Dreaming in Denim
Written By: Genesis Gonzalez
Photographed By: Curtis Kim
Expert Name: Katherine DOA
Credentials: Owner & Designer, Daou Denim Co.
Age is but a number when it comes to big dreams and even bigger stylish goals! With a life-long passion for the fashion industry, Katherine Daou had always known designing her own line would be the ultimate goal. At an early age, this fresh, talented and fun designer has been ready and eager to create a line of denim that could be enjoyed by all, and stay authentic to who she is. Designing her own denim line has proven to be a both fun, and challenging experience as Daou stays focused and ever motivated to see the success of Daou Denim Co.
Each piece has been creatively designed and tailored to meet every need when it comes to finding the perfect fit and style of denim. With beautiful details of leather trim and boot cut jeans with a little bit of an extra flare, and even a waistband to provide more comfort and style, Daou has transformed her passion into a line that is denim perfect! There is no stopping this amazingly talented designer as she continues to take the fashion industry by storm. With a ready-to-wear line as the next goal, Daou’s infectious enthusiasm and passion will serve her every bit of fashion success!
Q: At an early age, you found a passion for the fashion industry. As you grew up, what kept you focused and motivated to see this passion through?
Katherine Daou: My dad really inspired me! He has this touch of gold where everything that he touches is amazing. I grew up around him as he made and sold businesses, and I found that so inspiring. My family allowed me to be who I wanted to be with that same motivation, so I just jumped into the industry.
Q: Did they support the idea of you pursuing a career in fashion?
KD: My dad wanted me to go to UCSD and live this business oriented life studying engineering or in the medical field. I was like, “I’m going to San Francisco to a fashion school, and I will see you in 2 years!” That is how I rebelled a little bit. They are really proud of me, and without them, I wouldn’t even have the motivation to keep going.
Q: Denim is a staple in just about every closet. Did you always know denim was going to be it for you?
KD: It’s actually a funny story. When I was 13, my uncle came to me and said, “If you are really serious about being a business person one day, start a line, and we’ll see what happens.” I actually started a line when I was 13 of denim and T-shirts, and it was called Daou. It was an acronym for Designs Alternating Our Universe. It was an organic denim line. When I started the denim company, my dad was telling me to think about the staple that everyone has. So many did T-shirts, and I was over that. I’ve worked in contemporary retail my whole life, and it was perfect that I did denim because it’s what my whole life has been.
Q: Are there specific styles of denim you like to design and play with?
KD: I love super, super skinny jeans! But I know that not everyone can wear them, so that is why I started with the five pieces of regular and classic styles. I also love a big flare, so I made my boot cut a little bit more of a flare. It’s not like your classic Hudson boot cut; it’s a little bit bigger on the ends. However, I think you can do more with a skinny as there are more options when it comes to design.
Q: Do you find yourself applying the skills and knowledge you’ve learned from school to your own line?
KD: Very much so! I’m still in contact with many FIDM professors. Actually, JoAnn Jack is my “mentor.” She’s amazing!
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring designers and fellow peers at FIDM?
KD: You have to do what you want to do. I stayed true to who I was and people believe in that. I still can’t believe that people are on the same page with what I’m putting out there. I think if you’re true to yourself, people really like that. You don’t realize it until it’s happening.
Q: When women wear Daou Denim, what will they enjoy the most?
KD: A great ass! And a unique, one of a kind look. Working in denim for so long, it’s hard to see women trying on jeans and always complaining about that one area, like the waist or butt. I kept that in mind when I was making the collection. I’m going to make my waistband a little bit bigger, and curve the women’s hips in a little bit.
Q: Since launching your line, do you feel you’ve grown as both a savvy fashion and business woman?
KD: Yes! The business person is flourishing now. I’m happy that I’m able to use what I’ve learned. It is hard making decisions between business and fashion, because business tends to be financially driven and more structured, where fashion is whatever you want to do, and you get to have fun and be creative. I’ve been trying to find that line.
Q: What have been some challenges you experienced during this process?
KD: Finding that fine line between fashion and business. Fashion is so image oriented, and I’m so image oriented, so trying to maintain that authenticity is the campaign behind the whole brand.
Q: You’ve accomplished this amazing goal at such a young age. Where do you go from here?
KD: My ultimate dream is to be like Isabel Marant. I love everything! She has the ready-to-wear and the shoes! She has that French street wear, but I feel it’s also very California, which is all about my brand. I want to have my own ready-to-wear and to be able to dress someone from head to toe. I’m really excited about stuff that I have in my mind!
Q: Here you are at 24 with your own denim line. What would you say to your 13-year-old self-aspiring to be here right now?
KD: You just brought up a moment for me that I really didn’t pay attention to. What would I tell myself? You are capable of much more than just a concept, than just a dream. You can actually do these things. A year ago, this was just a drawing on a piece of paper, and now you can wear it. You are capable of much more than you think you are!