The Canadian fashion industry should be nurtured, supported, and celebrated. It has never been more important to shop local from brands that are designing, manufacturing, and retailing close to home. Canada is home to some of the world’s most talented creatives, so we’re celebrating incredible talent born and bred right here that have put cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal on the style map.
In this edition of My Canadian Closet, we’re chatting with Toronto-based and Ghana-born fashion designer Catherine Addai. The founder of KAELA KAY is known for her bold style and colourful prints, both in her brand and personal wardrobe! She transcends cultural boundaries with her work, incorporating both her African roots and Canadian upbringing to create modern and eclectic staples for the world to adorn.
Catherine wearing an outfit by KAELA KAY. Photograph by @artiststouchproductions
We were lucky enough to ask Catherine about the Canadian designers who inspire her. Just in time to soak up the last rays of summer, Catherine shared her must-have swimwear of the season. Keep scrolling!
Photograph by @thecatherineaddai
Which Canadian designers do you feel inspired by?
I adore brands Selfish Swimwear, Lesley Hampton, Rhowan James, and My Coat is Blue.
What is it that draws you to these designers?
I love the stylistic representation of each brand, which is strong, intentional, and quickly identifiable. I also appreciate the great development and growth stories behind each brand. Similar to my brand KAELA KAY, most are also made in Canada, which is a business strategy close to my heart.
If you could pick one Canadian item in your wardrobe to talk about, which would it be?
Most definitely my swimwear set from Selfish Swimwear. I love the cuts of the bikini top and bottom, as well as the prints.
Catherine wearing the swimsuit set from Selfish swimwear.
How does this item make you feel when wearing it?
Comfortably sexy. Because the cut fits well, I feel covered up where I want to be and still show what I want to show. It was an amazing feeling putting on a bikini for the first time this year. In spite of being indoors for most of the year and the fact that my body has changed a bit with some added COVID pounds, I can and should still wear whatever makes me feel beautiful and sexy – including a bikini.
When do you like to wear this piece? Is it an everyday staple of yours or do you wear it on special occasions?
It’s my new go-to for anything water-related! The beach, indoor pool, water park – anywhere a bikini is warranted. I actually wore it around the house the day it arrived in the mail because it made me feel beautiful.
When you think of this item, does a specific memory stick out?
I bought the bikini set it just in time for the province of Ontario to enter phase 3 re-opening, with the hope that I would be visiting a lot of beaches and water parks. It reminds me of past great summer beach adventures and it allows me to think of what summer could be and the possibility that summer 2021 will still be a great summer. Summer 2020 was spent in lockdown and I’m excited for a new summer season in my sexy new bikini.
We will continue to champion the Canadian fashion industry and spotlight the local creatives and designers through this series. Follow Catherine Addai for more inspiration at @thecatherineaddai and to “find your inner print diva” you can shop her brand at @kaelakayonline.
In the meantime, for more local fashion features check out our previous Q&A with Dorian Who!