Ade Velkon: Clothes for Women on a Mission
December 20, 2015 STORE OF THE WEEK
Molly McDonnell and Kathrin Kaiser create Ade Velkon – womenswear with a minimal, androgynous flair – out of their Berlin studio. Chic but incredibly wearable, it’s no wonder the two designers are as down-to-earth and lovely as their line.
Are you creating your line full time? If not, what else do you do?
Kathrin: Both of us have side jobs, so we manage our label part time. Our side jobs are pretty flexible, which gives us the opportunity to shift things around when we need to put in more hours for the label, like when an event is coming up, or during production. When I’m not busy with Ade Velkon I’m working at a creative agency.
Molly: I don’t have a fixed side job, I manage an event space with my husband. It is also a lot of work, but I appreciate the flexibility it allows me. I can even be working at the Ade studio, while answering emails and coordinating things for my event space throughout the day.
How did you two meet each other and create the brand?
Molly: We met through a mutual friend who knew that Kathrin had just quit her job and was looking for a more creative project to get involved with, and that I was actively on the hunt for a partner to start a fashion label with. He put us together and we just started collaborating right off the bat.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
Kathrin: Well, we create stories, something like fairy tales without words. At the heart of each story is a woman and we send her on different travels each collection. She gives us a focus within the collection. Her strengths and weaknesses, her fears and tricks to survive. It’s a bit abstract though and never important if she achieves something in the end. We put her in a scenario and then see where Molly and I bring her together. It sets a mood and her environment inspires us, mostly nature inspires us.
Which product is your favorite in the shop at the moment, and why?
Molly: I’m personally a big fan of our white long dress from SS15. It has a really flattering cut at the shoulders and I like how the layering worked out using this cool sheer knit that has almost a mesh-like effect.
Kathrin: The coatdress I guess. It’s so versatile and has an easy elegance. It’s also very comfortable to wear. I also like the palazzo pants a lot, they are just so cool!
What other moments have been significant for your line?
Molly: In the beginning, when we were just getting started, we took over my living room and used that as our studio. In the spring of last year we got our own space in a really industrial neighborhood in Berlin. I love the feeling in our new studio. It is a simple space, but has great light and good energy. Having our studio in it’s own space, separate from either of our homes, helps me take the label more seriously somehow. It feels less like a hobby and more like a real job.
Kathrin: For me the shootings and the outcome of it are always very important moments. I just like how our designs are coming together, the styling, the whole ambience in the studio. All the work we’ve done is coming together and that gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
Any particularly funny moments or good feedback that you’ve received?
Molly: I am beyond fortunate to be surrounded by talented and artistic friends. Their support and encouragement is the most meaningful to me. Our dear friend, Holly Mae Haddock, who is a super talented singer/songwriter and who is also one of our major muses, said once that she dreams to some day have a closet full of our designs. This to me was the best feedback.
Kathrin: I get requests from women living in my parent’s town. I mean, I come from a very, very small village in Austria, which makes it so funny. I don’t really see Ade Velkon on the countryside, but that there are women who buy our designs is just amazing.
Do you have any tips for other entrepreneurs/artists/designers?
Molly: Always listen to your gut. Do things at your own pace and trust that if you stay true to yourself and your vision, things will work out somehow, even if unexpectedly.
Kathrin: I can only agree with Molly. Its important to stay authentic, at least that’s how I feel about it. It’s the only way to not go crazy in the hassle of building a company. It’s a lot of work and only by being true to you, and those closest to you, can you focus your energy on the right things.
Do you have a favorite Tictail store you want to recommend?
Molly: I love the shoes from De Ubieta. They have really strong silhouettes, but seem extremely comfortable at the same time. I like the sporty edge, but there is simplicity there too, not too over the top.
Kathrin: There are a lot stores to recommend, for example Ann-Sofie Back, or the second hand store Collection N°2. I just browse through now and then and find new stores I like every time. Hard to pick a favorite!
What does the future hold for your line?
Molly: Well, in the very near future we have a sales event coming up at the end of this month, that we are putting together here in Berlin. It’s something we enjoy planning and have had fun events similar in the past. It’s a great way for us to get real feedback from the local community here and have more one-on -one with our customers in Berlin. Other than that we plan to just keep on with new collections and see where it all takes us!
Interview by Rachel