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Founded by local sisters Anne Kennedy Dotson and Sarah Kennedy, Buckley K is a new line of easy-spirited separates that are inspired by travel. "We dream up each season as if we're packing for a trip," says Kennedy Dotson. "Each collection is inspired by a destination, our first season is inspired by Capri, Italy."
The collection, which is now available via Buckley K's site, comprises 10 pieces (some are pictured above) "that you'd really want to have in your suitcase," says Kennedy Dotson. The line includes a comfy tunic for the plane, a casual skirt for sightseeing, and a flirty little dinner dress. "We wanted to design pieces that are an amped up version of the staples we all need in our suitcase or closet," the designer says.
What gave the globetrotting sisters the travel—and design—bug in the first place? Read on to learn more about how the Buckley K adventure began, what role a rescue dog plays in the business, and more.
Anne and Sarah. Photo: via Buckley K
First, let's talk travel! What gave both of you the travel "bug," and where are some of your favorite travel destinations?
Anne: When we were little, our dad was in the Air Force. So picking up and going to new places are some of our earliest memories. I remember going to preschool in the Philippines, and from that point on my parents always encouraged us to make life an adventure. The more we saw the more we wanted to see. We both fell in love with landing in a new spot and wandering around. Favorite places—that's a tough question! We both love Australia and New Zealand and Rome will always be a favorite for me.
What inspired the idea to start this line, and what nee or gap does it fulfill for travelers?
Sarah: Anne and I have always dreamed of starting a company together. When Anne lived in Bahrain I went to visit and we traveled all over and talked about the items we wished we had in our suitcase. That was the final spark we needed. I've always been a fan of easy, simple pieces that don't require tons of styling, and Anne likes her silk and ruffles. So together, we wanted to design a line of clothes that are glammed up yet functional staples.
In general, what makes a piece travel-friendly for you, and how Buckley K's items uniquely suited to travel?
Anne: For me, a travel-friendly piece is comfortable and versatile, but still chic! It's that piece of clothing in your suitcase or closet that is your go-to, the one you can dress up for dinner or throw on to go out and grab coffee when you wake up. Our Sidi Skirt is a good example [of a travel-friendly piece.] It hugs your figure in all the right places, and the beauty of it is that you can roll it up and put it in your carry-on and the knit doesn't wrinkle or lose its shape.
What has been the most exciting—and the most challenging—thing about starting your own business?
Sarah: The most challenging thing is that we both have master's degrees in totally different fields, and left careers to pursue this dream. So there has naturally been a learning curve. Luckily, we have a great team here in Chicago. The most exciting part is seeing the Buckley K brand come to life and seeing our clothes on family and friends of all ages, shapes and sizes.
What inspired the brand's name?
Sarah: 10 years ago, Anne, my mom, and I went to a dog rescue and came home with a mut named Buckley. He has been the topic of conversation for years, no matter where we've found ourselves in the world, so we decided to borrow his name.
What travel movies are your favorites?
Sarah: The Darjeeling Limited is definitely up there!
What would your next dream trip be?
Anne: We would love to visit India! Neither of us have ever been.