Local businesses promote Kootenay-inspired apparel

Check out this list of companies that make branded clothing and gear inspired by the Kootenays

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Venessa Loubert and Perry Dzuris, owners of Arcane Coda in Salmo, B.C.

Venessa Loubert and Perry Dzuris are the owners of Arcane Coda in Salmo, B.C. The company creates unique and funky festival wear and alternative fashion. — Photo courtesy Suzan Mazur Photography

How do you express your pride for living in the Kootenays? Here's a suggestion: buy unique clothing and headgear made by companies in your own backyard.

Across the region, there are businesses that make their living creating original branded clothing that is distinctly Kootenay-esque and captures the spirit of the region. From a small family-run company that expresses their originality through alternative and funky festival wear to a cycling apparel business that sells their products across the globe, these companies are all run by hard-working Kootenay folk.

These people know and understand their brand because they live and work in our communities. They’re the faces you see at the local grocery store and the mums and dads you bump into at school events. Shopping from local businesses helps people stay employed, brings money back into our local economy and helps to create vibrant communities we can celebrate.

Check out this list of clothing stores that design and manufacture uniquely Kootenay-inspired wearables and gear.

EAST KOOTENAY

Kootenay-made clothing in Cranbrook

Kootenay Knit & Apparel: Since 1994, Kootenay Knit & Apparel has been providing clientele with uniquely Canadian headwear and knitwear. Over the years, this woman-owned company has been honoured as an official supplier and licensee for several Winter Olympic games and high-profile ski championships. The company is a passionate supporter of worthy causes. Their “Pink Mitten” campaign, featuring knitted soft pink mittens embroidered with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation logo, raised almost $1 million for the charity.

A new product addition to Kootenay Knit & Apparel is their line of eco-friendly t-shirts for men and women.

Where to buy: Kootenay Knit & Apparel is located at 500A Slater Road NW in Cranbrook. Their online store features cozy Canadiana-inspired knitwear, sweaters, hats and more.

Karli Melnychuk wearing Kootenay Cancer Survivor t-shirt and holding her baby girl.

Kootenay Livin' Apparel has a cancer line of clothing, with a portion of sales going to the oncology unit at East Kootenay General Hospital in Cranbrook. — Photo courtesy Karli Melnychuk

Kootenay-made clothing in Creston

Kootenay Livin' Apparel: As a small, home-based business Kootenay Livin' Apparel is all about "representing the love we all share for livin' in the Kootenays." In addition to their regular Kootenay Livin' collections, they also produce special clothing collections such as the Cancer Collection, with a percentage of profits donated to local hospitals. Kootenay Livin' Apparel is owned by Karli Melnychuk and her husband. KootenayBiz chatted with MeInychuk about the inspiration behind her business.

Where to buy: You can purchase Kootenay Livin' Apparel directly from their website.

Kootenay-made clothing in Fernie

Olive Me Handmade: Olive Me Handmade is a small-scale online shop that specializes in originally-designed children’s clothing for babies and toddlers. Handmade items include leggings, newborn bundles, onesies, rompers and more, all made from organic cotton fabric. Collections are released every month via the Olive Me Handmade website. Be forewarned: items sell quickly!

Three women wearing long black hoodies with colourful back panels, standing with backs to camera in wooded area.

Untamed Fernie often collaborates with local artists and photographers to create custom hoodies and tops. Pictured here is the Fernie Feel Good Collection, with a portion of sales going to the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force. — Photo courtesy Untamed Fernie/Facebook

Where to buy: Sign up for the Olive Me Handmade newsletter to stay informed about new collection releases.

Untamed Fernie: Emma Stevens got tired of fruitless searches for the perfect top to wear with leggings. So what did she do? She went to fashion school, learned to sew and design clothes and opened her own business, Untamed Fernie. Fun, funky and flattering women’s clothing designs are available in three different collections and customers are free to customize their selections. The slow-fashion company also collaborates with local artists, featuring their designs on fabric panels built into the tops.

Where to buy: Check out the Untamed Fernie website for the latest designs. The Untamed Fernie team also travels to shows and festivals across Western Canada. The best way to stay up-to-date on news is to sign up for their newsletter, or like their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Kootenay-made clothing in Invermere

Kootenay Clothing Company: Promoting the East Kootenay area through comfortable clothing is at the heart of the Kootenay Clothing Company. Pals Andrea and Katie use clean and simple imagery on their clothing and products, designs that pay homage to the natural scenery found throughout the Columbia Valley. Their product line includes fun t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, stickers, magnets and more.

