odette, Ace & Jig and Dusen Dusen. And this December in Manhattans Chelsea neighborhood, shell share a pop-up space with similarly aligned labels such as Alexandra Grecco and Micaela Greg. As people who work for themselves, were eachothers support system. Its hard to be creative without these people. Not only are they amazing, theyre incredibly supportive.
For all of Kohns recent successes and supply-chain advances, she hasnt given up of her craft. Many of the pieces Kohn will show at her pop-up will be hand-marbled, a labor-intensive process that ensures each piece is completely unique.
I feel creatively fulfilled. I feel like I could keep going and the ideas keep coming. I dont feel stifled like I did.
Your fashion fairy godmother dresses you; what are you wearing?
Yves St Laurent Le Smoking. Tomboy chic at its finest.
ICIa small restaurant in my neighborhood, Fort Greene. For some reason it seems to be somewhat under the radar, but it has the best food in the hood!
Best evening in?
Eating pizza and watching period pieces on Netflix with the bf & fur baby (Kohns cat).
When I'm not designing I like to...
I like poking around old houses.
When I was little I thought I'd be a...
Even as a kid, I wanted to design textiles and make clothes. I also imagined I might be a cartoonist though! Or a colonial lady
Last time you laughed out loud?
I have a pretty juvenile sense of potty humor so it's probably best not to print it. :)