Interview: Lidwien from Kyra & Ko
by Simone Braaksma
One of the Kyra & Ko designers opens a book about the ins and outs of the brand – exclusively for Perfectly Basics – she shares their vision for design and passion for the fashion industry.
The now very successful brand Kyra & Ko is loved by many women. Women in all shapes and sizes, young and older, with classic to casual dressing styles. The versatile Kyra woman cannot be described in one word. They do, however, have one thing in common: the love for clothing with a modern silhouette, a perfect fit and made from beautiful and astonishing materials. Kyra Macropoulos and Lidwien van der Klei create this type of clothing. They sail a solid personal coarse ad design timeless fashion with a fine, recognizable individual style.
We talked to Lidwien from Kyra & Ko, and got a lot of information about her personal life, her friendship with Kyra and her love for her employees.
Soul mates with a mission
These soul mates for life have known each other since they were fifteen, they do not only share their passion for fashion but also the ups and downs which life throws at them. Kyra had been working as an independent agent for years, Lidwien worked in both purchase and development department at major retailers. When they were about fourty they both felt as if they were ready for a new chapter in their lives. ‘We started a brainstorm full of inspiration. How could we turn our ideas into a new, exciting challenge?’. Soon after the idea of starting our own brand came, the contact already existed. ‘We decided to jump off the deep end and to totally go for our own mission and our own feeling’. It was the start of the little Kyra & Ko collection, created at the kitchen table.
The Kyra & Ko feeling
The Kyra & Ko office breathes the feel of the brand: a white base forms a canvas for the colourful collections. From the charming building in Haarlem you can look out over the water – a sense of peace flushes over you. We understand very well that the duo is comfortable here and can peacefully work on the new collections. But how are the tasks actually divided? ‘It all comes very naturally. Together we look at many fabric collections and determine the color direction for the coming season. Then we choose the fabrics and the patterns and begin sketching designs of the models. We often visit Antwerp, Paris and New York to see and feel ‘what’s going on’. Then I will focus mainly on the actual realization of the collection, I elaborate on the ideas with our stylist, whom turns the sketches into professional drawings. I also maintain contact with the manufacturers with regard to the planning of the collection. Kyra does the PR, setting up the photo shoots and she makes sure all the bills are paid on time.’
Designing is based on intuition: ‘We work mainly from the Kyra & Ko feeling, fabrics and colors are very important in this process.’ Of course trends are also taken into account, but the collections are always timeless, modern and often colorful and pure. For anyone who doesn’t want to just blindly follow the rest in fashion.
A dedicated team
Lidwien talk about her team in a nutshell: the small team consists of professional, enthusiastic women, whom – all in part time, because they are all mothers – are full of passion and fully dedicated to the success of the company. ‘Everyone is very experienced and works independently on their own ‘projects‘ within Kyra & Ko. This is very convenient because there is a good balance between effectiveness and sociability. Aside from that it provides something extra for the girls: enough time for their private lives. ‘A great balance between work and private life is very imporant according to Lidwien. ‘From the start of the brand, we’ve always made sure that there was enough time left over to live our own lives and do our own things. Kyra is still a part time stewardess at KLM and travels all around the world. For me, my two boys now 19 years old, are the biggest and most beautiful projects of my life. Furthermore we both love reading, cooking, watching movies, making our homes beautiful, taking walks and meeting dear friends. All these things are important in order to recharge and get new energy’.
Room to dream
Of course there is always room for new dreams. Crossing the border wouldn’t be bad either: ‘After the Netherlands and Belgium, we also want to see if we can make women in Denmark and Germany happy. Again, we don’t want to force anything: we are growing organically and achieving everything step by step. During our ‘journey’ we see what type of people encounter us and see what opportunities arise. As long as it feels good we go along with, if it doesn’t feel good we stop’. After almost ten years we still enjoy what we do every single day. We put our love for prints and fabrics into every garment and hope that all Kyra & Ko fans can feel this. Then we can say our mission is accomplished.
Read more >>