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Model Juan Isler shows some of the clothing created by Jamestown native Timothy Kokott, right. Photo courtesy Timothy Kokott

Jamestown native to show styles in N.Y.

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New York Fashion Week 2014 will get a little taste of North Dakota when Jamestown native Timothy Kokott presents his line of hats, yoga wear, summer clothes and holiday wear on Sept. 8.

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“I have been doing children’s versions of my hats for years for special clients, so this show will open with the official open of the children’s lines,” Kokott said.

The show will also include his new line of yoga clothing, which will have diverse clothes but more options for men and for fuller-framed, larger women, “because that’s the niche that’s missing,” Kokott said.

The yoga wear is also intended for “hot yoga” styles such as Bikram yoga.

“You don’t want a lot of fabric,” Kokott said. “Lululemon, a lot of that has padding, and you are going to kill yourself if you do that with the heat that Bikram (uses). There’s too much fabric for comfort” for a hot yoga session.

Some of the yoga wear can also be worn outside of class, as it looks like dress pants or other items suitable for wearing on a hot day.

“Then it goes into more of an evening collection, and then men’s and women’s hats, and this is all summer, holiday resort spring/summer (wear),” Kokott said. “It’s based on the beach.”

The show will also include some of the leatherwork Kokott creates, and some of his jewelry.

“A lot of my work, I don’t determine if it’s men’s or women’s — I let the customer determine that,” he said.

Most likely, he’ll be showing somewhere between 30 to 60 outfits, which he’ll be producing himself. Many of the pieces will be hand-beaded out of Czech Republic glass beads and some Swarovski crystals.

In the fashion world, a “holiday” line is generally a glitzy, glamorous look — these elements of Kokott’s show are more regal and rich.

“Everything I’m doing is produced in America, and at this point, it’s all produced in New York City,” Kokott said.

His show will also include his family — he hopes to include a niece, a nephew and several grandnieces as models.

And the show’s tagline is “The Ultimate Muse,” and it honors his younger sister, Theresa Kokott Weinke.

From North Dakota

Now Kokott lives in Clinton Hill, N.Y., part of the Brooklyn borough, but he was born in Jamestown, the seventh of eight children born to James and Margaret Kokott.

His time in fashion began at age 5, when his mother taught him and his siblings how to knit. At age 13, she taught him how to make a pair of pants, and at 15, Kokott made a tuxedo for an older brother.

In 1976, as a junior in high school, Kokott made his own tux for prom, and as a senior, he took a sewing class in high school. He later attended Anoka (Minn.) Area Vocational Institute.

“We were raised with very little money, but we had supplies and we had had space … and all eight of us turned out to be artists, and our parents were both artists,” he said.

Kokott credits both his parents for their design skills.

“When my father looked at the hat that I brought to New York that ended up on the runway … he described it from the standpoint of a farmer who didn’t understand that he was a designer,” Kokott said. “… he designed things that were specific to the machines that were improvements. … they took his ideas and produced improved attachments.”

His father James described the hat as “a combination of design and function, and protective.”

Some of those influences still show through in Kokott’s work.

“You’ll see a basic influence in where I come from, in North Dakota. You’ll see a lot of nature in my work, because I am a gardener,” he said, noting some of his work is even edible, like wigs made of grapes.

Kokott said the Midwest work ethic, strength and niceness helps in the fashion industry.

“Be ready to work hard and long hours, and be tested by people that aren’t necessarily very nice,” he said, offering advice to anyone interested in joining the fashion industry.

Anyone interested in seeing Kokott’s work can visit his website at www.timoth ykokott.com, contact him via timothykokott@live.com or find him on Facebook. Within North Dakota, Linda Brooks has his hats, and can be reached at (701) 523-3586 or lbrooks@ndsupernet.com.

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Kari Lucin
Kari Lucin joined the Grand Forks Herald as a multimedia producer in August 2014. Previously, she worked for a few years at the Jamestown Sun in Jamestown, N.D., as a staff writer, and prior to that, for about six years as staff writer and later online content coordinator, at the Daily Globe in Worthington, Minn. A graduate of Jackson County Central High School and Augsburg College, she has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and English. Find more of her writing at her blog, Oh Look, a Shiny Thing! or on Twitter at @karilucin.
(701) 780-1119
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