Told By Design
Fiveloaves Twofish taps success from classic holiday to custom prints.
Nearly a decade ago, SoCal sisters Heather Haas and Kit Kuriakose merged their passions for design, history and storytelling into a whimsical brand of girls’ clothing. Named after a biblical story that conveys the importance of helping the local community, Fiveloaves Twofish continues to uphold its founding principles. The duo is proud to report fabric scraps from cutting garments are still always reused and all operations have remained in the U.S.
While Kuriakose says it’s getting “harder and harder” to manufacture in California affordably—the suggested retail price ranges from $25 for hand-drawn screen tees to $120 for dresses)—she and her sister believe their customers recognize Fiveloaves Twofish for its ethical standards and are willing to pay the extra few bucks for a quality, American-made garment. “Our customers want to buy a brand that’s being made responsibly,” Haas says. “They want to know that this clothing is going to be a hand-me-down to a niece, nephew or grandchild.”
As for design inspiration, Fiveloaves Twofish is known to hop across the pond often. “We love European themes, albeit not too serious,” Kuriakose says. “We try to have the chic appeal of European style but still integrate the whimsical nature of American kids’ fashion.” Each season the duo produces four storylines, inspired by anything from travel to childhood experiences.
Adept at anticipating trends, last fall the co-founders test marketed a return of traditional green- and red-themed holiday attire. The collection served as a rebuke to what’s become an almost ubiquitous departure from traditional colors and styling in this seasonal category. The verdict? It was a big hit. “It was the right time,” Kuriakose says. “People were ready for the non-reinterpreted holiday and straight up say, ‘I’m totally wearing a red dress, and I’m OK with it.’” Haas believes that the success might have also tapped into a growing consumer sentiment that longs for more meaningful relationships. “Everyone’s on social media and their phones, but it’s like they’ve become disconnected with face-to-face relationships,” she says, noting, “I think traditional holiday symbolizes family around the table together and a classic approach to fashion can help foster that feeling.”
The duo has doubled down on the approach for this holiday by re-launching the “Home for the Holidays” collection as a core seasonal offering, as well as introducing another classic-themed collection, “A Girl in Her Winter Wonderland.” As for Spring ’18, Haas says all prints will be custom for the first time, and a new drop-waist silhouette and skort option have been added to the mix. The new prints will feature a Valentine-loving parrot with roses, hearts and macaroon cookies; a Marie Antoinette-inspired print featuring 18th century princesses along with their fanciful shoes, sofas and dogs; an Easter story with a girl in a field of lavender; and a California coast print depicting a surfer girl in front of the Hotel del Coronado. “We offer the fit-and-flair from baby up to tween—we just do it differently,” Haas says. “It can be done in a super whimsical print with a big petticoat skirt, and when the child gets older it’s more sophisticated and we may or may not take the petticoats out.”