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Katharine and Gloria Brandes; photography by John Gilhooley

Designing Women

by Michelle Pulfrey | Riviera Orange County magazine | July 12, 2012

Sink your teeth into the hottest contemporary line in Costa Mesa this year. (Nod to vampires intended.) BB Dakota (bbdakota.com) is the brainchild of mother-daughter duo Gloria and Katharine Brandes, who get the designing job done with love, respect, and a lot of travel and inspiration. Here, they share how it all began.

Your collection was recently worn by stars on HBO's True Blood. How’d that feel? KB: We laugh about the fact that we seem to be the go-to for vampire-themed movies and TV shows. We’ve appeared in many. We just sent clothes for an upcoming film by Terrence Malick that stars Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman—hope no fangs are involved.

Tell us about BB Dakota’s beginnings. GB: It started out of a great loft in Laguna Beach. I grew up in Montreal in the fashion world. When I moved to California, BB Dakota was really just an extension of what I’d been doing in Montreal. It was tough at first. This place seemed like outer space after Montreal.

So what does BB Dakota mean? GB: The multiple Bs represent the Brandes family, and the rest was meant to evoke a pioneer spirit—starting a company in what was for me a strange, new place.

How do you draw inspiration for each upcoming season? KB: We’re both very interested in contemporary culture, and between the two of us, we cover a lot of ground—exhibits, concerts. We read everything and hang out. We check out stores everywhere—from Williamsburg to Tokyo to Paris—and love to watch people on the street. Sometimes it is as simple as a glimpse of someone driving by.