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Meet the Team: Coclico

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Photos by Bridget Badore for The Style Line

Coclico

Visit: 275 Mott St, New York, NY 10012

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Shop Coclico – Photos by Bridget Badore for The Style Line

Coclico’s approach to sartorial luxury begins and ends

with quality, timelessness, and sustainability – and our recent visit with the team reaffirmed this. In our interview below, Coclico’s Brand Director Diana Haber shared a powerful line from the brand’s story that has remained with us since, which reads, “At Coclico, we believe that luxury isn’t the ability to purchase endlessly, but the privilege of choosing wisely.” Hailing from all over the globe, the tiny yet tenacious team have managed to contribute their respective professional experience and wisdom towards building the celebrated staple shoe brand. Coupling this with their genuine love of slow fashion and thoughtful design, Coclico is at the forefront of the growing conversation around conscious consumption and ethical fashion. As Coclico Founder and President Sandra Canselier explained in our chat below, “… realistically fashion isn’t going anywhere so let’s do our best to set an example. It’s all about making the smart choice, weighing pros and cons, and doing that with the longevity of the brand in mind.”

Coclico’s affinity for structural and simple silhouettes and muted color palettes make the brand not only fashionable but truly functional. We got to see it up close and personal upon visiting the brand’s boutique in the heart of Nolita, where we perused the shop’s latest styles and saw firsthand the many ways to style Coclico’s shoes from each of the team members. In this feature they each shared more of their individual stories, thoughts on Coclico’s New York community and what role creativity plays in the world. Discover the full conversations below and enjoy exclusive moments from our visit captured by Bridget Badore for The Style Line.

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Sandra Canselier, President and Founder

Please introduce yourself! 

My name is Sandra, I’m French born but can’t escape the fact that I am a New Yorker at heart. I moved to New York when I was 20 and I never looked back. I live in Williamsburg with my beautiful family: my long time partner Georgia, our 6 year old daughter June, and our trouble making dog, Charlie. Most of the time spent outside of Coclico is with my family and close friends. As French born and raised, good food, wine, great conversations, and the occasional escape, are very much part of who I am!

Coclico truly has a global presence. What has been the most rewarding aspect of building a brand between two global and sought after cities?

We have our base in New York, but only a few of us are here full time. We make our shoes in Spain. Lisa and Diana are also remote, so are many of the freelancers I depend so much on. With technology being the way it is I’ve learned I can run a global and modern company with “offices” in various corners of the planet. The most rewarding part of having a global company is that I can choose to work with people I connect with regardless of the limits of geography.

In our stories so far we’ve learned that when talking about ideas like sustainability and ethics in fashion these terms can sometimes have “plural” meanings. With regard to Coclico, what does sustainability mean to you?

For me sustainability means realistic long term expectations on macro and micro levels. So in the grand scheme I have a daughter and I feel deeply that it’s my responsibility to be part of the solution and to make positive decisions that will mean her children can grow up as I did. On the smallest level sustainability is looking at one of Lisa’s lovely designs and having a conversation about how we can execute it in a way that it will have the most longevity. Primarily we think about style – we ask ourselves if the design will stand the test of time. Then we ask ourselves how we can make this shoe responsibly. That’s when make choices like replacing non-biodegradable materials with renewable ones. It might cost more in the short term, but it’s better for our planet and so the sustainable decision for a business hoping to be around a long time! Fashion is a massive polluter and simply by being part of the industry there is an irony about saying we are ‘sustainable’ – but realistically fashion isn’t going anywhere so let’s do our best to set an example. It’s all about making the smart choice, weighing pros and cons, and doing that with the longevity of the brand in mind.

How did you first initiate the brand’s partnership with Native Energy and how have you been able to better communicate this aspect of Coclico to the community?

We started pledging to Native Energy when we first became deeply aware of the idea of a ‘carbon footprint,’ it operates as a good gut check for us to be always thinking about what we are putting into the world.

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Communicating our concerns for environmental and humanitarian issues to our community can be tricky, it should just be the way things are and not a special thing about us. We attempt to do it in a conscious and natural way, as opposed to having a marketing strategy.

What is one question that you wish people asked you more often?

‘What’s the point?’ Everything should have a point, right? We shouldn’t do things ‘just because.’

How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role is Coclico playing in this shift in thinking?

