• photography by Therese + Joel

    Coco and Breezy: the power of two

    Written by Tsemaye Opubor by Michaela Widergren

    Coco and Breezy are fabulous, futuristic, identical twin sisters from Minnesota who now call Brooklyn, New York home. Aged just 19 years old, Corianna (“Coco”) and Brianna (“Breezy”) Dotson left the security blanket of life in Minneapolis and headed for the Big Apple in 2009. They quit their jobs, sold their car, and packed their bags with their talent, a design concept, and the dream of making it big.

    Fast forward to 2013, and the twins have already hit the ball out of the park.
    Their high glam style has brought them recognition on the street, and their individual approach to eyewear design has seen the company they founded, aptly named Coco and Breezy Eyewear, become a brand to reckon with. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and
    Nicky Minaj are just a few of their high profile clients. Collaborations with global brands such as Adidas and Reebok have increased their reach, and Coco && Breezy Eyewear, as well as accessories designed by the pair have been seen in major fashion magazines around the globe.

    Odalisque caught up with the power twins at home in Brooklyn, early on a Friday morning, thanks to that modern technology miracle known as Skype. Although both sisters were in the room during the interview, Breezy was the talkative one.
    Coco listened in the background, sporadically agreeing, clapping, and laughing and once or twice yelling out in pain, when their new little white kitten with a blue tail tried out his sharp teeth on her.

    The decision to move to New York slowly started to take form when Coco and Breezy visited New York around the age of 17.

    “Honestly, being from the Midwest, it was a huge change just to visit New York. The size, the people, the fashion, everything about it felt right. We realized that it was the only place we were truly at home,” said Breezy.

    The twins credit their parents for pushing them to follow their dreams.

    “Our parents are the shit. They encouraged us to be artists, and there aren’t many parents that actively encourage that choice, they gave us moral support and always told us that they believed in us,” said Breezy.

    “Oh yes, absolutely. They are amazing,” said Coco in the background, humming ”uh huh” in agreement with her sister.

    Although the family was close knit, Coco and Breezy had a difficult time growing up.
    The twins didn’t fit the mold in their suburban school, with pink and purple hair, and their numerous piercings at 13 years old.

    “We were seen as the weird, ugly twins when we were growing up, we didn’t have many friends,” said Breezy.

    In the ultimate example of making lemonade from lemons, Coco and Breezy initially made eyewear to shield themselves from the scrutiny of the haters in their hometown.

    “We started out with eyewear because we were so self conscious, people made fun of us and misunderstood us. So we wore sunglasses all the time, because sunglasses make you confident,” Breezy explained.

    “We never in our wildest dreams could have imagined that we could make it in
    New York with our own eyewear company,” she said.

    “We spent our whole lives hiding behind our sunglasses, and behind our hair. Six months ago we shaved our heads, and we have decided that we aren’t going to do hair anymore. We believe that in order to grow you have to take things away that you love and for us, we had to get rid of our hair.”

    Coco and Breezy say that shaving their heads has empowered them and given them more confidence than ever before.

    “We could never go up to a person and look them in the eye. Now, we feel so strong. We decided that this year was the year to show our true beauty and conquer the world, and we will probably keep the hair off for the rest of our lives”, Breezy explained.

    Many things have changed with the success and recognition for the brand.

    “Just knowing how awesome things are can get me emotional,” said Breezy.
    “I was on the train coming home yesterday and a guy asked me for my autograph. I couldn’t believe it. He said he knew who I was and he loved our work. I was so embarrassed because oh my God I’m not used to that! I kind of giggled”.

    The passion to achieve more means that Coco and Breezy work 20-hour days, and rarely go out.

    “Its great to get all the recognition, but we continue to stay humble, hungry passionate. We keep thinking about the next step, and how can we grow our business,” Breezy said.

    The twins believe that their success is firmly anchored in their strong design sense.

    “Coco and I are artists, we like to paint and to sketch, and that definitely comes across in the work we do when we create each collection,” Breezy explained.
    In the early stages of the design process, Coco and Breezy each create separate moodboard concepts. Breezy starts pencil sketches of the eyewear based on the ideas developed in the moodboards. Coco decides the colorways and also has the final say on which sketches will go into production.

