New York husband and wife design duo Daniel and Lynda Kinne are the founders and brain child behind the cutting edge clothing brand À La Disposition. Known for their excellent tailoring, bespoke silhouettes & avant-garde designs, À La Disposition is fast becoming a recognised name in its own right. I managed to speak to these two powerhouses and discuss their brand, their inspirations and thoughts on the current fashion industry.
How & when was À la Disposition founded?
We first met at Parsons School of Design in NYC, where we were both studying fashion design. We found we had similar interests and influences and decided to work together on a semester long project, creating a piece which was then on display at the Parson’s fashion exhibition. Working together, we found that our individual strengths complemented each other very well and we have been together ever since.
What separates À la Disposition from many of the other fashion labels out there?
It’s difficult to compare ourselves to other brands, but we feel our strength lies in our desire to provide our customers with a great product. It’s important to us that people are happy with the pieces they buy from us and that they enjoy wearing them. We are always looking for ways to improve the collection and strive to keep our pieces innovative and beautiful while still maintaining their wear-ability.
Your tag line/ethos is – ‘The fusion of form & function’. For those who don’t know what does this mean?
In fashion terms, the phrase “a la disposition” refers to a design technique where fabric is designed and created for a single specific garment, so the design is carried through from the silhouette to the fabric to the finished piece. We have summed it up with the phrase, “the fusion of form and function.” This technique is typically only seen in garments produced in couture houses or in museum collections. In terms of our collection, we always design our pieces more like fashion sculpture; something to be seen in the round. We like to experiment with different techniques and manipulate the silhouette while still keeping our pieces wearable so we feel the concept of “the fusion of form and function” very much applies to our collections.
Who or what are the biggest influences on your fashion designs?
It varies from season to season. Our aesthetic is consistent and there is continuity in how we translate our designs but we love the idea that each season is an opportunity to explore a new theme or idea. For the debut AW13 menswear collection, inspirations included the graphic novel, Prague and hermetic mysticism. Our next women’s wear is all about phobias.
We pride ourselves on an ethos of being honest and unpretentious, what is something À la Disposition prides themselves on?
We are proud of our skills. We really love sewing; starting with a sketch and then translating it into a finished piece. We take pride in the fact that we can do almost anything in house, which for us is a huge part of our design process.
In terms of icons, who would À la disposition most like to dress or have as a client ?
Without naming names, anyone with a bold personality.
Similarly are there any icons that icons you’d hate to dress or have as a client?
Anyone who wants to be one of the crowd.
How do we find and keep in touch with all of your latest activities?
We recently launched our new eStore (www.aladispositionstore.com) which includes a spread of women’s wear and accessories. The eStore will also contain a blog and it allows people to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or sign up for our newsletter. The site is iPad, Android and mobile friendly.
There has been much social commentary that fashion today is repetitive, unoriginal & lacking political influence that was once associated with fashion in previous decades. What are your thoughts on this?
It seems to us that in recent years the high street shops have become much more adept at translating styles and trends from high fashion, while at the same time the major design houses are not as willing to take risks or push the boundaries as they have been in the past. The result is more homogeneous fashion, regardless of price point. Fashion, politics and social ideology historically have always been a reflection of each other. While we feel that modern politics are not influenced by fashion maybe history will judge it differently.
Would you agree that fashion in the main, is largely uniformed and as a result of social conformism?
On some levels yes, and others no. There is the area of fashion that is based around copying; from what you see on your favourite celebrity to what you read in your favourite fashion magazine or even what your friends are wearing. On the other hand, being different is now more acceptable than ever (which in itself can be seen as a type of conformity). However there will always be people who are most comfortable standing out from the crowd, wearing something completely amazing or totally outrageous. Whatever the choice: fashion allows people to be themselves, whoever they want to be.
As all things tend to go in rotation, where you do think fashion is heading next? And do you think it’s heading somewhere we’ve been before or somewhere entirely new.
It’s difficult to say where fashion as a whole is heading, as there are so many variables. Recently as a reaction to the conformed fashion scene there has been an exiting rise of new talent pushing the envelope and it will be very interesting to see where they go.
Of all of the pitfalls I’ve mentioned, how does A La Disposition manage to continue to avoid them?
As a small brand we are able to focus more on the individual when developing our designs. Also with a smaller and local supply chain we are able to address the wants and needs of our customer base much quicker than the larger chains can. We are more adaptable and one of the things we strongly believe in and are piloting at the very moment is the “runway to retail” concept. This makes product available in limited quantity right after the runway show which is exactly what happened during our time at the unique Seven Dials Presents pop-up store on Neal Street.
Another key element in our survival strategy once again focuses around direct sales to the end consumer in our self-curated online boutique. This lets us be in direct contact with our customer and lets us show our commitment as well as our belief in the more signature designs from the collection which are always available for sale there.
Quality and concept are central to what we do and are also behind our expansion into menswear and soon perfume.