By Fiona Tedds, New York Editor
It’s always wonderful to find beautifully designed pieces of multi-use clothing, but when they come from a company with a strong ethical code and a commitment to the preservation and care of the planet, it really is something to shout about. New York’s Pattern Village is all that and more, and during the course of our conversation, its delightful founder, Aundrea Kudma, and I bonded over our shared love for this crazy city and its insane weather, both being tall gals, and over the joy of having a beautiful, luxurious-feeling garment that makes you feel and look fabulous while being eco-conscious.
I’ve been looking at your website and I love the whole idea of Pattern Village! Tell me a bit about the inspiration behind the brand.
It's something that has been floating around in my mind for the past few years, to create this specific piece, and then enter 2020, where you’ve got to pivot to make it, and I just thought, why not do it now? My background is in travel - I develop hospitality brands for independent hotels - and this was always a piece I envisioned wearing myself because I travel a lot for work. I’m always looking for things that are super convenient and versatile, that I can just throw in my bag and that can go with me throughout the day.
So when I was thinking of Pattern Village, I had this idea of a kimono, but I wanted to design something that was unique to the market, I didn’t want to just put another robe out, and that’s when I thought of the hidden pockets with the invisible zippers. I myself am a huge pockets fan - I lean more towards pockets than purses - so that was the A-ha moment.
Then I thought I’m only doing this if it’s eco-friendly, the material has to be made from one hundred percent recycled materials, so that led me down the path of finding the right material.
So how did you source that?
Oh my gosh! It was months and months of trial and error - I have draws of fabric samples! But it was just from looking at the market to see who was making material that was one hundred percent recycled and I found a lot that were close to a hundred percent but not, and then I came across a company - they’re a leader in sustainable textiles in North America - and they just knocked it out of the park. The fabric was the exact feel I wanted - it’s silky, it’s slinky, but it’s also the type of weight that you can wear in the winter, lounging around the house, feeling cosy, but you can also wear it as a swimsuit cover-up.
I wanted to ask you what the hand of the fabric is like, what does it feel like?
It's very smooth - slinky is the best word to describe it, because it falls on you so nicely - you feel fancy in it! You can get dressed up in it for coffee in your living room, and it will give you a good feeling! I’ve done a lot of markets over the holiday season, which was great because people get to touch and feel the fabric and they are shocked when I tell them it’s made from recycled water bottles. It’s been fun to see people’s responses.
Tell me a bit about the three designs you have.
The idea came to fruition in February 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, and it was important to me that I could support as much New York talent as possible. So each design supports the three pillars of Pattern Village: earth-first, lover of humanity and made where we live, here in New York. They are sewn in Brooklyn and all those beautiful images you see on our website were created and produced by a team of New York-based women. They were actually shot at a wonderful New York boutique hotel out in Queens, the Rockaway Hotel.
I love that a tree is planted for every piece sold from your collection.
Yes, we partnered with One Tree Planted, which is a wonderful organization. And the trees they plant are right here in the United States. Their current focus is in Colorado and in California, where they are so needed after the wildfires.
So what do you have coming up for Pattern Village?
We are going to be launching some great matching swimwear very soon, which we are really excited about, and we are also looking to increase our distribution so that more people can get their hands on Pattern Village pieces. The dressing gowns really are perfect for all body types and occasions - we want to share them even more with the world!
Photo Credit: Pattern Village