Earnshaw’s September 2010 “Coast to Coast”
Once Upon a Line
Leave it to a history major and a former costume designer to successfully combine two things little girls love: story time and pretty clothes. That’s what happened when sisters Heather Haas and Kit Kuriakose teamed up to launch Fiveloaves Twofish, a San Diego-based brand that’s making waves with sophisticated yet whimsical looks for girls and teens.
“I write a story to go with the line every season,” said Haas, who narrates the label’s runway shows with these imaginative tales. “I always tell the story through the eyes of a little girl,” she explained, noting that the Spring ’11 collection invites youngsters to take a voyage to Polynesia with bold floral prints, gauzy hula skirts and white summer shift dresses evoking a tropical paradise. “By the end of her trip, the islands have embraced her, and she’s wearing a ruffled off-the-shoulder dress.”
This vivid attention to detail is a perfect summary of the duo’s design aesthetic. “We call our studio an ‘old world design house,’ where European tradition meets California cool,” Haas said. The pair sticks to clothes for girls ages 6 through junior sizes, ensuring that their mature silhouettes are perfectly tailored to fit their bodies. The label’s crisp cotton tops and sleek jersey dresses may be refined, but bold colors and fun patterns—such as yellow polka dots and giant red poppies—keep the clothes fresh for the tween to teen set. Some of the brand’s bestsellers are its bold, bright accessories, like rainbow-hued headbands with oversized daisies and chunky, beaded necklaces. “We love big details on the little body,” Haas said. “It’s such an exaggeration—it’s so cute and so unexpected.”
Despite the European emphasis, the sisters are serious about using only American-made materials and making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. “We really avoid shipping, if we can,” Haas explained. Most of the label’s fabric comes from California and all of the sewing is done by hand in the company’s studio.
Haas said the idea for the brand began brewing when she started sewing clothes for her daughter, Abby. “It got to the point where people were begging me to [let them] buy her clothing.” Today, Abby serves as the pair’s resident authority on children’s trends. “A lot of our designs are actually my daughter’s ideas,” Haas said. The concept for the label’s fall line is still top secret, but look for another narrative weaving history and fashion into a fascinating mix.