Interview: Local Designers Of Coco And Breezy Eyewear
Identical twin designers Coco and Breezy seem to have it all — a successful eyewear and accessories collection, celebrity clientele like Nicki Minaj, Serena Williams and Kelly Osbourne and plans to expand their growing C && B empire. Theses stylish sisters are influencing the fashion world with their edgy sunglasses, but people weren’t always accepting Coco and Breezy’s unique sense of style.
Growing up in the suburbs in Minnesota where most people wore Abercrombie and Fitch, Coco and Breezy wanted to dress more funky and fashion-forward. They would give their outfits a “twist” and other kids didn’t accept their sense of style.
“People didn’t understand our outrageous style and wardrobe, so we almost felt like we were alone,” Breezy said. “People used to stare at us for our style and for being different, so we created a pair of sunglasses to kind of block ourselves from eye contact with other people.”
When Coco and Breezy created their sunglasses, they had no intention of starting a business. However, when they went to New York to celebrate their 19th birthday, people kept stopping Coco and Breezy to ask where they could buy a pair of the stylish sunglasses that the girls were wearing. It was after that fateful trip that Coco and Breezy quit their jobs, sold their cars and moved to New York to become sunglass designers. Moving away from their family to start a new life and business in New York was both intimidating and challenging, but Coco and Breezy felt that the time was right and they knew that their ambitious personalities would get them far.
“We’re very business oriented, very dedicated and we’re not afraid of our creativity,” Coco said.
It was those very qualities that set Coco and Breezy apart from other aspiring designers in the fashion industry. Their creativity appears, not only in their designs, but in the stories behind their designs. This year’s collection of sunglasses and accessories, entitled “Wearable Art,” is a continuation of the story behind their first collection. In their 2010 collection, entitled “20/20” Coco and Breezy traveled from planet Earth to the year 2020 and discovered “Planet C && B.”
The 2011 collection takes place in the year 2020 on planet C && B. Coco and Breezy see pieces of art floating in the air and put them on their bodies as wearable art. The collection has a futuristic feel to it, with sharp angles and bold shapes.
Coco and Breezy also created a kid’s line this year, “C && B 4 Kids,” to show young people that they don’t have to look a certain way and to teach kids that it’s okay to be themselves.
“We want people to know that it’s okay to be your own artist,” Coco said. “Don’t be afraid of what people think of you and how society will look at you if you’re different.”
Coco and Breezy’s experience growing up had a strong influence on who they are today and they want to inspire others to be true to who they are.
“Now that we’re stronger, we can share our story. We used to go home and cry asking, ‘Why are we so different?’ Now, we can tell other kids that it’s okay to be different,” Coco said. “I’m kind of happy that we went through what we went through because now we can help others with our story.”
In addition to sharing the story of embracing their individuality, Coco and Breezy proudly talk about making their dreams a reality and working hard to accomplish their goals. They speak to students of all ages and have shared their story at colleges like Syracuse University, urging students to set goals and to know no limits.
At 20 years of age, Coco and Breezy have accomplished a great deal and have impressive goals for the future. Their sunglasses have typically been handcrafted and they are moving towards becoming mass-produced due to high volume orders. (A pair of these shades can cost you between $65 and $195 based on their design.) They hope to someday have a clothing line in addition to their sunglasses and accessories collection. Coco and Breezy attribute their success to their hard work.
“We’ve only been in the business for a few years, but we’ve worked so hard,” Breezy said. “Every single day is a work day. What sets us apart from other young kids is we don’t party.”
Life in the fashion industry may seem glamorous to outsiders, but Coco and Breezy know that there is more to being designers than the glitz and glam. They choose to focus on their careers and on expanding their business. And while their success could have easily gone to their heads, Coco and Breezy have stayed grounded. They said that the most rewarding part of their journey so far has been making their parents proud and inspiring others with their story. Their journey hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been worthwhile for Coco and Breezy.
“Following your dreams may be a struggle and there are things you have to sacrifice along the way,” Breezy said. “But it’s definitely worth it.”
Nicole Crosbie loves fashion and shopping, she has lived in Minnesota her whole life and loves finding new places to shop, eat and explore in the Twin Cities. She has degrees in public relations and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.