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Sunroom Q+A: Anna and Valerie of Kamperett

Anna Chiu and Valerie Santillo are the duo behind KAMPERETT, a womenswear label focused on creating effortlessly chic pieces for the discerning woman. Their collection is designed and made in San Francisco with careful practices in both high quality material sourcing and ethically run factories. Both coming from a background in fashion, the two collided their vision, and their mothers maiden names to create their brand name (Pferdekamper and Garrett), and have been on a collaborative journey ever since!

Can you share more about your backgrounds? How did the line originate?

Anna: I was pre-med and studied Biology in college, but was always interested in design and fashion, so decided to give it a try before applying to Medical School (and I haven't looked back). I worked at various clothing and design companies, wearing all the hats and learning on the job. Val studied Fashion Design in school, and worked at various clothing companies as well. We both had enough experience in the industry to know what we were getting ourselves into. We also just jived aesthetically and decided one day to give it a try.

Can you walk us through more of the design process behind one of your garments? How does an idea come to life?

Anna: We both design pieces that start off from one of us, often from a dream or a vision of some sort, and then we both process it together. Val will render a sketch and sometimes we'll drape the piece if we need to see it in 3D. It is very organic and intuitive.

We adore your color palette, mixing in neutrals with unexpected yet what feels like highly considered pops of color. Can you share more about what inspires these palette choices?

Anna: We both are rooted in neutrals but also find unexpected pops of color refreshing. Our inspiration can come from anywhere; from a nail polish color, to a bug, to a scrap of trash. Choosing our colors is mainly just a gut reaction to the palette as a whole. If both of us love it, it's usually ends up being a good choice.

Valerie: We look to so many things for color inspiration it is hard to pinpoint. Nature is a big one, we often look at colors you might see in vintage silk stockings or slips from the 30's. We sometimes use paint as an inspiration or might see a plastic bag on the street that inspires an idea.

What are some of your biggest interdisciplinary inspirations, either in travel / art / film / music?

Anna: All of the above! I am open and inspired all the time, especially by travel, art, film and music. I am especially inspired by watching my kids create art, it is so uninhibited and free.

Valerie: I love all things from the past. For whatever reason history, vintage details have always been my biggest inspiration. I love film and music is the most moving art form in my opinion. I would love for our clothes to evoke that kind of mood— a song or a cinematic moment that haunts you. 

A photo from a recent Kamperett event, which ended with a secret performance by Lia Ices.  

My design ethos in 3 words:

A: quality, timelessness, originality

V: timeless, etherial, strong

A few of my favorite (secret) spots in SF are… (i.e. the places you love to visit, dine, experience that are more under the radar?)

A: Cala tacos from the back door. Mochi from Benkyodo Co in Japantown.

V: This is kind of cheating, but the only thing that still feels secret to me is the escape down Highway 1 towards Half Moon Bay and pulling over in those beach side nooks where no one else is.

My favorite song right now:

A: Dawn Chorus by Thom Yorke

V: Shut up Kiss Me by Angel Olsen

My wardrobe “workhorse” (what I wear on repeat, season after season):

A: My grandmas striped collared shirt and silk track pants from our first collection.

V: Red lipstick, Levi's, men's crisp white tee, gaudy gold jewelry, vintage clutch

My mantra or a favorite quote:

A: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." - Albert Einstein

V: This is the first day of the rest of your life.

Somewhere I’d love to travel in 2020:

A: Travel plans on hold at the moment.


What’s next for you (or perhaps a goal for the year or season ahead?)

A: We are planning a few cool experiential events in the coming months, and would love to have pop-ups and events in other cities such as LA and NY.

V: Honestly, to just keep pushing and building