The Sisters Behind Cali-Cool Fashion Brand Dôen Want to Eat for a Better Planet
Name: Margaret Kleveland
Location: Los Angeles
How many people regularly eat together in your home? 2-5 depending on the night (includes Julian, age 4).
Avoidances: Eats mostly vegan.
Name: Katherine Kleveland
Location: Los Angeles
How many people regularly eat together in your home? 5 people (including kids: Wilder age 7, Shepard age 6, and Prairie age 1).
Avoidances: Eats mostly vegan and gluten-free.
Margaret and Katherine Kleveland are the sisters behind the totally-dreamy, quintessentially-California fashion brand Dôen. A quick look on their Instagram reveals billowy tops and prairie-style dresses that will instantly make you want to kick your shoes off and run around in the sand — or is that just me? It’s easy to see why the brand’s ultra-feminine and bohemian aesthetic has made it a favorite among the fashionable set.
Outside of well-made clothing, the slow fashion, women-led brand is dedicated to empowering women and helping the environment where they can. They donate some of their profits to organizations like Room to Read, which helps educate girls around the world. This year they’re also committed to reducing plastic in their production, and using more organic and recycled fabrics in their clothes.
Dôen did come under some criticism late last year for size-inclusion — for both the models that wear their clothes, and the actual sizes that they offer — which unfortunately is still a rampant problem in fashion. In 2020 Dôen said they were going to introduce extended sizes and include more “inclusive, representative imagery.” We love a brand that acknowledges where they have room to grow.
We caught up with Katherine and Margaret in Katherine’s sun-kissed Los Angeles kitchen where they made a delicious gluten-free teacake to share. We talked about eating better for the planet, the importance of routines now that they’re both moms, and the snacks that power them through long work days.
The ethos of your brand really hinges on empowerment and community for women. And I think both of these attributes are also essential in feeding ourselves and our families. How do you see these two things playing out in your own kitchens?
Margaret Kleveland: I think there is something really empowering about knowing you can directly make a difference in your health and your loved ones’ health by making daily small choices — both in the food we eat as well as in the packaging it comes in and the waste that is created. I find the act of being in the kitchen therapeutic: Getting to prepare food that is nutritious and tastes good, while also setting an example for my son with activities like recycling, composting, and learning what is okay for our planet and what is not. It’s powerful for me.
Additionally, what is happening in my kitchen is usually a direct reflection of my current mental state. When I am happy and my life is working (regardless of stress level or chaos), I can be found baking sourdough or juicing at home. When I am feeling out of control, that all goes out the window.
You also bring a lot of care into how your clothes are made and the material you use. Do you feel the same way about your food choices?
Katherine Kleveland: Absolutely. I like to support brands and farmers within the food industry whose choices are good for our planet and also nutritious for our bodies. I also am a firm believer in using your wallet to work towards change, so I only purchase items that I agree with ethically — no plastic, no pesticides, only real food by real people.
You have both talked at length about how motherhood is important to you in your work. How has having kids changed the way you eat? What does nurturing look like for you?
Katherine Kleveland: In the recent years since starting DÔEN, we’ve both changed our diets pretty dramatically. We are mostly vegan, as are our families, with the occasional fish and egg indulgence. Nutrition is really about what we are putting in our bodies. We both go to the farmers market every weekend, and it feels good to buy produce that you know is filled with nutrients our kids and our bodies need to thrive.
It seems like you both go to the farmers market a lot in LA. What do you get? Anything you’re specifically excited about right now?
Katherine Kleveland: Essentials are always daily things, like lettuce for salads and celery for juicing. For winter, I’m leaning into root vegetables for slow roasting. Our farmers market also has a sprout vendor, which I’m loving. Other items I’m loving include mushrooms and cashew cheese.
Margaret Kleveland: I love buying local flowers. It is sometimes difficult to find flowers that are not wrapped in a ton of plastic, but the LA farmers markets have a great selection of flowers from farms in Carpinteria.
- Biggest challenge in eating? Eating a proper lunch during the work week.
- Percentage of meals you cook at home every week? About 75%.
- 5 things on your grocery list every week? Avocados, Countertop Foods Kitcheri Mix, Blode Kuh cashew cheese (black garlic!), Moon Juice’s Blue Beauty protein shake mix.
- Where do you shop, primarily? Erewhon, Good Life Organics Farm Box, Studio City Farmers Market.
- What’s the last food thing you splurged on? I eat two-three teaspoons a day of Coconut Cult Probiotic Yogurt. The quality is always consistent.
- Favorite tea? Anything Tulsi.
- Best underrated snack? Apples and peanut butter!
- Default kid snack? Cucumber slices (my son loves them with a sprinkle of black or pink salt).
