Many Project Runway wannabes with a sewing machine and a blog think they can start a clothing line, sans schooling, interning, or assisting to gain the chops. So it’s refreshing to learn about Palm Springs native Kendall Zundell, 31, who started a contemporary line with proper industry grounding: nearly a decade with apparel companies, including BCBG and Arden B. Kendall K, her line of flirty, vintage-inspired womenswear, sells at 16 stores nationwide and online.
What led you to design your own apparel line?
I studied journalism at Cal State San Marcos and design at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I interned at BCBG, and that turned into a job. When I felt like I was ready for a change, I moved to San Diego and worked for Arden B. in Irvine doing production and development. Then I designed woven tops and dresses for a large manufacturer, and I finally decided to do my own thing. So I took business classes.
You have experiences in all sides of the apparel industry. Did you plan your path on purpose?
Oh yeah, it was very calculated.
Did growing up in the desert shape your line’s lace, draping, and color details that add a vintage quality?
My aesthetic personally is very vintage inspired and glamorous. I love to dress up. I love to wear furs, and I love to wear jewels. Living in the desert gave me a history of that Old World glamour.
How did you get your style fix when you were a teenager here?
Thrifting is what I did in high school. I’m a huge vintage shopper, and the desert has some amazing thrift stores. It’s like looking through a pile of history.
Any particular eras that suit your fancy, fashion-wise?
I like the 1970s for the Bohemian look and flared-leg pants. I also like the full skirts and fitted waists of the 1950s. I could find something I love about each decade, for sure.
Describe the girl you have in mind when you design.
I think about a sophisticated, feminine girl with good taste sitting poolside at Parker Palm Springs. That embodies the girl I’m going after — that lifestyle.
How does it feel to have your own clothing line?
I get so excited. I’ll literally jump from my chair whenever I get an order. I hope that feeling never ends.