Exclusive: Kristine Johannes talks Rauwolf, CFDA and January Jones
eet Kristine Johannes, the German-born, New York-based designer, who is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and founder of the leading accessories brand, Rauwolf. In 2012, Kristine launched her label — a brand made of the finest quality and luxuriously Italian-crafted clutch bags. Now, a celebrity favourite among Kylie Jenner, Diane Kruger, Sienna Miller and January Jones, Rauwolf has launched exclusively at Bloomingdale's Dubai. Buro 24/7 Middle East sat down with Kristine to find out more about ...
Congratulations on launching in the Middle East. What does it mean to you and the brand to now be available in the region?
It's just so exciting! I'm so flattered that we got picked up. We've had a lot of exposure and clients from the Middle East on the website, so it just feels like a natural progression and I can't wait to see what the response is.
Would you ever launch a standalone store in Dubai or is a partnership with Bloomingdale's a core consumer strategy?
Right now it definitely makes the most sense to be apart of Bloomingdales, Dubai. But who knows what the future holds. We will have to wait and see.
Who is the Rauwolf woman and how will she adapt to the Middle East?
Honestly, there's no one in particular in mind, it's more of a spirit. For me, she's intellectually curious and secure in who she is. She's a leader, not a follower. I think there's a lot of really interesting and independent women coming out of the Middle East. There's a tremendous sense of individuality and intelligence and to people in the West, it's very exotic and interesting.
The amount of inspiring women in the Middle East is amazing!
Have you ever been to Dubai and if not what would be the first thing you would do?
I've never been! One of my biggest loves is falconry so I would definitely have to venture into the desert and experience that for myself.
Tell us more about your Spring/Summer '16 collection?
It was inspired by colour, pastels and beautiful tones. There's so much product on the market these days and my mission was to create pieces that stand the test of time. I want my clutches to be something that are always relevant, something my clients can pull out of their closets in ten years time and still want to wear. It's always so important to keep that in mind. For SS16 we wanted to create something new and we worked extremely hard on creating a white wood. We worked on it for two years. It was challenging but we were able to bleach the wood and create something beautiful and that's very special.
What's been your biggest career moment so far?
Being inducted into the CFDA.
What's the best thing about being a member of the CFDA?
Honestly, just the chance to see and meet legends. These people have been around for so long and just being able to come into contact with certain individuals is very inspiring.
In light of the recent changes at fashion week, what's your opinion on the shift towards a more consumer-driven clothing industry?
I think it makes sense. On the other hand, I struggle with it. Fashion is fast and every time you have a collection it is immediately all over Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. It's great and that's where things are right now but on the other hand, it kills the effect of having a new collection because by the time it hits stores it's almost dated. Everyone has already seen it. In the long run though, I suppose it's better being consumer driven because then it's immediately available.
What's the biggest compliment a celebrity has ever given your clothing?
I have to say, I got a very sweet note from January Jones. She's always been incredibly supportive and when she's looking for something unique she calls Rauwolf.
What are you currently working on? Is there anything exciting you can reveal?
We're growing the brand so stay tuned for more project categories!