    “We create tons of moodboards, since we have so many ideas. We believe in designing fashionable pieces that are very functional. We are artists, so we believe our products have to look good, but we are from the Midwest, so our glasses need to be functional and sit on the face comfortably as well,” Breezy explained.

    Our Skype time was coming to a close, but clearly there was one last question that this inquiring mind had to ask the experts:
    -So can sunglasses be worn at night?
    “Absolutely!, says Breezy. “Sunglasses are a security blanket for a lot of people.”

    “Of course,” says Coco. “People wear clothes at night, right?! So why can’t you wear sunglasses?

     COCO AND BREEZY are wearing  MOSI and ZESIRO in all images
  • thank you to MDT

    photography by

    SANDRA MYHRBERG

    MEGHAN SCOTT stylist

    make up MICHAELA MYHRBERG

    BEYOND RETRO top

    shorts ADIDAS

    top worn underneath

    HELMUT LANG

    An Interview with Lune

    Written by Mari Florer

    Lune is really euphoric about her latest songs from her debut EP “Music and Sports” and she´s looking forward to her summer tour. She has been thinking a lot about her concerts and how she wants them to be. “I would like to tear down the wall between me and the audience” she says.

    Linnéa Martinsson, the intelligent creative young woman behind Lune, was only 16 years old when she moved to Stockholm to become a dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet School.
    She explains that she hadn´t really danced so much before, so it was quite a rough period for her. “But my background in rhythmic gymnastics helped me a lot. I was used to exposing my body to tough training”, she says. “But at that time, the hardest thing was life in general; being a teenager, starting to take responsibility, constantly moving around looking for an apartment - growing up. I learned many things and I came away from that time a lot stronger”

    After she graduated she moved to Brussels…”My friends lived there and it was the place where I wanted to be. It was the city where it all happened”, she says and explains that the Belgian capital is a European hotspot for dance and performance art. During the days, when her friends had left the apartment, she started to write lyrics and experiment with her voice. She recorded it and that was the beginning of her musical career.

    So, you write music, have a wonderful singing voice – and you are a professional dancer. You have all the prerequisites needed to become big artist. Is music your biggest driving force?
    Right now it is. The plan is that it would be a lifelong pleasurable dynamic project that I want to live with, side by side. If it’s going to be big or not, I can’t say.

    I wonder… is Lune your own project or is it a collaboration?
    … It’s mine because it’s my ideas. I write the lyrics and I sing, but there are a lot of creative talented people who join me and contribute with their thing. It’s important to emphasize that they are independent and do their thing, even if it´s in my project. Uncompromising cooperation, I should say. My friends are dancers and artists and we exchange services with one another. ‘If you help me in my project you can use my help later in yours’. I depend upon other awesome people for this project to come true.

    Two of those talented “awesome people” you mention are Adrian Lux (producer, dj) and Carl-Michael Herlöfsson (composer, producer). How do they contribute? And what do you do by yourself?
    We all work together. I come up with the embryo. Adrian with his dance music skills and Carl-Michael has a long experience from the music business and contributes with great ideas. Then we sew it all together.

    So, how would you describe the album to anyone who has not heard your music before?
    Music and Sports is my first project made as a cohesive concept and that you can get a whole impression of. It’s darker than my early songs, but not too heavy.
    It has some type of hip hop groove and there is a clubby feeling in it. It is danceable.
    I like to think of situations or moods when I describe music. And when it comes to “Music and Sports” I think of night, driving a car and exercising.

    You remind me of Björk. Is there anyone who told you that before?
    I’ve heard that before. I think it’s because I look like her. If you listen to the music you hear that we do not have much in common.

    Except that you are both independent arty women who make conceptual stuff?
    Yes, but there are many artists who work that way - even guys.

    I read somewhere that when you create music, you think in pictures. Is this visualizing also important when it comes to styling?
    Yes, really really important. I like to have a full concept when I write, sing or dance. My concept is to combine different specific components that have a clear personal profile and to combine it with other items from different worlds. For example - something sporty with something else to make it crazy or totally incomprehensible. I can wear boxing shorts, an exclusive coat and something made in China, a New York cap and boots. I like when individual things are put together into something new.

