“Biannual is a 100% vegan brand built off of my desire for functional outerwear with a personality,” says creative director Danielle Roche. Biannual‘s debut Fall/Winter 2017 collection features dyed vegan-fur coats and colour-blocked puffers, all created with fashion, function and sustainability in mind.
Biannual targets millennials with ethically-made, genderless outerwear that can be worn season after season. And who better understands the 20-something generation than 25-year old Dani Roche, co-founder of the Toronto-based creative agency Kastor & Pollux. In 2016, Dani started designing vegan, unisex coats on top of running her agency.
Kastor & Pollux started as online vintage clothing shop in 2011, and slowly evolved to the creative agency it is today. Producing events and editorial content for the likes of Fujifilm, Coffee-mate, Fido and Topshop, the agency speaks to their client’s target demographic with with unique events, hashtags and colourful visuals that have the power to drive millions of social impressions to the campaigns.
“This might sound cheesy but I’m really inspired by the women who I have the privilege of working and collaborating with everyday,” says Dani. “Their desire to grow their skill sets is endlessly inspiring for me–it makes me want to be a better designer and a better leader.”
It is Dani’s experience with art direction, design, branding and identity–and the creatively brilliant K&P women–that have led to a successful for first collection for Biannual. Dani’s approach: “Designed to be ambiguous and adaptable in use – season, gender, purpose – Biannual offers coats you can wear to the grocery store and then a gala; cuts that accommodate men and women from all walks of life.”
The outerwear coats launched the beginning of September with events in New York and Toronto creating buzz. Last week the ecommerce site went live, and most of designs–the long faux-fur coats and long reversible puffer–are already sold out.
With Biannual and Kastor & Pollux’s newest projects–Ephemera magazine and K&P’s store–Dani breaks away from the digital world. She shares what’s new for K&P and her inspiration for Biannual’s FW ’17 collection below:
Can you walk me through Kastor & Pollux’s evolution?
A lot of Kastor & Pollux’s pivots were inspired by the changing digital space. When I started my first online business with Bianca [Venerayan] in 2008, technology and access to tools were vastly different than they are today. Over the years, tactics to commodify online have informed how I understand my place in the market. Coming from a very insular fashion blogging world and growing the business to encompass more community-focused initiatives and more holistic design projects has been really rewarding. It excites me to see how the digital space continues to change because I know that K&P has many more iterations to go through in its lifetime.
K&P’s work has a distinct aesthetic. How would you describe it?
Fun and thoughtful organized chaos.
How does K&P’s print magazine Ephemera have a place in this digital world?
It’s important for me to step away from my computer once in a while, and I think as younger generations continue to get immersed in the digital world, it’s important to provide different options and outlets to receive information.
Maegan Fidelino – who is one of my oldest friends – is the editor and designer of Ephemera. I feel fortunate to be able to support her ambitions while also dipping my toes into something I am passionate about.
Tell us about some exciting K&P projects that are in the works?
We launched a shop – which currently houses our LUCK collection (pins, patches, totes, stickers) as well as some printed materials (Ephemera, photo zines). Because the majority of Kastor & Pollux’s output is digital, being able to revisit the physicality of objects as a means of reaching our audience has been a really exciting process for me.
You don’t come from a background in fashion design, so how has your former experience with branding, design, art direction and social media benefited and effected your decisions with Biannual and how you’ve approached challenges?
I think coming from an external – but related – field gives me a different point of view and an unconventional way of solving problems. My decisions are often based off intuition vs. tradition. Familiarizing myself into a new industry is challenging but really rewarding. I’ve been learning as I go along, and that process is exciting for me.
Biannual caters to “millennials ideals – sustainability, fashion, function,” which have essentially become the pillars of the brand. Can you elaborate on the brand’s approach and exactly how you plan to target millennials?
The F/W 17 collection features an oversized “sleeping bag” parka and a boxy color-blocked puffer both created with an exclusive recycled cashmere fill called “Supremeloft” that keeps you just as warm as traditional down without the negative impact. Fulfilling a need for consciousness, mindfulness, and self-improvement without making stylistic sacrifices, Biannual is an inclusive brand that incorporates niche identities while still maintaining mass-market appeal.
What is the inspiration or story behind the FW2017 collection?
The cuts – inspired by the ever-prevalent “blob” silhouette – inherently defy traditional concepts of beauty or femininity. While society has become increasingly accepting of “alternative” forms of beauty, we still hold conventional ideals of what it means to be “attractive”. Designed to be ambiguous and adaptable in use – season, gender, purpose – Biannual offers coats you can wear to the grocery store and then a gala; cuts that accommodate men and women from all walks of life.
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Images Courtesy Dani Roche, Kastor & Pollux and Biannual
Dani Roche Portrait by Mariah Hamilton