We caught up with Nick Kodenko of Kodenko Jeans to find out more about him, his background and of course his denim brand! Carry on reading to learn more about Kodenko.
DB: Hi Nick! Thank you for doing this interview with us, so tell us a bit more about your brand!
Hi Lorna and the Denim Blog team! First of all thank you for having me, it’s a huge honor.
My brand is a men’s and women’s denim line that is in the contemporary premium denim market. We range from indigo denim, colored twill all the way to leather coated jeans. We import all of our fabric from Italy and manufacture everything here in California. My company follows the F rule: Fit, Fabric, Finish and Fashion-Forward.
DB: When and why did you decided to start Kodenko?
During business school at Fresno State University I had gotten a few ideas in my head. When I returned home that summer, I approached a family friend who has been heavily involved in the fashion business for 30 plus years and just started asking questions. I was lucky enough to get some very sound advice.
I have no good reason why I decided to start, besides that I was just naturally drawn to this type of profession. Nothing else really interested me and coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I just had that itch to start something and see it all the way through. I get the biggest kick out of thinking something up in my head, finding all the right resources then creating something from nothing.
DB: Your jeans are made in California with Italian fabrics, what made you choose Italian?
I just think they are producing some amazing fabric right now, especially in the premium denim market. They have some very fashion forward fabric concepts that help me design to my fullest extent.
DB: Kodenko has grown a lot since we last spoke, could you tell us about your online store?
Yeah, that is something I’m very excited about! It’s currently a men’s store, with the women’s collection being added for Spring 14. It’s been getting a great response and I think it turned out fantastic! It’s very easy for the consumer to navigate and it’s not cluttered with a bunch of distractions.
Creating the online store has been an idea I’ve wanted to do now for a few years. For me I just wanted to feel my market out and see what area I was heading. Now that I’m becoming established with my accounts, it’s easier to create an inventory based off of sales figures.
DB: We saw that some of your jeans walked during New York Fashion Week! How exciting! Can you tell us more about that?
That was a great opportunity for me and it couldn’t of happened without the support of Parke & Ronen. Those guys have done so much for me over the past few years.
It came down to a special assignment I was given on a Friday afternoon. I had to have 2 pants cut/sewn and shipped from LA and in NY by that next Friday. I made it on time, but then they had to pass the fitting test, then fit in with the rest of the collection. They only have so much time during a show, so they can only do so many looks. It could have easily just been tossed out. I flew to NY for the show not knowing if I had made the cut and literally didn’t find out until the day of the show that I made it in!
DB: As a designer, how did it feel experiencing NYFW?
It was my first trip to NY and so to not only visit such a great city for the first time, but then to be there for Fashion week was sensory overload! I remember just walking into my hotel lobby and I couldn’t believe how on point every single person was. With layovers and a delay, I had traveled 12 hours to get into NY and I didn’t get to my hotel until 1 am. The last thing I looked like was a fashion designer.
My hotel was in downtown right between the Meat Packing/Chelsea districts. The people watching, window shopping and just looking at the architecture gave me so many new fresh ideas. I think my Fall 14 collection will really reflect from some of the things I saw and learned from my trip to NY.
DB: Have you had any struggles or joys during your time of developing Kodenko?
It’s a joy everyday to be able to call yourself a designer! I never take for granted how lucky I am.
Struggles for me are trying to create your company as a name brand. I’m in the premium denim market and I think most people have a sense of 3 or 4 key brand names that pop in there head when they hear the words premium denim. And in the fashion business with these economic times, a lot of store owners hesitate when they haven’t heard of you. You really have to convince someone to take a risk with you. The great motivation for me is that every brand no matter how big they are today started from nothing.
DB: What would you say your favorite jean is that you have designed?
Hands down it has to be the jeans for NYFW.
But another favorite was one I made for the department store Simons in Canada. It was an indigo denim base then I had gold, silver and copper metallic foil layered on top of the denim in Italy. Once the pants were sewn together raw they looked so wild! I loved creating them!
DB: Where do you find your inspiration when designing?
Traveling is my #1. Just like my trip to NY, it’s the visuals of traveling that get me fired up with new ideas. It could be the desert, mountains, the city or just at the beach, I think traveling and being exposed to the world helps inspire me.
DB: What should we be on the look out for from Kodenko in the near future?
Well I am really focused on Kodenko Jeans online store at SHOP.KODENKO.COM right now. We are planning on launching the women’s line in March for the spring season.
I am designing and developing Fall 14 right now. I’m experimenting with some really rad fabrics that I think will help grow this line into a larger force. I’m really excited for what the future holds for us. I hope all the DenimBlog followers enjoyed this interview! Thank you so very much!
DB: Thanks Nick!
You can follow Nick and keep up to date with him on Instagram at Kodenko Jeans.
Image of Nick courtesy of Amanda Driver, driverphoto.net.