An Interview with designer Jess McKie, the designer of Sködia from her studio in Brooklyn.

The Melbourne born designer of unisex basics label Sködia recalls a lifetime of being dressed like her twin brother as how it all began. Her very first collection, ‘Yes’, released in the fall of 2014, was an original blend of stylized sports and lounge wear offered in the "quintessential shades of Melbourne": black, gray and white. The line also featured quirkier basics, such as mohair beanies and handmade scarves. knit by Jess’s Mum at home in Australia. This year’s Fall Winter 15 collection ‘Maybe’ stays true to Sködia’s trademark minimal aesthetic, but with added seasonal refinements, like draped silhouettes and asymmetrical hemlines, for layering and maximum warmth in NYC's coming colder months...

S: Hey Jess! What inspired the designs featured in your latest collection, 'Maybe'?

J: Hey! It was of course initially based of the brand's 'software movement', and love for the casual lounge wear aesthetic. But also actually from the uniform dressing mentality of the elderly.

S: Cool, how did that come about?

J: When I was away on holiday! I try to get out of New York in the developmental stage of each collection – it helps me think in a different headspace. And this year I spent a lot of time in Florida designing ‘Maybe’. I figured out that a lot of elderly people go there to retire, and then that they all happened to dress really well in 'casual' clothes, so I spent weeks there analysing all their different types of outfits.

J: Has travel always inspired your creations – are you ever inspired by other designers work, or trends/famous people? 

J: I respect and love a lot of designers out there, but I've never really been directly inspired by any in particular. Traveling to another country and discovering a new cultural dress is definitely one of my favourite ways to be inspired, but I'm also really interested in the everyday things worn by people around me. Anything from what my next-door-neighbor wears picking up the paper in the morning, to photos of outfits my mum used to dress me and my twin brother in when we were growing up.

S: Is that where the idea for the label to be uni-sex came from?

J: Yeah I think so, it definitely shaped the way we dressed as we got older. Because were always able to share clothing it cancelled out the generic ‘gender role’ understanding of how to dress for us, which is usually developed for others at a very early age.

S: Yeah that would have made your wardrobes much more interesting... So when did you first start sewing?

J: Really young! I used to design and make clothing for my Barbie and Ken, all my dance school costumes, and eventually just about everything that I wore. So it always made sense for me to turn it into a living. 

Of course, and then your moved to New York and got picked up by Opening Ceremony! Tell me about that. 

J: Yeah, I love being at O.C! And with all of my other stockists around the world, of course. So many new and exciting things are happening everyday for the label in New York – which I am really happy about. So hopefully staying here will help it continue on that path!

S: Yeah do you have any ideas about where you'd like to take Sködia in the coming months/years?

J: Honestly, I’m just taking the seasons as they come for the moment, and really enjoying that. Next year there's a possibility of having shows in Paris and London next year which will be a nice addition to our New York base. As for the the next few years, I am very interested continuing to explore the the ethical side of the production industry. We don't ever outsource for Sködia and everything is produced locally here in New York, to make sure everything is kept sustainable and fair. And eventually when there’s a demand for larger scale production I would like to own my own factory so we can keep the standard of quality, and also be able to provide good jobs for workers. I think that is a very important part of this business!

Sködia’s latest collection will be in available and online in stores from August (2015)