Interview: Kristen Cole (TENOVERSIX)
by: Amber Hourigan of Nourished Journal
Nourished talks to Kristen Cole, co-founder of one of our favoutite LA Boutiques, TENOVERSIX. She tells us how the store came to be, her must have wardrobe staples and how she stays balanced.
Can you tell me a little bit about TENOVERSIX?
In 2008 we started TENOVERSIX, originally the idea was to do a large selection of independent accessories. We do carry a lot of ready to wear now but in the beginning I wanted to focus more on accessories. I love shoes, bags and jewellery so we did a pretty big offering of shoes, bags, jewellery, hats, and all the little extras. We then also mixed in home design with friends from New York, Future Perfects, so they helped us with that in the beginning.
So it came about as this accessory store but now it’s slowly morphed into more of a fashion and design store. We kept on experimenting by adding clothing, books magazines and other bits and pieces, so we now always have four to six racks of clothing as well as the accessories and other items. But still I would say half our budget goes to shoes and bags and jewellery. Everything we do is always with an editorial point of view.
You also have a store in Dallas. What was the idea or motivation behind opening a store there?
We’ve always been open to more stores, but of course it has to be the right location. We all go back and forth between New York and LA a lot, but NY doesn’t need another store. We were always waiting for the right opportunity, the right smaller market city and this hotel came to us and offered us a partnership there. We loved the people and loved the hotel.
Dallas is the perfect market for us. They love fashion but they didn’t have a significant independent offering. They have a lot of the big labels, they have some really beautiful luxury shopping centres but it’s like Rodeo Drive. They had nothing like this. So it seemed like the perfect place and the more we got to know the girls there, there are a lot of cool girls, a lot of creative girls. We’ve found a great customer and it’s awesome.
What inspires you when you’re doing your buying for the store? Do you generally have a plan or do you just go with your gut?
We start by going to the shows, the fall/winter and spring/summer collections. We take it all in first and then as were going through all these patterns start to emerge, colours, stories, silhouettes. We’re always driven by what we want to be wearing in terms of silhouette. For example “We’re really into big dresses or oversized sweaters.” We definitely follow our gut with what we want to be wearing. I would say it takes shape as we go through the collections and then by the time we get back to LA and sit down it all comes together.
What’s been your favourite or most memorable new label to discover?
I would say there is something memorable every year, for sure. This year it was Alannah Comb for us, we love love love her dresses. Everything is so shapeless and beautiful but very modern and minimal. Last year it was Jasmine Christie and Nomia. Nomia was a big one last year, so I would say it just depends on the year. There’s probably two or three a year, now that I’m really thinking about it
I guess it’s like asking to pick your favourite child or your favourite pair of shoes.
Oh God, I couldn’t. I could tell you my top five maybe ten, but I definitely not one.
What are some of your personal must have pieces?
Go to pieces for me are anything Rachel Comey, I wear a tonne of that. In terms of apparel I would say vintage 501’s, oversized sweaters, large dresses, clogs for sure I wear a lot of clogs, great sunglasses. I mean the list is pretty long. Statement necklaces usually, I have a lot of collars and things like that.
I have read that you describe yourself as a bit of a hoarder?
Yes, it’s true. I do weed out quite often because I have to, my closet is always bursting at the seams! About every six months I try to go through it and weed stuff out. But I love fashion. Every time I’m in Austin or outside the city I shop vintage, it’s terrible!
How would you describe LA style?
A lot of people ask me this and it used to be hard to describe because it felt so fractured and dependent on which neighbourhood, so here you would dress like this, Beverley Hills you would dress like this, Santa Monica…etcetera. I really feel in our community it’s very relaxed & eclectic. It’s so not stuffy. Anything goes here and I really feel like you can get away with anything, which is great. Very relaxed, colourful, eclectic, and weird. I love LA. I used to live in New York, and whenever I go back now I always feel like ‘Oh everyone’s dressed in all black, much more conservative, much more structured’. Here I think there’s a lot more relaxed silhouettes. We were a lot of silks and really soft pieces, a lot of vintage and just something different, different vibe for sure.
What is it about LA that you love?
I love the weather, first and foremost. Just the fact that it’s sunny and seventy every day is a beautiful thing. I take it for granted and then when I leave I realise how amazing it is. And the fact that it’s such a big city and you can really find/do whatever you want, but I can still tuck away into my house is great. I feel like I’ve retired from New York but I haven’t completely gone out to pasture. It’s just a really relaxing city to live in as far as cities go.
People in LA seem to take a more balanced approach to their life in my opinion. No one is embarrassed to be going for hike or going to yoga or doing something like that in the middle of the day. Here I get everything done that I need to do every day but I also go to yoga, I run in the morning, I have time to make a smoothie, you just make time for everything else, which is nice. It’s more similar to European culture, people are more relaxed and will take long lunches etcetera and it’s nice. It’s a different pace.
It’s not seen as self-indulgent to take care of yourself?
No, not at all which is really nice, especially as I’m in my thirties and that’s where I want to be in my life, so it’s good.
Can you tell us a little bit about your health and wellness philosophy?
I was a vegetarian for fifteen years. I’ve just gotten off that train mostly because my son started eating bacon and I decided if he was going down that road I would too. I do however eat mostly macrobiotic, vegetarian with a little bit of fish. I do a lot of cooking. I cook from blogs and cook books. I would say overall, moderation. I definitely drink wine and a fair amount of coffee. I own a coffee shop with my husband in Dallas and he’s really into coffee so we have a fair amount of coffee. Matcha tea, green tea, a lot of green tea. I think living in California we are so fortunate to have a lot of farmers markets and lot of organic produce. I do a green smoothie everything morning so I guess I’m pretty into fruits and vegetables.
I’ve been practicing yoga since I was in college. I do hatha yoga and lot of walking and running. I try to move every day, just taking care of myself. Mostly just for sanity and to feel good and it’s a great stress release. So it’s just balance really.