Montreal-based streetwear brand aims to bring diversity to fashion
What happens when you combine Montreal’s multicultural diversity, local artists and streetwear? In January, three young designers striving to make a name for themselves officially launched their own clothing line: Kumo Montreal.
Founders Anthony Xu, Suthan Sangaralingham and marketing manager Russell Chau created a clothing line that aims to ‘rep’ Montreal and its diversity by offering multicultural-inspired t-shirts and beanies for men and women. The garments are designed and made in Montreal and cost between $20 and $40.
The founders have different educational and cultural backgrounds: Xu studies architecture at Université de Montréal, Chau studies finance at Concordia and Sangaralingham is a full-time webmaster and IT professional. Xu and Chau are from China, and Sangaralingham is from Sri Lanka. “Myself and Suthan came [to Montreal] when we were both seven years old. We noticed how every neighbourhood had its own culture mix … We have African neighbourhoods, Greek and Indian neighbourhoods,” Xu said. “Montreal has every kind of nationality that you could possibly think of on one island. We definitively want to emphasize this unique trait of our city through our clothing line and designs.”
Kumo means cloud in Japanese, which corresponds with their slogan; “Cloud your judgement.” “All judgements and negative comments are left out the door. We accept everyone no matter where they are from,” Xu said.
For the Chinese New Year, they designed a t-shirt that said Montreal in traditional Chinese symbols. Xu said their goal is to make collections throughout the year that will represent different ethnicities. Their first collection is more Asian-inspired to represent their own culture.
They also plan on collaborating with local artists and bloggers. “We want to promote Montreal’s artists because they are talented and are not getting enough exposure,” said Chau. “For our new collection we will ask a variety of different artists to create any kind of art relating to the way they feel about Montreal. This will reflect each artist’s own style and vision, which will bring uniqueness to our brand.”
Chau said their next photoshoot project will include people from all over the city.
“We are all about being bold. Our brand is not apologetic, we do what we want and we are not trying to follow a trend,” said Xu. “We have our own hype which is trendy yet mixed with our own creativity. We start everything from scratch.”
Their new collection will offer sweatpants, hoodies, t-shirts and windbreakers. Their items will be sold at boutique Vingt-Trois located at 2162 Ste.Catherine St. by the end of March.
Xu gave some advice to young entrepreneurs: “Don’t be afraid of failure or people’s judgements and don’t be driven by money. If your drive is not pure you won’t be in it for the long run. Also, to outwork and out connect your competition is the major key.”
Check out Kumo Montreal at KumoMontreal.com. Catch them at the Université de Montréal’s fashion show on March 24 at the Fairmount Theatre, or the Dawson College fashion show on April 30.