Katie Kolodinski is the woman behind the Australian label, Silk Laundry, which prominently resides in a newly designed store at 50 James St.
Katie is renowned for her follow-worthy Instagram, impressive shoe collection but first and foremost, as being the Owner, Creative Director and well, being involved in every single process of the business.
The entirety of Katie’s business ethos is considered with longevity and environmental impact in mind – from the fabric, store layout to a garments production cycle. Katie is sustainably driven and the result is a label which celebrates timelessness, supports the environment and creates clothes their customers can look and feel their best in. We chatted with Katie about what inspired her to start the brand, her involvement as a small business owner, how she has managed to keep a personal touch, her tips for sustainable living and more. Meet Katie below.
Katie, what inspired you to start Silk Laundry?
Silk Laundry just began on a very personal level with wanting to create beautiful, well-made clothes with a fabric that doesn’t cost the earth and end up in landfill. I love natural fibres and could never bring myself to wear polyester which is essentially plastic and a really dominant fabric in society. So I started Silk Laundry for myself in the hopes to create better clothes than what was available at the time, hoping that others would appreciate my point of view and begin to buy better.
Tell us what is involved in being a Creative Director?
I wouldn’t say I am just a Creative Director. I am first and foremost a small business owner and the business has grown exponentially over the years. My world and work are not defined by a job description or contract. I do everything from design to fittings, customer relationships, interviews, financials, store design, textile sourcing, and photoshoots, PR and sustainability models. It really depends on what is needed of me at a given time.
How have you managed to keep a personal touch when growing the business?
Yes I have. I think first and foremost, I have worked each and everyday for five years on Silk Laundry. I didn’t begin a business and let it run its course. I believe I have a good relationship with everyone on our small team. I try to stay approachable and empathetic to customers and lastly I still have control over our Instagram where I have direct contact with our followers.
What is a fashion principle you want to re-write?
If I could change anything I would change fast fashion, poor fabrics and discount culture. We have created a world where many consumers only want to wear or be seen in something once then suddenly it’s “old”. I believe in creating a carefully curated wardrobe with pieces made to last and look good regardless of the age of the garment or the person wearing it. I believe pieces should be worn over and over again and taken care of to make them last
What’s next for Silk Laundry?
I am working towards Silk Laundry becoming a certified B Corporation. Pulling back and making changes to become completely plastic free, from swing tags to garment bags and hangers by 2022.
What is the most underrated city you have travelled too?
Right now, I would have to say Montreal. I was living there up until COVID happened and with travel restrictions and risks I haven’t been able to get back there. It is such a vibrant, artistic and multicultural city and even though our apartment has been packed up and cleared out I miss being “home” so much.
Where are you most inspired?
I am most inspired when I go to Barcelona to shoot our campaigns. The city is so free and I love working for the week with my friend Marianne. She is so artistic and creative yet classic so we work really well together. After those trips I come back ready to get right into designing a new collection. I am also very inspired when I sleep well. Lack of sleep isn’t good for anybody.
As someone who takes sustainability seriously in your business, what tips can you share for people who want to become more sustainable?
Take care in what you buy and why. There are small things I do every day and small changes you can make that I believe all add up to a better future. When shopping for fruit and veggies I refuse to buy anything that is pre-packaged with plastic wrap. If you have to use plastic, please recycle properly. I try to shop locally at farmers markets and in bulk at the health food store. When you have leftovers, don’t cover your food with plastic wrap, a plate over a bowl works just as well. Don’t buy bottled water when your tap water is perfectly fine. Stop eating animals, love and respect them instead, but if you can’t stop for health reasons or just don’t want to, try to buy locally from farmers and sustainable sources. Compost. Think about the chemicals you use when you are cleaning, there are usually eco-friendly alternatives that are safer and cheaper to that harsh cleaner that is going to end up in our waterways. Garden pesticide-free, the amount of insects that we are losing that are vital to our ecosystems is astonishing. Be educated, knowledgeable and write to your local government and demand that they do better. I love shopping for antiques and second hand and try to be creative to give things a new life. I also think having the mentality of shopping for something with a long term view is important and I never think, oh this will do for now. For me, I always want to feel like I can have something forever if I take care of it.
June 8, 2020