Behind the Scenes: Creating the Desert Dreams Collection
Over the past few months, I have been creating our new collection "Desert Dreams" inspired by Joshua Tree, California, where rainbow skies meet desert roads
Growing up, my off the grid, hippy parents (still married after 44 years), brother and I traveled everywhere together. Joshua Tree was a place we visited that has continuously drawn me back.
The high desert is a special place to me. The vibe Joshua Tree carries is one of peace and preservation and I have been in love with it since I was a child. When I breathe desert air, feel the dirt under my feet and open my eyes, I am reminded that all can be found right here, with my greatest teacher: nature.
Travel and nature have always inspired my art. Each place I go, I am constantly keeping my eyes open noticing the unique details of the land and absorbing my surroundings like a sponge. It is easy to be inspired when you are in such beautiful, peaceful places like the desert.
We launch a new LK collection twice a year, seasonally: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. This means I create new art for the line twice a year. The rest of the year is devoted to acquiring new partners, helping the team manage accounts and get orders out, and showing the line. At times, I feel like a door-to-door saleswoman because I LOVE meeting face-to-face and shaking hands with new, existing and potential partners.
To get inspired, I GO. Life will take me somewhere, I get interested in exploring a certain area or I have the urge to get reacquainted with a familiar place from long ago. As I travel, over several months, all of the inspiration I am absorbing is stored in my head. At some point, my brain gets full and I have to get it all down on paper. This is where I begin to sketch. This process feels like a giant waterfall of ideas endlessly flowing or like a dam breaking wide open. It is messy, imperfect and full of energy. I use anything in front of me to paint or draw on. The most recent collection was concepted on a small notepad from the Bowery Hotel. Perfection does not matter in this phase, I am just getting the ideas out of my head so they more concretely exist.
After sketching, I step away from the designs for a few days. I usually take a break by exploring whatever town I am in with my favorite people, visiting local LK stockists and getting outdoors. Stepping away helps to give a fresh perspective and allows me to acknowledge if the design is "on brand" or meets LK standards.
When my eyes feel fresh, I come back to the sketches and critique each under the LK lense. Simple, imperfect, unique, a little edgy. My gut feeling helps this process. I will often ask the team, "Does it feel LK?". No one would be able to describe what I mean by that. We all just know since I have been developing this brand for over 10 years.
I only launch designs that I feel 100% great about so this process takes a while. Many designs are thrown out along the way. I have been known to scrap entire collections and start over a week before we are set to show them. It has to feel right or I can not release it.
Next, I begin to perfect the sketches and turn them into designs. I usually produce 10-25 new designs to get to 5-6. I then create digital mock-ups of each design on a pillow, towel or other product. Finally, from those mockups, I choose the final designs for the collection. The LK team is involved in this "pick your favorite" phase as I like to call it as well as trusted friends and family. I feel it is important to test the designs on not only internal team members but consumers, which is where the friends and family come in. I always have the last look, however, so even if it is the consensus that a design should be produced, if I am not feeling it, I do not let it through to production. After we decide on the final designs for the collection, they are sent off to our screen printing team and production begins.
T H E D E S E R T D R E A M S C O L L E C T I O N
The Desert Dreams collection includes five thoughtful designs with unique influence behind each.
As its name suggests, this design celebrates the beautiful, eclectic state of California. Even though California's influence has been weaved throughout the LK brand, a representation of this state was never featured as a design. The design incorporates tall diverging triangles pointed toward each other representing strongly opinionated humans shifting away from "the norm", coming together for a common goal or new normal.
2| Rainbow Roads
Joshua Tree at sunset is something everyone should experience. The rainbow sunset sky melts perfectly into the dark desert road. What begins and ends between the two is unclear. The rainbow design is turned upside down because Joshua Tree is a unique place. "Normal" rainbows would never exist there. JTree is edgy and feels like a parallel universe with its sunset rainbow roads for days.
3| Shadow Block
Shadow Block is an architectural detail that is used predominantly in Palm Springs CA, the surrounding Coachella Valley and has been known to show up in Joshua Tree as well. Started by mid-century architects these impressive concrete walls naturally decorated by light and shadows boast popouts, angles, and overhangs and create beautiful decoration with patterns which change from morning to night. Shadow blocks used as individual units add decorative accents to walls. In fields, they are perfect for geometric patterns and combinations of texture.
Agaves often called century plants, have large, thick fleshy leaves, each ending in a sharp point and with a spiny edge. This plant is native to this region of the U.S. and is everywhere you turn. Its' stunning long leaves and strong base inspired this design.
While the Saguaro cacti do not grow directly in Joshua Tree it is prevalent in the vast California desert. This design is a modern take on the 300-year-old desert plant species.
The new collection is, as always, deeply rooted in my experiences with / appreciation for modern architecture, nature and travel. It is very meaningful for me to be able to share these experiences through art with you. Thank you for your continual support. xx April