After having opened their first store in Montreal, Silk Laundry has indefinitely altered our perception of fancy material use for everyday. The brand philosophy is rooted in refined simplicity, lifelong designs, taking responsibility and celebrating women  something that Creative Director Katie Kolodinski elaborates on how with us explaining how and why she started the brand, her keys to success, inspiration and more.

 

 Tell me about your interest in fashion- when did all it begin?

Growing up my mother always dressed up. She wore a heel every single day. I don’t ever remember her in a flat shoe. She loved dresses and blazers were a staple. Very classic and put together. I remember her staying up late at night on her Singer sewing machine and making my sister and I our clothing. Beautiful dresses I guess she couldn’t find in the small town I grew up in. We travelled often from Canada to Australia and Europe and as we flew standby were made to dress well, all of the time, even during our 30 straight hours of travel. So I think fashion is something that has just been ingrained in me from a very young age.

 

What was so frustrating about your own wardrobe that prompted you to take matters into your own hands?

I found that getting clothing made with beautiful fabric was the hardest thing when curating my own wardrobe. With fashion getting faster and cheaper, so much in the market is being made from polyester, which is essentially plastic. It does not breakdown and feels horrible on the skin. My entire life I have been attracted to beautiful natural fabrics: silk, cotton, linen and cashmere. I wanted to provide a place where people could shop and always know they would be getting the highest quality fabrics.

 

 

Where did the name “Silk Laundry” come from?

I wanted to have a brand name that really described what we were doing. Silk is an obvious choice for part of the brand name but also unfortunately, when we think of silk, most people think that it is for special occasions or is very hard to care for so I wanted another word that stood for effortless and everyday. One day I just woke up and knew with 100% surety that Silk Laundry had to be the brand name.

 

Where do you seek inspiration?

Most of my inspiration seems to come from history, art and my children’s paintings. It is cliche but inspiration really is everywhere, you just have to pay attention to your surroundings.

 

Your modern twist on classic silhouettes in such a luxurious fabric is refreshing-are there any pieces you feel really represent you personally?

The slip dress is something I have worn since my early 20’s, and for me this style is not a trend, the style and ease of wear it gives is like nothing else. It was one of the first four pieces the collection started with in 2015 and is the exact same today as it was then. I also love shirting and blazers, pieces that are a little more boyish. But every piece represents me in some way and it is all very personal.

 

The brand is “born & raised” in Australia, why did you choose to open a boutique in Montreal?

I have spent nearly half of my life in Australia, I moved there at eighteen and built a life for myself there, but as I grew older I wanted to get back to Canada. Our family moved to Montreal in August 2018 for a change of pace and so our kids could grow up bilingual. The boutique was something that seemed like the right step into the North American market. It was a little serendipitous how it all came together so effortlessly.

 

How are your garments socially responsible?

All of our pieces are made from natural materials, and these fabrics are essentially biodegradable. Our garments are made using fair practices and paying good wages. We believe in investing in people and our planet and see our factories as an extension of our team. Without them, we wouldn’t be here and it’s important to recognise that and support them. We are also creating socially responsible designs with the main reason in creating them to give back to our communities. Our first charity design was our limited edition 90s Slip Dress with Embroidered Bees. For every dress purchased, $100 is donated directly to Wheen Bee Foundation and to the Planet Bee Foundation. This style was produced in a limited run of 250 pieces and we are ultimately donating $25,000 to help save the bees. Philanthropy is a pillar of our business and I will continue designing charity pieces that give generously to causes that I am passionate about.

 

Your garments are created to “stand the test of time” – besides the appreciation for craftsmanship and materials, how are you trying to inform your audience about the importance of sustainability?

We encourage our customers to purchase with a less-is-more approach. This doesn’t mean making three purchases to fill the needs of your entire life. It means buying three quality items in a season that you will keep, rather than re-hauling your wardrobe or cycling in pieces that will break or become irrelevant before the season is even over. It’s about investing over the longterm.

What is the most challenging part of running your business?

I still consider this business to be a start-up. The team is still quite small so everybody has to wear many different hats. There are a lot of roles that are overlapping at the moment. My position is far from solely design; I’m overlooking wages, employment, spreadsheets, policies and procedures, photoshoots, invoicing, shop fittings and store designs. Right now there are so many facets to what I’m doing, my mind is constantly on and I don’t often get to turn off. A new challenge since moving to Montreal is that 75% of the team is still based in Australia. When it’s 6pm in Montreal, it’s 9am in Australia so it often feels like my day is just getting started. This means I’m putting my kids to sleep and getting back to work, which keeps me up working later than I ever like to be, often until the early hours of the morning. That is challenging.

 

Can you name a key factor in your success?

Hard work is definitely key. I have remained consistent, persistent and positive since the beginning of the business. I feel that Silk Laundry is unique in the market and we are able to fill a gap in a woman’s wardrobe. We have a great team of strong and hardworking women as well as loyal customers.

 

SILK LAUNDRY

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