My beginning stages of research about Folk led me to discover the website, oki-ni, once again I stumbled on something I knew little about, adding to my research of what the site was about, oki-ni was born in September 2001, originally both a global gallery space and online destination, oki-ni worked with established brands and upcoming designers to offer innovative collaborative products to knowledgeable fashion consumers. They presented exclusive, limited edition products produced with several partners including Paul Smith and Levi's, peices were displayed in beautiful spaces that could be found at the Saville Row flagship store, as well as leading fashion destinations across UK and Japan, this gave customers the opportunity to touch and feel the product before ordering online.
'Nearly a decade on, the concept of oki-ni has evolved but our ethos has remained. The drive to discover and break the most inspiring products available, while them in an environment true to us, is still our main focus.'
Oki-ni is a group of young, enthused, product focused individuals led by three directors with over 50 years combined experience. 'We love product, music and style.' And it has to be said, reading through such a well written website I was unable to compete with their wording of what they predict the future of the website to be....
'As a team we are working to create the most interesting and forward-thinking retail/lifestyle website around, continually evolving to keep our customers interested and informed. Oki-ni will continue to globally source product with integrity-the rare, the niche and the premium. We are committed to supporting young talent and nurturing partnerships with established labels whilst curating our groundbreaking online retail space'.....Not just your standard online shopping website, clearly.
All that insightful information before I've even touched on the main subject, Cathal McAteer established the contemporary menswear brand Folk in 2001. The ethos behind the brand was to create a collection that Cathal's friends would like to wear, clothes that were fun, unrestricted and making clean, honest understated garments with a meticulous eye for colour, fabric selection and design detail. Folk creates simple everyday clothing with subtle, innovative and sometimes playful detailing.
Oki-ni's Beth Vincent interviewed Cathal McAteer, Head Designer and Founder revealing future plans for new stores, and more exciting...womens wear!
Cathal's take on womens wear was really interesting, stating that they 'make men's garments in woman's sizes, but some women don't have the confidence to put a men's shirt and really style it, so we're going to make it easier - add a feminine edge to it.'
Walking into the shop its clear to point out their most popular pieces....I feel what makes the brand special is that they make quite normal shapes, nothing too extravagant, just giving little bits of 'detail happiness' like comfort parts, a nice button, leather patches, just little bits that can be hidden and taken away, and we can accept that special Bestival badge!
'The 'People' cardigan really came from an old piece of knitwear we just came across. The man and girl holding hands, well-we're a bit soppy you know, we're into people being happy and shit., no skulls and cross bones. It just seemed simple and we thought it might not do particularly well but we stopped it for a season and people started complaining! We'll always bring that back now-it's a bit mellow and nice. Last season we made it in Peru so the style of knitwear went with the actual graphic. Then we produced it for Bestival-we made cardigans for the owners to give away to this staff at the end of the festival. We put a badge on saying Bestival or something. We've done it every year since the festival started, they're old friends so we're happy to support,and we get to go down and we have a Folk tent at the festival, have a couple of beers....