Jessica McKie and Fernando Martinez met only a few years ago, when McKie was doing a clinic at Opening Ceremony to introduce her brainchild Sködia to the staff, to which Martinez belonged back then. McKie started the brand while still at college in Melbourne, Australia. “It was in business class where we had to design a pitch deck. I came up with the name linked to Swedish design elements of clean, minimal, simple clothing with functionality and longevity,” she explains. “It's funny, I renewed my business plan recently and, although poorly written, it had significant qualities to our business model today.”
Martinez got on board and joined McKie to take care of sales and distribution, whilst she stayed focused on the design and creative direction of Sködia. Based in New York, the brand delivers locally-produced basic garments with over-average quality. The looks embody a reinterpretation of the normcore look and athleisure’s inherent comfort terms, with hoodies, sweatpants and eloganted bomber jackets as core products. A laid-back attitude that has convinced celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Cara Delevingne and Rihanna to wear the brand at some point –Instagram is our witness.
In the lines below, McKie tells us about their passion for plain, basic softwear and bringing back a buy-less ethos among consumers.
Many brands manufacture sweatshirts and sweatpants for urbanites these days –from denim brands and traditional sportswear companies up to luxury players like Vetements–. Why should anyone bet on your products instead?
Firstly we don't only do sweats, we have a range of basics such as t-shirts, trousers and coats, but the sweatsuit is our staple piece. We pride ourselves in offering pieces that read as a basic but have a twist to it, whether it's a merino wool t-shirt that can be worn as a tee or layered as a smock or a robe that can be worn as a coat. We also place in little details that the customers can enjoy like a fuzzy in seam pocket in your sweatshirt or a lining that is hidden but when you wear it's so comfortable. Lastly fabrication is key, too. From velour to terry cloth we don't always use your traditional fabrications. Alongside quality, I think all these things set us apart from your general 'sweats label'.
Sweatshirts are certainly an object of desire right now. But the hype might cool down. How do you plan to move forward if this happens?
Sweatshirts have been around since the 1930's. They began to be of use to athletes and laborers, which then lead to wives and girlfriends borrowing them for comfort. I think in every decade there has always been a place for sweatshirts which has now developed into wearing in numerous ways whether it's for functionality, luxury or comfort. They will only continue to grow in the future.
I think in every decade there has always been a place for sweatshirts which has now developed into wearing in numerous ways whether it's for functionality, luxury or comfort.
Lately I just hear about the word individualization when it comes to consumers: they want individual products to stand out from the crowd, if possible even customized by them. However, you bet on a common uniform for all regardless of gender. How come?
The key with Sködia and a basic is that it’s meant to be worn in numerous ways. When we say a 'uniform' basis this just means each piece can be worn with each piece throughout each collection, which allows more wearability to our customer. We also don't like to discriminate, therefore offering each item equally to each gender.
These days with the fast fashion industry being so saturated, people are less concerned about functionality and longevity and would rather buy something 'on trend' and cheap that serves a one or two wear purpose before it has either fallen apart or you no longer enjoy it. What we are trying to do is bring back a buy-less attitude and choose items of quality and longevity attitude, yet still allow each individual piece to be special.
What we are trying to do is bring back a buy-less attitude and choose items of quality and longevity attitude, yet still allow each individual piece to be special.
Are you adding any new brand stockists for the spring/summer’17 season?
Yes, we have some accessories going in a new Australian store called The Hamish Munro Store. We are really excited to be stocking with him and have Sködia back on my home turf. Hamish is an extremely talented jeweler and sculpture artist.
What are the short-term goals to achieve with Sködia?
Every day we set goals, it really never ends. I guess today we are in the works trying to plan our first show during New York Fashion Week. This is a huge step for us. It feels like a really exciting time for Sködia.