    Do you consider yourself as a trendy person?
    Maybe, I want to achieve some kind of magic with clothes, pictures and ideas, she says and points to her sticky diamonds that are glued between the eyebrows.

    Do you have a good self-esteem?
    Hmm, yes, I suppose so. Or it has to be that way, I guess.

    You don’t care about what others think?
    No, certainly not. Everything is too exciting to be anxious about. Desire drives me. It’s really sad to think about what other people think.

    Can you name someone who you think has a great style?
    I think that many people dress well. God how difficult! I’m not too familiar with the fashion world. I’m not looking actively for fashion, but I like clothes that stand out and convey something new. It doesn’t need not be new garments, just something that wakes me up and catches my thought.
    If I look at a fashion magazine I fall for things that stand out or are brave. The things that question the ordinary. I have to say the performance artist Mårten Spångberg, he is really inspiring.

    I heard you are a fighter. Is that true?
    Yes

    Are you good?
    Yes, I am. I’ve been training Thai boxing for almost two years. I have had two boxing matches and I really love it. I have longed to play sports again and I’ve found a sport that feels really interesting. I’m good, but can always get better and develop my techniques. I am dying for more matches. I prefer to practice every day because it’s so fun.

    Have you got a black eye yet?
    Yes, I get one often. Always bruises. I take a lot of beating.

    But it’s fun anyway?
    Yes, it’s like it’s worth it. It takes me down to earth. Whenever I leave the gym and I have received a lot of beating, I think: Life, this is the way it is.
    I can’t be anywhere but in the moment when I practice Thai boxing. It’s worth every hit. My body hurts almost all the time, but it becomes very smooth and tight. I really recommend people try it.

    Art seems to be important to you. Is it performance art which is your main interest, or is it art in general?
    Actually, art in general. But the performing art is really something I am passionate about. It’s a bit like playing live - being in the moment or in a situation with others is unbeatable in any way.
    It’s a bit the same as being in a match. I can just be there and nowhere else. Such situations are life, I think. All live art is very exciting and important.


    In what way is it important?
    I feel that when I stand on stage with a large or small group of people I cannot hide anything. You can only be completely honest. It picks up at least my big feelings. It’s a challenge.

    Are you going on tour soon?
    I will probably start playing this summer (2013) and then we will see what happens. I think I want to play a lot live. Right now we are working on how Lune should look like live. What I’m thinking about is: Where should I play? Should it be on a club stage or in a gymnasium? Should we be the band that we were last summer, or will it just be me. When I have sorted those things out, I just want to go out and sing.

    You have previously done concerts at peoples home?
    Yes, it was exciting. It was over one year ago. Carl-Michael Herlöfsson and I got the idea that maybe we could play with friends at their home to practice. It was very interesting because what we noticed was happening, was that the person who invited us took responsibility for the performance as well. It became more equal. It was also exciting to see which places we ended up at. The message spread rapidly and very soon we were playing with people we didn’t know.

    It sounds like a pretty good PR-campaign?
    Yes, it became a hot topic and everyone wanted to participate. It was both difficult and challenging but super nice.

    This will take you closer to performance art?
    Yes, indeed, she says, smiling.

    So, what are your plans for today?
    Right now I’m going to work with a choreographer named Robin Jonsson. It’s a Zombieproject. We are studying zombies right now and explore the figure. It’s so trite, the monster is so damn weird and interesting at the same time. We always start with a physics pass and runs for 20 minutes and then we have a 40 minutes ass workout. We want tight asses for the summer and run hard training.

