Designer Interview

By: Fashwire
Oct 07, 2020 10:01 AM

Cadogan is a very unique name! Is there a story behind it? What inspired you to use it for your brand name?

Thank you! Yes, our brand name is definitely unique. As you are aware, Cadogan is actually my first name. After a discussion about several different brand names between my business partner, friends, and family, it was recommended to proceed as a namesake brand. I asked for the brand to be spelled with all capital letters as CADOGAN to differentiate the brand from me. CADOGAN is typically a surname that descends from Celtic heritage. My parents found it in a baby book and fell in love with it. When you look at the history of the surname, Cadogan, you will learn that the lion was the symbol emblazoned on the crest of the Cadogan Clans shields. This is why the lion is the featured icon of our logo. 


When did you know you wanted to start designing? What encouraged you to do so?

First and foremost, my business partner, Monika Kopeng, is the primary creative lead. We like to say that she is the architect and I am the interior designer. She has an incredible ability to create a new concept. My specialty is fabrication sourcing, trims selection, garment fit and adding any additional final touches to a design concept before sampling. I grew up in an environment that was highly creative. In my early 20s instead of focusing on a career in a creative capacity, I pursued a career in sales and marketing for tech firms. While working overseas, I realized that a more creative focused professional career was where my heart truly lied, and I followed this up with night school to become an interior designer. In a few months, I learned that interior design was not the best fit, but after pushing further into the creative community, looking for where I felt most alive, I fell in love with fashion. Clothing is an area that I always paid close attention to, but never pursued it professionally. I was very fortunate to meet my business partner, Monika, during this professional transition and shortly after our introduction the story of CADOGAN began.


“The edge is manifested through the pairing of contrasting fabrics, innovative trims, and thoughtful garment construction."


What is your favorite part about designing?

My favorite part of designing has to be sourcing. I love that feeling when we have an idea that is laid out in a drawing and then we are able to bring this drawing to life through chosen fabric and trims. It is a beautiful thing to see an idea become tangible. 


What things do you consider while creating a new collection? Are you appealing to a specific customer or focused on creating an impact?

For us, regardless of the collections’ color scheme, product vertical focus, or price point, we always prioritize garment quality and attention to detail. We see ourselves as developing basic staples with an edge. The “edge” is manifested through the pairing of contrasting fabrics, innovative trims, and thoughtful garment construction. Our focus is to create a collection that is well balanced in design; an elevated aesthetic that is comfortable, looks sharp, and functional while not too fashion forward and outrageous in appearance. We want the garment to portray quiet confidence. We have coined this quiet confidence as Amplified Certainty. 


How does being based in LA influence your brand?

Los Angeles is the epicenter for creativity in the US. Los Angeles has an established thriving fashion, music, film, and arts community. Having access to this type of community in our backyard has allowed us to explore working with amazing models, photographers, creative consultants, marketers and many more driven individuals. 


Is your brand a representation of your personal style? How would you describe your style?

Yes, the brand is a representation of my personal style. Above all else (designer name, fabrication, color, etc.) I care about how a garment fits. In addition, I am always attracted to the details in garments. The slightest touch of innovation that separates a garment from others. This could be the type of fabric used, a trim, the construction. When you view a CADOGAN Collection, you will see that the garments’ fit, quality, and touches of innovation resonate throughout since this at the core of our design process. 


“For our team, we are ultimately chasing the horizon. In the end, we will never reach the horizon."


How do you want men to feel when they wear your designs?

We want men to feel confident. We want men to portray certainty, decisive decision-making. That is why the CADOGAN tagline is Amplify Certainty. 


How has social media impacted your brand? What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?

Our conversation about our brand through social media is constantly evolving. We continue to test new ideas and share our brand story through various platforms. Where we have seen success with social media is using it as a platform to do paid marketing to engage with customers that we are unable to reach organically. I believe social media’s greatest value for fashion is that it removes all domestic and international borders. An organization now has the ability to share a design and both communicate and inspire people of all races, languages and religions regardless of their location in this world. When you step back and think about how far away your image or video can reach it is truly incredible. Most importantly, social media is primarily free to sign up and use. Just by creating an account you have the opportunity to be introduced to brands in all corners of the world and for designers to communicate with people globally. 


If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be?

As a business owner, you are constantly focusing on your next strategic plan or tactical move. More often than not, little time is spent appreciating the current moment, the new social media follower, the new sale, the new conversation with a person about your brand for the first time. I would tell myself then and I continually remind myself now to enjoy the smallest accomplishments. There is an analogy shared by Rob Dial that really resonates. For our team, we are ultimately chasing the horizon. In the end, we will never reach the horizon. As we accomplish our goals the horizon may appear closer, however, a new list of objectives will arise, and the horizon will be further away again. Therefore, it is important to often stop and enjoy the sunset (enjoy the process). 


“I have made a conscious effort to both travel and explore the uncomfortable when possible."


What advice would you give to other designers who are in the early stages of creating a brand?

Macro-patience, Micro-speed. Unfortunately, almost never will things happen as quickly as you would like, especially when you are empowering other parties to provide a deliverable. Therefore, you need to be patient throughout it all. More or less, patient in your mind, not in your effort. Each day wake-up and do at least one thing to make your label better. Empower the people around you by creating a structure of integrity, open communication, and automated infrastructure. Continue to optimize this business model to squeeze the most out of it every day. Keep in mind, just because you made a change today doesn’t mean that you will see immediate results. Believe in your effort, control what you can control and take pride in your work. If you give it your best shot over time you will get better and better through experience and eventually that patience will be answered with a positive result. 


What is one thing you want others to know about you as a person and not as a designer?

My greatest inspiration has come when I have changed my environment. I have made a conscious effort to both travel and explore the uncomfortable when possible. It is in these moments that I am most vulnerable, I either have a chance to become inspired by people or places I am engaging with or have a chance to clear my head thus allowing new ideas to surface.


What can we expect to see next for CADOGAN?

We are excited to be introducing a new collection within the next 2 months. A vibrant collection filled with exciting new colors. This will be the first collection where we introduce embroidery and other touches of innovative detail!