Image courtesy Brit and Kara Elkin
Interview

Brit & Kara Elkin

09.15.14

Sister design duo, Brit and Kara Elkin, launched their ready-to-wear line, ELKIN, in 2011 after years of experience working in the fashion and jewelry industries. The LA-based girls attribute literature and their LA lifestyle as constant sources of inspiration for the line. The collection tends to have a feminine sensibility, but coupled with certain surprising elements reminiscent of the mystery parts of LA still maintain. A collection contains edgy t-shirts and baby doll dresses – enough variance in one brand to fulfill our most yin and yang of days.

Interview

When did you launch Elkin?

Our first collection was Fall ’11, and is still one of our favorites. It was our Gothic Romance collection, featuring the baddest babe, Z Berg.

What’s it like working with your sister? Do you two always agree?

Kara: We agree on almost everything outside of work…working together is very trying but obviously also very satisfying. All the disagreements and objects being thrown across the studio at one another is worth it when we both can look at the final product and feel so happy and so connected. And repeat.

Brit: I think it’s the most fun I could have, and the coolest, most brilliant partner I could have. We definitely do not always agree, but I think our differences are what make for a better end result. We fought more in the beginning stages of our label, since we didn’t know yet how to be sisters, friends AND business partners…but I think we’ve figured it out by now.

Everything is made in LA – is this at all limiting?

It was a choice to have everything made in LA, so it not limiting to us, but rather important to us to manufacture here and support the LA fashion/garment industry. Having grown up in LA, we have such strong ties to the city and really love having our label rooted in that local community.

We’ve been working with the same development team and manufacturers for years, even before ELKIN launched, so they are all like family to us. They understand ELKIN and what we want perfectly.

How does the culture in LA inspire your collections?

Kara: We love LA because there are so many colorful people, so many cultures, so many hidden pockets to explore, and it is high-end meets low-end to an extreme. That balance of high meets low, bad meets good, is what we try to have come across in our collections.

Brit: Everything about LA bleeds into our collections, though I don’t think it’s overt. We just always have a tiny piece of LA woven into our collections, which mainly comes from that vintage/modern, effortlessly cool aura that our LA projects. We love East LA – the dirtier downtown side, the Echo Park food trucks, the small music venues; and we love West LA – the chicer, more polished parts of LA. These two contrasts, and equally cool parts, inspire and make up our collections.

Your shapes are very feminine – does this describe your personal aesthetic as well?

Kara: Brit is more feminine, but we both have a fairly feminine backbone when it comes to our style. We never are too feminine or too masculine though. Yes, our staple might be a sweet little Babydoll dress or vintage slip, but it’s always paired with a grungy tee shirt or great leather jacket.

Brit: Kara is darker than me, but I would say we are both feminine for sure, however not limited to feminine. We need feminine to be mixed with something more imperfect. We love a feminine silhouette and an ethereal, romantic feel. The vintage, romantic, feminine side of ELKIN is very apparent and a big part of who we are. I think we start with feminine silhouettes and then add on from there, infusing edgier details to offset.

I discovered your brand on Instagram via Jennifer Meyer’s page – does this happen to you often?

Jen is such a supporter and lover of ELKIN, so hearing that is so sweet, and not surprising at all. Her talent is just as big as her heart… huge. We don’t have enough great things to say about her or her incredible jewelry.

Emma Roberts stars in your Fall 2014 lookbook – how did she become a face of the brand?

We kidnapped her and threatened her life if she said no. Emma is our dear friend, as well as ELKIN’s ideal girl. She was a fan of our label early on and we instantly became best friends…the three of us just have the most fun together

Do you follow the traditional retail calendar or release new collections in the current season?

We follow the overall calendar that almost everyone adheres to, but we don’t limit ourselves because of a calendar. We are creating things all the time and coming up with limited edition items that we can show and sell any day or month. It’s nice to give people “in-betweeners,” as we call them.

Can you tell us anything about SS15?

Of Mice and Men.

Who are your favorite style icons?

Brit: Kara. The ye-ye girls. Tom Waits. Maya Deren. Patti Smith. Eloise.

Kara: Brit. Miss Hannigan.

 

What are the best things to do in LA this time of year?

Top thing to do right now is to drive out to Neptunes Net in Malibu for seafood and beer on the beach. The Echo Park Lake is a favorite spot of ours…just having a big picnic with friends. The Greek Theatre and the Hollywood Bowl are two spots we always go to to see shows. Outdoor Mexican restaurants in LA for a good Margarita, or Casa Vega in the Valley for margs is so good.

Vintage shopping in Los Feliz and Silver Lake and then getting a glass of wine and a bite at Cafe Figaro. And watching movies at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Where can New Yorkers shop your collection?

We think all New Yorkers should be a member of the ELKIN Asshole Club, if they aren’t already… they can shop/join through us directly on our website.

The whole world can shop our collection on Shopbop.

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