An Interview with Yvonne Koné

Meet Yvonne Koné, a designer devoted to crafting high quality, beautifully made leather and cashmere accessories. Based in Copenhagen, Yvonne dedicates her time to designing, innovating and sourcing the finest materials to create her effortlessly chic collections.

During one of the busiest periods of the year for Yvonne, Copenhagen Fashion Week, we managed to track her down to find out more about the woman behind the business. Let us introduce you to Yvonne.

yvonne kone interview


Question: Tell us a little about the new collection

I strive to make my collections continuously. Every season I refine the existing classics in the collection such as the bum bags or the bucket bags and I add new colours or materials. This season I have added the electric blue buffalo leather. What I love about this variant is the intensity of the colour combined with the natural looking vegetable dyed leather.

Question: Who would you love to see wearing your designs?

I´m happy to see everyone from young hipsters, to royalty, to elderly people wearing my products. To me, the most important thing is that I have managed to get such dedicated clients who really value quality over trends or status symbols. After I have opened my own shop I get to meet the clients in a completely different way. I feel honoured and grateful that my clients – no matter which country they come from, they all seem to be very passionate about the products. To me, this is a dream come true.

Question: You travel a lot with the brand, but where is the most inspiring place on earth for you?

The most inspiring place for me to be is definitely in the middle of nowhere in our factory in Tuscany. When I´m there I forget about the world around me and nothing can disturb me. I just love to be with the artisans, get to know them, their families and see how hard they work.

A lot of them work with the big international brands and are used to another way of working, but over the years I can see how much they appreciate the way we are working together. It´s a very close and inspiring collaboration. And it is always a long process. Now that I finally feel I have managed to set up a really strong production in Italy, I feel that a whole new world opens each time I´m there. In the beginning, it was one big struggle since I was so small and I was competing with all the big brands but time has changed and in some way the financial crisis opened new doors to me. I would never have been able to work there just 6 years ago. But besides from my work in Italy I also find it pretty inspiring to be with my family on a tiny, isolated island in Greece. I leave my phone and computer at home for 2 weeks. Pretty extreme but it clears my heads and gives me time not to work and just be.

Question: Where would you recommend to visit in Copenhagen?

Oh, where should I start? First of all here are lots of good places to eat. I can recommend restaurant Geist for it´s unpretentious and cool environment, fresh and experimental dishes. The union bar in my street, Store Strandstræde for a morning coffee and a croissant. It´s vibrant and cosy at the same time.

Don´t forget to visit the green parks such as Kongens Have and Frederiksberg have when you need a small break. If you want to be cultural, make a trip to Lousiana (North of Copenhagen) or to the beautiful Glyptotektet, mostly for the amazing winter garden. If you want to go shopping there are plenty of options too. Classics such as Illums Bolighus or Mads Nørgaard you have to pass by. Wood Wood if you prefer street style, Holly Golightly if you are a big spender, or one of the nearby Acne stores is worth a visit too.

If you like Scandinavian interior design stop by Hay and while you are there you might want to visit Cafe Royal for the fantastic home made cakes (I´m addicted) it´s just 2 minutes walk away. If you are staying over I can only recommend the world´s smallest hotel, Central Café and Hotel. They have only got one room but it is so sweet and situated just above the world´s smallest coffee bar. The same owners also have the well known cafe, Granola, which is just around the corner from the hotel. I could actually go on and on but I would need more time and space! I just love my city, Copenhagen, here´s so much to see and experience.

Question: What is your favourite thing about fashion week?

To me the fashion week is about meeting my sweet clients as this is the only time of year I get to meet them. I rarely attend fashion shows or receptions even if I´m invited, because I´m too exhausted. So I actually think what I cherish the most is the moment I enter my door every evening after a long day at the fair. I love being with my family and as I´m always working day and night before the fashion week begins I really miss and appreciate them during fashion week.

Question: Did you always want to be a designer? If not, what else did you want to be?

When I was little I couldn´t decide whether I wanted to be a hairdresser or an architect. I went with the hairdresser dream as a start and worked everyday in an old fashioned hairdressing salon after school from I was 11 until I was 13. I ended up being a tolerable hair dresser and today I still like to cut – however I only cut my children’s hair now. However when I was about 16 there was no doubt that I wanted to be a designer and that´s probably when I started to pursue my dream.

Question: What is your all time favourite piece that you have designed?

I really like the idea of doing my own interpretations of something recognisable and make it my own. That´s how I made the bum bag 7 years ago. I wanted a bag that was very practical and cool at the same time and started looking into the old school belly bags often associated with tourists. I wanted to make it oversized and very simple and in a high quality of leather. I still think it is one of the most practical and cool bags out there and I just love to walk around in Copenhagen and see how many different people are wearing it.

Question: What music do you listen to in the studio?

I mostly listen to different electronic mixes made for me by Danish DJ Djuana Barnes. Or mixes by Brooklyn based duo street etiquette. This is what we listen to in the store. At home it does not differ much from that but maybe I´m adding a little more from the new R n B wave which I really, really love. Some of my favourites are Kelela, Kindness, Jhene Aiko, FKA Twigs, Frank Ocean and Devonte Hynes.

Question: What can we expect to see next from you?

More cashmere, more shoes and a quality that will keep improving. And who knows maybe a lamb shearling jacket. it´s a kind of accessory, right?

Question: Describe your personal style in three words

Simple, timeless, but personal.

Question: Favourite ice cream flavour?

Creme caramel from an ice cream place called Grohm in Florence

Question: Favourite album?

I love soundtracks but cannot mention one. Juno, Lost in Translation, drive and Palo Alto are favourites just to name a few (I did not even see all of the movies though)

Question: Favourite colour?

Ten thousand shades of grey. Or blue

Question: Favourite book?

The secret History by Donna Tartt

Image property of Line Thit Klein

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert