Say Gah! To Kara Jubin—Los Angeles-based fashion designer and the visionary behind KkCo, a unisex line rightfully solidifying itself with cult-favorite status. We stopped by Kara’s Downtown LA studio to meet the designer, chat through her innovative line, her upcoming plans for the brand, and to celebrate the launch of KkCo at Lisa Says Gah.
LSG: Hi Kara! Tell us about yourself!
KJ: I’m from a small suburban town in New Jersey about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan. I studied Design in New York and moved to LA almost 10 years ago now. It’s crazy how fast time flies when there aren’t seasons. I physically cannot *not* be doing something so I’m always working on some sort of creative project or trying out a new (and sometimes failed) hobby.
I’m the founder and designer of KkCo but I also freelance for a few other brands, recently became obsessed with repurposing furniture, and have taken up biking and climbing. I love the outdoors and camp a lot with my boyfriend and dog. One of the best things about living in LA is having the best camping locations within a short drive’s distance — I’ll always share my spots if you share yours!
LSG: Tell us a little bit about your past, and how you found yourself starting your own line, KkCo.
KJ: My mom always loved fashion — she collected every W and Vogue magazine through the 90s (we had bookshelves of them) and she even made her own patterns and sewed full garments for me when I was a child. It was a hobby she was really passionate about that was inherently passed down to me.
I grew up in this environment, went to school for design, and then jumped right into it. I’ve mostly worked with independent brands that produce locally here in LA — I’ve done everything from design to development to production. When producing locally, you really get your hands dirty, you’re in the factories, physically running to vendors, editing patterns, and meeting most of the suppliers face to face. Those experiences are what really set me up to a point that I felt ready to launch KkCo. I had built my relationships, put in my time for other brands, and was finally ready to do it for myself. Honestly, it was all timing.
Dana is the true definition of a multi-hyphenate, constantly creating, no matter the medium. Dana is proudly of middle eastern descent, and is always looking to use her photography/film work to breakdown stereotypes, and depict a positive representation of middle-eastern/Muslim communities. Boulos Is also a fierce advocate for women's rights—she currently supports Free The Work, a non-profit initiative advocating on behalf of female directors for equal job opportunities.
“When producing locally, you really get your hands dirty, you’re in the factories, physically running to vendors, editing patterns, and meeting most of the suppliers face to face. Those experiences are what really set me up to a point that I felt ready to launch KkCo. I had built my relationships, put in my time for other brands, and was finally ready to do it for myself. Honestly, it was all timing."
LSG: Describe KkCo in 3 words.
LSG: What's your (and KkCo's) approach to style?
KJ: I always love to play with juxtaposing concepts — blending masculine with feminine, sport with special occasion, form with function. It’s all about finding balance in mixing unexpected worlds.
LSG: Show us your favorite piece you've ever designed—and please share why in one sentence!
KJ: Our Nine Twenty-Seven Dress will forever be the most special piece we’ve ever made. I actually designed this right before launching KkCo as my wedding dress but wound up loving the dress so much that I carried it into the brand as our very first piece ever — it’s style number is literally 01. It’s now a staple that we have every season and even now offer it under our CEREMONY collection!
LSG: What's been one of your greatest challenges running a small business, and something that's been rewarding?
KJ: The biggest challenge is learning that mistakes will happen and things won't always go as planned. It’s ok and can actually be for the best sometimes! I’ve learned to be flexible and adapt adapt adapt!
The most rewarding thing is simply just getting to work with everyone involved — from the factory to our retail partners to our in-house team. Since we’re so small, everyone makes a huge impact on the brand. It’s cool to see that and to see everyone get excited about small wins
LSG: You also design womenswear for one of our favorite brands, Brain Dead. What do you like most about being able to have two outlets to express yourself?
KJ: I really love designing for other perspectives. You’re basically entering into another world where you’re designing for their story. Brain Dead is one of my personal favorite brands and I’ve been working with the team for years so it’s something I thoroughly love and enjoy.
LSG: What are some exciting things you have on the horizon for KkCo you can tell us about!
KJ: We’re moving our studio to Chinatown and opening up our very first retail space! Stay tuned for the opening and fun parties :)
LSG: Style icon?
KJ: My friends.
LSG: Favorite color?
KJ: This changes constantly. Right now, orange.
LSG: Fave material to work with?
LSG: Fave pattern?
KJ: Anything done with tie-dye
LSG: What do you say GAH to!?
KJ: My dog!
Text: Madeline Sensible
Photos: Dana Boulos