Tough question to answer in a few words! But briefly I’d say creativity is at the center of all of the world’s bigger conversations. Solving problems requires creative thinkers. Coclico has been doing ‘slow fashion’ since before I knew what to call it, so our place as part of one of these conversations is to stay relevant, to keep moving forward and setting examples for best practices.

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe?

My wardrobe is inspired by the fact that I’m always on the move, whether it’s because I’m chasing my kid in the playground or getting on a redeye to check production. I don’t have a lot of time so I wear loose trousers and tops. When I land upon something that checks all my boxes I buy it in 4 colors and a back up in the best color.

“I can choose to work with people I connect with regardless of the limits of geography.”

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Lisa Nading, Designer

Please introduce yourself!

These are such big questions! I suppose one answer would be that I am a designer to the core. I like to make stuff. If I could, I would probably design almost everything in my personal life from my car to the kitchen sink.

There are so many things to value… I value curiosity, creativity and compassion in people and the incredible complexity of our natural world. It’s The Ultimate Source of Inspiration.

Minimalism and modernity are at the core of Coclico’s design philosophy. But are there are any elements or ideas we’re not seeing/aware of that also inform your approach to design?

We filter all of our design decisions through the lens of eco-friendly practices.  As much as possible, we try to make the best choices. for example, many of the internal components that are not seen by the customer are made in recycled materials.

We love Coclico’s affinity for neutral palettes and thoughtfully-constructed shapes. In your opinion if you had to choose one style that truly embodies the essence of the Coclico woman which would it be (feel free to link out!)? Why that style and where could we find the Coclico woman wearing it?

The Coclico woman is too complex for one shoe! But we are all about timeless design and so we have a number of styles that end up being brought back into the collection season after season by popular demand. They are our classics.

As a designer it’s sometimes easy to get away from your personal style. How has designing for Coclico reinsured your love of style and what is the biggest change you’ve seen?

I live in Vermont in the country. I spend a lot of time in hiking boots and parkas. When I come to New York City or travel to Europe for work, it’s a pleasure to pull out the platforms, slip dresses, and bolder colours. I feel like I have the best of both worlds!

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe?

I can have a bit of a nomad lifestyle so I am a big fan of flats and soft shawls to take me from the early chill of morning to catch a flight from the country to the city, meetings in NYC, and often on to Spain on an evening flight. It is a go go go period and I am looking for a mixture of ease, elegance and comfort.

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Diana Haber, Brand Director

Please introduce yourself! 

I’m Diana, and I’m the Brand Director at Coclico working closely with each member of the team and our freelancers. Long before I held this coveted post, my closet was no stranger to the brand. I’ve worked in shoes for over a decade for small companies and multinational giants, it’s always interesting. Coclico feels like home. I’m a native Manhattanite and love the constant action of city life. I started traveling in my late teens and spent many years living abroad, discovering and learning. The freedom to be able to explore places and ideas is my most prized luxury. I currently live in Montreal with my awesome husband of 2 years, Matt, and our beagle, Lily. It’s probably not our last stop, but it’s a beautiful city and we love the standard of living. The city has a large community of artists and start-ups. Without the very real financial pressures of NY or London and with all these helpful guides I’ve been able to discover my personal definition of success. Gin and tonics, french fries and jokes are my absolute favorite things.

How do you celebrate personal style?

Personal style can define us on first glance so I try and be thoughtful about what I’m putting out there. I encounter strangers each day in passing but we’re all speaking to each other of interests and values simply by getting dressed that morning. I like extreme shapes, I like warm colors, and enjoy trying new things and so sometimes I look a little ridiculous. But I feel that to find the things that really work for me I have to allow myself the mistakes.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

‘Why does it cost so little?’ The fact that in the larger scheme of things we pay so little for so much of what we consume is a huge contributor to why many people live in deep poverty. So often we get women who pass through the store, look at a price and glide right out. I used to wish they would ask us ‘why,’ because it hurts knowing that people think we are fleecing them and I wanted the chance to explain. But lately I’ve been feeling that it’s not us that should be asked to find the words to justify our process on a daily bases but rather the producers who choose not to consider the larger picture. What we do should be the norm, not the exception. Thus ‘why does it cost so little.’ I sometimes fantasize about transporting women into our factory to watch the process of just one pair of shoes being made, after witnessing what it takes to make that pair you could never feel anything but disbelief that they could ever cost as little is they do on the high street. I’m looking in the mirror and at my immediate community and wanting better from us. I consider myself exceptionally lucky to work for a company where I don’t have to shelve these concerns. There is one line in our brand story that succinctly captures everything I just rambled on about: ‘At Coclico, we believe that luxury isn’t the ability to purchase endlessly, but the privilege of choosing wisely.’

