Designer Spotlight: Coco and Ilia

Designer Spotlight: Coco and Ilia

“We are all about feminine power.”

Cortney “Coco” Simms & Ilia Siegwald are making noise in the fashion industry. Their brand (Coco + Ilia) is on the fast-track for greatness. Coco considers herself “a designer who can style,” Ilia on the other hand is “a stylist who can design.” It’s evident these two talented moguls in the making were destined to cross paths. Coco & Ilia met freshmen year during drawing class at Stephens College. They both went on to graduate in 2016 with degrees in Fashion Design & Product Development. But they had legitimate reasons for attending college, “The fashion industry doesn’t take you seriously unless you have the credentials,” Coco explained. Ilia elaborated further, “I knew I had to go to college—it’s a necessity.” Since college, Coco & Ilia have become fast-friends; combining their strengths to produce quality products. 

Coco & Ilia developed their love for fashion long before they ever picked up a piece of fabric. Fashion has been in their foreseeable future since they were very young, and their mothers have been most influential in cementing a strong foundation for them to follow. Ilia being more of a story teller perceives fashion differently than most, “I’ve always been a story teller. I only play video games for the story. I only read book for stories, and I want fashion to be a story…it has to be something that peeks my interest so I can create scenarios.” The quality of their products show exactly how talented Coco and Ilia are. The creativity and thought they put into their work is unlike any in the fashion industry. Coco is obsessed with statement pieces, but she is inventive in her thoughts, keeping her creative eye open for anything that can be incorporated into woman’s clothing. Ilia feeds off of her energy and finds enjoyment in utilizing her stylistic techniques. 

Together they are a match made in heaven. Here’s what they had to say when asked what fashion means to them: “It has always been more of an art-form for me,” Ilia explained. Coco took it to heart, “In fashion so many things can be accepted or rejected. To me it’s a responsibility to show people of color in general that you can do this too.” This season especially they did just that. Taking on NYFW for the first time, their pieces were jaw dropping the moment they hit the runway.

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 10: Models wearing Coco & Ilia during the Oxford Fashion Studio NYFW AW18 at Studio 450 on February 10, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Oxford Fashion Studio)

But that’s not all they had to say during our sit-down. When asked what lead them to the fashion industry both ladies had strong words: “I think we’re more so in the personalization industry—the vibe of being you, and really feeling out your personally through fashion—more than the actual fashion industry because that structure has been broken for a long time; honestly, it needs to be fixed and reviewed,” stated Coco. Ilia produced a similar response, “I don’t really know if we’re in the fashion industry necessarily...we don’t really love the fashion industry but we do like what it gives us and what we can contribute to it.”

StevenG Photography is excited to see how bright their future is. Coco & Ilia are making all of the right moves to leave indelible footprints on the fashion industry. We wish them the best in all of their future endeavors. 


Post Author: Joshua Woodley