377 Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn
Website/ Social Media
ILKA is classic made contemporary; refined design, complimentary fabrication and uncomplicated styling.
We bring a return of the atelier style label, designed and drafted in-house from our open studio and made within Australia. We strive to create longevity in every ILKA garment, and through our visible studio expose customers to the craft of clothing.
Our lust for exceptional garments is mirrored in the selection of jewels and accessories sourced for our flagship boutique, alongside our apparel line and custom made to measure gowns.
How and when did your business begin?
We began working together in 2010 on our previous label. At this point we were fresh out of TAFE, and it was a way to continue creating garments. It was very much a hobby to begin with. We did markets and pop-up shops, each time further cementing our desire to open our own retail store. As we progressed and our business became more serious we realised our previous label was limiting and we needed to rebrand in order to grow. This May we opened doors to our new flagship and brand new label, ILKA.
Who is involved?
Kate Wilks and Erin Taylor.
Where do you find inspiration your work? Are there any local ones?
We find inspiration in experiences a lot; food, music, art. We want our clothes to not only look great but also be wearable and useful.
Locally we always make sure we adhere to our climate. It’s effing hot in Summer, so we design accordingly and use a lot of natural and semi-natural fabrics, and in the Winter we make pieces that are good either side of the brief cold.
Can you tell us a little about your creative process?
We usually begin by viewing the new fabric ranges. We have an idea in mind, see what fabrics are available and how they can fit into that idea. Our designs are pretty much always messy little sketches, that really take shape once we start constructing the garment. We each think of designs/ideas and then come together to see how to mesh both minds together, which can be combining a few designs together, changing a feature or adding in a few new pieces to make sure the collection is cohesive. Sometimes we simultaneously have the same concept brewing, but other times it’s great to bring completely different designs together.
Perth is seen as an emerging city, particularly for creative industries - do you feel like there are more opportunities in WA right now?
We’ve thought a lot about this question. We’ve only run our business from Perth, so it’s hard to say if we’ve had more or fewer opportunities here than somewhere else. It’s a smaller city, so naturally there are less of things, but generally, we see a shift toward more independent boutiques and stores, and a lot of support from customers for independents and local talent. Sometimes not having as many opportunities lead people to create their own.
We think that as a whole Perth is developing, and that no industry is completely separate from one another. There has been a lot of work put in by the city and councils to make areas more appealing, changes in laws to allow more small bars/food stalls etc, which in turn leads to more opportunities for creative like artists, designers, musicians to showcase, which in leads people to look for independent and unique places to visit and shop, which leads them to places like us.
What do you think makes working in Western Australia unique?
People. It’s the same thing that makes any place unique. Obviously the standard things like weather, beaches, outdoors are amazing as well. Growing up in a place that wasn't really celebrated for its creative endeavors means that now we have these amazing places to visit and things to do that we want to take advantage of them and embrace them. This is definitely true of cafes and bars, and also shops. People are excited to see these new places and are interested to know about the talents these craftspeople have.
What kind of work are you known for?
We’re known for our garment quality, comfort, approachable design and great customer service. By this we mean that people know when they buy a garment from us it’s made well, from good fabric, it looks good on and is also comfortable to wear and that it’s going to be something they can wear to multiple occasions. Plus we always love to have a good chat with everyone that comes into the store and get to know our customers.
What should we expect to see from you in the future?
We’ve been developing a really good base of designs that are perfect everyday pieces with a few dressy numbers. From here we’re really keen to develop our collections more, and also build our special occasion and eveningwear range.
We’re always honing our skills and wanting to learn more.
We also want to start building a community and industry aspect into our business, so we’re planning to expanding our studio and making it available for other people to use, like students, graduates, new designers or anyone that needs a bit of space to make something.
When we were starting out we cut fabric on our lounge room floors because there was nowhere else to do it. We want to foster the local industry, and make more opportunities. There are a lot of graduates but not a lot of jobs, so if we can help these people make things here and encourage local manufacturing it’s going to boost the industry for everyone.