Remember the days of playing make-believe and building epic forts? I do - and I’m looking forward to that whole world of magic as Jack continues to discover play. And speaking of play, I was recently introduced to Fort Kids, a Canadian designed and made brand out of Toronto. With a name like Fort how can things like imagination, fun and adventure not come to mind?
Created by couple Sarah Kawasaki and Derrick Hodgson, Fort Kids is a labour of love for great kids clothing, nature and being environmentally friendly. Featuring fabrics like bamboo French terry, organic cotton and hemp fleece, their AW collection is full of classic pieces with their own bits of whimsy. I had the opportunity to do a Q&A with Sarah and Derrick to learn more about what goes on at Fort.
What is the inspiration behind the AW2015 collection?
Our jumping off point is always related to nature and inspired by Canada. Derrick is continuously drawing animals and he was really responding to sea otters during the early days of working on this collection. When we started to build this collection, we did some research on sea otters and learned that their first fur is called a pup coat. That really got us excited - and became the beginning and the basis for the AW15 collection. At the same time, Sarah had wanted to design a waxed cotton anorak and the two went hand in hand seamlessly. The anorak (pup coat) is a layering piece to be worn as a protective ‘first skin’ for kids to explore the natural world.
How do you maintain an environmentally friendly clothing brand?
In accordance with our green practices, we encourage parents to buy bigger sizes to allow for longevity in their kids clothing. Our pieces are unisex with the intention of being passed down from sibling to sibling and best bud to best bud - see our Tag! You’re it! label below.
Our fabrications are also all eco-friendly: organic cottons, food-grade waxed cottons, etc. Trims, labels and some design details are made from recycled materials; paper for hang tags, antler buttons from naturally shed antlers etc. We keep a low carbon footprint by using a local factory and the majority of what makes up our business is based in Canada including our factory, printing house, fabric distributers etc.
What is one of the most important things that parents should be looking for when shopping for children’s clothing?
As parents ourselves we always want to look for a piece of clothing that will not only last but that will let our kids play comfortably in an outdoor setting. As home is an all-season country, we typically look for clothing that can stand up to different weather and all the Canadian elements yet won’t restrict our kids from active play.
How do you feel clothing affects children’s playtime, education and development?
It has always been important to us for kids to be able to learn about the natural world and to get outside. We strive to create clothing that allows kids to explore nature comfortably at different times of the day/year- whether it’s playing in puddles, making snow angels or running around the playground in the hot summer sun. We believe that getting outside enriches the lives of all kids.
What is your favourite piece from this collection?
We fall in love with every piece we create so it’s hard to choose just one! They all tend to work together in a mix and match sort of way. Our classic outerwear pieces as shelters is a nice idea- but really we just want to make great clothes that kids can live and play in.
Seriously, how cute are these clothes. So fun and playful - they look so comfortable and stylish at the same time. And just as an FYI, the entire AW2015 collection is available online at fort-kids.com.
Photos via Fort Kids.