The summer heat is finally upon us and a newly-minted clothing company--Frozen Laundry--is melting hearts and catching eyes with their inspired line of adventurewear. The company was born out of a frustration with shopping and an interest in fashion design.
“I couldn’t find good, locally made, high-quality and ethically sourced sportswear, especially for women,” explained Ali Becker, founder of the company.
Although the clothing is manufactured in Vancouver, the heart, soul and headquarters of the company are all in Rossland. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Becker fell in love with the Kootenays and, after attending design school in Victoria, knew there would be no better place to launch her technical outerwear and adventurewear company.
“It’s been nice to bring it back to Rossland and be able to play in the mountains out here and know that it stands up to the hard-wearing lifestyle of a Rosslander.”
While sales just started last week, the design and testing behind the clothing has been months in the making. “We have spent a lot of time in the last year doing research and development on functional cuts and performance fabrics, so I think we have a really good grasp on the technical side of the styles.”
After designing and manufacturing the protypes, Frozen Laundry has been using Rosslanders to test drive their biking-focused jerseys and t-shirts.
“Local bikers have been doing product testing for us. Good, local, humble people who are willing to take it for a good test ride, maybe have a few crashes in it and make sure that it’s going to stand up to some good wear and tear.”
Function and form of the garments have been the focus for the company, but they are also committed to using fabrics that are “natural, recycled, or aren’t water, land, or labour intensive.” Becker wants consumers to know the story behind what they’re buying. “It’s easy to get stuff milled in China and have no idea where it comes from and what’s behind it all. We really want to educated people on reclaimed and recycled fibres.”
Bike wear and other summer wear is the focus for now, but Becker hopes to expand the line into other seasons and sports. “We’re going to move into merino base layers and soft shell hoodies.” Far into the future, winter outerwear could become a signature product.
Frozen Laundry tries to remain local by using BC and Kootenay-based companies whenever possible, and promoting local artists through limited-edition graphic t-shirts.
“We had a local artist from Rossland and some from out on the west coast to do some artwork for us that we screen printed on some T-shirts that we had made. We want to keep doing small cycles of things to keep it fresh.”
The Laundry made its debut at last week’s farmers market, and reception has been positive. To keep costs down, the company plans to sell products directly to consumers to avoid the mark-ups that come with operating retail stores. “We’re hitting up mountain bike races and festivals. It’s also a good opportunity to meet people and get feedback.” Clothing can also be purchased through the company’s online store.
There is almost as much interest in the origin of the company name as there is in the products themselves. The name has its roots in a winter surfing trip. “We went camping at China beach, did a little surf session, and hung our stuff on the line over night. When we woke up, it had snowed overnight and all our stuff had frozen.”
In true Rossland style, locals have been helping with the start-up in any way they can. “We’ve had tons of local support. People have really been getting behind us in the start-up phase. We have a huge collaboration of artists in the area, and advisors who have been helping us out. It’s kind of like a cooperative even though no one is getting paid yet,” laughed Becker.
“People are so generous in Rossland and willing to help out any way they can. I can’t think of a better community to have started this project in.”
Check out Frozen Laundry at the farmer’s market this week, or visit their online store.