KRANE Design, led by mastermind Ken Chow, saw a progression of the 1940’s military theme that they’ve been building upon since the beginning for this year’s A/W collection.
The collection was showcased in an intimate studio space in Toronto’s Heritage Court for the Toronto Fashion Week, where select pieces of the KRANE bag collection were suspended above the runway on wires attached to the ceiling. Models dressed themselves right before the audience before doing the standard three point turn, and if that isn’t intimate, we don’t know what is.
In addition to being personal, focus was also placed on making pieces fit not just for men but for women as well, his latest endeavour. Ken explains, “Women were picking up the KRANE jackets for themselves in the past, so I paid special attention to fit this season.”
Ken Chow is an enigmatic, artistic yet practical man who embraces his inner child spirit. We spoke to Ken himself, asking about his life, passion and inspirations.
So how do you start your day?
Ken: With a cup of sunshine—well a cup of drip filtered coffee. The winters have been getting really long in Canada, so I was excited this morning to be surprised by a hint of spring peeking its pretty head through all the grayness of the extended winter.
A day in your life, what occurs?
K: Everyday is different, because at different times of the year, there are different priorities.
The day always starts with coffee and a hearty breakfast. I make a point of venturing out for breakfast and/or lunch a few days in the week, so I don’t hermit out. I like to do the sketching at night, because I find that I’m most creative at this time. This is also good for me because it brings it into the dream world, so in the morning when I’m doing the technical sketches I can add the revisions.
How would you describe the difference between living in New York and Toronto?
K: New York has this magical element to it. It’s a feeling that can’t be described, but everyone feels it in a different manner.
Toronto has elements of New York, but on a smaller scale. New York is congested with pockets of districts that are squished next to one another. Toronto has similar districts but less of them, and more spaced apart.
What was your main inspiration and motivation to start fashion?
K: I come from a visual art background, so I made the decision to move into Fashion because I wanted to create beautiful things that were aesthetically pleasing but also functional. Fashion transcends time, inspires culture, and compliments music…all things I love, so it made sense.
In your previous collections, neutral tones (notably black) are the predominant colour palette. However, in A/W ’11, we see brown jackets, pink shirts, and an overall lighter hue… will we see Krane venturing into more colours for future collections?
K: Yes! I’m glad you noticed this. Black on black is my uniform, but I do like colour. I was concerned that the all black aesthetic would inspire a culture of misfits that hated life for the KRANE brand, which was the reason behind the new direction. I aspire to create a brand that is more optimistic, one that inspires a culture that appreciates art, architecture, music street-culture, and the love of travelling.
What would you say is Krane’s distinct look that sets itself apart from other brands?
K: Simplicity makes you stand out. For this reason, The KRANE aesthetic is very detail oriented. It is very simple on the surface, but it is once you get up close and inside the products, that you notice the special factor in the products.
There are several categories of accessories for menswear, why the focus on bags?
K: I entered the menswear market with bags because when I moved back to Toronto from New York, I felt to become a relevant men’s brand, the timing was not right to launch a full-blown menswear label. During that time (2004), there was also a lot excitement in the women’s handbag market at the time, so I felt it was a smart business move to establish the KRANE brand in the “manbag” market as a starting point. Men soon caught on, so I’m glad I took this route.
Between apparel design and bag design, which do you enjoy working on more?
K: Apparel, bag, bag, apparel, apparel, bag, apparel, bag, apparel, apparel, bag, bag…
This constantly changes. I can’t say I like one more than the other, but feel, and am inspired to focus on one more than the other at different times of the year.
Are you planning to expand your offerings with other accessories (e.g. bracelets)?
K: Yes! Because the outerwear has such a short window for spring, I will be focusing on belting (which includes bracelets) and smaller leather goods like wallets for the SS12 season.
What can we expect from Krane in the near future?
K: Women have been picking up the outerwear and bags, so I’ll be introducing a few styles of women’s bags for SS12, and tailoring certain outerwear silhouettes more towards women.
What would you say is the most important detail for menswear?
K: A solid everyday bag, and then a well-fitting coat. First impressions set the tone for how things are to shape and develop. These details I think are a necessity for your outer layer.
For more on KRANE, check out the brand @ http://www.kranedesign.com/
Check out the lookbook and runway images below.