The simplicity of Iris Setlakwe

The simplicity of Iris Setlakwe

It’s hard not to fall in love with clothing designer Iris Setlakwe. Elegant and warm, she welcomes us into her enormous office-workshop on rue Chabanel in Montreal, where she creates all of her collections together with her team of designers. Portrait.

Posted at 11:00 am

Olivia Leyva

Olivia Leyva
Press

Iris Setlakwe is self-taught. She grew up in Sherbrooke in the Setlakwe general store run by her father. “The first Armenian immigrant in my line is Aziz Setlakwe, he arrived in Quebec in 1904 and set off. My grandfather, Michel Setlakwe, and his brothers opened a general store in the Eastern Townships, where we sold clothing, especially for skiing,” she explains.

At 21, she launched her first business, a clothing agency. In 2001 she created the brand that bears her name to offer clothes that look like her. “From the beginning I linked three words to my brand, which are still current: simplicity, comfort, elegance. I have always liked clothes that have a timeless style,” she says.

dress all women

Iris Setlakwe is a premium women’s clothing brand. There are suits, dresses, shirts, knitwear, jeans, from the most chic to the most casual outfits. “My philosophy is to create quality clothing collections, here in Quebec, and to contribute to the local economy,” she explains.

Seen by women of all ages, from head to toe, both for work outfits and for the weekend. It is important to me that they feel beautiful.

Iris Setlakwe

Iris Setlakwe also dresses many personalities, such as Céline Galipeau, Mélanie Joly and Karine Vanasse. ” I am very proud. When we feel good in our clothes, it gives us power and strength. Very often, women don’t know how to enhance their figure, use the right colors and styles that suit them. You just need to know how to combine clothes and have the right cuts and lengths. I am always happy to help you choose your wardrobe. »


PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

The offices and workshops of Iris Setlakwe, in Montreal, in the Chabanel district

The designer’s inspirations are multiple: she listens and observes people a lot, she loves to travel, European style, materials, fabrics and pretty details, like the pretty buttons on a jacket. “My collections reflect my life,” she says. I am a 53 year old active woman, I have two children, a 24 year old daughter and a 23 year old son, we live in Montreal and in the eastern townships in Knowlton. I wear jackets, dresses, but also more sporty outfits on the weekends. Now that I have seen my daughter’s friends who are starting her career, I am delighted. »

It specifies that it also offers a turnkey cloakroom service for businesswomen. “We take care of everything, for very busy women. »

  • Fall-Winter 2022 Collection (Available August 15), Palace Blue Two-Button Blazer, $595

    PHOTO ALEXANDRE GILBERT, SUPPLIED BY IRIS SETLAKWE

    Fall-Winter 2022 Collection (Available August 15), Palace Blue Two-Button Blazer, $595

  • Fall-Winter 2022 Collection, ruffled blouse, ivory, $235

    PHOTO ALEXANDRE GILBERT, SUPPLIED BY IRIS SETLAKWE

    Fall-Winter 2022 Collection, ruffled blouse, ivory, $235

  • Fall-Winter 2022 Collection, printed blouse, $335

    PHOTO ALEXANDRE GILBERT, SUPPLIED BY IRIS SETLAKWE

    Fall-Winter 2022 Collection, printed blouse, $335

  • Fall-Winter 2022 Collection, Blue Palace Double Breasted Coat, $975

    PHOTO ALEXANDRE GILBERT, SUPPLIED BY IRIS SETLAKWE

    Fall-Winter 2022 Collection, Blue Palace Double Breasted Coat, $975

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the two irises

In an interview, the designer and entrepreneur talks about her duality, her creative side that coexists with her “business” side. “I wear both hats and actually have two offices! There is the part of the brain where I write employment contracts, buy fabrics, plan collections. And there is the creative side, I create collections with designers, I play with fabrics and have fun with colors… I even allow myself to be messy! I like to work in a team and share my knowledge, because I learned everything at work. »

She also works with her family, with her husband and with her daughter. “It is extraordinary to work as a family, because there is a trust that is established and it is nice to delegate certain departments. The problem is that we are passionate, so the tone sometimes rises, and we talk too much about work at home! »


PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, THE PRESS

Fabrics in the offices and workshops of Iris Setlakwe

Iris Setlakwe always has a multitude of projects in mind. In 2021 she launched a home collection made up of cushions that uses leftover fabrics from clothing collections. She is also developing a leather division as well as an evening gown offering. “I love doing development. We have a clientele that has followed us for more than 20 years in Canada and the United States, in addition to our two stores, in Rockland Center and in Knowlton,” she says.

The Woman in Many Hats remains very enthusiastic in her community, despite a labor shortage affecting the manufacturing sector. “We lack seamstresses, pattern makers… but when you do what you love in life, you face challenges. It gives energy, stimulates, we are happy. I really encourage young people to find their way. »


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