Where to buy: Kootenay Clothing Company products can be bought online through their website. You can also find a selection of their items at the Kootenay Artisan Co-op, located at 915 7th Avenue in Invermere.

Two bikers wearing custom-designed cycling shirts in green and black.

Kazoom Cycling Apparel specializes in custom-designed clothing for avid bikers, groups and team events. — Photo courtesy Kazoom Custom Clothing/Instagram

Kootenay-made clothing in Kimberley

Kazoom Cycling Apparel: Kazoom creates custom cycling apparel. Clubs, large cycling events and bike shops can create custom-designed clothing easily with Kazoom’s free design assistance and quick product turn-around. The company is based in Kimberley and works with a Vancouver-based partner.

Where to buy: Visit the Kazoom Clothing website.

Stitch + cloth ecodesigns: Darcy Wanuk is a creative textile designer who takes quality clothing found at thrift stores and repurposes them into beautiful, new ready-to-wear garments. Her fun and funky unique designs are colourful and designed to stand out. She loves to help women discover their true selves by creating clothing that empowers them.

KootenayBiz chatted to Wanuk back in 2019 about her unique garments and the inspiration behind them.

Where to buy: Check out the Stitch + cloth ecodesigns Facebook page for Wanuk’s latest creations.

WEST KOOTENAY

Kootenay-made clothing in Grand Forks

Kettle Down: Meagan Savaia, Stacey Smith and Hannah Baker are the ladies behind Kettle Down, a home-grown fashion success story started in 2019.

The iconic graphic of Kettle Down—a series of colourful mountain ranges with a meandering river between—symbolizes the connection between the Kettle River and the City of Grand Forks. The logo is featured on the company’s extensive line of clothing, including hoodies, toques, long-sleeve crews, ball hats and mugs.

In 2020, KootenayBiz chatted with the trio about their company and their love of Grand Forks. Read the story here.

Where to buy: Kettle Down clothing and products can be purchased online. They are also available at Hannah Bees Flowers & Gifts, located at 475 Market Avenue in downtown Grand Forks.

A woman standing wearing a dark green shirt and brown toque, man in background wearing dark green shirt and green toque.

Ethically-made toques, hats, shirts, slippers and more are the speciality of Ambler Mountain Works. — Photo courtesy Ambler Mountain Works/Facebook

Kootenay-made clothing in Nelson

Ambler Mountain Works: Based in Nelson, Ambler Mountain Works creates and sells ethically-produced hand-knit wool toques, warm felt slippers, t-shirts and hats as well as a line of products designed for kids. The company has long-term working partnerships with factories in Canada and Nepal that produce their products. Sustainability is an important focus of this community-minded business—they are members of the Responsible Packaging Movement and all their products are backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Where to buy: Ambler Mountain Works products are available through their website and at select retailers across the Kootenays.

Blue Sky Clothing Company: For over 20 years, Blue Sky Clothing Company has been supplying women of all shapes and sizes with beautiful clothing made from natural, ethically-sourced fabrics. The company’s motto is “saving the planet one garment at a time,” and this is reflected in their dedication to using fabrics that have a small environmental footprint, such as bamboo, cotton, wool and cashmere.

Founder and designer Marilyn Cobban first started selling her clothing out of the back of a VW van and soon opened a physical store at the Balfour Ferry Landing. Fast forward to 2021 and the company now has nine locations across B.C., along with a thriving web store and expanding wholesale business.

Where to buy: In Nelson, the Blue Sky Clothing retail store is located at 511 Baker Street. There is also a Kootenay location at the Balfour Ferry Landing—350 Ferry Landing Road. In addition to their online store, the company also has retail locations in the Interior and Lower Mainland of B.C.

Lillie & Cohoe: If you have a weakness for hats, Lillie & Cohoe is the place you’ll want to head to. Located in a beautifully restored 1930s warehouse in the heart of Nelson, the company designs and manufactures all of its high-end hats and headwear locally. A Nelson success story, the company has dedicated clientele from across the globe including the British Isles and South Korea.

Where to buy: Lillie & Cohoe hats—with designs for both men and women—can be found online and at retail stores across Canada and internationally. The physical store is located at #4 - 320 Vernon Street in Nelson.

Close-up of white Kootenay Life sticker. Logo is stylized mountains sandwiched between backwards letter 'K' and the letter 'L', with the words 'Kootenay Life' underneath.

