IN Interviews : Ilana Kohn

Infashuated has been following Ilana Kohn’s work for several years and the amount of success and following this young designer has amassed within a few years is almost incomprehensible. Kohn is one of a few designers in the industry that design for modern practicability, with a tasteful, no-fuss approach to her designs season after season since 2012. We met the designer for the first time during a last-minute trip to California last fall for LA’s annual Market Week. Upon stifling the fan-girl inside, we managed to introduce ourselves and purchase some of the coolest items from her SS17 collection. Throughout all this, her humble light-hearted attitude, plus easy charm, made her even more remarkable, and the type of sought-after talent we look forward to working with for years to come.

Tell us a little about yourself (e.g., where is home, where did you grow up)?
I grew up in Arlington, VA.  South Arlington, right next to DC.  Pretty normal and run of the mill place to grow up!  Moved to Brooklyn for college. Never left. Been living here for almost 20 years now.

Given all the different things that you’ve done in your life so far (illustration, historic preservation, and fashion) what are some ways in which that has influenced your collections?
Those are simply my interests and always have been, those things are just me.  I’ve always loved drawing, painting, and history.  I suppose that is why I’m so particular about colors and prints, and have always been very drawn to vintage silhouettes, or at least elements of them.

Ilana Kohn Gary Jumpsuit
Ilana Kohn Kate Crop & Nico Pants

Currently, what are some areas of interest that you find influential or exciting in regards to the future of design?
I think it’s pretty amazing to think about this particular niche I operate in — we’re not quite fashion, but we’re also beyond simply utlilitarian everyday clothing.  I guess stores refer to us as contemporary?  But I’d say we’re even a niche within that.  We’re not trying to create art or push boundaries but it’s still a step above just throwing something on cause you can’t walk out the door nekked. It’s casual and for everyday.  It appeals to ladies who care very much about clothes, but capital ‘F’ fashion may not be for them. I feel like that’s a niche that’s really grown exponentially over the past decade or so and continues to grow, grow, grow.

“… STILL A STEP ABOVE JUST THROWING SOMETHING ON CAUSE YOU CAN’T WALK OUT THE DOOR NEKKED.”


Fashion can be quite fickle and competitive. How do you navigate and collaborate with other designers in the industry?
Lol, yes. I just choose to surround myself with people who are kind and genuine, and try to tune out the rest for my sanity’s sake …

Every brand feels they have, “that thing.” How do you set the Ilana Kohn label apart from the masses?
We really just create what WE want to wear every season and cross our fingers that the market is feeling it, too?  We don’t really focus so much on setting ourselves apart, we just do our thing and luckily that seems to work. 😉

Ilana Kohn Steven Dress
Ilana Kohn Aaron Shirt

Who are your followers (e.g., New Yorkers, young professionals, other creatives, etc.)?
You already nailed it. 🙂

What’s next for Ilana Kohn? Is there anything coming up that you can hint?
Honestly, we don’t have any big surprises for you! We’ve been growing so fast lately, we’re just trying to get a handle on the stuff at hand.  Once that settles though, maybe we’ll consider something new and exciting though.

Rapid Fire

What’s currently on your music playlist?
Honestly, I spend so much time in front of the computer and can’t have music on when I’m working, but otherwise it’s prob T. Rex. 🙂

The farthest you’ve traveled?
So sad, I’ve never really left the country except for when I went to Isreal for the birthright trip in college?! SO I guess that’s the farthest I’ve traveled.

Gary Jumpsuit or Steven Dress?
Gary!

Best pizza spot in Brooklyn?
EMILY!

Last time you felt truly Infashuated?
I did get hitched pretty recently and was def feeling pretty darn Infashuated with my dress from Alexandra Grecco. 😉

Big thank you to Ilana Kohn for the awesome interview and for an equally awesome sense of humor. You can find more of Ilana’s beautiful pieces online and in select stores nationwide. Shop our Ilana Kohn collection!

Alicia Fairclough-Buford

Based in Portland, Ore., Alicia writes and illustrates for Infashuated.com. Follow her on instagram.