Two becomes one, in the words of Spice Girls, when twin sisters Mandeep and Hardeep Kaur come together to create mindful magic. Hailing from the same intellectual, curious, fashionable breed, they are trying to redefine the notion from “less is more” to “less is better” through their ethos-driven brand, PER/se. What started with a design-inspired outerwear coat has now evolved into a thought-provoking journal with only more incredible products in the making.
London natives with North Indian heritage, Mandeep Kaur (MK) and Hardeep Kaur (HK) launched PER/se in July 2016 as a brand backed by thoughts, actions and singular objects.
Yes, you heard right – they launch one product at a time with a clear point of view summed up as #JustOne – it takes just one person, one thought, one action to make a difference. Following no seasons, trends or collections, each of the PER/se products is founded upon thoughtful design, collaborative spirit and unique innovation for those who can relate.
“You can add value to the world in different ways but you must still have integrity and focus.”
MK and HK were born five minutes apart from each other and were brought up in Slough, England (yes, they do have a dreamy British accent). While MK studied Law from King’s College, HK studied Literature at UCL with a Master’s in Shakespeare. Professionally, their experiences range from law firms to luxury brands to jewelry houses, with evening classes in pattern cutting at Central Saint Martins thrown into the mix. In short, they may be the brainiest twins out there.
Prior to PER/se, the Kaur sisters were designers behind a debut label, Nom de Mode. With much acclaim at LFW, both took the decision to strip out the factors they didn’t enjoy about running a fashion brand and divest their energies on creating a uniform that empowered their followers. Voilà, they launched their first product, the Nebula Coat in collaboration with Danish brand, Kvadrat in August 2016.
“We didn’t want to create products for the sake of creating. Outerwear is the last thing you wear and the first thing people see!” The four coats, each introduced 2 months apart, were their take on outerwear for women, celebrating a hands-free existent – literally designed with secret pockets, smartphone slot, wire holder for your headphones and wide cuts for statement layering. Like a luxury object, each PER/se coat was custom tailored upon order, with prices ranging from 395£ to 695£ and wait time of three weeks.
When asked what inspired them, Mandeep reminisces, “A lot of this goes back to our Indian heritage. Our mother was always dressed in cultural clothing with beautiful fabrics that would take days, even months, for a custom fit. It was not about the cost, but the quality of fabric and we consider this same idea in our production techniques.” Plus, each coat is imagined with a collaborator from an interior and upholstery designer to a ceramist that uses Japanese techniques to an Azerbaijani artist who is known for his rugs. Their second object was a unique pin, created in partnership with PINTRILL, with a slogan of “Less is More” followed by the latest addition, The Learner.
“Everything is under high scrutiny today. If people are buying into you, they are expecting something unique.”
“HK and I are avid note takers but we realized that journaling can become daunting as you grow older. So, we decided to create something that would help people configure their thoughts in an organized manner.” Indeed, The Learner, produced within six weeks from ideation to the final product, comes with no dates, no years and prompts that can help you absorb what you have seen, heard and learned during the day. Some blank pages are thrown in for “free-flow” visualization with motivating quotes from a variety of inspiring professionals sprinkled in. As constant inspiration junkies, we’d highly recommend grabbing a copy from INSCAPE NY, online (bonus discount code at the end) or any of these stockists in London.
The Name Game
The name PER/se was inspired by “per se” – which means in itself and of itself. The sisters liked the freestanding nature of the term but also from a visual perspective, the way the two P’s intertwined for a clean design aesthetic, which is also seen in their personal styles.
“We run something called #JustOneBillboard campaign and ask others ‘if you had a billboard, what would it say and where would it go?’”
What keeps PER/se going is thought-provoking content (content is still the king!) that can be seen on their Instagram, read through their blog, heard through their videos, and enjoyed through their intriguing #JustOne newsletters (nudge to sign up).
“We are always amazed by the responses we get to the billboard campaign. Someone once said to me, ‘don’t trust your teachers.’ To me, it was incredible to hear this because we have always been told to trust them. This atypical view of the world is the backbone of our products and our communication strategy.”
“No one has to like your product, no one has to do anything for you but that should never undermine the vision you have and what you want to do.” In short, stick to your guns, never take no as an answer and always seek out the best people. As the Kaur sisters’ parents would have added, “The best thing you can do is work hard and do your best!”
MK currently resides in New York while HK holds down the fort in London. Together, they are paving the path for #TheLearner to help corporations integrate mindful practices for their employees via customized journals and employee programs.
With the month of love around the corner, if you think someone can benefit from #TheLearner – purchase one here with promo code: radiche for 10% discount. Have a special request for what their next object should be? Drop us a note and we’ll put you in touch.