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Designer To Know: Oyuna Tuyssuzian of KAI&KLO

With Startup Fashion Week™ coming to a close and their runway only a day away, we're getting more and more excited about the vivacious collections that will strut down the catwalk.

As we talked about in our last article Startup Fashion Week™ is a one of a kind fashion event fusing together technology, innovation and of course, fashion. Since inception, Startup Fashion Week™ has aided numerous startups break into the industry and become successful entrepreneurs providing them with a space to make connections and showcase their own personal label/business to gain visibility and credibility.

Today in continuation of our series The Top Designers to Know from Startup Fashion Week™, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Oyuna Tuyssuzian of KAI&KLO - a clean, modern and flattering womenswear line based in British Columbia. Oyuna will be showcasing her latest collection tomorrow on the runway, so if you're interested in learning more about this accomplished designer and her exciting runway performance keep on reading.

Congratulations on the upcoming Startup Fashion Week™ show, this is big news! How has the process been leading up to this moment?

Yes! We are very excited to be showcasing our new collection, especially as we are featuring experimental cutting techniques and our in-house designed fabrics for the first time. We are very thankful that although our base is in BC, the show runners have made the process easy to navigate and have provided great support which has helped bridge this gap.

Has it been a long preparation? How long have you been prepping for this show?

We began experimenting with surface pattern design and a new textile making process about 6 months ago so this collection has been in the works for a while. The timing of the show really worked out great for us because it coincided with the completion of our collection.

Runways can definitely be a lot of work, what made you want to join Startup Fashion Week™?

It’s a great opportunity to be able to present our brand on the east coast and we felt that we could trust the organizers with our vision.

Can you tell us a little bit about the new collection that you’ll be showcasing at Startup Fashion Week™, what was the inspiration behind it?

It really started with the beautiful textiles we created. When designing our fabric prints, we drew inspiration from the art world and nature. The dresses came together very organically as the textiles informed us how best to show them off. As always, we were also extremely inspired by our travels - particularly a recent trip to the Caribbean and the Far East.

Can you give us any hints? What can we expect to see on your runway?

You can expect to see non-traditional cutting techniques and shapes, unexpected details, and exotic prints - a collection of special occasion dresses for the bold.

That's so exciting, we can't wait to see it! Now let's talk about your journey as a designer you've mentioned on your website that you've once designed for the military in addition to working for a major leather company. What made you decide to start your own label?

Having worked in such interesting areas of the fashion industry, it felt right to put the diverse set of techniques and influences I’d picked up to use in my own brand. Starting a label provided me with the creative freedom to explore and experiment without limitations. However, I think you can still see the influence of my experiences in my designs because the precision of military tailoring and the challenge of working with textiles like leather have really impressed upon me the importance of a sharply tailored fit and to listen to the fabric.

If you could describe your brand in 3 words what would they be? Why?

Uncommon. Refined. Intuitive. We strive to create unique pieces for the confident woman who loves bold details combined with restrained and precise tailoring; a woman who knows herself.

I’ve noticed on your site and your Instagram you reference being made in Canada. How important is it to you to have your clothing made in Canada? And why?

We believe in global ideas and domestic production. We’d like to support Canadian businesses and do our part in creating alternatives to mass production and fast fashion which are not only unsustainable, but are also adversely affecting local economies. Manufacturing locally also gives us greater control over the whole process, allowing for a faster production schedule, providing better quality control, and being able to work closely with our amazing Canadian suppliers. Moreover, it allows us to produce in small quantities so that each piece is unique and collectible.

Lastly in creating your brand, what would you say has been the most challenging part and the most memorable part?

Like most creative business endeavours, striking the right balance between art and commercialism is probably the biggest challenge. Being able to create and show our designs all internationally in such beautiful but disparate locations like Turks and Caicos and Mongolia has been truly memorable. We’ve also never forgotten all the extremely talented and inspiring people we’ve had the privilege of working with around the world.

For more on KAI&KLO visit their website here or follow them on Instagram here.

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