C’est Sera owner Kelly Campbell Duguid has been running her store on Whyte Ave for 21 years. The interior reflects Duguid’s passion for her work. Colour-coordinated clothes line the brick walls. The middle of the store has tables featuring shoes, jewelry and folded jeans.
The clothes are a mixture of Canadian brands which include Duguid’s own label, Kelly Wollf, made in Edmonton.
“As I grew and got bigger, I could add more lines [labels]. So, I researched more lines,” she says.
She rummages quickly through the clothing rack beside an open dressing room and returns holding a dress. It is a soft purple grey.
“I found a Canadian fabric mill. They make their fabric in Canada and this is one of them,” she holds the dress, carefully smoothing it out on her lap. It’s 100 per cent organic cotton interlocked to stretch naturally.
“Fabric mills are kind of that silver lining of COVID.”
The cotton was just one of her finds. Duguid sources her bamboo-blended fabrics from a woman-owned boutique factory in Vancouver. For Duguid, fashion is where each piece should work with the clothes you already own. That investment comes with versatility and slow fashion.
The following questions are based on the looks created for this piece:
When it comes to fashion, what are you most passionate about?
KD: Making my ladies happy. So, if you feel happy because of what you have on, you feel good and positive and beautiful, like that is my juice.
When styling a client, what are some things that you look for?
KD: A smile on their face. And I often say that. I’ll say “Oh your face is telling me you’re not comfortable. What aren’t you sure of?” It’s this exploration together where I look at body language and facial expressions to give me clues. Sometimes we just have to discuss the clothes and sometimes it’s not right for them.
How would you describe the looks that you styled today?
KD: Versatility. That’s what I love about having my own line. I can do different shapes and colours and we put it together for each individual. So, it doesn’t become a look, it becomes your look. You can mix and match. And that’s why I do so many lines as well. I’m not a Banana Republic where they only have the one look. I’m C’est Sera.
What is the inspiration behind this style?
KD: Well, there’s three. I like to make up my own words and I have coined a phrase: Japandi. So, it’s Japan and Scandi. I love those two aesthetics — that rustic textile natural fibre of the Japanese culture meeting the clean, practical shapes of the Scandinavian. It’s almost like interior design meets fashion. You’ll see those shapes, organic fibres, that blue and linen.
Colour. I’m very happy in my black items, my grey and navy. We’re not giving those up, but colour elicits an emotion. We want to feel better, we want to feel positive and be energetic. Colour does that.
The third inspiration is natural fibres. So, getting back to that natural state. I’ve done a lot of research and spandex is a petroleum product. We love our stretch, I’m not asking you to give that up. But I’ve done research to make sure when I do my own line that it is Oeko-Tex certified. It’s an international body that says there is low environmental impact. So, we’re talking about that sustainability, that slow fashion with natural fibres. And I do try to do 100 per cent; 100 per cent cotton or 100 per cent linen or a natural blend. I think that’s where we’re going.
What are some trends we should keep an eye out for in the coming season?
KD: Professional lounge. That comfort that we can go many places. That versatility. Are you on a Zoom meeting? You can wear it. Are you in the office? You can wear it. Are you grocery shopping? You can wear it. When the answer is yes to a lot of scenarios, it’s easier to invest in the pieces. It suits you and not just the one occasion. We’re working on educating the customer on what slow fashion means to them.
If you can get vaccinated before the end of summer, will you consider going on vacation?