Step on the dance floor: interview with KAN Brand founders

Colourful embroideries, enormous birds on cool T-shirts, latino ruffles and so much energy: Denisa Cucu and Manuela Van Vloten-Sabarez brought us something from Mexican spirit here, in Bucharest, in Molecule-F Concept Store. And that’s because these two amazing and enthusiast girls that founded KAN Brand wanted the handmade Mexican embroideries to be world-wide recognised for their beauty and hardworking process. And they wanted that casual clothes, those one we could wear anytime anywhere to have a exclusivist “touch”. And to be just perfect for “viva la vida” (“loca” or not…)!

KAN Brand clothes could be found on… Molecule F Concept Store in Promenada Mall (; Kukul Bouti’k in the Carribean – Tulum, Mexico; / Instagram: kan_brand

deniaa manuela kan brand

Manuela Van Vloten-Sabarez & Denisa Cucu

Mexican inspiration because… 

Manuela: It was inevitable. Shortly after moving to Mexico, I came across the traditional Mexican handmade embroideries and instantly fell in love with them… the colours, the patterns, the authenticity. They were the source of inspiration for us in creating KAN.

Denisa: As a young girl, Frida was the one that lightened up my interest for Mexico, for its art and culture. Also, all my childhood had the scent of Ana Gabriel’s Mexican music. Manu living there and suggesting to go on this journey together, didn’t feel like a coincidence… it was as if the puzzle finally came together.

Your first love encounter with fashion was… 

M: A painting (actually a framed photo ;)) my grandmother had of Nicolae Grigorescu’s “Fata cu zestrea ei”. I remember taking a glimpse at that painting for many years during my childhood. I was fascinated by the harmonious blend of colours. And I also loved the handkerchief, a hair attire that resembled my grandmother’s too.

D: I was around four when my main activity was to ruin my grandma’s clothes to make outfits for my dolls. Also, cutting out from my mom’s Quelle magazines and, together with my sister, creating fashion collages.

kan brand black blouses

The biggest challenge for a designer nowadays is… 

KAN: Not getting swamped into another designer’s vision. The access to so much information makes it harder for a fashion designer to stay true to his core and distinctiveness.

The icon piece that will always be in your collections… 

KAN: We’re still taking baby steps into the world of fashion design… too early to decide. We find we need a few more collections to be able to answer this question.

kan brand detail

Your dream collection would look like (the shapes, the materials, the city)… 

M: Denisa and I have life experiences that made us love so many cities. We both grew up in Bucharest. Denisa went to do her Masters in Florence, Italy (Architecture and Interior Design) and I did mine in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Business Studies). I relocated to Mexico and she went back to Bucharest. We’ve never forgotten our roots. Thus, our dream collection is in Bucharest, inspired by all these beautiful cities we love and which shaped us into the people we are today. The collection is nature related, colourful, whimsical… a tad daring. Materials are fluid, volatile and cozy.

D: A dream collection is one that makes us and everyone else in our team feel proud. Through KAN, we want the handmade Mexican embroideries to be world-wide recognised for their beauty and hardworking process. Then we can give back to the community of Mexican handmade artisans that has inspired us, not only through a percentage of our production, but by actually recognising their merits at a global scale.

Old school items that will always inspire you are…

M: The vintage swim caps.

D: The vinyl music records.

kan brand back

We need fashion in our life because… 

KAN: It’s a statement of who we are. It gives us complete freedom of choice. There’s no limits to how creative and playful you can be. Just have fun with it, don’t comply and don’t judge.

How is the life of a creative duo? 

KAN: It’s a lot of fun and, in our situation, it’s 24 hours’ work, which is absolutely fantastic. Initially, we thought the 8 hours’ difference (between Bucharest and Mexico City) will be a big challenge. We were wrong. When one rests, the other one works. And we have around 8 hours in between when we can work together. Thus, KAN never sleeps.

The next collection is going to be about…

KAN: … KAN, which is the Mayan symbol for “lizard”, also known as the “creator of the Universe”. We’ll stay true to our “handmade Mexican embroideries” core, playing around with lizards in various forms, shapes and colors. It’s gonna be fun!

kan brand



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