You can’t go anywhere in the Kootenays without spotting one of Kootenay Life’s iconic stickers. — Photo courtesy Kootenaylife.ca

Kootenay Life: A common sight on car bumpers across the region, the unmistakable logo of Kootenay Life—jagged mountain peaks sandwiched between a reverse “K” and an “L”—celebrates the Kootenays.

In addition to their iconic stickers, Kootenay Life also designs and manufactures a wide range of clothing and headwear including adventure hats, beanies, hoodies and t-shirts.

Where to buy: Kootenay Life items, including their iconic stickers, can be found online.

Zapped Outfitters: Based in Nelson, Zapped Outfitters fills a unique niche when it comes to clothing. The company produces stylish, high-visibility streetwear created using a custom-made reflective fabric. Designed with our long Canadian winters in mind, the company’s product line includes jackets, bags, backpacks and headwear that helps to illuminate the wearer on dark days and nights.

Where to buy: Zapped Outfitters products are available online through their website.

Kootenay-made clothing in Revelstoke

Somewon Collective: Proudly billing itself as a “mountain lifestyle” brand, Somewon Collective is unique in terms of its business structure. Its members—a collaboration of artists, musicians, snowboarders and other creative types—are all on equal footing and company decisions are made collectively. Founded in 2007, Somewon Collective initially focused on clothing for the snowboarding community but quickly expanded into other inspirations. Today, designs are geared towards anyone with an active lifestyle and love of the outdoors. Sold both locally and regionally, products from the Somewon Collective ultimately pay homage to the community of Revelstoke. The company also provides silk-screening, design, embroidery and sticker production services for local clients.

Where to buy: The Somewon Collection storefront is located at 308 1st Street East in Revelstoke.

Love Making Designs: Playful, fun-loving, hand-drawn sketches inspired by nature are at the heart of Love Making Designs, owned by partners Trisha Hartwick and Kiley Dare. Along with clothing for men, women and children, they also sell a range of different products including art prints, jewelry, hats, leather patches, stickers and magnets. All drawings and printing are done by hand in their home studio.

Where to buy: The Love Making storefront is located at 110 Mackenzie Avenue in Revelstoke. Their detailed and whimsical designs can also be found in several local shops in the area or through their web store.

Kootenay-made clothing in Salmo

Arcane Coda: Arcane Coda is known for its colourful grunge and industrial designs, festival wear and clothing for passionate life-loving folk who appreciate alternative fashion.

Venessa Loubert and Perry Dzuris are the duo behind the successful company, created in 2007. They work with international artisans, employing over 100 people on a seasonal basis in Thailand, India and Nepal. They are also passionate about animal welfare—by purchasing the Arcane Coda brand, you also support the company’s Animal Rescue Initiative.

KootenayBiz interviewed this dynamic couple. Read more about Loubert and Dzuris and their altruistic roots and company.

Where to buy: Arcane Coda products are available online.

Kootenay-made clothing in Trail

Kootz Collective: “Whether you are from the Kootenays or not, our hope is that our aesthetic strikes a chord with your adventurous and outdoor-loving soul.” Although the sister and sister team of Leah and Kelsey live in Calgary these days, they grew up in the Kootenays around Trail and cherish their childhood memories of the region.

The Kootz Collective came about when the pair—both graphic designers—wanted a creative outlet for personal design work. They decided on a clothing business and haven’t looked back since. All of their clothing is ethically sourced, designed in Alberta and screen printed in British Columbia. Their product range includes items for men, women and children along with accessories inspired by the outdoor lifestyle across the Kootenays and Canada.

Where to buy: Buy Kootz Collective items through their online store.

Kootenay-made clothing in Warfield

KYR Supply: Take three guys with a passion for their Kootenay roots and a desire to share that passion in a creative and unique way and you get KYR Supply. KYR—short for Know Your Roots—is a local brand that celebrates adventure and good times in the year-round playground that is the Kootenays. The company sells branded t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, along with a selection of headwear and footwear.

KootenayBiz recently chatted with the trio about the inspiration behind starting KYR Supply and their commitment to local mental health projects and associations. Read their story here.

Where to buy: Find KYR Supply clothing and gear through their online web store

Row of hats sitting on log.

Stylish wearables from KYR Supply include their range of locally-made hats and headwear. — Photo courtesy Dustin Gilchrist

Julie Matchett

Julie Matchett is a writer and content coordinator for KPI Media. She ranks as a 7 on the Introversion vs. Extraversion scale out of 100, which might help to explain why she chose a career of quiet contemplation as opposed to public speaking. View all of Julie Matchett’s articles

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