Catching up with: Maison Coterie

CATCHING UP WITH: MAISON COTERIE

Following their recent pop-up at our OTH Plateau location to commemorate their latest FW'21 collection, we had the chance to sit down with the founders behind Maison Coterie; Igal and Adam Perets to catch up on what's been going on with them, Maison Coterie and what they're aiming for in the next future years. 

 
 

  

OTH: Most people don't know this but Igal, you used to work at OTH a few years ago correct?


I: Yeah! That's right! My brother and I had actually already started Maison Coterie before I started working at OTH. We started on March 23rd, 2017 I believe. Even though I loved working there, I ended up leaving because we were planning a pop-up and I couldn't juggle the business, having a job and school. I was in school at McGill back then studying Commerce and Marketing. 


OTH: The last time we spoke, we touched on the fact that Igal, you're a bit more on the creative side. You do the shoots, you do the designs, the image of the brand. And Adam, you're a bit more on the logistics end, the behind-the-scenes business side of things. Is that still the case today? 


A: Both of us have different skill sets, which is why we work really well together. Igal will handle everything creative like creating the styles, helping with the graphics, everything that becomes digitally created whether it’s lookbooks, photography. And I’ll handle everything else from the logistics, the sourcing, anything tech related. I do have a background in tech, so I run the website, develop new features. Anything to do with how the brand is run is on my end and everything that people see of the brand is Igal.


OTH: It's been a while since we last spoke. The last time we did an interview like this was back in 2018. Maison Coterie was about a year old, you guys had just done your first pop-up on St. Laurent. How've you guys been since then? Have a lot of things changed since then? 


A: As a whole, I think COVID has slowed down a lot of things. Just in terms of the amount of collections that we've put out over the last year and a half, we didn't put out that many. But now? We're back, we’re fullforce.

We’re developing nicer pieces, the craftsmanship has gone up, we’re exploring different prints, different cut & sew pieces. Igal has a lot of inspiration of where he wants to take the brand in terms of a visual aesthetic, so we’re looking forward to the next year to two year roadmap as the brand is looking to continue to grow. Whether it’s the expansion of the product offering, the type of clothing that’s available, or whether it’s the distribution and availability to people across Canada as a whole.

 
 

  

OTH: Locally, Maison Coterie has been receiving a lot of love and we've started seeing more and more orders across the nation from BC to NS & NL. 

What steps are you taking to help Maison Coterie break out of that local bubble to expand Canada-wide?


I: Yeah, most definitely! Even before COVID, between that Mural pop-up and everything afterwards, we had already started expanding. The collections got a little bit bigger, we started tackling different methods of production. Obviously being able to sell not only through our website but in store at Off the Hook, helped people come into contact with the clothing and a lot of people have expressed that they like the quality of our clothing.

So it’s good to have a place for people to discover the pieces in person as well and experience our products through different touch points. This pop-up that just passed was our third pop-up with OTH. Every time we do one, it’s always so great to have the community come through and see what’s going on.


Over time, the community has grown quite a bit. Sometimes when I go out I’ll see people wearing our pieces and it’s pretty cool, but there is definitely a need to go out and expand throughout Canada and we’d also like to go to the States. Maison Coterie is pretty infamous in Montreal, we’d also like to have that presence in other cities as well.


OTH: Is that what you were looking to tackle when you went to LA this summer?


I: Well, in LA I was working on other things, other creative ventures that I have, but I definitely got a lot of inspiration from being there. Seeing what people wear, and what types of clothing is out there, they have so much more available to them than we do in the city. And so a lot of what I saw and what I was inspired by is probably going to make its way into the summer collection which we’re working on now.

Another thing that I really want to work on is bringing in more menswear aspects into the brand. To clarify, it’s not that I want to step away from streetwear. I still think streetwear has its place, but I definitely feel people will appreciate us bringing in a menswear aspect to our clothing.

There’s a certain level of craftsmanship that comes along with it, attention to detail, and the certain types of pieces as well. It’s not only like having a hoodie and a t-shirt, a common staple for streetwear brands, we want to expand the range and introduce more interesting pieces.


OTH: How do you find your inspiration when you’re out in LA?


I: Everything that people wear there is so interesting. It’s just really cool to see what people are wearing and all the different brands out there, local brands, so many different installations and pop-ups that are happening all the time there. And since they have so much more that’s accessible in person, you’re able to go see clothes, feel them, touch them, more than here.

 
 

  

 

OTH: Where do you mostly draw your inspiration for your different collections?


I: Personally, I also have many other creative ventures so my inspiration gets drawn from so many different things. I watch a lot of movies, look at old photography, stuff like that, and a lot of the inspiration I get is literally just a plethora of so much stuff happening all the time, that it almost just becomes a natural process. But let’s say when I get all of this information, it’s just sort of this personal taste that I’ve had over the years, and it’s just refining it and putting together instances of what I like.

So with the new collection, I was really into certain eras of film, and I’d look into the graphical work of certain eras and use some of those details, and then it’s also bringing together other common aspects of the brand like the workwear, and making sure that we still keep those pieces of our identity that people love.

You’re getting so much information every day with things like instagram, and everything else, you don’t even realize how you’re being influenced because of all the things that are just going into your head, so it’s just like an unconscious thing how your taste just develops.


