Name: Roanne Mendoza
Title: Store Manager and Ethical Fashionista
What do you do and how did you get here?
I’m the store manager here at Kotn in Gastown. I went to the University of Alberta, undertaking a Bachelor of Science degree where I focused on studying the interconnections between material, culture & human ecology, and particularly, understanding the relationship between people and product. I learned a lot about ethical fashion, seeing the global impact from fast fashion and how most of us have no idea how our clothing is made, or anything about the people who create it. After I moved out here from Edmonton, I got a job working across the road at Kit & Ace. I was talking to a friend who’s a friend of Ben Sehl, co-owner of Kotn in Toronto. They told me that Ben and his crew wanted to expand out into the west coast, and I experienced the brand up close when they opened a pop-up last year on Water Street. The decision was then made to open a brick & mortar in the neighbourhood, and I felt drawn to work with the company in a full time capacity. When I started here, the knowledge I gained in my studies greatly influenced the merchandizing, transparency, and story that Kotn has to tell as a genuine ethical clothing manufacturer.
How do you like working in Gastown?
I love the neighbourhood. Growing up in Edmonton, we’d make a trip out to Vancouver every summer and Gastown was always a place we spent time in. Gastown is all about the interesting businesses, the people, and the local feel – just seeing what everyone is up to and how they run their shops, bringing in cool stuff made in Vancouver and from around the world. Guaranteed, there are always fun things happening in Gastown.
Any fav spots around the neighbourhood?
I like to sometimes hit the Juice Bar at Birds & Beets for an evening drink, and usually it’s Timbertrain for coffee in the morning. For clothes – ARC apparel and Nouvelle Nouvelle. Gastown has a ton of great boutiques where you can find things with cool stories behind them, and you can’t find this kind of stuff in bigger stores.
Any memorable moments?
This is my second summer/tourist season here and I get to meet a ton of interesting people from all over the world. For many, it’s their first time in Canada, and I really like sharing that experience with them. We don’t really get a lot of that in Edmonton.
What’s your philosophy for living a good life?
I stand behind the philosophy of Kotn that less is more.