Instagram. It’s not only an enjoyable, aesthetically pleasing time suck, but it’s also a great way to discover new brands (check the following tab to see the instas the people you are following like). Case in point, Preston & Olivia, one of the coolest brands I’ve come across in a while – discovered via instagram! Dara Kent-Cobb studied millinery at FIT and launched Preston & Olivia shortly after – she is also an accomplished photographer and launching an American-made camera bag line with her husband! The hats are gorgeous, the perfect combination of classic styling and modern, fashionable details. Read on for more about Dara and Preston & Olivia and let me know your favorite hat – I see this black & white straw hat becoming a staple this summer, and I wish I had the guts to rock the resort line!
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
I am Dara, the designer behind the brand Preston & Olivia. Drawing on my background in textiles and apparel design, I founded Preston & Olivia in 2010 out of the desire to create accessories for men and women looking for classic, heirloom-quality pieces with a fashion-forward sensibility. With every collection I strive to marry traditional Southern style with the more modern world I’m surrounded by in downtown Manhattan.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR LINE?
When conceiving the brand, I envisioned a beautiful lifestyle brand, and what a brick and mortar store would be for a guy and a girl shopping my pieces. I wanted a name that would embody that feeling. I thought having “the guy & girl” as the name and Preston & Olivia are family names that I’ve always loved. Olivia is very dear to my heart as it was the middle name of my paternal grandmother. My memories of her, and images I now cherish very much influenced the brand. I have an old picture of her from the 30’s taken on the old Louisiana State University campus, both of our alma maters, holding my grandfather’s cane and wearing his bowler hat. My brand identity was born from that photograph.
Without a doubt, images inspire me the most. I think as a photographer and a designer, I’m very visual and I tend to see things as how they would appear in a photograph. When I design, I think of how the person would look wearing a hat, and I always envision it as a moment captured in time. My husband and I have many books by our favorite photographers, and we both have inspiration photo walls above our workspaces of images that inspire us. Mine all happen to be hat focused, but they’re still inspiring none-the less.
WHAT MAKES YOUR DAY?
I love when a customer emails me to tell me they just received their P&O purchase and how it totally made their day. I love hearing how much they love their new piece, whatever it may be, how they can’t wait to wear it, etc. I love what I do. My heart really smiles when I hear that whatever I’ve made has brought joy to someone’s day, because, I’m truly living my dream. It’s in those moments when I just feel blessed.
WHAT IS NEXT?
We are currently working on the Fall 2014 and new Bridal Shoppe pieces.
WHERE DO YOU WORK?
My husband and I currently have a live/work space. We have designated workspaces in our apt where we work on all of our businesses with our little pup, Lola, by our side.
WHY IS AMERICAN-MADE IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I see the shift in production happening, and I feel that there is going to be a rebirth of production of goods in the U.S. I believe in keeping the production of P&O items American-made to help our local and national economy and I am able to control the quality of my goods by keeping them local. If everyone spent 5% more on US made products, we could create 1 million jobs.
Follow Preston & Olivia: