Myth + Symbol

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In between prepping for her trunk show and getting settled, we squeezed in some time to take Ilana to some of our favorite Houston spots. Below are some of the places we were able to visit. We hope your first Texas trip was a hit, Ilana!

Tacos Tierra Caliente. 1919 West Alabama Street. You can’t beat $2 tacos made with fresh tortillas. This time around we got the veggie taco (avocado, lettuce, cheese, onions, and cilantro) but other favorites include the very flavorful barbacoa and al pastor. If you have time, bring your taco across the street to West Alabama Ice House for cold beers al fresco.

James Turrell Twilight Epiphany skyspace. Rice University. We took in the Light Sequence before sunset, but it also begins before sunrise. Make sure to reserve your free spot online beforehand, and get there 15 minutes before the posted time to get a good seat. It was a nice place to slow down and reflect, and the changing light was basically color theory brought vividly to life.

Huynh. 912 St. Emanuel. Located near the Dynamo stadium, this is our favorite go to for Vietnamese. It’s BYOB, and we always eat family style. Our favorite dishes include Bun Bo Hue (spicy noodle soup), Goi Vit (pulled duck meat with fresh herbs and vegetables), Hu Tien Xao Do Bien (noodles (ask for them crispy) with mixed seafood and vegetables), and Suon Bo Dai Han (chargrilled beef short ribs). We’ve also brought our parents here, and they’ve given it the thumbs up :)

La Guadalupana. 2109 Dunlavy, One of our favorite brunch places. This time around, we loaded up on their cinnamon coffee and arrived early to grab a seat since it tends to get crowded. The Vampiro (carrot, orange, and beet juice) is refreshing, and you can’t go wrong with the breakfast tacos or migas. If you have room, their almond croissant is another one of our favorites.


In a few days, we’ll be welcoming Ilana Kohn to Houston (her first trip to Texas), where she’ll be having a trunk show at Myth & Symbol alongside Angel Oloshove. Her silhouettes are refined and understated, making them the perfect canvas for her signature bold and whimsical patterns. For more information about the trunk show, please visit the event page here. Thanks, Ilana for taking time to answer some of our questions - Chau

How long has it been since you made the switch from commercial illustration to your clothing line?
It’s hard to say, there was never a definitive moment when either one started or ended.  The very last illustration job I did, however, was for the New Yorker maybe 4 years ago? A little portrait of Steven Sondheim.  I bought my first real sewing machine and started dabbling in fashion around the same time, although I didn’t officially launch my line until the spring of 2012.


Can you lead us through your typical workday/routines?
As for my workday routines, one of the things I love about doing this is that my days are NEVER the same.  I usually just roll out of bed, chug a pot of coffee then sit down to answer emails.  After that, it’s anything from running errands in the garment district to trips to the post office to designing or just sitting in front of the computer working on spreadsheets for the rest of the day.  It’s nice when coffee with a friend at some point works its way in there as well.. :)


I love how you recycled your scraps and used them in your quilt collaboration with Counterpane. Have you considered expanding outside of clothing and working on products?
Absolutely!  I’m still a tiny business though with limited capabilities & finances, so for now, aside from the odd collaboration here and there, I’m sticking to clothes.  I would love to venture into men’s or housewares though…Someday!

photo by Laure Joliet

Alright, favorite guilty pleasure at the moment?
Turkey bacon, eggs & an English muffin for every meal.  That said, I AM trying to get back into running…?!…

What are your top 5 places you would recommend for people visiting from Houston do in New York?
Ha!  I’m such a homebody, I’m one of the worst people to ask. If I had to say though, I would recommend the following:


imagephoto from Design*Sponge

  1. The Merchant’s House Museum: A MUST for anyone at all interested in history – it’s essentially a pristine time capsule of life in pre-civil war NYC. It’s pretty incredible.
  2. The Met: Duh.
  3. The Tenement Museum: More history nerdiness of the best kind.
  4. For shopping, I would recommend Williamsburg – so many great shops there now not to mention the flea on Sunday.
  5. Lastly, I would say that coming to my studio to meet Wally would certainly be highly recommended. He’s very fuzzy and friendly.

Be honest, when you think of Texas, what comes to your mind?
Matthew McConaughey.


Last year, I visited one of our artists, Angel Oloshove, in the her studio at the Glassell School of Art and took film photos as she demonstrated how she made one of her wall sculptures. The ceramics studio, housed in a glass block building, is a beautiful space filled with diffused light coming in from the sculpture garden. However, it will soon be rebuilt as the MFAH expands its campus, and Angel will be moving to a temporary space during the construction. So we thought it would be fitting to share some photos from the Glassell and talk a little more with Angel before her upcoming trunk show at Myth & Symbol.

So, how many years now have you been working with clay?
I have been working in clay for about 3 years now. I started in Baltimore before I moved to Houston. The most rewarding thing about working in this medium is the process for me. I love learning specific skill sets. I like pushing the physicality of clay, and playing with what I can do to make new things.

Ceramics, particularly handmade functional pieces, have exploded over the last couple of years. Why do you think there seems to be a huge wave of interest?
I think what we are seeing is the progression of D.I.Y. culture which created what we now recognize as “craft industry”. These small business models are generally more sustainable and allow crafts people and artisians to flourish as makers. Grouped into this is functional ceramics and the boom of interest in handmade goods really has to do with people connecting again to their makers. More people are placing value on the human behind the object and it almost a re-humanising of commerce.

What do you hope to explore in future projects?
Along side developing my line of functional ware, I am currently working on a body of sculptures. I received the emerging artist award from CAMEO and will have work in the Lamar Museum later in June and I will participate in the inaugural group show at Hello Project in . I want to explore sculpture and continue to grow with my functional line as well.

Now that you’ve been living in Houston for a couple of years now, what are your thoughts?
As Beyonce says, “I love you, Houston”. I feel very grateful to the Houston creative community for being so welcoming and supportive. People here are so friendly and generally stoked if you’re doing interesting stuff. The city is evolving right now and I suspect we are experiencing a third coast cultural boom that I’m honored to be a part of.

What does an ideal day around Houston involve?
My ideal day would be an early coffee my neighborhood coffee shop Black Hole followed by a long breakfast, then some record shopping at Vinyl Edge in the Heights, a few hours in my studio at the Glassell and finish it off with some evening drinks with friends at Double Trouble. Basically, food, drinks, music, and art with my friends. That’s my perfect Houston day.