One of our favorite new additions for SS14 is Caron Callahan. We recently spoke with the Brooklyn-based designer about the inspiration behind her effortlessly cool Spring collection (complete with visuals from her amazing Tumblr feed), her favorite things to do in NYC in the Spring, and her take on the quickly-evolving neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Shop Caron Callahan at OAK.

OAK: Can you tell us about some of the core design elements of your line?
CARON CALLAHAN: I always include crisp cottons in my collections and try to find a balance between interesting pattern work and wearability. I often have this image of a chic woman in a art studio with a painters smock. That’s a reoccurring theme.

OAK: Where else did you draw inspiration from your Spring collection?
CC: For Spring 2014, I also looked at how the Masai Mara tribes tie fabric to create clothes and worked that idea into the collection (Mara dress and Nairobi dress). I love the ease of that shape with the tie at the waist. It feels cool, but also easy.


unnamedCaron Callahan Nairobi dress.

OAK: What music, if any, inspires you while you work?
CC: I actually don’t listen to music very often while I work. I find my mind wandering to a fantasy world if I do. However, I love Bill Callahan. There’s no relation, although I wish there was! I also love Silver Jews, Pavement and that whole era. Kurt Vile and Neil Young too. I also like to listen to Jim Ford, who has this ’70s folky country sound, and classical music.

OAK: As someone who has lived in Williamsburg for around 15 years, what are your thoughts on how the neighborhood has evolved in terms of new high rise housing developments and influx of people?
CC: I hear a lot of people complaining, but my take on it is, if you live in New York, you have to expect change. I think clinging to the past [in this city] is silly. While I don’t necessarily love the new architecture that’s going up, small businesses have a chance to thrive with all of these new people living here, there are better places to eat, and as the mother of an 18-month-old, I’m also happy that the schools are getting better.


unnamed-1Caron Callahan Mara dress.

OAK: How do you see your brand evolving with each season?
CC: I’m introducing knitwear, which is something I finally feel ready to delve into. I’m working with a woman in Peru who is a mother and owns her own factory, which is rare. On a more operational level, there’s a lot to grow and work on, and sometimes it can be difficult to maintain it all. So I’m really looking at what my priorities are because it’s easy to chase your tail, and I’m over that.

OAK: What are your favorite things about NYC in the Spring?
CC: My husband and I are both originally from the South, so we’re accustomed to spending all day outside, from dawn ’til dusk. We planned a date to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (in Prospect Park) soon, and I just love being leisurely outside. In the mornings, our entire apartment is full of sunlight, and the warmer weather is contagious with New Yorkers, especially after a rough winter.


unnamed-2Caron Callahan Mira top.