Located just a block away from the hustle and bustle of the Pike/Pine corridor, stepping inside OSKA is like a big gulp of fresh air. Inside, amidst the buttery leather bags, soft boiled wool, and chunky knits in muted colors is Lori Fenton and her staff, waiting to help you build your wardrobe from the bottom up.
The German-based brand began in 1998, landing in Seattle in 2012. The design philosophy is the antithesis of fast fashion, focusing instead on pieces that are fun and casual, yet timeless and easily blended across seasons.
“There are things that customers come in with that are three or four years old and it looks like it could be in this season,” Fenton says.
Led by head designer Stephanie Schmitz, the classic OSKA line is one focused on silhouettes repeated through casual, yet elegant fabrics; boiled wool, velvet and velour, jersey knit, and corduroy. Nearly everything is machine wash, hang to dry.
In 2013 OSKA added ISCHIKO, a line that’s a bit more whimsical and incorporates different patterns and colors, trading the signature boiled wool and structured pieces for casual quilted jackets, denim, and heavy knit cardigans.
So, what’s going to be hot at OSKA this fall?
Channel Your Inner Icon
The inspiration for the fall/winter ISCHIKO line was taken from a vintage iconic singer/songwriter's album cover, the singer clad in stripes and dark sunglasses. The collection pairs classic OSKA O-shaped denim with bold striped sweaters, quilted jackets, and oversized bandana-inspired scarves. A concert poster served as further inspiration for a print, the font splashed across slouchy jersey-knit tops. “Every one is slightly different,” Fenton says.
“OSKA is not serious at all, but ISCHIKO is kind of like your play clothes,” she says.
While the ISCHIKO line is priced slightly lower than the main line and geared toward a younger demographic, Fenton says it really is for everyone.
Mix and Match
ISCHIKO features a bold red called ‘Love,’ which will blend nicely with colors in the main OSKA line, which include muted tones of greys, blues, and greens given names like ‘Hurricane,’ ‘Rain,’ Shade,’ and ‘Tide,’ as well as a bold mustard, dubbed ‘Beam.’
“You find that shades work together, so the grey of this season, the ‘Stellar’ and the ‘Space’ will work with something from next season.”
In addition to solid boiled wool vests, wide wale corduroy, and velvet trousers the fall line plays with plaid prints–including a reversable plaid knee-length coat and a crêpe blouse with a magnified plaid print.
“Our designer says she’s a fabric nerd. She gets her influence from a fabric or design and then expands on it. You saw a lot of influence from menswear [on the runway], so she’s taken plaids and played with it.”
Fenton says that the minds behind OSKA believe in sustaining a wardrobe and building upon it.
“I always invite customers to bring in a piece from a previous season and we see what we can do to add.”
Shapes often repeat, such as the tapered O-shaped trousers or A-line knitwear sweaters.
Additionally, there’s the option to create a customer file upon purchasing, meaning Fenton can call up every piece someone has bought before, allowing them to easily add complementary pieces to those already in their closet.
Fenton buys solely for the Seattle store, meaning what you’ll find in the OSKA shop here will be different than what’s going to be on the floor at the Vancouver, British Columbia store or the store in Beverly Hills.
“And you won’t see yourself coming either–because I’m not buying a ton. I buy four or five pieces,” she says.
Make an appointment today to get an even more personalized experience with one of the style coaches; they’ll pull pieces in anticipation of your arrival and offer refreshments, or just stop in and see what ISCHIKO and OSKA have in store for this season.
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