OTH:  In the early days of Maison Coterie, one could say workwear was the main inspiration for the brand. Could you talk a little bit about your early fascination with workwear and why that was the main direction for the brand early on?


I: With workwear, I think that over the past maybe 4-6 years, has become a really big staple in both streetwear and menswear. What I like most about it is that when transforming workwear, you can add so many details that can give more personality to what you’re releasing.

When we first started doing workwear we were putting in these corduroy details all the time and people really liked it, so we just tried to carry on those corduroy details here and there, like even the new pants have them, but maybe you wouldn’t know unless you went really close.

Workwear is cool because I feel like you can dress it up in different ways. And just the silhouettes, like on some of our pants we have protruding pockets, and some are flat, and the way it looks on the body and how you put fits together is really interesting.

 
 

  

 

OTH: Are you able to speak a little bit on what we could be expecting for menswear?


I: I can’t speak too much yet, but I do have ideas of where I want to go in terms of accessories and expanding the range to include different types of things. I can’t give too much away but you’ll see it when it happens. 

 

  

OTH: Maison Coterie has a history of collaborating with different local artists. Igal, some of your other creative ventures include cover art for Lou Phelps, you’ve directed a music video for him too. You’ve shot for Planet Giza, Kallitechnis etc. What’s the roadmap looking like for collaborating with locals again? 


I: We used to do it quite frequently, now we’ve sort of started to take a break from it. Not because that we don’t plan on going back. We’ve just been focusing a lot on the clothes, and also COVID.

So it wasn’t really our highest priority at the time, however we still want to bring the artistic touches to the things that we release. For example, some of the graphical inspirations are inspired by old movie graphics. In the lookbook, we got Yuki, who’s also an up and coming artist. We want to keep doing those things, and eventually even go outside Montreal and look to artists in different cities as well. 

 
 

  

OTH: It’s cool to see that you guys are expanding every season. In the past you’ve done bags, now you’re moving on and doing Sherpa outerwear, and you’re talking about doing menswear stuff. Even with your printed tees, the last drop you had pigment dyed tees in both unisex and men’s sizing. Creating products for your female consumers, that opens up the doors for new avenues.


A: We’ve gotten a lot of requests for smaller sizing, especially for our cargo pants. Girls email us and ask if we have smaller than size 30.We no longer cater to just men, we’ve identified that. Hence why we tested out the pigment dyed, unisex t-shirts. That’s where we’re starting to explore different avenues and are starting to offer different products.


OTH: Speaking of pigment-dyed tees, we’re going to be doing a little collaborative tee soon of our own soon. Off the Hook x Maison Coterie! 

Is that the same process that’s being done for that tee? When should our customers be expecting the collab?


A: It is pigment dyed, we’re releasing 6 t-shirts in early November. The collab tee with OTH along with 5 other t-shirts. We should also be releasing two sweatsuits also. This will all be packaged as a delivery 2 for the Fall/Winter ‘21 collection and one of the pieces is the OTH x Maison Coterie blue t-shirt.


OTH: This is our first collaborative piece together. 


I: Officially on a piece it’s the first time, but people have come to know that we’re very intertwined with OTH over the years with the different pop-ups and activations that we’ve done with them.
 


 

OTH: Finishing up here with a question about how your shoot your lookbooks.

In 2018, you mentioned that analog is something that you hold dear to your hear. You’d rather shoot on film just for the little fun accidents you can get and feelings associated with it. Is that something you guys continue to maintain, is it something you’ve implemented?


I: So I love film. I have tons of different film cameras, and I try to use them all the time, but sometimes when you’re moving at a fast pace, you gotta go digital. Just now with this new collection, the way it lined up because of shipping delays, we were making the lookbook in real time. I’m still editing it right now, and if I had shot it on film, I’d still be waiting for photos and we wouldn’t have any for the pop-up.

So you've gotta pick your battles, but I will still say that I prefer film all the time over digital. You could see that, every time somebody takes a photo on digital they try to edit it so it looks like film and I don’t even mean the pronounced stuff. If you really understand film and how the chemicals work, there are so many subtle things you could do in your editing just to emulate that feel. 


OTH: For any of the film nerds who are gonna read this, what’s your go to set up for your film photography?


I: I’m in love with my Mamiya RZ67. For me, it's Portra all the way. 400 or 800 only.


OTH: And then on 35mm, do you have an SLR?


I: I have a Contax RX, I love that camera and I recommend anyone go out and get one if they want one because it has a great handfeel. it has interchangeable lenses, it’s all black with a clean Contax logo, and I know all the film nerds are gonna love Contax because it’s just such a well made brand.

People overlook their SLRs because they’re so famous for their Contax G1, G2, T2, T3. I used to have a T2, I wanted to buy one again but I love my RX. And the RX, you’re able to use those ZEISS lenses.
Those lenses are so good that there’s even some filmmakers and cinematographers that are gonna rehouse them for cinema.


OTH: What about Point & Shoots?


I: Yeah, my point and shoot used to be the Contax T2, but I always have this back up point and shoot, I think it’s one of those Olympus cameras, one of the MJU and I like those. People usually get the fixed lens one, but I have the Zoom one. But that’s the camera that I don’t care if it breaks, I’ll bring it to concerts or things like that. It’s held up through a lot, so I’m definitely gonna hold on to that one as long as I can, but I definitely want to get a T2 again, or maybe a Yashica T4, and I know those are basic pics now, but they’re great cameras.

 

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