- Best tip anyone ever taught you in cooking? @chefthea taught me the art of making the perfect jammy boiled egg for a niçoise, which entails cracking the boiled egg slightly before dropping into an ice bath. Because I eat mostly plant-based, I don’t make boiled eggs very often, but when I do they are very gratifying!
- Favorite kitchen tool? @chefthea also introduced me to the Benriner Mandoline in a class — and now I can’t make a salad without it.
- Cookbook you actually cook out of? Moon Juice, Well + Good.
- Who does the dishes in your home? I avoid the dishes at any expense. That means I have a very dependent relationship with my dishwasher — I barely bother with a rinse before everything goes in.
- Biggest challenge in eating? Meal prepping.
- Percentage of meals you cook at home every week? About 75%.
- 5 things on your grocery list every week? Garlic spread, Gjusta’s gluten-free sourdough bread, mung beans, sauerkraut, and kale.
- Where do you shop, primarily? Farmers Market and Erewhon.
- What’s the last food thing you splurged on? Mushroom basket.
- Top 3 default recipes? Roasted head of cauliflower with tahini sauce, cabbage slaw, and lentil soup.
- Favorite tea? Earl Grey or green.
- Best underrated snack? Kale chips.
- Default kid snack? Nuts, kale chips, crudité.
- Best tip anyone ever taught you in cooking? Danika’s mung bean crêpes for my savory breakfast needs.
- Favorite kitchen tool? Small or medium olive wood cutting boards.
- Cookbook you actually cook out of? Gjelina for good veggie dishes.
- Who does the dishes in your home? Husband 100%.
Walk me through a day in your life right now. What does breakfast/lunch/dinner look like for you and your families?
Katherine Kleveland: Things have changed so much now that I have three kids instead of two! We wake up, have breakfast, do all the school runs, my husband and I go to work, and then we cozy up at home. I’ve been really excited about making mungbean crêpes in the morning. My family is gluten- and dairy-free, so anything that is delicious, easy, and nutritious is in our meal routine. For lunch, I normally bring a salad with fresh farmers market veggies. Dinner always changes, but recently my friend Danika (an amazing health coach) has been teaching me to prep with my slow cooker more. We’ve been making so many delicious curries, stews, and things that are warming for the colder months. We always sit together as a family and eat, with no screens — and I always like to light candles, even if it’s just us.
What about you, Margaret?
Margaret Kleveland: Because our lives are so busy, I tend to need to have a pretty routine approach to meal planning. We are vegetarian, mostly vegan, but with an occasional fancy cheese or pastry indulgence. I usually plan two dinners a week — always something that can be re-heated, like this lentil soup or these sweet potato enchiladas, which can easily be made without the cheese. A lot of the time, it’s just me and my son, so being able to bring leftovers to the office for lunch or heat up for an easy dinner is key.
I subscribe to an organic CSA delivery weekly, so anything I fix outside of the meals I have pre-planned is usually based on something in the delivery. I love how fresh the produce is, and that they reuse the delivery boxes and berry containers. I requested that my box not include any plastic bags or wrapping, and they were able to accommodate.
My breakfast is normally something simple, like fruit and a piece of yummy sourdough toast. I also love making a tonic from Moon Juice — both set a good intention for my day. I pride myself on my kid’s school lunches, and often turn to @chefthea for inspo. I tend to be more of an “eat all day” type of person instead of having a heavy mid-day meal, so I like bringing lunches that consist more of dips, veggies, and things that are fresh, yet I can snack on throughout the day.
How have you both evolved as eaters? What did you eat growing up together in Santa Barbara?
Margaret Kleveland: There used to be lots of take-out pizza, which of course we still love on occasion. Our family’s favorite tale to tell is that when KK and I used to party in high school, we would order pizza delivery prior to leaving the party, and then desperately race home to beat the delivery person — sometimes unsuccessfully! We were lucky to grow up in Santa Barbara, with its abundance of fresh, local citrus. I have so many fond memories of sneaking into yards for a fresh orange and peeling it on the spot, sticky hands and all, with friends.
Last question: I need to hear more about this magical gluten-free tea cake you made for this shoot. Why is it special to you?
Katherine Kleveland: Our dear friend Annie Campbell first introduced this recipe to us. It’s gluten-free, yet light and fresh. There is something so delicate and feminine about a tea cake — I love that it feels like something that would be in Pride and Prejudice. [Editor’s note: click here to see the full-sized image of the recipe!]
The Way We Eat is a series of profiles and conversations with people like you about how they feed themselves and their families.We’re actively looking for people to feature in this series. You don’t have to be famous or even a good cook! We’re interested in people of all backgrounds and eating habits. How do you overcome challenges to feed yourself? If you’d like to share your own story with us, or if you know of someone you think would be great for this series, start here with this form.