LATEST

Buy Canadian: Indie loungewear brand OKAYOK

Toronto’s Junction area welcomed its most stylish addition to the neighbourhood this Spring with the opening of the OKAYOK work//shop at 40 Sousa Mendes Street. The celebrated indie label, founded in 2017 by locally renowned designer and entrepreneur Adrienne Butikofer, brings their playful contemporary loungewear to their dedicated customer base with their first permanent retail location.
okayok_ss19_one.jpg

A long-time staple on the Toronto fashion scene with her beloved and sometimes cheeky designs, Butikofer knows the struggles of being an independent business owner in an ever-changing fashion landscape. Being forced out of her former commercial studio space due to a 60% rent increase, Butikofer found the perfect spot which allows the brand to work and customers to shop all in the same space. With an authentic community of long-term fans and repeat customers, having a storefront and physical shop will allow for deeper connections with the women the brand serves.

I live in the Junction and it was important to me that the location was close to home, so I could create something in my community and not overly complicate life with my school-age daughters,” explains Butifkofer of her location choice, “The newly built development is quiet and peaceful, with the green space of the rail path right behind us. It feels fresh and has hip places nearby like MOCA and the Drake Commissary.  I’m looking forward to both observing and experiencing the changes coming to the Junction Triangle over the next few years.

OKAYOK Work Shop (4)

Known for its cheeky humour and classic comfort, the label’s “The Rejection Collection” for Spring/Summer 2019 incorporates compelling graphics. Butikofer collaborated with three Toronto artists. A referential ode is given to an early 90s Canadian brand by graphic designer Carolyn Tripp, a seven-layer northern scene was designed by Illustrator Allison Burda, and a hand-drawn Oyster graphic was created by artist Diana Lynn Vander Meulen. OKAYOK releases three in-season collections each year, each designed, manufactured and produced locally with textiles created specifically for the brand by a Canadian mill.

“Although creating a collection inspired by rejection is entirely tongue in cheek, my ideas always include personal experience,” says designer Butikofer, “I’ve been a solo entrepreneur and designer for a long time now and the rejection experience is so normal that at this point I feel immune.  It’s not just about me though- rejection is a common experience, in love, career, friendships, and now online- we’re all constantly setting ourselves up for it.  The collection aims to capture the lonely and lost feeling of being rejected, by way of an escape to the solitude of Canada’s North. The pieces are meant to comfort, humour, and were designed to be equal parts Algonquin canoe trip and urban weekend.” 
okayok_ss19_two
OKAYOK uses Canadian milled cotton jersey, French terry and fleece, and deadstock vintage wovens, and mesh. Their colour stories are created with both Reactive and Pigment garment dye processes unique to OKAYOK. All graphics are created and executed in-house with heat applique vinyl.

 

okayok_ss19_three

OKAYOK retails for $16 – $265 CDN and is sold online at okayok.ca and okayokonetsy.com; at the OKAYOK Work//Shop, and across Canada at Drake General Store, Coal Miner’s Daughter, and other boutiques in Ontario,  Manitoba, and Quebec.

Visit them at 40 Sousa Mendes St, Toronto [map] @hey.okayok | okayok.ca

More about the brand… 

OKAYOK (“Okay-Ok”) was established in 2017 by designer and entrepreneur Adrienne Butikofer. The brand directive is to create thoughtful, contemporary loungewear countered by playful and compelling statement pieces. Our designs are meant to add humour and value to the lives of our audience.

OKAYOK is a sustainable brand which releases three in-season collections per year, with most sales direct to the consumer. All garments are made in the Toronto area and are designed and patterned in house by Adrienne and a small team. The clothing is manufactured both in the OKAYOK work//shop, and at a factory in Etobicoke, with the mostly 100% cotton textiles created at a Canadian mill. The brand’s unique colour stories are created each season by OKAYOK and executed at a Toronto dye house. All textile prints and graphics are designed and applied in-house with heat applique vinyl. The seasonal collections of pre-shrunk cotton basics are complemented by small runs of garments made in luxe deadstock and vintage fabrics found in Toronto.

Their designs have been worn by notable personalities, including Tatiana Maslany, Dayna Isom Johnson, Jen Gotch, and Mary Berg and have been featured CBC Life, Elle Canada, Frankie (Australia), and many others.

Adrienne Butikofer (www.butikofer.com) is a fashion designer based in Toronto. As a person whose enthusiasm for self-motivated creation never wavers, she has been selling her work in Toronto for over a decade. She is in an ardent seamstress and pattern maker with designs that are playful, colourful, and graphic. Her career as an independent has been an immersive learning experience in branding, local and small-batch manufacturing, and e-commerce. She re-branded to become OKAYOK (“Okay-ok”) in the fall of 2017 and has finally found the natural fit for her design aesthetic to flourish. She currently lives and works in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood with her husband and two daughters.

About Gail McInnes (310 Articles)
Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Gail McInnes has made an indelible mark on the Canadian fashion and entertainment scenes; managing and guiding the careers of some of the country's most notable talents, including Lucian Matis, Hilary MacMillan, Stephen Amell (CW's Arrow), Natalie Brown (The Strain), Brad Goreski (E! Fashion Police), and more. Visit gailmcinnes.com for more information or email gailmcinnes@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: