4 Shared Obsessions That Tie One Very Different Design Duo Together
You know that feeling when you fall in friend-love with someone who gets weirdly excited about all the same things you do? That’s the kind of magic that brought Lacey Voss and Reina Sugiyama together, even though Reina got into fashion people-watching in Tokyo and Lacey became obsessed with making patterns while growing up in the cornfields of Ohio. They’re all about embracing their full Venn diagram—their differences and that juicy middle where their interests overlap—to take their bold-but-easy line Dokonoko to the next level. Here, four things they’re very much on the same page about.
“Marimekko is a big influence for us—how they tackled print and pattern in the past. Their director isn’t there any more, but we have the book Katusuji Wakisaka: Japanese Textile Designer that’s all about his work, and we go back to it a lot to see how he ties everything from paper to clothing together in a fun way. The book shows his dedication to unlimited creative exploration when it comes to art and textile. His Japanese aesthetic influenced by the modern Scandinavian designs was truly unique and a great example of taking two different cultures to produce a refined yet playful and emotional prints.” —Lacey
“Memphis Design took inspiration from a few design eras, like Art Deco and Pop Art. We love that it was started by a group of creative people that wanted to take everything people considered ‘wrong’ in design and make a creative movement out of it. We are excited that this generation is carrying on the same rebellious design ideas through Neo-Memphis design and this trend is something we recognize and are constantly inspired by. For example, bold patterns like stripes and polka dots are really our thing. So much of New York fashion is about wearing all black and taking yourself so seriously, and we’re always trying to loosen that up a bit and to bring in an element of ‘I just like it because I like it!’ We’re always searching out examples of them—like this piece from the Frieze Art Fair.” —Reina
“We loved her current show at The Met, Art of the In-Between. It isn’t set up chronologically—it’s set up thematically, which is really interesting. And when she talks about her work, she touches on elements of duality, juxtaposition, and opposites. It’s actually kind of perfect because a lot of how we started was also about duality. We’re from geographically different places, and, creatively, I come from a fashion-design background while Reina comes from a graphic-art program. So conversations about how those things all interact with each other is how we start designing a collection. It’s interesting to see how she tackled some of the same issues and incorporated those concepts in her work. Her East/West, Then/Now, and Male/Female collections really resonated with us.” —Lacey
“Painting is a very important creative outlet as well as a therapeutic experience for me. Spending time getting my hands dirty on the canvas instead of designing on the computer digitally makes me a happier person. I have this black-and-white image of my mother taken in 1955 in post-war Japan. IT really spoke to me emotionally, and I began painting portraits of my family in black and white with neon pops to celebrate them and their struggles they had. When I first moved to The States, I had a bit of culture shock and didn’t have any family close by, so as a creative outlet and way to express that, I started leaving stickers of this portrait of her everywhere. Her face is a little lost and confused, a bit disappointed and questioning, which speaks a lot to what’s going on in the world these days. Lacey really liked her, so we started selling cards with her and leaving her image in sort of funny, unusual places in New York. People respond really well to her, so she’s just become a Dokonoko character. And growing up in a farm in Ohio gave Lacey an amazing D.I.Y. attitude when it comes to all things creative. She really enjoys creating handmade items with traditional crafting skills, and uses them as an opportunity to experiment with different techniques and out-of-place ideas.” —Reina