With the upcoming launch of her Offay brand, Kristen d’Offay is setting a new standard for women to feel beautiful in luxurious garments that trace their lineage to rich American glamor. | Lauri Levenfeld
Combining her love of fashion with a line of tailoring, Kristen d’Offay embarked on a new career when she began to develop her Offay line two years ago. On June 15, d’Offay will launch as a luxury women’s brand created from unused textiles that form the basis of more responsible fashion.
“Since I was little, I have always been inspired by fashion. My grandmother Mimi was a clothing designer in Dallas. She created the ready-to-wear fashion right after the Parisian catwalks for all the Dallas socialites, ”said d’Offay. “When I visited her when I was young, I would look at all the beautiful dresses, and her studio was full of sequins, silk, and I remember thinking, ‘This is what I want to do someday. “”
While the Houston native worked with San Francisco designer Isda Funari after graduating from University of Texas at Austin, d’Offay’s professional activities led her to recruitment in companies, where she blossomed, and finally to motherhood. After 10 years of raising her children, a profound change in her life led her to reassess and revise her fashion ambitions.
“About three years ago I got divorced, and that really forced a big question as to what am I going to do next?” d’Offay recalled. “I’ve always wanted to create a fashion line and I was like, ‘I’m in my mid-forties; if I don’t do it now, I never will. I just don’t want to look back one day and say, “Why haven’t I tried this? I knew I could do it.
Starting as a direct-to-consumer business, through doffaycollection.com, d’Offay will begin appearing at trade shows this fall. XS-L parts are priced from $ 400 to $ 1,200. Inspired by her grandmother, who was a self-taught designer, and envisioning the styles she thinks her friends would want to wear, d’Offay designs so that women see the best version of themselves through her clothes.
“I really like the draping process, and when it’s cut properly, it can celebrate your curves instead of making you feel uncomfortable,” d’Offay said. “My inspiration comes from so many of my beautiful friends. I think about what they would like to wear and what would make them feel good. It’s always in my head when I design and draw. “
The designer relies on dead fabrics of faux fur, wool and recycled fibers that would otherwise be waste, but they are also luxurious textiles from some of the most renowned factories in Italy and France. Drawing on his fabric source in downtown Los Angeles, d’Offay uses these discarded textiles to create small-run pieces. As the collection grows, d’Offay will explore additional textiles that offer greener options such as pineapple and mushroom leathers.
“It is important to try to work with renewable fibers, which can biodegrade and use less water. My first collection consists mainly of silk, which is a natural fiber and can biodegrade, ”explained d’Offay. “As I do smaller production runs, it fits my business model perfectly and the price is also great. These are the key elements of sustainability at this stage. ”
Another important part of Offay’s mission is manufacturing in Los Angeles, as the designer fell in love with the city’s renaissance that had occurred before the challenges of COVID-19. In a post-pandemic fashion world, d’Offay feels responsible for helping the industry rebuild itself through its partnership with a production operation run by women.
“So many production houses have been put on hold during the pandemic, and I want to make sure I’m part of the community of designers who are there to support small businesses,” d’Offay said. “It’s my responsibility as a local designer to work with this community and make sure the fashion industry in Los Angeles not only survives, but thrives. “