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Ilana Kugel, founder and creative director of Koral. Photo credit: Gabriel Sweet.
Ilana Kugel, founder and creative director of Koral. Photo credit: Gabriel Sweet.

Brazil meets the UK with the launch of new sustainable ‘luxeleisure’ collection

Ilana Kugel did an interview with AL DÍA News to discuss her brand Koral and her collaboration with David Koma’s namesake brand.

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Ilana Kugel has long had an interest in the fashion world.

As she got older, the interest became an opportunity for her to make a mark within the fashion industry. 

In 2013, she launched Koral, a luxury activewear brand.

Over the years, Koral has grown in popularity, resulting in partnerships with Banana Republic and Kappa.

Most recently, her brand collaborated with David Koma, to create a sportswear capsule collection that is fashionable and sustainable, which launched April 14. 

After the launch, AL DÍA conducted an email interview with Kugel about her life, influences, and latest collaboration.

This interview has been condensed for length and clarity.

Can you tell me about your background?

I grew up in Brazil and when I was younger, I would go to Sao Paulo Fashion Week with family friends of mine who owned two fashion brands. Being surrounded by so many incredible pieces and designers really inspired me to learn more about the technicalities and production of fashion. I went on to Universidade Anhembi Morumbi to study Fashion Design.

Did you always want to be a fashion designer? 

Always since a young age, yes! I was around 13 when I knew that was the only career for me. 

Why/when did you decide to start Koral? 

I decided to start Koral when I saw a gap in the marketplace for high-fashion athletic wear. I love to work out — biking, running, pilates, you name it — and I wanted a brand that not only performed well, but also looked great. 

How do you think your specialization in technical design influences your work?

Technical design is the backbone of our product. In school, I was able to learn the importance of fabric and how it makes the body feel and perform. The properties I brought to Koral include anti-pilling, chlorine resistant[ance], color absolute, compression, moisture-wicking, quick-dry, easy care, UV protection, anti-bacterial, and breathability, all while being sustainable. 

What makes your clothes multifunctional?

Koral is the ultimate versatile brand. After the gym, you can throw on a leather jacket and heels and look amazing out on the town with minimal effort. And thanks to our moisture-wicking technology, your sweat scent will be disguised. We are known to be transitional and that’s what really sets [us] apart. 

What makes your brand different from other athleisure wear brands?

On top of our incredible technology and versatility, we are one of the first brands to bring attention to athleisure jumpsuits. Influenced by Brazilian culture, we brought a design that wasn't very well known in the US, and over the years have influenced thousands, and are starting to make the jumpsuit popular. 

How did the collaboration with David Koma come about?

I have always been a fan of David Koma and we have similar tastes. Infused with a London-inspired undertone, a dash of the LA lifestyle, and a sprinkle of Brazilian flare, we created a ‘luxeleisure’ (luxury athleisure) collection with a fast-paced metropolitan lifestyle in the mind. 

 

What are some of the collection’s influences?

We wanted [to] keep our sophisticated yet versatile mindset and create a collection for women who do it all. The collection features a carefully selected color pallet, highlighting neutrals and tasteful brights that work as well together as they will with everything else in your closet. 

How did you combine the Brazilian/LA and London aesthetics? 

We combine a city flare with a laid-back essence. ‘Luxeleisure’ was a term David and I coined together. Performance, fashion, and sustainability are the three takeaways from this incredible partnership.

Can you tell me more about Koral Blackout fabric?

Koral Blackout™, offers incredible support, durable stretch and high compression, increasing oxygen delivery to active muscles and reduc[ing] lactic acid build-up and muscle fatigue. The fabric is made with biodegradable polyamide which decomposes in about 3 years, rather than a decade. Our mills also use solar panels, which in turn produce so less carbon waste. 

Why is sustainability important to you?

Our planet is our home, and we must treat it with respect. Being a lover of the outdoors, I want to help protect its beauty and functionality. Therefore, I aim for Koral to be as sustainable as possible. That being said, most of our materials come from recycled yarn, paper, and polyester which help produce our trims, hang tags, and packaging. 

Why did you choose Jordan Rand to star in the campaign? 

Jordan Rand takes part in the world’s first eSkootr championship, which promotes sustainable mobility choices with a net-zero carbon racing series. This was an easy decision and mutual[ly] aligned partnership. 

The sportswear collection is available now at Koral and David Koma.

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