How would you characterize the Coclico community and how do you hope to see it continually evolve? 

Our team and community are really design focused. We like beautiful, functional objects and spaces. In fact that’s really what drives the brand forward.

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

We bring the collection into the world because we love great contemporary design and we want to contribute to the visual conversation. I see the next step in our evolution as one where we become less of an island of shoes and find more ways to cohabitate with the larger design world. Surprisingly we have only recently embraced the world of social media, none of the women on our team are inclined towards it and admittedly we had our prejudices – but we have grown to love it and see the value of how it’s made us open up and connect directly to a larger community. There are all of these lovely, creative people we don’t have a chance to meet face-to-face in our store or showroom and each of these new interactions informs our community’s evolution.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe?

For sure my surroundings highly influence my style. I wouldn’t want to be a blight on such a beautiful canvas! I’d say my identifying wardrobe staple has always been oversized black dresses. They work for absolutely every need, require very little effort, and they look sharp against the often chaotic backdrop of the city.

Jessica Fish, Retail Manager

Please introduce yourself! 

My name is Jessica Fish and I am the Retail Manager at Coclico. Outside of Coclico, I am mom to a 6 year old boy. In my free time, I like finding activities that my son and I can enjoy together, such as trips to the museum in the winter and spending time outdoors when the weather is nice. I’m not much of a homebody. I like to be on the go, having new experiences and adventures. I value kindness, honesty, humor, time well spent and a good margarita.

How would you describe your day to day? As someone who is immersed in the industry are there are any tools or resources you’ve discovered throughout your career that you suggest aspiring fashion/creative professionals should know more about? 

My day to day at Coclico is busy! Not only do we work with customers in the store but all of the web shop orders are fulfilled from here, as well. Additionally, I work closely with our Brand Director, Diana, planning the seasonal buys and reorders for the store and on our marketing/social media campaigns. For me the best tools and resources have been found through the relationships I have made with other women in creative small businesses. I am so thankful for the community of women I have met throughout my career that are so generous with their advice and wisdom.

When were you first introduced to “slow fashion” and being a part of a team that prides itself on these values, how have your experiences at Coclico informed your own approach to personal style?

From the start of my career, I worked in what is now called slow fashion. I was always attracted to products that weren’t mass produced, products with a backstory or, for lack of a better word, that had soul. So far I have been lucky enough to only work with these kinds of companies. As a consumer, I would love to say I only shop with businesses I feel good about supporting but mainly because of budget, I am guilty of high/low shopping.

Do you have any style-related resolutions this year? If so, what are they and why?

I have been on a self-mandated buying moratorium for the past couple of years, mainly because I already have so much! But after a couple of years I am really feeling the need to update some key clothing pieces in order to feel a little more of-the-moment style wise. Plus, working in a store where shoes are the main focus, I am now dressing from the feet up which informs my styling decisions.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe? 

On the go in the city, for me means comfortable shoes, of course, and a bag which needs to look good, be lightweight and hold a lot.  Also, my whole day is totally off if I forget a scarf!

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Daniella Hildebrandt, Production Manager

Please introduce yourself!

Hi! I’m Daniella, the Production Manager at Coclico. I enjoy cooking, exercising and fostering animals. When I have time, I volunteer to foster abandoned and/or wounded cats and kittens. I adopted my first two foster kittens, which that industry would refer to as a ‘foster failure,’ but I’m quite proud to be an owner of rescued animals. I cherish the times with loved ones where everyone can sit down and relax, and we catch up while preparing the meal. I love exploring new restaurants, but cooking meals with family and friends at home feels the most natural and meaningful to me. I’m also exploring gardening, which can be challenging on a Brooklyn balcony, but it is so rewarding to cook the vegetables that just grew right outside my window!

In the spirit of Coclico’s shoes, if we were to put ourselves in you shoes for a day what we would discover?

