Dear Looklike friends, I bet that if you are reading this article, you are certainly among those who love to have a different look, always looking for what’s new in the fashion industry and love sustainable fashion.
In this case, you have done well to come and read this because I have found for you a collection of clothes entirely designed for career women! That’s right, without too much distraction, the whole collection of Kotys was designed entirely for a feminine and comfortable office look, suitable for the normal workday until the last minute scheduled meeting.
I discovered Kotys on Instagram and I was immediately am azed by the classic style of these dresses, the
timeless colors and the original touches of the design details like the collars and the cuffs and above all
one of by one of its mottos “Natural fibers, natural comfort, natural beauty”
Kotys is a British brand founded by Otilia Balica who originally worked in the digital marketing sector, she always had a passion for fashion and wanted to create a brand dedicated entirely to business women. If you are wondering if dressing for office really matters, Otilia explains that the dress code in the work context is very important because it can communicate a lot about us and our ability to succeed.
The collection of dresses by Otilia is sensational for me. I would have loved to meet her back when I worked as a consultant in a company. In fact, when I was shopping for my office outfits, I always had a problem with dresses, that were mainly designed without sleeves and sometimes the lengths were not suitable for the work environment. (To clarify, the miniskirt is absolutely out of the discussion in any workplace, of course in the leisure and entertainment sector you can obviously make an exception :-))
The Kotys collection combines femininity with the comfort of the natural fabrics and the practicality as well which allows you to be elegant with a single piece! When you are rushing in the morning all you
want is to find something in the closet that allows you to be ready in 5 minutes!
Last, but not least, what I also loved about Kotys collection is the sustainability aspect or, as they say,
made at Km 0.
Sustainability, especially in fashion, is an abstract concept for many people and Otilia explains that you can dress sustainable in 2 ways: buy garments that never go out of style and use clothing produced locally of natural fabrics.
I contacted Otilia, to talk a bout her idea of sustainable fashion and she accepted with great enthusiasm to make herself known also in Italy!
I am honored to be the first person in Italy who interviewed her. I did it because I believe in her mission and I support 100% her point and her way of dressing women.
Interview with Otilia – founder KOTYS
Hi Otilia, in your story I read that you previously worked in Business Marketing, what inspired you to create a clothing brand?
The idea came from my 9 to 5 job in digital marketing. The continuous hustle to find dresses with sleeves made of natural breathable fabrics was my main frustration. I was looking for a brand with this mission; I couldn’t find it so I decided to create Kotys, because I want a brand that speaks to women that have this requirement for different reasons.
Do you think that working women need clear reference points in fashion to find a style appropriate to the context in which they work?
First impressions count, so women have to make sure they present the best version of themselves. You want to be taken seriously and professionally so the outfit should be aligned with the context. Your style should co-inside with the message you want to communicate with your presence, you don’t want your outfit to be a distraction, so women should take control of the message they want to leave behind. Ultimately it is about confidence so if you feel your outfit is offering you that, you should own it.
Looking at your collection, I was impressed by the importance you give to the feminine and sophisticated way of presenting women in the world of business. How is this aspect seen in Great Britain?
I see top business women in the UK still struggle to find clothing that is appropriate to wear in their work environment, I see many women dress up considering the companies guidance, taking inspiration from their peers or bosses. Some women decide to hire wardrobe stylists, I think this works really well for some busy women. This can help women find their style whether that be feminine or masculine. I think it shows an element of bravery for women to embrace their femininity in man lead industries.
I believe women in the workplace should embrace their femininity and elegance and express it throughout their outfits to boost their own self-confidence and performance that is why Kotys is focusing on designing dresses that help you get thru the day.
In modern times we see more and more women unhappy with having to spend a fortune on a dress that no longer has the “quality of the past”. I’ll give an example: a coat of an important brand bought by my mother 30 years ago does not have the same quality and durability of a coat of the same brand made today. What has changed in your opinion?
Technology is evolving so fast today and brands get more exposure via social channels which results in increase demand so brands need to speed up their production process. This is fast fashion which lacks the quality of the old days because there are certain steps that are skipped, the fabrics lack quality to overcome costs or the right amount of time allocated to make that garment is not sustainable.
I believe consumers should start to switch their mindset and start questioning the quality of the garment they intend to buy, check out the label: what is the fabric, what is it made of, consider the linings, where is the garment made and also how is it sewn.
Our dresses are of a classic designs, we don’t intend to keep up with trends that come in one season and out the other, but rather make garments that last and are of top quality.
One of the biggest difficulties for a woman who has to leave early to go to work is to get dressed quickly and find the right outfit. With your clothes line, this problem seems out of date. What is the advantage for a woman who purchases the clothes in your collection?
Our mission is to offer premium quality dresses with sleeves made of natural breathable fabrics. We collaborate with seamstresses in the London area who help us create patterns that contour the curves of the female shape for comfort and style. We also offer a customised tailoring service which gives the opportunity for a unique finish by choosing between different sleeve and hem lengths that fit your unique style.
