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Fashion School Grad Spotlight: Q&A with Kelsey Adair and Bare Knitwear


Kelsey Adair - Bare Knitwear

Founded in 2012 by Fashion Business & Creative Arts graduate Kelsey Adair, Bare Knitwear is a handmade luxury alpaca knitwear brand born in North Vancouver, British Columbia.  The signature collection of dramatic scarves and accessories combine a modest colour palette, luxurious qualities of natural alpaca and heritage artisanship to give each piece a unique, humble aesthetic designed to last. From the sheering of the alpaca in the Peruvian highlands, to the hand sewn garment labels, Bare Knitwear products are 100% handmade with emphasis on quality, social responsibility and our environment.

1.What got you into the fashion industry? My first job was with the Canadian children’s company Please Mum.  I worked for them for 4 years from age 16-20 and learnt so much about the retail business.  It excited me and I enrolled in the Fashion Business & Creative Arts Program at JCI.

2.What are your plans for the next 5 years? Expand into stores on the East Coast of the USA and Australia where the seasons are opposite and knitwear is heavily on trend. Develop a stronger online presence and brand image.  We are doing an exclusive run of throw blankets for Heather Ross on Fir Street for this Fall to test the Home Décor market.  I would like to do more home décor items and expand into that segment.

3.What are some of your favorite moments or gigs working in the fashion industry? Visiting Peru in 2014 and setting up my business.  Getting the opportunity to meet the group of female knitters and collaborate on the signature collection together was a surreal experience. More recently, landing my first retailer for Bare Knitwear in New York City for this Fall Winter 2015 season.

4.What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to anyone going into the fashion industry? Find your niche within the industry. It takes time to find your place however each job and each opportunity you get you will learn and grow from.  Each experience will lead you toward your ultimate path.

5.How do you handle a difficult client or situation with regards to your business? Understand the situation from their perspective.  I put myself in their shoes, understand their concerns, make them feel comfortable and be diligent and persistent in finding a solution and establishing a relationship. Always follow up.


6.What are your predictions for this coming season’s trends? Lots of fringe! Maxi Coats and mixed patterns.

7.What is the best/worst parts about your job? Best part of my job is establishing relationships and getting the opportunity to meet and learn from people on a daily basis. Above and beyond knowing that I am helping ladies in Peru find work and gain the skills required to become self-sufficient.  The harder times come when trying to balance and enough time in the day to do everything required to be successful while handling the pressure I have to sell through my stock. But really-its not all that bad.

8.What are the challenges of working in your industry? As a sole-proprietor, it can be lonely and at times very overwhelming. My biggest challenge is time. Working on a tight timeline for production in addition to finding enough time in the day to work on all aspects of the business.

9.Do you have a signature or favorite look? Please describe it. Basic and minimal. I love simple timeless and elegant style with earthy tones.  Mixing texture and clean lines.  Sneakers, trousers, a basic white tee and lightweight trench coat is my day to day go to.

10.Name an industry trick that you think everyone should know about. Be yourself, work hard and be nice to people. Align yourself with people you respect and can learn and grow from.


11.Where do you find inspiration for your different looks. Continuing to listen to my clients’ feedback, people watching, spending time in nature and pulling inspiration from the Internet while keeping in mind my brand aesthetic.

12.How do you keep up with style trends? I continue to work in retail.  I learn what’s coming from watching brands and consumer buying behavior.

13.Where is your line currently available? Where in Vancouver can we find it? Our new line will launch in September and our stock will be available both online at or through one of our stockists. We are currently working with the following retailers:



14.What are your favourite three songs currently on your playlist? I am loving James Vincent McMorrow at the moment.

Visit Bare Knitwear’s website and follow @bareknitwear on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr to keep up on the warm fuzzies that Kelsey is sharing. 

JCI’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provide students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill.

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