In the mornings I try and get a quick run in. My commute into the office is about 40 minutes on the subway and it’s useful time to get a little reading done. My mornings in the showroom consist of communicating with our factory while Spain is still awake: submitting orders to cut, working on fit adjustments, addressing shipments. Luckily we are in a great food neighborhood, I’ll have a Balthazar salad at my desk for lunch before the afternoon when I shift my attentions from factory concerns to our wholesale customers: confirming orders, shipment notifications, reconciling payments and addressing customer service inquiries. After work I often head over to Cafe Gitane for a drink and debrief with friends before heading home to have a cook-off with my boyfriend. And you can normally find me doing this in my ISLA booties or PASQUE flats, my favorites!

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

That’s a tricky question! I would like people to ask ‘How are you?’ with more intention and thoughtfulness. I feel like that question has been turned into a common nicety, but the purpose is rushed and often vacant. In such a fast-paced city, I try to remind myself to slow down and have real, meaningful conversations.

We use personal style as a lesson to tell our stories – with this in mind, can you share any anecdotes/memories of at time that personal style played a pivotal role in your life? 

I attach memories to my shoes because of the pivotal moments in my life in which I was wearing them. I still have my high school senior prom heels and the heels I wore to my sister’s wedding; I don’t wear them anymore, but I can’t bear to think of parting with them because they hold such dear places in my memory! My personal style during the workweek is very much a uniform. I like a clean, classic look with no distractions and gives a no-nonsense attitude, and I think that sends a clear message to my peers that I’m here to work and get things done, but I’m also approachable and real.

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe?

I’m all about investing in amazing, enduring pieces. It can be difficult to maintain my purchasing integrity to support slow fashion, but I know it is so much more worth it because these items last longer, they feel and look better, and I know I’m not contributing as much to the waste the fashion industry has on the environment.

“I attach memories to my shoes because of the pivotal moments in my life in which I was wearing them.”

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Emma Bowen, Wholesale Associate

Please introduce yourself! 

Outside of Coclico, I am an Ashtanga yoga practitioner, yoga teacher, and owner of the ethical lingerie label, Najla. I also taught design history and theory at Parsons School of Design for seven years before moving on to focus more on my other pursuits! I love to cook, travel, swim, listen to music, dance, and connect with others. Above all, I value living softly, intentionally, and joyfully.

When were you first introduced to “slow fashion” and being a part of a team that prides itself on these values, how have your experiences at Coclico informed your own approach to personal style?

I was introduced to “slow fashion” during my time at Parsons. I had been very interested in the Slow Food movement for years, and saw how design was little by little following the trajectory of the food movement by exploring materials and production processes that are less harmful to our environment and bodies (including those people working to make the things we consume), as well as by shifting towards valuing local and transparent production. I started getting to know and involving myself with the ethical fashion community in New York City then, and eventually taught courses that incorporated many of these discussions and ideas at Parsons. My personal style is very much influenced by the slow fashion tenets maybe best described by Vivienne Westwood: “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity.” I seek out ethical designers who are really trying to make a difference in a difficult system, and have a small wardrobe of things I truly love.

In the spirit of Coclico’s shoes, if we were to put ourselves in you shoes for a day what we would discover?

Hopefully you would discover a life that is full of diverse, but deeply integrated experiences. My goal is to approach all things in my life the same way, from my relationships with others, to how I eat and cook, to how I shop. I aim to be thoughtful and pay close attention to the details each step I take.

What’s been one of the biggest personal and professional discoveries you’ve made as a result of being a part of the Coclico team? 

I joined Coclico just a few months ago, but already I’m very grateful to have joined a team of like-minded, smart, creative women who have in such a short time become not just my colleagues, but good friends. I think if there was a discovery, it’s that when you lean in towards ideas and people that align with the way you view life, you can really feel supported by, and part of, something much larger and greater than yourself.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe?

I like to choose pieces that are classic, adaptable, and comfortable, while simultaneously feminine, romantic, and fun, with a little edge. I’m always moving from one place to another in the city—to yoga practice, then the Coclico showroom, then to teach a yoga

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

class, then back home—so it’s important that I don’t have to think too much about dressing in the morning, but rather pull from a small selection of pieces I love to create my pseudo Emma uniform! I also love to travel and always try to buy one piece on a trip as a souvenir that I can incorporate into my wardrobe to reflect, even in a very subtle way, that innate desire for exploration.

“When you lean in towards ideas and people that align with the way you view life, you can really feel supported by, and part of, something much larger and greater than yourself.”

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Sarah Taylor, Sales Associate

Please introduce yourself! 

