Reina Sugiyama and Lacey Voss grew up a world apart—Reina in Tokyo and Lacey on a farm in Ohio—but when they were partnered-up as a design duo at Uniqlo, they quickly shared some work-wife bonding over the lack of investment-worthy clothing for women that didn’t take itself sooo seriously. “We felt like there was no middle ground for thirtysomething women in America—everything was either fast fashion or Barneys. We wanted to do something approachable but still really high-quality,” says Reina of their vision for what doin’ their own thing could look like. Their different backgrounds also made them a real dream team: Lacey’s the pattern, fit, and fabric whiz while Reina brings her graphic-design skills to wild—but still totally wearable—prints.
After a few years of playing around with prototypes, the pair officially launched Dokonoko in 2017, rendering Reina’s colorful polka-dot and bisecting line patterns onto beautifully draped silk dresses and cinched-waist jumpsuits. Each piece magically imparts a vibe that automatically makes you the coolest kid at every party—but never in, like, a snobby way. Lacey and Reina know how to keep things fun—in addition to clothing, they also make bright beach towels, paper goods featuring cat butts, and mysteriously cute stickers with a solemn baby pic of Reina’s mom Yoko that appeal to both their Japanese and Midwestern sensibilities.