Our dresses are simple yet chic, they are easy to wear and to accesorise with hosiery, shoes, belts and scarves. It’s easy for a woman to effortlessly create a really stylish look with a Kotys dress because they are of such good cut and quality.
On your website it says that one of the strength of KOTYS is sustainability. In fact, one of your mottos is: Natural fibers, natural comfort, natural beauty. Can you explain how these characteristics are an advantage for women and at the same time for the environment?
Sustainable fashion is possible also through the consumer changing the mind-set. Investment in the environment is an investment in your life therefore what we consume is important and has a knock on effect. Rather than buying 10 dresses try to buy a good one that is going to last both in design and fabrics.
For women the advantage of using natural fibers is longer lasting and high quality garments that don’t have to change as often. Breathability is a huge advantage allowing your skin to breathe, by removing water vapor from your skin leaving you to feel dry and comfortable.
All the above translate in sustainability for the environment as well, with fabrics that are biodegradable, local production mean less carbon footprint and sustainable production process which minimise water consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions because our fabric mills are sourcing green energy from photovoltaic systems. All these factors help us create beautifully timeless pieces that are made incredibly well without sacrificing the people or the planet.
Does your line also cater for Curvy women?
At Kotys we love to embrace diversity. We try to improve our collection based on our costumer buying trend and demand. We try to embrace all body shapes and sizes that is why we offer a made to order service and a large range of sizes starting from 6 to 18.
What sometimes blocks consumers from shopping online is the difficulty of choosing the right size or model for themselves. Can you give advice to women who would like to order a tailor-made dress on Kotys.co.uk?
Choosing the right size online is tricky but we are always happy to give advice to our customers and help them purchase the right style according to their body shape and find the perfect size.
We are reachable via email but also on all of our social media profiles and we aim to replay in real time to help our customers make the right choice. We have a friendly return policy and currently offering free returns in the UK and we are working on introducing this also for the international orders.
Let’s explore your collection together: from what kind of woman do you wear your clothes? Give an example of profession for each dress:
On your website, I read that the production of clothes and the design are made in GB. Do you think that the Royal Family’s Duchesses media exposure and the interest aroused by their way of dressing, is an added value for the launch of British fashion design in the world?
Yes, I think their elevated style have an impact on all the new and old British fashion brands in terms of design and quality. I believe Royal Family’s Duchesses are trend setters here in the UK. I have noticed that a lot of our customers relate to their style and are fans.
Do you believe that e-commerce will make direct sales in boutiques disappear?
I think the evolving technology will help e-commerce business build a better purchasing process and increase the conversion rates. I believe this will impact the direct sales percentage in the future but will not make it disappear.
Sometimes it is so hard to translate the offline consumer experience and the quality of a particular product into the digital world, so we need sales from offline boutiques to improve our customer experience online and provide the opportunity to clients to try and feel the products offline as well.
We have certain styles that sell more online and specific styles that sell more offline because customers fall in love only after they have touched the quality of the product and tried the fit of the dress so we will continue to find a balance between the two.
What are your plans for the future of KOTYS?
In a world full of endless options we all want to express our unique style that is why I believe customizable fashion has increased in demand. We plan to offer more options in terms of styles for more body shapes and improve our customized service by offering also the possibility to choose from different fabric weights and colors when ordering a custom made dress.
(End of Interview)
Girls, what else to say about Otilia and her Kotys brand? Interviewing her was not only a pleasure, but a moment of great inspiration for me and I hope for you too!
Otilia has opened my eyes on how to be a conscious consumer and in my opinion, is a true pioneer in this field. Being able to enter an e-commerce website and choose the finishes of your dress as if you are in a tailor’s shop, but from the comfort of your own home, is a truly incredible experience!
What do you think of her collection of business dresses?
How do you prefer to get dressed when going to work? Are you going casual or you think about it before wearing something? Do you have a unique space inside your closet for the office clothes or do you keep these separate?
I always liked to differentiate my outfits: during my first work experience the classic suit made me feel uncomfortable, I opted for casual outfits with embedded pockets and safari colors.
Under the suit, I was wearing a stretchy top rather the rigorous shirt, but I have always differentiated the way I was dressing for the office compared with to outfits for when I was going out!
Personalization and expression of our way of being can take place with personal accessories like
earrings, necklaces, scarves and belts.
Wearing office clothes always made me feel ready to face any last-minute business meetings or otherwise allowed me to be considered the professional I was.
I was very impressed when Otilia explained that at work it is important to send a message with your
appearance, and we must not let our look be a distraction from what we are, otherwise, unfortunately, we run the risk of not being taken seriously by those who do not know us perfectly!
I really hope that KOTYS will continue to create interesting collections to satisfy the desires of all women who want to feel good at work and in social appearances! You can explore her collections here.
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A strong hug ClaudiaDi
Fondatrice e art-director di Looklike blog. Appassionata di stile, tendenze, Celebrities e Royal Family. La mia specialità sono i look dei personaggi famosi e delle famiglie Reali.