Driven by a passion for the craft that transcends generations, Iris Setlakwe was able to achieve her dream, and create a collection of clothes that was truly a reflection of herself.
Iris came from a fashion background that captivated her from early childhood, and she followed in her father’s footsteps. Born in the Eastern Townships, Iris got her initial hands-on training when she was a young girl, continuing to learn during a standard stint in retail, working as a sales rep for various brands, and at 21, starting her own business. Iris loves fashion, and with this in mind, she created a distinctive style of ready-to-wear. In 1998, passion led her to launch her own label. She developed elegant lines and worked with the finest materials, such as flannel, jersey, wool and silk. Her vocation became crystal clear: to take luxurious fabrics and create top-quality women’s clothing that fit beautifully in all the right places.
For the last 15 years, she has been designing collections. The clothes mix and match easily, and appeal to women seeking that rare combination of fabulous with all-day comfort. Each of the more than 120 ready-to-wear pieces, which include tailored suits, dresses and trousers, is stamped with her signature feminine design.
Remarkably, 90% of Iris’ products is made in Quebec, which is no small feat in the current market. Although her fabrics are sourced principally from Italy, Germany and Japan, Iris has established her workshops here. She opened her first two retail shops in Montreal and Knowlton, followed by the launch of a new line of casual chic clothing under the label I by Iris Setlakwe. “You have to stay connected to your clients, and always be in touch with what’s on trend,” she says.
Iris retails her designs in Canada and the United States, dreams of breaking into the European market. She travels the world, drawing inspiration from every trend and culture. Surrounded by a dynamic, forward-thinking team of 27 full-time employees and 200 outside contractors, the designer maintains that intuition guides her creative process. “I create my fashions in the spirit of renewal, based on what women feel like wearing.”