Draper James is one of my favorite brands of all time. I admire the brand aesthetic, design, merchandising, marketing, really every aspect of the brand. I had the opportunity to chat with Kathryn Sukey from Draper James and get to know a little more about her and I am so excited to share it with you.
Getting To Know Kathryn Sukey from Draper James
Kathryn Sukey is the Head of Design at Draper James. She’s been with Draper James for over a year and a half now, but prior to that, she was at Coach and Kate Spade. She loves working at Draper James because “it’s so different than anything she’s done.” At Coach and Kate Spade it was all about what’s new and what’s coming next, always cranking out hundreds of designs deciding what to move forward with and then cranking out more. At Draper James, since it’s a much smaller team they are really “able to be thoughtful and put pen to paper when it comes to designing.”
One of the biggest things she’s learned is you don’t have to move on so quickly. I mentioned that one of my favorite pieces is the Persley dress because it’s a flattering fit and available every season in a new fit. This is the perfect example of not moving on so quickly.
Kathryn has really elevated the brand and one of her goals was to fill in the gaps and take Draper James from occasion pieces to everyday pieces expanding the pieces to outerwear, items to wear on the weekend or the brunch along with workwear and wedding guests outfits.
She also mentioned how she toned everything down a little and instead of every piece having ruffles, flounce or bell sleeves adding other modern details like smocking or keyhole details.
Although, not a southerner Kathryn really has embraced the southern mentality of the brand and really understands what the Draper James girl is looking for. She sees the Draper James brand as a classic southern brand and is looking to add a hint of trend in each collection.
Kathryn described her style as “unapologetically feminine.” She loves to throw in some “Sukey Specials” to push the boundaries just a little bit in the Draper James designs.
I was curious what her favorite thing to design was and obviously given her accessory design in the past she said she loves designing accessories and has a soft spot for shoes. Kathryn also mentioned she has loved dabbling in different items like gift products, small home accessories and eyewear.
Reese and Kathryn
I loved learning about how Reese is involved in the design process and how in sync her and Kathryn are. Kathryn mentioned that she really pulls inspiration when designing from everywhere from vintage pieces, from the runway, from street style, etc. She said often times she will see a color and work into inspiration or the collection, and then Reese would text her saying I’m really loving this color right now and it would be the same color. If that’s not a dream team I don’t know what is. Great minds really do think alike!
Kathryn also mentioned that each piece in each collection has to have Reese’s stamp of approval and she is very involved in designing.
The new Draper James store is an absolute dream and I highly recommend popping into Southlake when you have a chance. When I mentioned to Kathryn how stunning the store was she started explaining how Reese wants the store to feel like you are walking into her home and her kitchen that’s why they always serve sweet and the marble cash wrap resembles her kitchen counter complete with bar stools.