How do your daughters inspire your designs?
Cynthia: They’ve always had their own style. Kit wore a ‘happy birthday’ tiara for over a year, and Gigi went to her first day of kindergarten wearing a Barbie life jacket as a vest. As you can imagine, they’ve evolved into their own styles. The clothes they wear are always an inspiration to me, and it’s always exciting to see how they style their CR clothes.
Kit has styled some of your fashion week presentations and shot videos for collections. How else have the girls been involved or contributed to the brand?
Cynthia: Kit styled the resort collection, which we shot in my hometown in Illinois, so we love the idea of making it a family affair. We all have fun styling and shooting our @cynthiarowley and @kitkeenan Instagram pics all the time.
What advice did you share with Kit when she decided to launch her own label?
Cynthia: I was really in a bind, because as a mom I wanted to help her every step along the way, but I knew it would be better for her in the long run if I showed a little tough love and had her figure it out for herself. She’s always been independent, and seeing her turn her dreams into a reality makes me so proud.
Gigi modeled for Kit’s new collection: Is she passionate about fashion as well?
Cynthia: Gigi’s the rock star—the only one in the family with any musical talent (we’ve all tried). She wails on the drums and guitar and is also a mad shredder.
Growing up so involved with your mom’s brand, what did you learn that you applied to your own?
Kit: My mom is a boss. I seriously do not think I have ever seen her relax or take a day off. Not even sure if she sleeps through the night. I try to apply her work ethic and determination to everything that I do.
Did you always want to be a designer at some point?
Kit: I did! When I was little, I used to go to my mom’s studio every day after school and make little projects like embroidered purses, drawstring bike shorts, and customized Converses—I guess I was pretty on-trend for a 10-year-old. At the end of middle school, I experimented with other media because I didn’t want to feel like I was living in my mom’s shadow. At this stage in my life, I have reconnected with my love for design and I’m comfortable with my privilege; I know that I have a full fashion handbook in my back pocket. Thanks, Mom!
Describe the aesthetic for your collection.
Kit: My brand has no specific theme. With each drop, the vibe completely changes, working to embody the climate of youth culture at any given time. I want to explore different target audiences and make it cool to experiment with your own personal style.
How do you describe your personal style?
Gigi: I’m not really fashion-obsessed. In the summer, I live in a wetsuit, and for school, it’s leggings and a cool T-shirt.
What are some of your favorite pieces from Kit’s collection?
Gigi: Don’t I have to say they’re all my favorites? I’ll probably live in the new skull bunny hoodie all winter long.
Sam & Molly Moorkamp
Co-founders, Molly Moorkamp
Why did you decide to start Molly Moorkamp?
Molly: I was designing for Ralph Lauren, and I felt I was at a crossroads. I could stay on the corporate path or take charge of my own point of view. Sam encouraged me to start our custom design business as a way to really offer a product we didn’t think was available. It gave us a very sharp understanding of our customer.
What is it like working with your sibling?
Sam: We were raised with the same values. Hard work and creativity were cornerstones of my family. Growing up with a power-shopping mother, we saw very early on there was a large gap in the conservative female clothing market.
Molly: We work extremely well together. As siblings, we balance each other out. Sam is a risk taker, and I am more cautious.
What do you admire about each other’s style?
Molly: Sam’s point of view is always polished, period. Whether it’s a cashmere cable knit sweater and a backwards baseball cap or a tux, he’s the sharpest-dressed guy in any room.
Sam: Molly has a deft understanding of fit and what looks great on any woman. She’s never afraid to be ‘too much’ and can own any room.
How has the beach and the Hamptons inspired your collection?
Molly: Our customer spends July in the Hamptons, January in Palm Beach, and March in the Caribbean. She’s going to bring MM with her everywhere. It’s classic, feminine, with an irreverent flair that screams off-duty. Go to any beach club cocktail party and you’re sure to find a good dose of shocking pink silk.
Brittany Peltz Buerstedde
Leah + Rae, Founder
Why did you decide to launch Leah + Rae?
My two daughters are definitely the centerpiece to my world and the inspiration for the brand, Leah + Rae. After giving birth to my second daughter, I had a hard time finding clothes that resonated with my aesthetic. When I launched the brand in February, I recognized how important it was to create pieces that were beautiful, but were also tactical. I saw that with my own girls, who are equal parts princess and tomboy.
How have the Hamptons inspired your collection?
The Hamptons have always been a special place because they’re where my husband and I spent our first summer together. Now, being here with our family, it brings us back to the magic. Out here reminded us of what summer should really be about—beach days, sand in the shoes, salt in your hair and connecting with each other.
What is your typical summer day like?
This summer, we got this really nice place on the beach in Southampton, which was just so great with the two kids. I have a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old, so we basically barely left the house—we were at the beach and pool the whole day, which was wonderful.
What memory from this summer will you cherish forever?
Celebrating my grandmother’s 90th birthday at home in Southampton. My siblings, Will and Nicola, and I are all very busy, so it was so wonderful to just be all together in the Hamptons. My whole family came out, so it was very special.
Photo by Angela Photography