    You do not have a spare moment, do you?
    No, chilling can be done later.

    leather jacket Lunes own

    top HERNANDEZ CORNET

    hoodie vest STELLA MCCARTNEY ADIDAS

    (available at NK)

    leather shorts RIKA

    black hoodie CHAMPION

    (available at NK)

    MARIA BLACK nose ring

    black hoodie CHAMPION

    sports bra STELLA MCCARTNEY ADIDAS

    (available at NK)

    skirt BAUM UND PFERDGARTEN

    yellow top BEYOND RETRO

    HELMUT LANG top worn underneath

    (available at NK)

    shorts Stylist own

    boots DR. MARTENS

  • We like to create new ideas and

    see the results. The results and

    responses drive us the most.”

    photo copyright © 2013 ALTEWAISAOME 

    An interview with AltewaiSaome

    Written by Mari Florer

    The two Swedish designers Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome have created something unique together. With an eye for detail they mix embroidered and printed fabrics while experimenting with shapes and volumes. The AltewaiSaome style is more international than Scandinavian specifically and the couple has managed to carve out a unique niche on the Swedish fashion scene.

    Natalia and Randa had talked about starting a brand together for several years. In 2009 they fulfilled their dream and AltewaiSaome was born. Everything came naturally when setting up the studio because they knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish.

    Coming from two different backgrounds the partnership created a style that no one could have envisioned, although it was what everybody had been waiting for. And the timing was impeccable.

    Natalia had been working with design and production of bags and accessories while Randa’s specialty was textile embroidery. 

    Today they’re busy working on their collection for S/S 2014 and leading the production for A/W 2013. These days the couple has seen their different abilities seriously intertwined. “Somehow we have grown together after all these years. We have learned each other’s skills and we share the same vision.”

    Why did you both want to be designers?

    It was something that seemed natural for both of us. It was the only thing we knew we wanted to do.

    What was it that made you become friends and partners? 

    It all started while studying at Instituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy and we were in the same class. We ended up living together for almost four years and realized that we could create something great together, even though we were very different at that time.

    Do you have different backgrounds?

    Randa: I’m Syriac but, I was born and raised in Stockholm.

    Natalia: I’m from Poland and Yemen but, I was raised in Malmö.

    What is unique with ALTEWAISAOME and what is the driving force behind it?

    Today it is very difficult to say that one is or does something that´s unique because there is so much of everything, but we hope that’s what makes us a little different is our sense of style and our passion for details. We like to create new ideas and see the results. The results and responses drive us the most.

    What inspiration, knowledge or experience did you bring home from studying and working in Italy?

    Many things: Everything from how to build up a collection; how to use different techniques in textile design to drawing for embroidery and printing. We also got experience from dealing with many stressful situations where a lot went wrong. We learned how to find solutions and compromise. Another important aspect we learned was that there is a concept called “work for a set amount of hours per day” but, in reality you work until the job is completed, with or without pay; if necessary, all night long for several days, straight simply hard work.

    Where do you produce your clothes and is it under fair conditions? 

    We produce in Poland and Portugal. We visit the factories every season to oversee the facilities and working conditions. 

    What do you think about the environmental impacts in terms of your production?

    We make sure that the fabric manufacturers use their own machines to color and that no toxic substances are used. We try to minimize transportation and make sure that we do not produce too much fabric or make too many pieces that will not be sold.

    What are your favorite materials and colors?

    Usually we prefer to work with stiffer materials to get the volumes we're looking for. We have no absolute favorite color. We use the colors that feel right for the season.

    How do you dress yourself? 

    We dress up the most in ALTEWAISAOME. Right now our favorite garment is the Triangle Jacket – it works like a sweater but also as a jacket.

    You have mentioned that those who wear your clothes are strong women. How do you define your male consumer who buy from your men's collection?

    The men who buy our clothes are usually more familiar with fashion and are very fashion conscious. He both dares and wants to stand out.

    A lot of bloggers praised your SS13 sunglasses. Where can you buy these?

    They will be sold by most of our buyers around the world. For example: Baerck Store in Berlin, International Playground in New York and Vein in Hong Kong.

    In Sweden, they will be sold on our web shop and at Nitty Gritty in Stockholm.

    About the future. Besides Malmö, Sweden, do you plan to open more stores in Sweden or abroad? Or are there any new collaborations ahead?

    We have no plans to open more stores right now. We’re just focusing more on our sales to retailers internationally. Nor do we have any planned collaborations.

    Are you doing anything fun this summer?

    We are going to a wedding in Istanbul in May. It’s the only thing that is planned right now.

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