Our lovely friend Cathrine Frederiksen deserves a mention. She is the designer behind Kokodoko studio, which is a pattern, print and textile company based in Tokyo, Japan. Her time is spent between Copenhagen and Tokyo where she draws inspiration from the shared aesthetics between the two characteristic places.

Cathrine Frederiksen, the designer & founder of Koko dodo studio.

Cathrine Gro Frederiksen


Owner & Designer at Kokodoko Studio
Owner & Trend Researcher at Alikelihood

Currently living in:
Officially I live in Copenhagen, but I spend a lot of months every year in Tokyo, where my husband-to-be-this-summer lives.

Some of the patterns developed by Cathrine at Kokodoko Studio.

What makes you happy?

Playing with my son & his dad, eating rye-bread when I’m in Denmark, working on fun projects, and just making in any way whether it’s quilting or baking or sketching. I’ve always enjoyed designing, and I’ve always enjoyed beautiful paper and textile. I have heaps of both in my drawers.

Where do you find inspiration?

In this exact moment I have 27.582 pictures on my phone. I take snapshots of bits and pieces on my way. It can be a nice packaging in a supermarket, a fun situation or a colour way in a shop.

Every day, Cathrine searches the streets of Tokyo for inspiration.
When did you realize that you were going to start Kokodoko?

I was on maternity leave with my son and had a couple of months to spend in Tokyo. I was lonely and bored, and I felt like I needed a creative output in between the baby moments. I started sketching patterns and collecting nice things that I put up for sale on an instagram account. Kokodoko means “What place is this” in Japanese. I just really enjoyed it, and decided to continue after maternity leave.

How do you begin a new project?

I sketch and visualise and put words to the concept in my notebook before starting. Then I find out what are the first steps I need to take and then I take those necessary steps. It’s not always easy. Sometimes it feels better and safer to keep the concepts in my notebook where they will be forever unspoiled, but also forever unrealised.

Where is your favorite place to work from?

My office in Tokyo, where I’ve arranged small pieces of inspiration and snippets of my current projects in front of me.

Describe an experience you had, that confirmed you in, why you are doing what you do.

I recently started working on a new collaboration collection which will be launched in September 2018, and It’s been such a great confirmation that my designs are worthy of getting a bigger crowd. I have done many things during my worklife which I am proud of, but I have the memory of a goldfish, so the day after a big win, I can feel like a major failure. I need recent fresh-in-memory good experiences.

Name of person who helped you get where you are today

There are a number of people in my network that I rely on for different support, whether it’s private or worklife related. Both family, friends and business friends. I rely on all of them and they’ve all helped me. My husband-to-be is very good at supporting my projects and pushes me to work to reach my aspirations.

Name one woman who inspired you on your creative journey.

I think the author Olga Ravn is a current great inspiration for me. From my point of view she is dedicated, perseverant, and talented. She seems to speak her mind freely and honestly. And then she is a mom at the same time. I am inspired that she seems to take herself and her work very seriously.

Which challenges have you met in your work?

I serve other people more than I serve myself. I work so hard on other peoples projects, so when I get to my own, I am out of energy. I want to be better at putting my passion projects on top of the pile of work instead of under.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Keep going, share your ideas, put your own dreams first.

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