Kate Wendelborn is one of those New York women who constantly catches our eye. With a background in design and tailoring, Kate started the brand Protagonist three seasons ago and today she is the creative director of the effortless and luxe brand which is grounded in timeless and modern shapes. Her sister Morgan has been a big part of the clothing brand since day one, who is also one of the creators behind the e-commerce The Line. Kate lives with her boyfriend Matt Sprout here in New York and we couldn’t resist asking her to team up with us for an exclusive High Five!
How do you start your day?
I wake up, stretch a bit in the horizontal position and do a quick skim of my emails on my iphone. If spring or summer, I try to run a few miles outside to get my blood pumping and make my eyes bright. I then have some yogurt or just coffee, take a shower and hit the road. I love to walk as much as possible so I try to leave early enough in the morning so I am able to go at least part of the way to wherever I have to be first.
What is your detox and retox?
I like to do a 3-5 day juice cleanse every few months. It really makes me feel re-energized. I know there is such a wide range of thought on this subject and for me, it’s very much a personal lifestyle choice and not a fad. I don’t think people should detox or do anything involving their health because of a trend. In the past I’ve made some of my own juice, but have recently been going to The Juice Press as it’s so, so convenient. I also do some part of my shower in the morning very, very cold – my boyfriend thinks I’m out of my mind. I see how it helps circulation and is amazing for my skin among many other things. Lastly, and probably the most important detox, is taking a true day off from work 1x week – that’s occasionally a challenge, but I’m not sure there is balance without it.
I’m not at all a smoker and not much of a drinker, but I do love a good sazerac or a full bodied red wine. So if I’m retoxing, that’s generally what’s happening. I can’t neglect to mention that have a pretty dangerous ice cream habit as well.
Spring is just around the corner. If you had to choose five pieces to wear this season what would it be?
1) A pair of vintage, light washed 501’s – I tailor them a bit in the studio so they fit me just right- I need something I can run around and really work in. They look great with everything – heels, trainers, a bodysuit, or a silk blouse. Versatility is key.
2) SS14 Protagonist Shirt 04 – Sleeveless Collarbone Blouse in Ash
3) SS14 Altuzarra heeled mules
4) My seasonal pair of Nikes
5) A cotton mesh produce bag. I pair it with my everyday oversized leather bag-it’s functional collage on my shoulder.
What is the signature piece for Protagonist, and how do you style it?
I would say a signature element is the deconstructed turtleneck idea (see collarbone pcs in SS14). We have reinvented it in all 3 collections (Fall 2013/Spring 2014/Fall2014). Since the collection is about intention and versatility, everything has a reason for being and it should work in many situations. To make something so, so specific work almost undetected is my goal. This element came about because I wanted to highlight one the sexiest places on a woman’s body. The collarbones are not an overt area, they age incredibly well for almost all women and it catches a shadow beautifully. It’s a very powerful place.
What can you not live without for the moment?
Can I take out ‘for the moment?’ If so, it would have to be my wonderful boyfriend Matt Sprout– he is such a talented photographer and all around amazing person. He makes me laugh like no one else can. The ultimate detox!
Two looks from the Protagonist SS14 look book.