By Cristina Cuomo
Cristina Cuomo: You’ve just launched an incredible line of wellness wear, Cocoon & Hive, which employs Nanobionic technology. You’re also an artist. Tell me a little bit about how you went from creating art to creating apparel.
Olivia Daane: I paint butterflies. That’s what I’ve been known for. In 2008, I was invited to Art Basel in Miami Beach. I endeavored to make a statement that pushed my work to a new level, so I created an Asian butterfly called a parantica sita. People went crazy for it. I began researching butterflies, and worked on one called “Green Birdwing.” I found out that the “pigment” that makes these butterflies’ wings black isn’t actually a pigment; it’s a V-shaped structure. I then grew really interested in biomimicry and design, and wrote an article on Janine Benyus, who is lauded for her expertise in this field.
This article connected me with the Chief of the Open Forum for the U.S. State Department. That’s what began a journey for me as an artist, exploring my ability to work with engineers and scientists to innovate and make a difference. The State Department partnered me with Nanobionic, which was founded by two young Greek guys in 2011; NASA iTech had awarded the business the incredible honor of being a top 10 tech company to watch. Nanobionic added the proprietary coating on all of Cocoon & Hive’s apparel; it interacts with far infrared and maximizes the body’s ability to heal by improving local blood flow, just like an infrared sauna would, but in a more direct and effective manner. If you look at a wound that has an infrared light shined on it, circulation is increased, which ramps up cellular regeneration and repair and the circulation of oxygen-rich blood in the body.
CC: Cocoon & Hive is the first U.S. apparel brand using this technology.
OD: Yes, we’re the first apparel brand creating Nanobionic women’s wear, but I can see a use for this that goes far beyond Cocoon & Hive. Imagine if public transportation had Nanobionic coating, and we could be instantly rejuvenating our bodies and protecting against disease in an ever-changing world.
CC: Is it for men and women?
OD: For now, I feel very committed to empowering women with this project. I do hope in the future to have base layers, sock liners and glove liners with the Nanobionic coating for men as well.
CC: I love how forward-thinking the Miller Sports guys were to collaborate with you on skis. The monarch butterfly in Greek (Danaus plexippus) means “sleepy transformation.” You tapped into something really special.
OD: It’s a California monarch, and it’s on an 88 Miller Ski. The LIV 88 Miller Ski is a wood core, metal laminate ski and is made in Austria by one of the best ski makers in the world. I’m very fortunate to do a bespoke, made-to-order run with these. You should definitely check out their entire line of skis at millersportsaspen.com.
CC: Do you think wider is best for powder these days?
OD: It depends! Definitely when jumping out of helicopters, which I’m lucky enough to be able to do in Iceland soon. They help you float, but I also love a ski that can handle powder and carving. Call it a one-ski quiver!
CC: You’re a badass woman! I’m impressed by your fearlessness.
OD: I’m one of those people who can build a parachute as they land. I can assess risk, but I’ve always been able to take those leaps of faith, and I give credit to my parents for that. They told me that I could do whatever I could dream of. I had a wonderful professor at Vanderbilt who taught me the word “quaquaversal,” which means going from the inside to the outside to build new things. I’m always looking to find something unexpected when I’m searching.
CC: You’re kind of a butterfly in your own right. You created a collection of wellness wear that will hopefully inspire and scientifically inform the women who buy it.
OD: That’s my hope for this planet, and us as a species, that we can transform and be our best selves. cocoonandhive.com