Why do we do it?
We find something thrilling about new designers, because it’s so easy to see their personalities in the things they make—in experiencing their products and process, you get a strong sense of who they are and what they’re about.
We aim to support and promote on-the-rise fashion designers who get us excited by giving you access to their unique products and stories. We hope to offer something special and rare to others like us: People who want to know the story behind everything, people who are the first to hear about the next big artist/designer/musician/chef, people who shop as much for the experience as they do for the product.
Our fantasy is that every time someone compliments you on an Of a Kind edition, you’ll feel compelled to knowingly tell them all about the designer behind it. You’ll probably also want to brag that you’re one of only a handful of people in the world who owns it—but that’s entirely up to you.
Who are we?
Claire grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and has an inordinate amount of second-smallest-state pride. Her first foray into the fashion industry came at age 16 when, after a chance encounter with Donna Karan, she landed a summer internship at DKNY. Claire’s AOL screenname at the time was DKNYClaire, so this was a really big deal. During college at University of Chicago, Claire shifted her focus to the arts more broadly, receiving her masters in arts management from Columbia University and working for art collections and organizations as well as individual artists. Wanting to incorporate fashion into her work once again, Claire saw an opportunity to assist designers as she had artists, creating innovative ways for them to share their work with a passionate, engaged community.
Erica grew up in Peoria, Illinois, and relied on magazines to get a fashion fix in a place that wasn’t exactly the style capital of anywhere. During her time at the University of Chicago, she discovered her love of editorial, and, with plenty of internships under her belt, made the scary move to New York, landing a job at Details magazine and spending five years as an editor there before making the transition to Lucky. During her tenure in print publishing, Erica became inspired and excited to tell the stories of designers in a new way and in a fresh environment. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, InStyle, Good, and ReadyMade.
Claire and Erica met at the University of Chicago in 2002 when a mutual frenemy introduced them, suggesting they should be friends because they both, at some point during their college careers, dated (Division III) basketball players. They quickly realized they had other things in common, an appreciation of fashion and a Tracy Flick-like approach to their extracurriculars among them. Both girls moved to New York post-graduation and often found themselves talking about peers who had started businesses and their mutual admiration for those who had taken the plunge. When they conceptualized Of a Kind—over the course of 25 frantic emails in 12 hours—they knew they had to pursue it.
Who does our photography?
All of the product photos on our site are taken by the amazing and ridiculously talented Jamie Beck, unless otherwise noted. You can find more of her work on From Me to You and Cinemagraph.