After 15 years in the business, Kobi Halperin is setting out to create a label that could change everything you think you know about fashion.
FASHION is in a unique place. The industry is in a state of flux, trying to decipher if social media is a help or a hindrance and contemplating the timing of fashion shows and clothes deliveries, while at the same time, attempting to deliver clothes that are both creative and wearable, desirable and sellable. It’s at this intersection that a giant gap emerges: Are luxury labels pricing clothes too highly, and are high street stores offering clothes that are priced too cheaply (encouraging the use of inferior fabrications and inexpensive labor)? The answer to both is yes. The answer to the solution is smarter design and more innovative business strategies.
New York-based designer Kobi Halperin offers both of these in spades. His eponymous label, launched earlier this year, is both beautifully made and accessibly priced. His clothes bridge the gap between timelessness and trend, and are made from beautiful, luxe fabrications. Better yet, they are priced at an entirely affordable range. “I think that in today’s economy shopping habits have really changed. When consumers are buying clothes they want to feel good about their investment,” says Halperin. “As a designer, I want to give that to them. I want to design product with beautiful details and quality workmanship, and offer it at a price point that is competitive and accessible.”
Halperin, who was born in Israel and graduated from Shankar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv, has spent most of his career designing for other brands. He was the creative director at both Kenneth Cole and Elie Tahari, often infusing both lines with his Hungarian influences. “I have always been mesmerized by details and workmanship. I have memories as a child running my fingers along the intricate framing and furniture in the house. At a really early age, I was involved with building my mother’s wardrobe; I loved going shopping with her. I was born in the ‘70s in Israel, and that was a time when people felt strongly about expressing themselves and fashion was a very serious thing. When I was 13 and about to celebrate my bar mitzvah, I went to an atelier with my mom to get her dress made. That was when I realized that my fashion obsession could be a job. In that moment I knew that I wanted to become a designer.”
"I find beauty in the imperfections. with my clothes you can feel that someone touched them by hand. I love to create pieces that give women a way to express themselves."
After 15 years in the industry the time was ripe to launch his own business, and Halperin partnered with Rothschild to create his namesake line. “After more than 15 years of working for other brands, I felt that the time was right,” he explains. “I wanted to stay true and loyal to the woman that I love to design for and I felt that the only way I could really do that was to connect to her through my own brand.”
For Halperin, who values the customer more than most, delivering a product that infuses its wearer with joy is his greatest goal. “We are creating a brand that the customer can recognize by the details and not by the logo. We will always pay attention to details and workmanship. I find beauty in the imperfections. With my clothes you can feel that someone touched them by hand. I love to create pieces that give women a way to express themselves. There is a lot of thought that goes into the process of designing; I think about the fit, how it feels on the body, the movement… Women want to feel comfortable and effortless – these are the things I think about when I’m designing my collection.”
1. What do you eat for breakfast?
2. What was your last dream about?
Me as a child, back in my home town.
3. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Creating peace in the world and making people love each other.
4. What is your spirit animal?
5. Biggest vice?
I can be a bit sensitive at times.
6. If you could swap lives with anyone in history (alive or dead), who would it be?
I would like to experience what life was like for my grandparents – back when they were in Europe.
7. What is your favorite song?
That depends on my daughters' favorite song of the moment.
8. Favorite artists?
9. If you could wear one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My uniform: a black t shirt, black jacket, and black pants.
10. Any hidden talents?
I'm a comedian :)