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Who I am and who I’ll be
Co-founder of ethically made clothing brand Kotn, Mackenzie shares her thoughts on investing in timeless essentials, balancing staples with trend, and importance of keeping the 'spark' alive as we age.


19/99      Take us through your daily beauty routine – morning and night.

Mackenzie Yeates        I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my beauty routine. In the morning I wake up, wash my face with an oil-based cleanser because I have really dry skin. Then I put on a moisturizer with SPF in it, which is a recent development. For makeup I put on concealer, bronzer, a blusher, mascara and then I’m good to go. With my hair I try not to use hot tools that much so I let it air dry and sometimes curl it a little bit.

19/99        Do you have any product in your hair right now?

MY        I have mousse in it right now, and curled it a little bit on the side.

19/99     It looks so nice. What about at night time?

MY     At night time same routine. Sometimes I use, this is so old school, Ponds Cold Cream. I love to wash my face with a wash cloth, it is nostalgic for me – I feel like I am at my grandma’s house when I wash my face with a wash cloth, and it is good exfoliation without being too intense. So I will put Ponds Cold Cream all over my face, and wash it off with a bit of hot water and the face cloth, then will put on an oil and that is about it.

19/99     How has your beauty routine changed over the years?

MY     I have added sunscreen into the mix, which is recent. When I was younger I was more interested in tanning and being super bronze-y all the time. I still like to have that glow but I achieve it in a faux way and wear more sunscreen. I have really dry skin, especially in the winter; I have been using more oil-based cleansers and body wash, which really helps. I wash my hair less – better products but less. And I sleep with a humidifier beside my bed, so I guess that is a beauty routine type thing; to just keep me hydrated all night.

19/99     What about with makeup? Has that changed at all?

MY     Toning down the bronzer for sure. And now I just use concealer, and don’t use foundation. I find that throughout the day foundation will go into cracks that are starting to form. So I try to just keep super hydrated and use the concealer where I need it, like for under eye bags, which definitely come with running your own business. 

19/99     Do you feel pressure to look a certain way?

MY     Yeah I think so. Working in the fashion industry there is pressure to look put together, and sometimes I just don’t feel like doing that at all. There are definitely a few days during the week that I don’t wear makeup at all to give my skin a bit of a break. Working with a team of mostly women it is nice to feel comfortable at work, we are a casual work environment. So every morning I tend to just dress and do my makeup based on my mood.

19/99     Does that term ‘age appropriate’ mean anything to you?

MY     No not at all. I hate when in magazines they have those different outfits ‘when your 20, when you 30, when your 40’. I always love the ‘when your 60’ one – it is always the coolest outfit. As you get older you become more aware of what you like and what you don’t like and when it comes to shopping I think that is a big thing too. I try not to buy things now that I am only going to wear once or twice and then throw out. Price per wear is something that I consider a lot. And that goes along with being sustainable and having a sustainable fashion business too. I think that is one of the biggest things you can do – invest in pieces you love and can wear for a long time. So age appropriate is more about finding your own sense of style and what makes your feel comfortable.


Image via @kotn


19/99     How do you design for the fashion industry today, with it being so fast paced?

MY     We try to pick pieces that are timeless and that are going to last for a period but still have a nod to a current trend or has a contemporary cut. So being aware of what is happening in fashion, what all the current trends are and make a conscious decision to go with the flow of where the trends are going or deliberately go against that and do something that is more classic.

19/99     Has your fashion aesthetic changed over the years?

MY     Yeah for sure. When I first started my career, I was working at Holt Renfrew and we weren’t allowed to wear jeans or shorts to the office. I would wear heels pretty much every day, which now seems completely insane to me. But I would wear pumps and a pencil skirt, and red lipstick to the office.  But that was more about the environment I was in, and also trying to assert myself through the way that I dressed and did my make up. I was really into retro style stuff, with my make up too- I would do a cateye all the time. I still do a cateye occasionally. My go to party look is a cat eye and red lipstick. My aesthetic now is much more toned down, more androgynous, with a bit of a feminine flair.

19/99     If you could ask the older generation one question what would it be?

MY     Ah that is hard. There are so many questions; I love asking people about their beauty routine and they always say sunscreen, which is why I have adopted that into my routine. I guess how to keep that spark inside of you alive, the light alive. As you get older you get more comfortable in your situation, with your family, your team. I think being adventurous and switching it up helps keep that spark alive. I really think that is the core to beauty – that inner spark and energy and light. So yeah; ways of keeping that alive in yourself. 

19/99     If you could share advice with your younger self what would it be?

MY     Not to compare myself to other people so much. Which is harder now with Instagram, everyone using filters and facetune-ing themselves, to look at people on there and not compare yourself all the time. I’d tell myself to think about who I am, and define myself. I am a big believer in fashion and beauty in dressing for your body, and skin. So I think I have learned a lot of that over time; to dress for the way I am naturally shaped and how to have a beauty routine that compliments the fact that I have really dry skin and dry hair. I had to learn those things over time but I guess I would give my younger self some tips on that.

19/99     What makes you feel beautiful?

MY     Going on vacation. The glow thing that we are always trying to achieve through bronzer and makeup, part of it is being related and taking time to center yourself and de-stress. Being stressed makes me feel not beautiful, so whenever I am on vacation I always feel like a more beautiful version of myself. Surrounding myself with people who I really love and people who love me makes me feel beautiful. 

19/99     Is there anything that scares you about aging?

MY     Oh god yeah, it is pretty scary. It is more just a mental thing though, at a certain point. Loosing my curiosity for life, or sense of adventure, is probably the thing that scares me. I have a lot of older people in my life who are so vivacious and full of energy still. So I really look to that and hope to be one of those people in my older age.

I just did a trip to Egypt with 16 of my family members. It was for my 30th birthday; I said I want to go on a trip to Egypt and I thought a few people would come, but it ended up being 16 people, including my 85-year-old great-aunt. We always joke that you can’t tell her you are going on a trip because she will come. She came to visit me twice when I was living in New York and just stayed at my apartment, did all of her touristy stuff. So she came to Egypt and she was keeping up with the crowd, just loving it.

19/99     Was that her first time there?

MY     It was her second time there, of course. She had only been there on a couple day tour when she was younger, so it was really cool. I look up to her and she gives me hope for what it is like to be in your 80s.

19/99     Do you think there is a point where we stop growing and learning?

MY     No, definitely not. It is self-motivated but if you can continue to have a zest for life into older age then anything is possible. Both my parents are really good examples of that. My mum was an athlete and she went to the Olympics when she was 24. I don’t know any other career where you achieve your ultimate goal in one day at such a young age. So she has had to redefine herself multiple times throughout her life, and she’s done a really great job of it. She now works in the legal field so had gone from one extreme to the other. I think if you are open to change, you can learn for life. We don’t live in a time anymore where you work for one company for your life and then retire at 60; so I hate when I hear people who are 26 or something say ‘Oh I am too old to go back to school’. No you are not, you can go back to school when you are 50 or older. As long as you have the mind set you can learn for your whole life.

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