Sködiaâ??s Modern Minimalism is No Sweat

Published October 9, 2014

PORTRAIT OF JESS MCKIE BY DANIEL DORSA; ALL SPRING LOOKBOOK IMAGES BY NATHAN PERKEL, ALL COURTESY OF JESS MCKIE

Talking to Jess McKie, the designer of Sködia, the house catchphrase might as well be “All for one and one for all.” McKie, a New York-based Australian transplant and Creatures of Comfort alum, launched her tightly edited line of upscale, streamlined unisex basics earlier this year. The brand zeroes in on a fluid, democratic functionality, where minimal, slim-cut sweatsuits can be spliced apart and mixed-and-matched with ribbed tanks, crisp shirting, a fleece-lined bomber jacket, or mohair beanies and chunky scarves (knit by McKie’s mother back home in Melbourne). With just one collection and a collaboration with Aussie musician Chet Faker on a custom sweat suit out of the gate, retailers are taking notice. McKie’s inaugural collection is now available exclusively at Opening Ceremony, with several more stores (including Cottage by OPTITUDE in Tokyo, Monk House Design in Melbourne, and Revolver in San Francisco) onboard for her recently debuted spring line.

“We direct everything towards the ‘softwear movement.’ It means that it’s a mixture of uniform-based classic pieces. Everything is really wearable; everything can be worn with each other. I think it’s important for people these days to buy less and buy better and choose well with their purchase,” McKie says. “Anyone can buy just a plain, normal sweatshirt. You can go to Uniqlo and buy one for 30 dollars, or you can go to a vintage store and buy one. But, if the fabrications are unique, and the fit is really great, we’re trying to target that.”

McKie, who works out of a studio in Bed-Stuy, sets out to create the building blocks of refined, luxurious sportswear dressing that embrace subtlety and an anti-logomania restraint. But, she insists, the line is the antithesis to fashion’s current favorite buzzword-normcore. “I think it’s a funny name for people who describe, like, Jerry Seinfeld wearing vintage jeans with sneakers,” McKie offers. “Back in the earlier days of our Instagram, it was supposed to be all about real people wearing real basic clothing. We used that as an inspiration. Our customer, they can be a dad. But it’s obviously an extreme version of that. So, we’re hoping he’s a fashion conscious dad that still wants to wear basic clothing and wear simple, minimal things that are made well.”

For spring, the collection takes it cue from the beach, and branches out into new territory with silhouettes tailored to the season, as well as totes and visors and more specific pieces for women (an apron dress, a terry cloth tube top and shorts, a scrunchie bikini). “We’re always going to do a sweat suit, whether it’s spring or summer, whether it changes, like the pants are slightly cropped, or the fabric is a little bit different. The rest of the collection allows us to play a little bit more,” McKie explains. For a new brand, Sködia is quickly finding its footing, but McKie is focused on its evolution. “I am learning more and more who I am as a designer,” she says. “I’m still getting to know what Sködia is.” 

SKÖDIA IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT OPENING CEREMONY IN NEW YORK AND L.A., AND ON SKÖDIA’S WEBSITE, WWW.SKODIA.COM.AU