This weekend we’re traveling to Brooklyn, New York to visit Mandy and her shop, Kordal Studio. In 2012, Mandy launched her company with a mission: to create quality, responsibly-made garments that exemplify the possibilities of sustainable design. Kordal is much more than a brand or a store. Collections are designed without focusing on trends and produced in an ethical manner by crafting garments with natural, organic, and recycled textiles. Today, Mandy is opening the doors of her store and inviting us to discover more of her beautiful world.

N.: Who is Mandy? How would you define yourself? (Please tell us a little bit about you.)

M.: I’m a clothing designer living in upstate New York who loves being outdoors. Long hikes with our dog and working in the garden are two of my absolute favorite things. I grew up mostly on the East Coast, but I moved around a lot as a kid, so I’ve always adapted easily to new situations. I was born during the summer solstice and I feel especially drawn to the summer months: lake swims, fresh fruit, and long sunny days just can’t be beat. I take my time and I don’t like to rush things... sometimes to a fault! I’m constantly inspired by dance, films and textile art. I’m particularly drawn to the Batsheva Dance Company and the work of artist Lenore Tawney. I love creating things by hand, collaborating with others, and seeing projects come to fruition.

N.: ¿When did you open Kordal? Could you give us a brief history of your shop? What prompted you to launch your own business?

M.: I launched the company back in 2012 out of my apartment in Brooklyn. At the time, I was in between design work and I felt disenchanted by the fashion industry. The amount of waste and lack of connection to the creation of the garments felt discouraging. It was during this period that I purchased a 1970s era knitting machine, which looks a bit like a keyboard but with knitting needles instead of keys. I started to make my first prototypes and within a couple of months I was selling a small collection of garments to some local shops. Over the years, the business slowly grew and I found wonderful vendors to take over our production so I could focus on designing and running the business.We opened the shop in November of 2019, and while the timing was challenging with the pandemic, I wouldn’t change a thing. The shop has provided us with such a sense of community and has given us the opportunity to create a space that really encapsulates our vision.

N.: Can you share a moment you’ll always remember as an entrepreneur?

M.: Our shop opening is one I’ll always remember, it was so rewarding to see everything come together after years of building a business and really putting in the time and hard work. Peeling off the vinyl sticker for our sign on the front door was such a special moment, and I was so grateful to be surrounded by an incredible team and our community that came out to celebrate with us.

N.: What do you think our philosophy contributes to Kordal and to your clients?

M.: Wearability! The Naguisa style is so cool and unique, but the best part is that all your styles will support wearers throughout the day, whether they’re walking in the city or hiking in the woods. And the home slipper collection feels like an extension of our textured cozy knitwear, providing a different kind of nurturing support for indoor use.

N.: How would you describe working with the Naguisa team? For you, what is it that makes us different?

M.: The Naguisa team is lovely, you make everything so seamless and easy. I think the Naguisa team is really thoughtful, from sending us beautiful imagery to work with to incorporating handles onto your shoe box design to eliminate the need for additional bags. Every detail seems to be thought through.

N.: Of all our designs to date, which is your favorite?

M.: My favorite by far is the Abra Boot in Brown, I wear them almost every day! Jia Yee, our Director of Production and Design, loves the Azimut in Green and wears hers just as often. In fact, everyone on our team bought themselves a pair of Naguisa shoes this fall!