Owner and Designer of K-Deer
How did you start K-DEER?Divine intervention allowed me the opportunity to follow my heart... I worked in the city for a few years after graduating Syracuse University’s fashion design program. At the peak of the recession, my previous employer was forced to close and I was out of a job. Fashion designers like myself took a hit at that time. The job market was extremely competitive and in an unexpected turn, instead of finding a new job, I found yoga.
Practicing 6 days a week, I struggled to find the right clothes to fit my increasingly sweaty lifestyle; I began sampling different styles and then shared them with my yoga teachers and other students for their opinions. Positive feedback fueled me with confidence to put my design out there and I began to brand and market K-DEER, originally named K.Deer Haute Yoga Wear (a play on words for 'hot yoga' and 'high fashion').
My design 'ah-ha' moment was in creating the ‘Bum Bum’, an elastic free, raw edged short that covered just what needed to be covered and kept me distraction free for all 90 minutes. There weren’t many brands on the market speaking directly to hot yoga and so I realized I had a chance to show women like me, something that would solve their hot yoga clothing woes.
What was your first style?
What began as my way of staying focused and comfortable in hot yoga, became the foundation of confidence, comfort and sexiness the K-DEER brand now builds upon every day.
What is your mission with K-DEER?
I started K-DEER with the desire to share those feelings of confidence, comfort and femininity with as many other women as possible. I sold the hand made style at my local studio and began connecting to other studios and students around the world via social media. Within my first year, I made over 800 pairs of Bum Bums by hand in my childhood bedroom, taking orders via etsy.com and sending them out through my local post office. Over the next two years, I designed and personally developed the shorts, capris and leggings. The original flat front, high waisted bottoms quickly became a topic of conversation (what? no camel toe?). It was unheard of at the time to see so much print on leggings but with carefully chosen designs on a unique high performance fabric, the K-DEER reputation was made and the brand began to get recognition for it’s uniqueness.
Tell us more about your journey in yoga…
While I evolved my yoga practice and as the brand was just getting off the ground, I also became a certified Barkan Method Hot Yoga teacher. I learned so much about myself during training and as I began teaching; I saw K-DEER as an extension of me and opportunity to share my passion of yoga and fashion around the world. From hot yoga to spin, running, crossfit, surfing, paddle board and every other adventure in between, I’ve watched women of all shapes, sizes and abilities build confidence and break through self-judgements.
I feel so grateful that the thing that made me love and respect myself, became what helped other women do the same.
Where do you manufacture and get your raw materials from?
I set my standards high and if something isn’t good enough for me, it’s certainly not going to be good enough for a client. We carefully manufacture our apparel locally here in New Jersey and in the Garment Center of New York City. Season to season, we listen to feedback, make adjustments and improve upon the details that make each style successful. We are dedicated to using high quality, American made fabric that we print locally under strict eco-friendly guidelines. My team and I are committed to reducing our footprint on the earth by keeping our process local, efficient and low in waste.
You used to be a one woman show, but who works with you now?
The in-house K-DEER team is made up of 9 amazing women, including my sister, Trine. We always pushed each other creatively and supported each other professionally, so it was such a joy to finally have her join my team in 2014. She has shared her incredible sense of color and print from her 13 years in the swim/print industry with the K-DEER brand. In addition, the values we were brought up with (plus the yogic philosophy I’ve studied as a yoga student) have laid the solid foundation of an authentic and ethical small business. The rest of my team is all women; fierce, amazing women. We are so excited to grow as a brand and do our part to continue and inspire more American production, introduce more of our creative strengths to our clients and help women feel as beautiful as they look in K-DEER.
Thank you for being a part of our K-DEER Family! We are inspired by your excitement, engagement and support! We promise to continue delivering the best quality, style and service!
Love, Kristine Deer