Shop new SS24 styles now!

Meet Ilana Kohn


Meet Ilana Kohn

Turning tables: Meet the creative force behind Ilana Kohn, Ilana Kohn herself. We sat down with the history nerd and feline enthusiast regarding some of her favorites and what catches her mad eye.

Photos by Ryan Leyba

You have such an interesting background, as you were an illustrator before fully entering into fashion (not to mention a self-proclaimed history nerd who's done amazing archival research!). What propelled you to start a clothing line?

Yes! I went to Pratt for illustration and did that pretty exclusively up until the 2008 recession entirely put the kibosh on that career. At that point I went back to school for Historic Preservation, but while I was in school, I found I really needed a creative outlet and started sewing. This was the era of blogs and that's essentially how this started.

Haha, as for my 'groundbreaking research,' I was an intern at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and was tasked with researching a building on Ave D & 10th which turned out to be pretty significant. And fun fact! Elizabeth from @cheapoldhouses was my boss there (she's the best).

What is the first thing you lay out when coming up with a season? Would you say your collections are intentional (as meeting a purpose), or mostly drawn out of pure creativity? 

It usually starts as a giant mish-mosh of random ideas & textiles, definitely no mood boards or anything like that. I'll begin by thinking about what I personally want to wear and get the team's input as well. It's truly a hodge podge of ideas & inspo that we spend months distilling down into a coherent collection that we're all excited about. Ta da!

Who are your muses? 

Oh my goodness, for sure our team! I've definitely janked items out of their closets for inspo.

Describe Ilana Kohn in three words (both the person and the brand)

Sane-ish cat lady.

If I weren’t a creative director, I’d be ________petting furry animals________.

A few of your favorite

Restaurant: North Dumplings followed by martinis at Nine Orchard.

Destination: I am so poorly traveled, I've only had the opportunity to leave the US a handful of times?! My bucket list is a mile long. But if I must be specific, LES Trader Joe's?

Articles: I devour the news. I have about 7 different news apps on my phone.

Scents: Anything from OLO or Buly 1803.

Spots around NYC: I'm a homebody but if you can get me out the door, I do love the Cloisters and all the other amazing museums nyc has to offer. And I must say, I am quite partial indeed to the LES. :)

Things to photograph: My cats.