Katherine Tessier has been a fashion girl since she was growing up in Saint-Casimir, Québec. Her mother’s closet was always stocked with the latest designer pieces, and Tessier drew inspiration from these beautiful garments. Encountering bullying in her local school, Tessier began focussing on fashion as a creative outlet and a source of individuality and strength. After high school, Tessier was unsure about choosing a career path, but due to familial pressure to attend university, she chose fashion design, as it seemed the most interesting. Tessier began studying fashion design in Québec but did not graduate as she struggled to express her individuality within the creative confines of the college’s curriculum. Tessier moved on, trying to find the right place to hone her talent, and decided that studying online with Parsons for a year-long certificate course was the best way to learn.
In 2014, Tessier began her brand, Katherine Tessier Clothing. The frustration of design teachers who did not accept her aesthetic prompted Tessier to get the ball rolling and start her own company. Business inspiration came from her father, an entrepreneur and business owner, and her aunt, who is also a fashion designer. “I always saw my father working hard for his dreams, and I wanted to do the same as him,” explained Tessier. “I asked him for tips before getting started, he helped me a lot at the beginning and still does.” The evolution of her business model has also been a key focus for Tessier, who sells internationally via her website but currently has no physical stockists. A high price point has also been key in retaining the exclusivity of the brand, as well as the Tessier’s goal of finding one single retailer who carries her products, instead of multiple global retailers. Sustainability is also a passion which has had a significant influence on Tessier, who hates fast fashion. Working with a production team in Québec has allowed Tessier to create local jobs as well as ensuring her garments are ethically produced.
Vancouver Fashion Week was key in boosting Tessier’s visibility. “I tried other fashion events but the Vancouver Fashion Week is the best event I participated in,” said Tessier. “For my first season, everything went perfectly!” Since then, Tessier has been featured on Vogue UK and has received nation-wide recognition for her designs.