Crushing on the Girls of Diepo

On this round of WORN crushes we are focusing on locals girls Justine Diener and Kristin Poon, who design and produce a clothing line under the name Diepo. The clothes are beautifully made, with attention to small details, fit, and an overall view to flattering the female shape. I am particularly enamoured with the black and cream feather printed textiles used in their current collection (which you can pick up at both Robber and Rac Boutique). Justine took some time out of her hectic schedule to chat with WORN about fashion in Toronto, the process of collaboration and the origins of that feather fabric I like so much.

How did Diepo come to exist?
We started while still studying fashion design at Ryerson. Our original concept was to create a line inspired by vintage lingerie, with both daywear and shapewear pieces that could be worn on their own or styled together.

Besides designing your own line of clothing, what else do you do?
Kristin has recently relocated to New York, and enjoys baking and making ice cream in her new spacious kitchen. Justine has traditional Amish interests such as middle-parted long hair, canning fruit and vegetables, and has recently taken up weaving.

How does the collaboration between you and your design partner work? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
We usually start by creating a mood board. We use films, shapes, textures, colors, songs, places, memories. That forms am anchor or reference point to keep the collection cohesive. Then we both sketch for a few weeks, go over them and keep the things we both like, then build on them. The advantages are having constant feedback and support. There really aren’t that many disadvantages… Being in a partnership forces compromise, which can be frustrating at times but usually pays off.

How important is the role of social media for Diepo? Are you an avid blog/Tumblr/Twitter follower?
More and more, all the time. It’s a great way to reach people and let them know what’s going on, and to get feedback. But it has been a bit of a challenge for us. We’re both pretty private people and we find it hard sometimes to tweet as much as we should. We recently started a Tumblr page which is a great way to share our daily inspirations with people.

If you could design an outfit for anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Parker Posey! She is such an effortless babe, not to mention hilarious.

How did you dress in high school?
Justine was a ’90s hippie, army pants, tie dye and Doc Martens. Kristin went to an all-girls Catholic school and wore a kilt and knee socks with penny loafers.

Are there certain people in your life that have influenced your style? Who and how?
Justine’s boyfriend, printmaker Ben Szoller helped to develop our FW11 feather print, so that season was strongly influenced by his aesthetic.

What are you favorite places to shop in Toronto?
Robber on Queen Street West, Rac in Yorkville, Tabula Rasa on Broadview, and Value Village.

Diepo’s Top Five Favorite Toronto designers:
Jessica Mary Clayton
Jeremy Laing
Muttonhead Collective
Sunny Fong – Vawk

Diepo is having a three days trunk sale at Robber which they are kicking off with a party on December 1st from 6pm until 10pm. You can find great deals on holiday gifts and clothing from Diepo as well as other brands, and all while sipping on a drink and eating holiday sweets.

photography by Katie Bateman
interview by Natasha Bigioni