Clothing Brand Koryphae Brings Sustainability to Portland’s Fashion NXT

Designer Daniela Caine’s contemporary women’s line merges hand-loomed linens with simple silhouettes.

By Dalila Brent October 5, 2022

Koryphae owner and designer Daniela Caine showcases her sustainable line. 

Image: Dalila Brent

Relying on your clothes to give you energy isn’t a foreign concept. When you’re having a crappy day and don’t want to look how you feel, you’re likely to throw on something that gives you a boost—be it your favorite T-shirt, or those jeans that give your figure a chef’s kiss.

But beyond aesthetics, Daniela Caine, the creator of the new clothing brand Koryphae, believes fabrics have frequencies. And she's hoping to revitalize the fast-fashion-dominated clothing business, one "high-vibrational" garment at a time.

Caine’s trajectory to Koryphae includes a list of big-name companies including Adidas, Nike, and Columbia, at which she mainly held leadership roles. However, the Germany native’s first job was with a small sportswear company south of Munich, and it was during a sourcing trip to Bangladesh when she saw the ugly side of the fashion industry—harsh working conditions in a production factory, including child labor. “I saw massive amounts of people being in these sewing lines doing robotic work, and they weren’t even allowed to really look up,” Caine says. “Twenty years later, not much has changed.”

It was during a contracted position with Pendleton, where she was the creative director for women’s wear, that she encountered an alternative. “It was really amazing because I loved the product, I loved that they worked with natural materials.” When that position came to an end, Caine took time to care for an ill child, and also had a “spiritual shift” thanks to a meditation retreat which honed her focus on energy. In 2021, when Caine’s decades of apparel experience came together with her newfound obsession with energy and the idea of "fabric frequencies," she began piecing together the start of her clothing brand.

Koryphae's brush print Ada jumpsuit

Koryphae—a name Caine derived from Greek word koryphḗ́, which translates to "leader"—officially dropped in April 2022. The contemporary line features five hand-loomed linen silhouettes, which are created by a small, family-owned company in Kolkata, India—making it a true full-circle moment for Caine. Aside from pieces being sold at Foundation, a women’s boutique on NW 23rd Avenue, the clothes are also available through the Koryphae website, with a general price range of $150 to $300. “I wanted it to be accessible, but I still wanted to be able to support people,” Caine says.

On Friday, October 7, Koryphae hits the runway for the first time at Fashion NXT. The three-day event, which showcases up-and-coming designers with a series of fashion shows, has been on pandemic hiatus for two-years. This season's festivities kicks off Thursday, October 6 at the Union Bank Tower in downtown Portland. “I feel excited about it,” says Caine. “I hope the line resonates with the people in Portland, and the Pacific Northwest.”