Kaftan Klub is an online clothing store that wears its “boho kool” vibe unabashedly on its sleeves. The outfits they carry are carefully curated collections of stylish, easy-to-wear items that are perfect for travel (or even for lounging around at home).
Highlight pieces at KK (as they are fondly called by ‘Klubbers,’ their online community) are its kaftans and koords (a play on the word coords, as in coordinates or matching separates), but the brand also has dresses, robes, tops, tailored trousers, as well as a few accessories like hats and silk scarves that help complete a look.
“Our koords have been conversation starters ‘cause they’re quite an upgrade from loungewear and scaled down businesswear. They’re unique in terms of the design, colors and patterns we use. But as is all the things we carry at Kaftan Klub, we make sure everything is comfortable to wear. We’re very particular about this, especially with the Manila weather where it could get a little too warm at times. So we like to keep our clothes (as well as our vibe) fun and loose,” said Sheryl Songsong.
Songsong, a creative strategist and social media manager, is one half of the team who own and run Kaftan Klub. Mike Lavarez, a DJ and art director, completes the tandem. Together, the business partners have brought their expertise together, building KK’s name from the ground up.
The two were already good friends and had worked in several projects when they put up the brand a year ago.
“Mike and I love dressing up, and we always talk about different style references and inspirations from the street, films, and art movements. Mike is also a designer and makes some of his clothes (like his pants and suits), and I would ask him to make me clothes I couldn’t buy anywhere – that’s when the koords were born,” Songsong said.
One time over drinks in Chinatown in Bangkok, the two decided to do clothing together. The pairing works well. Songsong said she’s the “kaftan” and Mike the “klub.” She’s the “boho,” he’s the “kool.”
Kaftan Klub is more than just about clothes, but is more about wearing the world and sharing an experience. Their “boho kool” looks and flowy frocks are for free-spirited men and women, she said. It’s like bringing back the 60s in this digital age, only cooler. KK’s collection is inspired by lots of things in their personal lives—favorite music, films, a visit to a local cafe or thrift shop, and people that interest them.
What makes KK stand out from many clothing stores is the curation they provide and the fact that the pieces they carry are super flexible and can be worn practically anywhere (not just at the beach). They’re stylish but not trendy, and can be mixed and matched to create whole different looks, and there is always something that people can wear all year round.
Everything is well thought out, Songsong said. From their Instagram and website which feel like browsing through a city guide to their packaging (they use net bags so they’re reusable) down to their care tags. Everything is fun. They even have playlists and mixes for some of their curations, so there’s always something to do at KK online.
“We’re also very engaged with our customers,” Songsong said. “That’s where social media comes in. We take into consideration what our customers want from us and we execute them with a twist.”
Social media is also Kaftan Klub’s point of sale and it’s important they are connected with them as much as possible. Songsong said they actually enjoy talking to the their audience, suggesting possible styles.
“I think people don’t know that sometimes, it’s actually me or Mike they’re talking to via direct messaging. From the start, we wanted to have a sense of community, people who share the same mindset and the same aesthetic. That’s why our main hashtag is #JoinTheKlub,” she said.
Since launching in June 2019, they have launched six collections, the latest of which was called Harem Klub. It was released in July of this year, to commemorate the store’s first anniversary.
“We were planning on throwing a get together with friends and loyal klubbers, but the pandemic has put a stop to many of the things we planned,” Mike Lavarez shared. “Instead, we hosted a virtual party online and I had fun playing a live DJ set for all the Klubbers, who streamed live on our Instagram account.”
The lockdown has been challenging for many businesses, and because of travel restrictions, Songsong and Lavarez couldn’t do their usual rounds to source clothes and shoot their collections abroad. But they knew they had to keep it going. So they instead focused on making the clothes locally.
“We just really had to find a way to work around the unfortunate situation because people couldn’t just hop on a plane and leave. For our latest collection Harem Klub, we took this as an opportunity to finally focus on our menswear. Our trousers have quite a following and we just had to get creative. As a result, we’re happy to have created our first all premium line of loungewear. There are more pieces for menswear, and even the girls are into it. That’s really important to us that anyone, regardless of gender, can enjoy wearing our clothes.” Lavarez said.
With clothing that their audience love to wear for traveling, this was challenging, considering they love to take OOTDs in the different destinations they go to. Thankfully, the pieces of clothing they carry are so versatile and comfortable, their customers have started wearing them even at home. As an extension to their clothing collection, KK has recently launched its travel-inspired scents that are meant to bring the smell of particular cities into the homes of their customers. (More on this on a future article).
Kaftan Klub is a young brand Lavarez and Songsong are excited to take to the next level. When asked about where they see this going, they both gush about putting up a little KK bar or a KK-designed Air B&B space with a curated closet many years from now. While putting up a physical store isn’t a priority for them at the moment, they are considering setting up pop up stores for when things have returned to normal.
Songsong said:“People have been asking for it. Maybe we could do one in Manila, and then in Cebu (as we have a good following there) and then the world. I hope we get stocked in different international online stores who share our vision. We’d love to produce campaigns in our favorite cities like Jaipur or Marrakech or Sedona. But, we feel like Tokyo is next. Something cooler. We can’t wait for the world to heal and for all this to be over. For now, all we can do at KK is be there for the community and strive to keep everyone uplifted and inspired to remind them that one day we will all get to travel again.”
Check out Kaftan Klub’s Instagram page at @kaftanklub Instagram or visit their website at www.kaftanklub.com.