Hi, I’m Sarah. I’m a sales associate at Coclico’s retail store on Mott street. I’m actually a social worker by training and, when I’m not at Coclico, I can be found at an outpatient clinic in west Harlem working with little ones. I value authenticity, simple pleasures, and, most importantly, the friends and family who add humor and kindness to my days. I’m entirely grateful for the relationships in my life.

How would you characterize the Coclico community and how do you hope to see it continually evolve? With regard to the New York Coclico woman/customer, what’s been the most the most interesting thing you’ve discovered about her and her approach to style?

I see the Coclico community as family, and as maternal, with admirable inner strength and will, and as thoughtful in their approach to style. I am in awe of the women I work with and, so often, the women who I meet through the store and online community. There’s this common thread of mission oriented living and of awareness of our potential for impact, on others and on the planet. The other day, I was on the train coming home from the clinic and a woman and her 4 year old son were sitting across from me. A disheveled man in the isle put out a request for donations, and the 4 year old started up the most empathic conversation, giving words of luck and encouragement. The next day, the boy’s mother walked into the store! So what I’ve discovered- the Coclico customer is often inspiring, and an undercover badass doing her part to make a positive impact in some way or another. And just as she walks the walk, her approach to style is neither overstated or pretentious, but always uniquely her.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

Would you like some chocolate cake with that?

Has Coclico inspired any off-duty passions? How do you plan to get more creative with your life and style this summer? 

Coclico has absolutely encouraged me to nurture my inner creative, in various ways. I am a huge proponent of knitting large scarves as a way to de-stress, so I plan to get a head start on my winter scarf inventory this summer. But I’d also like to channel some creativity to my shoe game. Like exploring ways to make socks + clogs look sexy. I also have tentative thoughts about a clog blog. It’s clearly all about the clogs.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe? 

Comfort is so important to me. My style is often simple. Living abroad in the developing world has redefined my closet and what I constitute as a necessity, so I like wardrobe pieces that are versatile and not limiting in how they can be worn. I’m reliant on large black leather bags for functionality and lip color as a pick me up. And I like to be able to focus on what I’m putting on my feet more than anything.

the style line coclico new york sustainable fashion

Chelsea Baumberger, Sales Associate

Please introduce yourself!

I’m Chelsea. You can find me behind the scenes and on the floor at 275 Mott. I enjoy surrealism, creating big, elaborate meals too late in the evening (to share of course!), Anais Nin, the hunt for good vintage, the discovery & exploration of new places and ventures, and a nice chilled bottle of rose with the sun on my face and a subtle breeze. I try to find myself in uncommon places. I value devotion, honesty, experimentation, and hard work.

With regard to the New York Coclico woman/customer, what’s been the most the most interesting thing you’ve discovered about her and her approach to style?

The Coclico community is fully embracive of each person’s unique beauty, independence, and quiet strength. I see the message of slow fashion growing more powerful and necessary every year. I believe more and more people will see the value in sustainability as the only option. The Coclico community does a fantastic job of unifying both these things. It is possible to merge eco-consciousness with a beautifully designed product. The Coclico customer possesses a refined simplicity, but is not to be underestimated. They are the people you talk with for hours whose core values are the stuff of inspiration.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

Would you like to travel to ______ with me?!? Yes I would!

Has Coclico inspired any off-duty passions? How do you plan to get more creative with your life and style this summer? 

I’ve always possessed an interest in shoe design. I feel very fortunate to have fallen in with a company I admire. I love learning the ins & outs, and working with a small yet powerful team. This summer I plan on investing in both solitude and experience. I hope to finally get some ideas out of my head and into the physical realm. I plan for my style to play with structure and texture, muted palettes, and a mixing of masculine/feminine. I’m obsessed with a good trouser paired with the perfect shoe.

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, what is “the style line” in your wardrobe?

Sometimes an item of clothing possesses a story for you. I have pieces in my wardrobe that are special to me because they transport me to a memory that I cherish. My denim duster takes me to Sante Fe on a roadtrip with my girlfriends, my leather jacket takes me to Haight St. in San Francisco where I used to live. I love the idea of carrying these memories around on my back. As I ride the subway into Manhattan on my way to work I often find myself admiring my fellow subway riders pieces and wondering their stories. I think this is inspiring. And then there’s your shoes. Shoes take you where you are going. I have a beat up pair of boots I explored Europe with alone. It was my first big trip solo. Now I have my Coclico shoes that carrying me through my current adventure, New York.