It’s a rainy day here in SoCal, but to bright up our days we have our Monday Feature Interview with Alison Boris & Kathi Chandler. The lovely ladies of Allykatstyle.com were kind enough to take time off their hectic schedule to talk with us. Read in as their share their love for fashion, Tim Gunn and amazing looking handbags!
How did you get into fashion? Tell me how and when everything started.
Ally Kat Style is the vision of two Los Angeles women, Alison Boris and Kathi Chandler, who started as actresses and took on an additional calling as boutique owners. The business was the result of their two shared passions: fashion and theater. When the opportunity arrived to sponsor their friend’s USO European tour of The Party Animals (a stellar children’s rock show), Alison and Kathi seized the moment to bring street sense to runway trends through marvelous purse parties and trunk shows filled with complimentary cocktails, fashion and sass. AKS was launched in late 2007 with a fabulous party at Alison’s home, now affectionately dubbed “The Lair.”
A delicious and ever-changing selection of handbags, stand-out jewelry and stunning apparel is available for purchase online and at the parties. All products are researched to be fashion current by Kathi, and tested on Alison’s girls, a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old to verify “kid-friendliness.” Single and feisty to the modern mommy, corporate climber to bohemian artist, Ally Kat Style believes every shape, size and age has the divine right to Prosperity, Love and a Damn Fine Handbag.
When did you first know that you wanted to be in the fashion industry?
Like many women, fashion has always been a healthy obsession for us. We didn’t foresee working in the fashion world till the opportunity practically screamed at us last year, and once we saw what we could create it was the ONLY thing to do. Now we love our days of shopping and scheming up the new line, planning events and making women happy.
If you weren’t in the fashion industry, what would you like to be doing?
Ally would be doing musicals on Broadway. Her dream shows are “Chess” and “Romance, Romance.” Kat would love to work in films with Alan Ball, Shekhar Kapur or David Lynch.
Tell us about your fabulous store and what products or serviced do you offered?
Our flagship products are handbags. They make up one part of what we like to call “sass-essories” (sassy accessories.) We love bags because they are one of the most non-judgmental items in fashion. As women, our bodies fluctuate frequently. (We’re not sure who made up that rule, but if there is a vote to change it count us in.) When you feel less than perfect about your body, your bag always fits. It never feels too tight. It always looks great; it’s a predictable worry-free part of your wardrobe.
We have picked bags women of all ages, styles, body types and economic backgrounds can relate to and enjoy. We wanted them reasonably priced, but designed to look expensive – so it’s the best of both worlds. Two great examples if this are the Glamour Girl and the Spy By Night shoulder bags. We can hardly keep them in stock!
How would you describe your personal style?
Ally has an East Coast streamlined style. She loves black and white, stiletto boots and elegant jewelry. You know the girl who looks like she wakes up completely put together? That’s Ally, effortless and chic for every occassion.
Kat has an edgier feel to her clothes. She likes juxtaposition and experimentation in fashion, especially deconstruction and the manipulation of fabric.(How DOES Jeffrey Sebelia make sweatshirt look like leather?!) For daily wear it’s lots of jeans, leather jackets, scarves and sky high heels.
Who are your favorite designers?
How much time do you have? We love so many, including but in no way limited to: Theory, Dior, John Galliano, McQueen, Cosa Nostra, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Pucci, DVF, Christian Louboutin, and Target (yes, seriously. They rule.)
If you had a choice of all designers in the world, who would you prefer to work for? Why?
Interesting question. I’m not sure we want to work for another designer. The beauty of Ally Kat Style is the individual attention that we try to give each woman who purchase a piece from us. Large scale manufacturing is a goal, but one of our priorities is to be in communication with the public not in a design room theorizing on what we think they will gravitate toward.
Are there any special projects you would like to work on?
We want to have a line of signature items. Updated classics in knitwear, handbags and small accessories that are affordable, durable, and eye-catching.
Which magazines do you read? Which magazine is your favorite?
We both get our nails done so we have donated some serious quality time to the Angelina/Jen/Brad saga, and the “Who’s Britney dating now?” show -and to the fashion rags. InStyle is an amazing resource for women. You literally could cut out the outfits they put together, and create your own stylist esque lookbook or shopping guide. Same with Lucky, and the super handy coupons in the back often get torn out at the salon.
This isn’t a magazine, but we are ADDICTED to “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.” You learn everything from proper hem length to how to apply bronzer. It’s a compulsion we won’t give up.
What do you see in the stores that you think is really great?
The classics. They last and are the staples of any wardrobe: wideleg menswear slacks (Theory is amazing), croc stilettos (Aldo to Stuart Weitzman), slim leather jackets and leather gloves (Andrew Marc), dark wash boot cut jeans (Paige Premium or Joe’s, please). These items are essential in every woman’s closet since their clean lines can morph from classy to rock concert with an accessory change. And they all look great with Ally Kat bags.
What motivates you?
We love our partnership and it allows us to express and celebrate who we are and what makes each of us different. That’s not something easily found in the workplace. Neither of us has to tone it down, in fact it’s closer to the opposite! You get motivated to move forward since being your own boss is so much fun.
What’s next for you?
We have an article in Entrepreneur magazine in January we’re excited about, and we have our sights set on being carried in boutiques nationwide. Maybe one day we’ll be as fabulous as the Juicy Couture ladies.
Attention Unik Apparel readers, Kathi & Alison has given us a coupon for their store. The promo code is IAMUNIK and is $15 off any order over $50. Check it out this lovely ladies boutique at Allykatstyle.com.
A sincere “thank you” to Kathi and Alison for their profound responses and valuable time!