Stylish Cynthia Rowley and Daughters on Launching Labels, Living in Wetsuits and Montauk

BY The Editors | August 30, 2018 | Feature Features

For these fashion families out East, the ocean inspires their collections.

In Montauk, gallerist Bill Powers, fashion designers Kit Keenan and Cynthia Rowley, and student Gigi Powers wait for a wave. Cynthia Rowley, Kit Keenan and Gigi Powers. Fashion designers and family cynthiarowley.com & kitkeenan.com

How do your daughters inspire your designs?
Cynthia: They’ve always had their own style. Kit wore a ‘happy birthday’ tiara for over a year, and Gigi went to her first day of kindergarten wearing a Barbie life jacket as a vest. As you can imagine, they’ve evolved into their own styles. The clothes they wear are always an inspiration to me, and it’s always exciting to see how they style their CR clothes.

Kit has styled some of your fashion week presentations and shot videos for collections. How else have the girls been involved or contributed to the brand?
Cynthia: Kit styled the resort collection, which we shot in my hometown in Illinois, so we love the idea of making it a family affair. We all have fun styling and shooting our @cynthiarowley and @kitkeenan Instagram pics all the time.

What advice did you share with Kit when she decided to launch her own label?
Cynthia:
I was really in a bind, because as a mom I wanted to help her every step along the way, but I knew it would be better for her in the long run if I showed a little tough love and had her figure it out for herself. She’s always been independent, and seeing her turn her dreams into a reality makes me so proud.

Gigi modeled for Kit’s new collection: Is she passionate about fashion as well?
Cynthia: Gigi’s the rock star—the only one in the family with any musical talent (we’ve all tried). She wails on the drums and guitar and is also a mad shredder.

Growing up so involved with your mom’s brand, what did you learn that you applied to your own?
Kit:
My mom is a boss. I seriously do not think I have ever seen her relax or take a day off. Not even sure if she sleeps through the night. I try to apply her work ethic and determination to everything that I do.

Did you always want to be a designer at some point?
Kit: I did! When I was little, I used to go to my mom’s studio every day after school and make little projects like embroidered purses, drawstring bike shorts, and customized Converses—I guess I was pretty on-trend for a 10-year-old. At the end of middle school, I experimented with other media because I didn’t want to feel like I was living in my mom’s shadow. At this stage in my life, I have reconnected with my love for design and I’m comfortable with my privilege; I know that I have a full fashion handbook in my back pocket. Thanks, Mom!

Describe the aesthetic for your collection.
Kit:
My brand has no specific theme. With each drop, the vibe completely changes, working to embody the climate of youth culture at any given time. I want to explore different target audiences and make it cool to experiment with your own personal style.

How do you describe your personal style?
Gigi:
I’m not really fashion-obsessed. In the summer, I live in a wetsuit, and for school, it’s leggings and a cool T-shirt.

What are some of your favorite pieces from Kit’s collection?
Gigi:
Don’t I have to say they’re all my favorites? I’ll probably live in the new skull bunny hoodie all winter long.

What is your favorite thing to do as a family in Montauk?
Gigi:
All day in the water.

What’s the best advice your mom or sister have shared with you?
Gigi:
Girls rule, boys drool.

Photography Courtesy Of: