Interview Series: Lauren Kam of Oak + Fort
Welcome to MODA Interview Series, where we feature influencers and leaders in the fashion industry in the Chicago area and beyond to discuss their design inspirations, their creative backgrounds and what it means to be a self-starter in the fashion world today.
Famed amongst fashion circles in the Chicago area for its sleek, minimalist designs and timeless pieces, Oak + Fort prides itself on the pared-back design, functionality and fluidity of its products. The Vancouver based retailer opened its third US brick and mortar shop in Wicker Park and features a clothing line with the design mentality and quality of high fashion brands without breaking the bank. We chatted with Lauren Kam, a Marketing & PR representative from Oak + Fort, to learn more about the brand and its aesthetic vision.
What informs your design philosophy? Is there anything that inspires you in particular when conceptualizing the image of your store and products?
We focus on the essentials and appreciation for simplistic, yet thoughtful design. This philosophy is reflected in all aspects from our brand from our products, our editorial shoots, as well as our store interior design. We take inspiration from all forms of art, design, and architecture.
Retail and fashion have become increasingly competitive markets. What distinguishes Oak + Fort from its peers?
Oak + Fort's distinct aesthetic and style sets itself apart from other retailers. Our simplistic silhouettes brings attention to thoughtful design details and textured fabrics. From oversized basics, to statement silhouettes, and reimagined classics that borrow from menswear, our clothing pushes conventional boundaries while maintaining wearability and function.
What is a milestone for your store or the brand in general that you are particularly proud of?
We are thrilled to have introduced Oak + Fort to the USA market in the last couple of years. We are looking forward to opening more locations in the USA this year to continue our expansion in North America. We are also delighted to have ventured into homeware - launching Oak + Fort Home in Fall 2016. Oak + Fort Home was a natural progression for Oak + Fort as it reflects our brand's focus on lifestyle.
Who is Oak + Fort’s ideal customer?
We envision the Oak + Fort customer to be an individual that finds beauty and appreciation in simple design forms. The Oak + Fort customer is unique, creative and inspired.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in pursuing fashion, design, or retail as a career?
Be curious and always ask questions. Strive to continue learning from others and from work that inspires you to achieve greater and self improve.