Interview: Calgary Designer Haithem Elkadiki

Libyan-born, Toronto-bred Haithem Elkadiki is a source of international style who continues to challenge the norm in Canadian menswear by offering sleek silhouettes, whimsical graphics and a bold colour palette through his label KaaDiki.

Elkadiki is a graduate of the International Academy of Design in Toronto and studied graphic design at the Applied Multimedia Centre in Calgary, where he now resides and creates the KaaDiki collections.

When designing a collection, Elkadiki sources his world travels and experiences, instead of relying on trends. “I do not create fantasy clothes, but they are distinguishable and incomparable to off-the-rack clothing,” he says. Past collections have reflected the styling and energy of fashionable cities such as, Milan, New York, and Zurich.

KaaDiki collections focus on mixing traditional men’s wear construction techniques with contemporary silhouettes that have a well-proportioned and fashionable appearance. KaaDiki details include patch pockets placed in an unpredictable spot, omitting elements like buttons from a jacket, or whimsical graphics silk screened on t-shirts or button downs.

As a wardrobe and fashion stylist, I am awarded the privilege of visiting design houses to view collections before they are released, granted access to feature fabulous pieces in editorial photo shoots and introduce clients to the designers they so adore to wear.  

I am also very lucky to count many of these great artists among the best of my friends, therefore I decided to visit my friend Haithem Elkadiki of Kaadiki in studio to ask him what’s new and why he’s chosen Calgary as his home. 

KC: As a young professional working in an artistic field, why choose to live and work in Calgary? 
HE: I have always answered that question with, “Why not Calgary?” This city is young, energetic and, most of all, is sexy. I know that the idea of a city as being sexy might seem strange but we often think of Paris or Rome as being romantic cities, so why not think of Calgary as sexy just like Berlin or Rio? 

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KC: What about Calgary inspires you the most? 
HE: Our truly amazing Mayor Naheed Nenshi and all the wonderful people that make this city their home. 

KC: I know you are a menswear designer, but I understand you are also diving into womenswear these days. What can we expect to see from your womenswear collection? 
HE: Expect to see the same idea as my menswear collection. Well cut garments that are fitted close to the body. They are clothes that are realistic and grounded with a healthy dose of edge sex and the good life. I am always thinking of all the amazing women in my life when designing the collection, they are the inspiration and reason that I began creating womenswear collection.

KC: Now if someone wanted a custom made piece what would that process look like? 
HE: Contact the KaaDiki studio by email or phone to make an appointment to view the collection. Choose a style. If needed, a muslin will be created to achieve the best fit possible. Once the fit is perfected, the garment will be cut and constructed with a lot of love and care by the designer. KaaDiki creations are always completed using the highest quality finishes. 

KC: Where can people check out your collection?
HE: The best place to see most current work is through the KaaDiki Facebook page, or following KaaDiki on Twitter and Instagram. And kaadiki.com. 

Photos by Curtis Dez.