Her clothes are almost as bright and dazzling as her smile. Catherine Addai, founder and CEO of Toronto fashion boutique Kaela Kay, said she never wanted to dress like everybody else.
“I wanted to wear pieces I couldn’t find in department stores,” she said triumphantly, wearing a bright turquoise, A-line dress with Afrocentric patterns.
“I also wanted to mix modern fashion with my African heritage,” said the Ghana-born entrepreneur.
She describes her fashion brand as “modern, eclectic, chic.”
Working primarily with Ankara fabrics, a West African method of creating African patterns on 100 per cent cotton fabric, Addai sought to modernize prints in today’s fashion, which are part of her history.
“My mother, my grandmother, they all wore or used Ankara fabrics in their clothing and I wanted to be able to bring that here in North America to show women that it’s possible to wear these prints that are so historical,” she said.
Despite her lack of formal training in design, fashion and business, Addai’s brand has gained popularity with Toronto locals, international boutiques and even A-list celebrities.