Image courtesy of Kate Ciepluch
Interview

Kate Ciepluch

06.24.13

Former fashion director of Shopbop turned designer Kate Ciepluch is the creative force behind Laveer, a women’s fashion collection of must-have blazers and jackets. Ciepluch got her start in fashion as one of the first employees of then little-known e-commerce site, Shopbop. After working her way up the ranks and spearheading the site’s expansion into footwear, swim, jewelry, and handbags, Ciepluch became the fashion director of the now e-tailer powerhouse. Today, her keen eye for style goes into designing modern blazers in different lengths and fits, giving women the perfect wardrobe staple to pull any outfit together.

Interview

Laveer means, “to sail against the wind.” Why did choose this as the name of your line?

Laveer is a nautical term, which felt appropriate for a blazer line. I wanted to take a classic garment and go a bit against the grain with the design elements. My guy friend who is an artist once said to me, “Your jackets have these sneaky funky twists on something traditional” — that felt really good to hear because that’s exactly what I am going for. The styles have to have attitude, but I want them to be wearable and something you want to sport for years and years — nothing too trendy.

As Shopbop’s former fashion director, a consultant, and editor for various publications, what ultimately made you decide to launch a line of jackets?

I had an epiphany on a plane home from China, where I had just styled a runway show. The brand’s publicist kept saying over and over again “What about a jacket?” “It needs a blazer,” and when I went to look, I wanted to see a wider offering. I have always dreamt of launching a collection, and for me, focusing on one category was a more manageable approach and less intimidating way to go. This way I can hone in and really nail one thing. I want to attract a customer base that learns the styles she loves, what size is best, and continues to come back for more! That’s how I shop…I have the same Acne pistol boot in three colors, the same Current Elliot leather leggings in three colors, etc.

Are your jackets available on Shopbop?

They are! I still get to work with my friends, how amazing is that?!

You’re close with designer Jonathan Simkhai. Do you guys bounce ideas off each other?

You don’t even want to know how much…we get a little over the top. It’s great to be able to confide in someone who cares and gets it — we are both extremely headstrong passionate Taurus creatures. Scary. I’m also a girl, so I can actually come put his clothes on. He has taught be a ton about construction too.

How many collections a year do you create?

Four collections, eight deliveries. I’m really focused on making this a buy now wear now collection. If it’s shipping in October, I want to offer the customer a warm, cozy, amazing, fuzzy hoodie even though it is technically “resort.” This is about her life and what she needs for it.

How tough is it to produce in New York City?

It’s so fun to be able to leave my office, walk a few steps, and be in my factory vs. getting on a plane overseas. Production is the heart of the business so to be there only makes things easier.

Which designers do you wear beneath your signature jackets?

Jonathan Simkhai (of course), A.L.C., Acne…I am having a printed pant moment too and have found some great styles form Piamita and Pencey. Frame denim is also my new go to!

Which jacket is your favorite?

I live in the silk bomber. It feels so good on your body and it just works everywhere — a dinner party, to yoga, wherever!

Do you have plans to evolve into a full collection?

Do you have a crystal ball? I would love to know what’s next!

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