Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.
Calling all horseback riders! inspired by the wild west, polo, English riding, Street & Saddle is selling fashionable riding apparel.
Based in Vancouver, they female-owned business that manufactures size-inclusive, tailored garments for women in a small Chinatown studio.
Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946, like local craftspeople. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses, we talked to Katelyn Woodburn, Owner and designer of Street & Saddle, about making well-tailored garments, with love and care.
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“As a horse girl, I was fascinated by traditional, function-based riding apparel and how it was interpreted into mainstream fashion. Many classic styles, such as denim, button-up shirts and blazers have origins in the horse riding,” said Woodburn
“With trends changing constantly, I noticed that equestrian style was a stalwart concept, withstanding the test of time. This appealed to me from a sustainability standpoint – to use such timeless inspiration and make clothing that could be loved for years on end.”
Street & Saddle offers tailored, customizable apparel inspired by equestrian style and culture, as well as assorted leather goods.
Their goal is to make size-inclusive and size customizable clothing more available to women, made by fairly compensated skilled craftspeople.
“We offer complimentary size customizations on all of our styles. Whether it’s changing a hemline or adjusting for shoulder width, we believe that everybody deserves clothing that fits perfectly,” she said.
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Woodburn decided to pursue designing as she fell in love with sewing and pattern drafting while making a Halloween costume, and taking apart a pair of pants to “see how they worked.”
“I admired the 2D to 3D process, and something clicked in my brain like I understand this, and I really like it.”
Later, Woodburn pursued fashion design in school and became aware of the unethical treatment and pay of garment workers, mainly women, who are highly skilled and drastically undervalued. This led to setting up her own manufacturing.
“There is something very special about designing while still being very involved in the actual making of the items alongside our super-skilled team,” she said.
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She attributes her success to having good relationships with a talented team of business and craftspeople. Also, knowing when to trust her gut with decisions, and when to look for advice from someone more experienced.
In fact, her partner Shane Yu brought helped her gain a lot of business knowledge from his years in clothing retail.
She also said that the huge amount of support from clients looking to support local businesses was essential to their success.
“You can’t go wrong with excellent quality and excellent customer service. This sounds like a no-brainer, but as you grow, those two things get very easy to leave by the wayside.”
They often see their customers wearing their pieces from over 5 years ago over a dozen because they still “love them.”
“Tailoring our items to fit our clients started as a customer service initiative, and now it has become a key part of who we are as a brand – oftentimes the first thing people mention when they talk or write about us.”