KHAITE is Fashion’s New IT-Brand. Why this New York-based brand is a favorite for consumers and critics alike!

Fashion is all about regeneration and these few years plenty of new names have been steadily rising to be top names in the game, one of them being KHAITE. KHAITE is a New York-based women’s ready-to-wear brand founded by Catherine Holstein in 2016. The name (pronounced ‘Kate’) comes from the Greek word χαίτη meaning “long, flowing hair,” fitting for a brand that’s known for its elegance and effortlessness.

“Designed to be cherished, each piece proposes a fresh balance of opposing elements – past and future, masculine and feminine, strength and softness, structure and fluidity – while embodying a signature sensuality and ease,” says a statement from a brand. And that indeed is what led KHAITE to its rising fame. Its rise to vitality started way back in 2019 when Katie Holmes was papped in New York City dressed in a matching cashmere cardigan and bra. It was the type of look that might not seem like a big deal, however, its material, cut and flow oozed a sense of effortless luxury that insiders are inquiring about.

KHAITE is Fashion's New IT-Brand

KHAITE Pre-Fall 2023. © Hanna Tveite

The brand has been on the rise both commercially and critically as it successfully creates everyday pieces that look timeless and luxurious — which feels like an essential to have in everyone’s wardrobe. Creating pieces that have that “wow” factor without boisterous grand designs is no easy feat and only a knowledgeable person would know how to pull it off. For Holstein, her journey in fashion started when she enrolled on the renowned Parsons School of Design. During her time there, Barneys took notice of her junior thesis collection and was so impressed that they ordered it for their stores.

However, the designer decided to drop out of the university to pursue working on her own brand. This initial brand was stocked at 40 retailers across the globe but the designer chose to shut the line down. Afterwards, she continued to work for fellow big players in fashion like Gap, Vera Wang, Maiyet, and The Elder Statesman before finally starting KHAITE.

KHAITE is Fashion's New IT-Brand

KHAITE Spring 2023 RTW. Image courtesy of KHAITE.

‘I couldn’t find the things that I wanted to wear every day. […] I was a luxury fashion customer – of Celine, Ralph Lauren, Dior – but I found that, especially towards the end of [Phoebe Philo’s time at] Celine, I was treating clothes in a way that was too precious. It was more like art – can I touch it? – when what I wanted was something to put on in the morning and wear three times in a week,” Holstein says to Financial Times, explaining how the concept of Khaite came to be.

In the beginning, creating a great array of luxurious day-to-day clothing is what the focus was. Still, as the years continue to pass, you can see that Holstein has started to integrate more decorative and imaginative touches into her pieces. Take their seductive and rock-and-roll-ish Fall 2020 collection for one, their subtle-yet-tough take on glamour in Fall 2021, and maybe even their ultra-edgy recent collection for Spring 2023. The collections continue to draw on an array of inspirations from things that intrigue Holstein, be it New York, the women she sees around her or even a bit of history.

KHAITE is Fashion's New IT-Brand

A look from KHAITE Spring 2021. © Nikki McGuire.

Although it might not be a strange source of inspiration, what makes the brand so special is how its experimentalism and interpretation of different musings all result in pieces that you’d still wear out and about whilst still having that wow factor. Holstein’s importance in creating pieces that she herself would wear keeps KHAITE grounded, the brand doesn’t even create footwear that’s higher than 2cm as

she finds it too painful! With this sense of empathy and realism in tow, KHAITE continues to be a brand both consumers and industry peers root for. (Text Vanya Harapan)