I absolutely love good loungewear. When clothing is comfortable but still looks great, that’s a win in my book. That’s why I’ve got my eye on OKAYOK.
Founded in 2017 by Toronto based designer and entrepreneur Adrienne Butikofer, OKAYOK (“Okay-Ok”) is a Canadian loungewear brand with a creative spin and a witty sense of humor. Hailing from Manitoba, Adrienne now resides in Toronto’s Junction neighborhood where she spearheads the curation and creation of OKAYOK, the physical manifestation of her creative wit and personal style. From classic basics that you’ll wear for years, to fun tye dye prints and cheeky plays on words, OKAYOK takes casual chic to a higher level, both fashionably and intellectually. In their own words, “Our designs are meant to add humour and value to the lives of our audience.”
OKAYOK also prides itself on being a sustainable brand, and is homegrown on every level. Every piece is made right here in Toronto, from design to production. Every garment is designed and patterned in house by Adrienne and her small team, then manufactured both in the OKAYOK work//shop, and at a factory in Etobicoke, using Canadia milled cotton textiles as well as French terry and fleece. The brand’s unique color 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 complimented by small runs of garments made in luxe deadstock and vintage fabrics found in Toronto.
We got the chance to chat with founder Adrienne Butikofer (www.butikofer.com) about OKAYOK and her experience in the world of fashion.
What brought you to the fashion industry?
Fashion has always felt like a natural pursuit. I started sewing when I was 9 years old while growing up in Manitoba, and I made a ton of my own clothing in high school to compliment my wild, thrifted personal style. I didn’t think of it as a career option however until I was in my first year of Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. Once it occurred to me that I had a passion and a point of view, I switched programs and didn’t look back.
How would you describe your personal style?
I often joke that my style is the love child between Danny Tanner (the dorky dad on Full House) and Bea Arthur (Dorothy of the Golden Girls) = a glamorous and statuesque Dad. I mostly wear my own brand mixed with thrifted men’s wear and statement pieces. I like offbeat accessories and pops of color. I have an exciting collection of jewelry from other Canadian indie brands that I treasure and incorporate into my daily look. It’s a major perk of doing shows like Toronto’s One Of A Kind and INLAND – I get to trade my clothes for jewels. My collection includes designers like Biko, Michelle Ross, DConstruct, and many others.
How would you describe your line/brand?
OKAYOK is grounded by a collection of fashion-forward and seasonless loungewear basics. Comfort, ease and modern aesthetics are always top of mind when I’m designing. The basics are countered and complemented by a selection of just for fun statement pieces that are often full of color and humor.
Each season I explore a theme that translates into both a color story and handmade textile prints and graphics. For Spring 2019 the theme is Rejection; Fall 2019 is called Handy Woman and is inspired by the hobbies and handicrafts of women both past and present. Spring 2020 is currently developing in my head to be a primary colored collection with prints inspired by Matisse and mathematics.
What is the best piece of style advice you’ve ever received?
It was in a hilarious book called Cosmically Chic by an internet friend, Greg Polkosnik. The book told me that as an Aries, lacey and ruffly things were not my style and I should embrace the masculine. It was a light bulb moment and it really helped me transform into the glamourous Dad I am today. I mailed all my femme things to my favorite Taurus.
If you had any advice for people who aspire to work in fashion, what would it be?
Learn as much as you can. Have fun with your ideas but be serious with your execution. If you can’t be good at everything then just work at being really good at one thing. Your skills will be more important than your style.
Support this fantastic female owned brand by buying yourself a little piece of OKAYOK. You can buy OKAYOK online at okayok.ca and okayokonetsy.com; at the OKAYOK Work//Shop. The Drake General Store, Coal Miner’s Daughter, and other boutiques in Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec also carry OKAYOK, making these cute and comfy clothes that much more accessible to Canadians.