An Interview with Andrea Spratt
By: Toi Green
symbols Magazine (sM): “Kucoon is Anti-trend”… I love that statement. What is it about trend culture that makes you anti?
Andrea Spratt (AS): By the time it is a trend people are bored so it is better not to pay attention to trends.
sM: Your designs are insanely beautiful. The level of polish added to an alternative, edgy and somewhat dark, yet ethereal garment is amazing! Where does that come from? Are you a fan or darker subculture?
AS: My line has changed as I have changed. In the beginning I was defiantly inspired by an underground culture. I was into the electronic/rave scene, first in Washington DC and Baltimore area as a teen and then later in Los Angeles when I moved here in my early 20’s. I found a community of creative’s in LA called “burners” and we would throw wild all night parties in the warehouse district back when no one cared. There were no rules and there was no dress code, but the crazier the better. Creating costumes for this crowd was what I lived for. I found inspiration in finding flawed pieces while thrifting. I would deconstruct and reconstruct until it fit perfectly. I would create one of a kind pieces for one of a kind people. Eight years later I have found more of a balance between the badass and conventional part of my designs. Comfort has always been key but it is now essential in all my pieces. The word I am most drawn to when describing my pieces is, whimsical.
sM: I discovered your clothing line at Lucidity and was surprised by the stark contrast of Kucoon vs. what you would consider “typical” festival wear, yet it still works. Why do you think that is?
AS: I come from that world, I lived the festival life for a long time. I know what women crave when they are walking in the heat of the day, what makes them feel sexy but not trying to hard, the layers they need when the sun goes down, the feeling of dancing without anything interrupting your flow, what they want to wear to carry their possessions without loosing things,
Kucoon is for the girl that gets attention but doesn’t have to try to hard. It is a line that is fun, sexy, comfortable, and also makes sense.
sM: What is it about festival culture that resonates with you? Why do you call it home?
AS: Back when I first started getting into festivals, they consisted of a small subculture and I did feel a sense of family there. But it was very much a world outside of my reality, it was challenging and this is what I liked about it. It was a raw and heart opening environment in which the invitation to explore was everywhere. I never thought of going to Burning Man or festivals as going home, quite the opposite. I am an extrovert but I like my alone time. I also like toilets and showers as well as clean sheets.
sM: I find that there is a decompression period that one goes through after leaving festival life. What do you wish there was more of in everyday life that made it easier to transition after leaving?
AS: I am really glad I don’t live my life like I was at a festival and I am really glad my friends don’t either. You stick around and you see the underbelly of the festival world. Another word for decompression, for most, not all is detoxing. I have been able to take the best part of what I have learned from going to these events and integrate them into my life. I have an incredible community that constantly inspires me and I love what I do. I defiantly miss dancing but my baby keeps me on my toes. I dance with her all the time.
aM: I know this is like trying to decide which child you like best, but which festival(s) do you look forward to every year?
AS: I think the mecca is of course, Burning Man. There is so much talent and I am always blown away by all the hard work that goes into putting this event together. Every camp brings something special and it is all for the purpose of connection. Lightning in a Bottle will always have a special place in my heart, the Do Lab does an excellent job of giving people what they are looking for.
sM: I read that you sometimes draw your inspiration from other cultures. I can see the Native American inspiration. Are there any other cultures that are particularly interesting to you?
AS: I spent my formative years in Japan; that would be another culture I find inspiration in.
sM: What elements of Japanese culture resonate with you?
AS: I would have to say their genuine interest in dressing to express themselves. Not in a way where they are sexualizing themselves or following trends. They are almost anti-fashion.
sM: Looking at your line, it seems that the sizing of most items could even be worn by plus sized women. Was that intentional? If not, Do you think that you’d be inspired to create some pieces in expanded sizes?
AS: I am always down to make plus size pieces, but when I have made large pieces in the past they do not get bought at a festival. Many of my pieces are see through, or cropped so that doesn’t always attract a plus size lady. Also, most of the pieces that I bring to festivals are samples, my website offers larger sizes.
sM: Most of your online clothing pieces are crafted to order. Do you feel that each piece is just a bit more special that way? Maybe organically different and somewhat one of a kind for your customers?
AS: There are a couple reasons I do this, for my business model it makes sense and environmentally there is little waste this way. I make all my pieces in Los Angeles and my sample maker has been working with me for over 9 years. Yes, I feel like it is special.
sM: Do you do custom work?
AS: I used to but I hardly do anymore, usually I do not make enough for it to be worth it. I have a bad habit of underbidding myself. It always takes longer then I think it will.
sM: Congratulations on becoming a mommy! Have you already started designing things for little ones?
AS: OH YAH!
sM: What do you see yourself creating for little ones?
AS: I am all about baby harem jumpers, sleep sacks, and hoodies… soon to come.
sM: Do you see yourself creating another line? Maybe for men or something completely different?
AS: I hope to have a men’s designer on board soon.
sM: What is it about menswear that you find appealing to your brand?
AS: I see more men making athletic clothes acceptable to wear socially. Women do it with yoga wear, leggings and such. I want to bring that element to men as well.
sM: What can we expect for Fall/Winter 15?
AS: I can’t tell
sM: You are no fun… not even a little hint?
AS: I am sooo fun.
sM: Besides designing what are you passionate about?
AS: Humans, The Great Outdoors, Fuzzy Creatures, Travel, My Family, anything Art.
sM: What do you see for Kucoon in the next couple years?
AS: A bigger team, more wholesale accounts with bigger companies. I would like to see KUCOON become a lifestyle line and include products for the growing number of nomads out there. Festival life not just a summer time thing anymore.