Meet our Friday Muse Katie Kolodinski, founder and creative director of Silk Laundry

24 January 2024
By Fashion Quarterly

With a background as varied as psychology and Chinese medicine, we speak to the designer whose penchant for pretty yet purposeful things led her to found one of Australia’s most sought-after fashion brands.

Katie Kolodinski. Image: supplied.

For Katie Kolodinski, starting her own label happened almost by chance. Unlike many established designers, it was never her lifelong dream to work in fashion; in fact, she dabbled in just about every field imaginable before the day came in 2015 when she first began Silk Laundry. Motivated by her desire to find a timeless, vintage slip dress made from 100% silk, Kolodinski’s brand was born from her founding design, the ’90s Slip dress — which remains a staple in each of her collections to this day. Going on its ninth year now, Silk Laundry has become a brand known for its quality fabrications, enduring silhouettes and conscious approach to design. 

We caught up with Kolodinski to find out more about her interesting journey into fashion, what her daily routine looks like, and the items from Silk Laundry she thinks everyone should own. 

In conversation with Katie Kolodinski:

Tell us a bit about you, your background, and your career to date.

I am the founder and creative director of a fashion brand called Silk Laundry. I grew up living between Canada and Australia and in over six different cities, which I feel has influenced my worldview. Before starting Silk Laundry, I studied profusely.

My major is in psych science but I also studied law, acupuncture and natural medicine, interior design, floristry, industrial sewing and a few more. While studying, I always had at least two to three jobs to make sure I could support myself and have worked in everything from bartending to landscape gardening. I think living and working in a range of environments has shaped Silk Laundry and helped forge what it is today. 

You studied psychology before entering the fashion industry. What led you to pursue a career in fashion instead?

After high school I applied straight to university. I applied for a few programs not knowing who would accept me, biology, zoology and psychology. I was accepted into a psych degree so that is what I did. It led me to also study law with dreams of becoming an environmental lawyer, however, I was left disenchanted with law very early on and realised it probably wasn’t for me and my heart. 

My major is in psych science, but I have also studied interior design, acupuncture and traditional medicine as well as fashion and floristry. I have always loved clothing and my mother would make and sew a lot of my beautiful clothes growing up. So getting dressed was always a joy. With Silk Laundry, I just wanted clothing that was well made and made without polyester and other synthetics, so I decided to do it myself and crossed my fingers that a few other people would enjoy and want the same things I was creating.  

When did you found Silk Laundry? What made you want to start your own label?

Silk Laundry began in 2015 with a simple 100% silk slip dress. I used to scour second-hand shops for the perfect vintage silk slip dresses and could never find exactly what I was after, so decided to create it myself. For me, a comfortable slip made from natural fibres was really important. So, Silk Laundry was born. The name reflects the fabric and ease of wear, which I think is still the perfect name for our brand. Today, the ’90s slip dress still remains present in all of our collections which is a nice homage to where we started. 

Your brand draws heavily on ’90s minimalism. How would you personally define your brand aesthetic?

The love I developed for slip dresses during my teenage years in the ’90s became the inspiration for our iconic ‘90s Slip Dress. However, I would also say there is a slowness to our designs. The way that it’s made for longevity. I try not to create something that will date from season to season. I aim to create classic pieces that you could wear for years to come. We place a strong focus on design intent and craftsmanship to ensure our garments are more than just stylish items. Instead, they’re enduring and versatile staples in our customers’ wardrobes. We pride ourselves on creating collections with purpose that reflect the world around us, instead of being driven only by the ephemerality of trends. This links back to my wider purpose of using fashion as a platform for storytelling and as a tool for positive change.

What item/s from Silk Laundry should every woman have in her collection?

I’m biased so I would say everything. Something I’m excited about is our new bodysuit that is part of our latest Uniform collection. Otherwise, our bias-cut pants or skirts are a great staple. 

Who or what inspires you the most when you design?

My diverse background has significantly shaped my approach to design. Growing up in a family with Eastern European roots instilled a sense of practicality – we never indulged in frivolities. Living in Canada, where the cold was relentless, dressing was more about survival than pleasure. On the contrary, my time in Australia, particularly in the hot and humid climate of Queensland, brought about a daily struggle with clothing-induced anxiety, as overheating became an immediate post-shower concern. Today, as I design for myself, I prioritise longevity in both my personal style and creations. This amalgamation of varied experiences has undeniably influenced the distinctive aesthetic of the brand.

From childhood, I’ve been committed to minimising waste and adopting a responsible lifestyle, a commitment that echoes through the brand’s dedication to sustainability. My advocacy work, passion for conscious living, and love for travel have consistently steered the brand toward using fashion as a narrative platform and a force for positive change. Our sustainability drive deeply influences every aspect of our brand, from the choice of factories to the materials we incorporate into our clothing.

When it comes to design, I constantly pose questions like, “Will I wear this at 60? At 80? Would anyone cherish this when I’m gone?” These queries heavily shape my decision-making process. I like to also think about the range of wearers that would reach for the items I am creating. I.e. is it just a style I like, or something universal for many? 

NATURE'S LABORATORY 025.23 collection. Imagery: supplied.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers who are interested in following a similar path to you?

Work hard at everything you do. There is no job that should be beneath you, from cleaning to taking out the trash. Stay busy and keep moving. Don’t quit. Keep learning. Study. Stay informed and engaged. There is no such thing as a waste of education. Say yes to experiences and opportunities. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to always say yes to an invitation. Don’t be scared to take risks and enjoy life. 

What does an average day look like for you?

My weeks look very different to weekends. Monday to Friday I wake up early, go for a run if I’m up to it and rush to get the kids to school on time. After that, I’ll walk to my local cafe for around fifteen minutes for a coffee and then head to the studio where I’m at around 8:25am. I’ll start calls with the Australian team before the wider Barcelona team arrives at 10am. Then we shift onto fittings, shoots or other collaborative work. My weekends are very different, I lounge in bed for as long as possible. Typically I’ll be reading a book with a coffee in hand while my kids watch a film on the projector. 

What’s next for you? Personally or professionally?

Professionally, I am just going to keep going with the foundations that have been laid. Personally, in 2024, I am learning to play the violin again, improving my Spanish skills and hoping to get through my fear of the deep sea and get my scuba diving licence. 

Quickfire questions:

The three beauty products I can’t live without…

  1. Japanese facial cupping tool that I find helps with my puffiness when I use it before bed. 
  2. Floss. I keep multiples of the little Buly 1803 ones in metal containers everywhere. The floss is super nice and they are beautiful pots to pull out anytime necessary.  
  3. Mason Pearson hairbrush. I can’t use anything else anymore. Nothing compares. 

Best current season fashion purchase… Call me biased but our Cotton Round Shirt

The best book I’ve read recently… Right now I am reading The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean and I am finding it fascinating. 

My fashion icons are… I don’t have any. But right now I am really watching older European gentlemen. I love their suiting and ties and argyle sweaters, paired with coats and a great pair of loafers. 

My guilty pleasure is… Cheese. 

If I could have dinner with any three people on earth, dead or alive, I would choose… My grandparents, so they could tell me their stories. 

I would describe my style as… Classic with something a bit strange, or fun or slightly weird. 


Sign up & Join
FQ Insider

Unlock exclusive content, behind-the-scenes insights, and special offers by becoming an FQ Insider.

Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover
Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover

Sign up & Join
FQ Insider

Unlock exclusive content, behind-the-scenes insights, and special offers by becoming an FQ Insider.

Sign up to the Fashion Quarterly newsletter.

*Ts&Cs apply.
Find out more at