Photos by Hillary Ehlen
There are many ways to tell a story. From words exchanged over a cup of coffee to text messages to the girlfriends to even a Shakespearian sonnet, we’ve always used words to express something about ourselves to the world around us and to anyone who will listen. But clothing can often speak a world of stories and experiences without uttering a word. A little black dress dress can tell of a dreamy first-date, a pair of dingy sneakers can tell of a cross-country adventure, and a blazer can bookmark the first day of a new career. We entered the closet’s of some of Fargo’s most stylish and let them give their clothes a platform to share their own unique stories.
Kayla Coté van Rensburg
Creative Director and Brand Ambassador, Dak & Collaboratives
“When you see someone that just looks on point with who they are….you can see that and you can feel that. So that’s my biggest inspiration, just authenticity.”
For starters, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Kayla Coté van Rensburg and I own an apparel company, Dak & Collaboratives, with my husband Piet. We design clothing and focus on a local feel and a local vibe and we want to bring something really awesome to this community.
Do you have any pieces that have a special story behind them?
I do, I have a few. I have a piece that I’ve had for years from Rome on my European adventure, it’s a leather jacket and it goes with everything. When I wear it, I love to tell the story of when I was in Rome. I love finding pieces as takeaways of travels and adventures. It tells a story and can be a fun conversation starter. Another piece I have is a romper that Piet and I bought before we went to Chicago for my birthday last year. We ate at a restaurant, Alinea, my first fine dining experience, that has 3 Michelin stars and is featured on Netflix on Chef’s Table, where I fell in love with the chef’s story. So we bought that piece to go to dinner in. And of course my Dak-wear. It’s something I’ve been working on just over a year in progress and to see the fact that there’s clothing that I made and designed in my closet keeps me going and motivated everyday.
How would you describe your personal style philosophy?
My style philosophy is to be true to yourself, be true to your style and embrace what you love. I describe my style as classic with a hint of flair, so classic pieces with an edge to them. I like to keep a capsule wardrobe, along with adding pieces here and there, especially those kind of pieces you find when you travel. Travel is a huge influence to my closet.
Is there anything you’re embarrassed to be hanging onto?
I think some of my heels from when I was younger. They’re just not my style anymore, but I can’t seem to part with them because they’re still in good shape-they’re just not my style.
What’s the newest thing in your closet?
I have this kimono by Crafty Ninja, made locally. We were booth neighbors at the last Fargo Downtown street fair, so we got pieces from each other.
Do you have a fashion icon or style you love to emulate?
I do love Coco Chanel. My biggest vibe is anything classic, like the English royal family is really inspiring to me. Honesty, just Fargo street style or the street style when you travel. You can pull inspiration from places you’d never think when you see someone that just looks on point with who they are. You can see that and you can feel that. So that’s my biggest inspiration, just authenticity.
You have something exciting to go to coming up and you MUST have something new to wear. What are your go-to stops?
I really, really like Onyx & Pearl, they are kind of my go-to when I need something that’s gonna work for a lot of things. If I have something coming up, I can find something classic and luxurious feeling there.