FOF Jana Kos, design director for the Randy Kemper label, is giving away this fab floral blazer (retail value: $286), made from 96% cotton and 4% spandex, pictured above. Enter to win by answering in the comments, below: What would you wear this with?
Tell us about your background.
I studied clothing and textiles at Ohio State University. I wanted bigger and better of everything so I moved to NYC and went to FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology). I’ve been designing for over 25 years for a variety of women’s sportswear companies. I’ve had my own companies as well. I joined Randy Kemper in October.
What happened to the companies that you owned?
I started one company that was around for 14 years called Juliana–we did direct sales. I sold it when the economy took its toll. I’m a lot closer to the consumer than most people in this industry because they deal strictly with the buyers. I have been dealing with the customer herself for the last 18 years.
How did you find Randy Kemper?
I’ve known the owners for many years, we actually manufactured together in the same factory. It gets to be a small industry if you’re in it for a few years and you do cross paths with a lot of different people.
How long has the company been around?
Tell me a little about your role there.
I spend a lot of time with my vendors– the fabric people and the trim people, that’s really where I start the collection each season. In this company we manufacture most of our clothing overseas so I send e-mails and information to our China satellite office. I spent today updating our line charts for the sales reps. We just launched the fall collection and had a market to get feedback from our customers. I do just about everything. I’ve been in many different roles in this industry and I love the entire process.
What are you working on now?
The fall collection is complete so now I’m working on Spring of 2014. The fabric shows were just in Paris and in New York. One of my favorite mill owners is coming in from France next week so I’ll get to meet with him. He’ll show me his collections of fabrics and textiles. I also end up developing a lot of my own fabrics as well.
Where is Randy Kemper sold?
In speciality stores. We don’t really focus on mass market kind of distribution.
Will you sell online?
We don’t have any particular plans for web sales right now but probably in the future.
What do you think makes the Randy Kemper collection good for women over 50?
It has an ageless type of appeal. It’s younger in attitude but our fit is made for a more mature body. We use a fit model that is over 50. The fit model is what you use as your standard. So our clothing fits differently than many other vendors in the market and that’s really our appeal. I do younger detailing but make it in proportion. For instance, skirts are getting bigger again–but instead of making it 17 inches I’ll make it 20, so it still gives us a shorter look but doesn’t rely on a little 20-year-old body.
Tell us about some of the trends coming up for 2014.
Ponte which is a double-knit fabric and very comfortable. Color has made a resurgence. But our bestselling color is still black. We’ve got a few black garments but we do have wonderful colors and textures, too.
What are your best sellers?
We do very well with our sweaters and soft knit garments. We also do very well with our jackets.
You said you wear many different hats but what’s your favorite part of working at Randy Kemper?
Working with the vendors and the salespeople. I’m a people person so I really just like interacting with different individuals and getting to know the customer as much as possible. And doing new things every day. It’s always a new season so it’s always an opportunity to discover new things.
Enter to win a fab floral blazer (retail value: $286), by answering in the comments below: What would you wear this with?