Sunday, June 6, 2021

 At the VCC Annual Jewellery Design Exhibit, on until June 13th at the VCC Broadway Campus (Glen and 7th) I was drawn to the beautiful work of Iris Lo, a Scholarship Winning, First Year Designer. There were lots of spectators at the windows, but two who seemed especially excited were Wilma and Arthur, who turned out to be Iris' parents. That is what I have loved about the show, usually held at the VCC downtown campus. Everyone dresses up, the Staff is in attendance, the exhibits are extraordinary, the Students are so accomplished and so proud of their work and the Parents, well they do love to get into the photos and make introductions. Because of COVID, the Jewellery exhibit, this year is outside, a vast window display, and guess what, the parents are there. Iris gives a wonderful interview here and yes, I am including a photo of her Parents. Congratulations all! My favorite piece by Iris, is the Koi Fish Ear Cuffs. Since I am a Pisces, these call my name.

Q:  Please tell us where you are from and how this influences your work.

A: I was born in Hong Kong and my family immigrated to Canada when I was 3 years old. A lot of my experience and learning about my culture came from visits to areas like Chinatown and trips back to Hong Kong to visit family. I was also lucky enough to spend one year of high school living with my grandparents in their senior home in Hong Kong, and that experience with elders exposed me to a lot of the different cultural traditions and history within Hong Kong. My work is very much influenced by my experience - I feel that a lot of my work tries to address the intangible acts of community and meaning-making that occurs rather than drawing specifically from physical inspiration. Ordinary objects that surround us, that we use everyday, frequently have more meaning and significance to us emotionally than what they physically are. Jewellery is much the same and I love using it as a medium to convey the significance of moments or the things around us. 

Q: Who is your favourite Jewellery Designer? Where do you see this being advertised or worn? Where would you like to see your own work? (Retail, Movies, Runway?)

A: I admire so many jewellery designers that it would be so difficult to choose just one! I currently really admire Saskia Shutt; she's a British-Belgian designer who has been really pushing for a more ethical, sustainable, transparent, and responsible jewellery industry. Jewellery accounts for almost half of the world's global demand for gold and illegal mining is one of the major reasons behind the deforestation of the Amazon, one of the Earth's largest carbon sinks - so as an industry, I do think we really need to take a look at not just recycling (which is really important), but how to have better, fairer, and more sustainable practices. I also really admire Bijules Jewelry - she has really bold and unconventional designs which I love, but she also started an incubator to help develop and support emerging jewelry talent from diverse backgrounds.

Locally, I really admire Anita Sikma, Morgan Asoyuf, Erica Leal, and Kayla Lim.

Jewellery is meant to be worn, so as long as someone is wearing my work, I think I'll be happy to see it!

Q: Do you think Jewellery/Accessories should be seen more? Where?

A: Of course! The problem sometimes is that they're so tiny and so hard to photograph. I do think they should get more attention; clothes are mandatory in a certain social sense, jewellery and accessories are completely optional so they're really a chance for your style and message to shine!

On a different level, I would love to see more jewellery featured in galleries and museums - they really are tiny pieces of sculpture that require so much technique, skill, and artistic vision.

Q: Many students in your program come from different academic backgrounds and professions. Do you? How might this benefit your jewellery design future?

A: I went to a high school that specializes in fine arts and have a Bachelor's Degree in Art History. Being exposed to so many different mediums and getting all the theoretical knowledge and language to express my ideas and influences definitely helps my jewellery practice. I also previously worked as a project coordinator for my dad's sustainable building and design company. One of my main roles was materials vetting for this project seeking Full Living Building certification (currently the world's most rigorous green building certification). Through him, I got to work with some of the most amazing architects, interior designers and trades people in the city. Working with these people who are really at the top of their game and pushing an industry forward to be more accountable and sustainable, using both new technologies but really questioning how we currently do things, how we live, and how we can do better I think really informs how I go about my practice. Being in that environment really convinced me that I needed to go to jewellery school.

Q: What has been your favourite part of being at VCC so far?

A: The people for sure, the breadth of knowledge that the instructors and workshop coordinator have is truly incredible and inspiring (and super helpful!). I think I learned at least 5 new techniques for my year end project alone and having instructors with different specializations and experience definitely helps. The support from the other students is also incredible, we all come from pretty diverse backgrounds so it's always fun to bounce ideas off of each other. You learn that there are so many different ways to do one thing or get one result and you can have all this support for the type of learning or working that suits you. The equipment is also nice - it really helps to not have to spend thousands of dollars on a new rolling mill when you're first starting out.





Quick Bite bracelet, sterling silver



Bok Choy Brooch, sterling silver, fine silver, patinated copper wire, steel


Dim Sum earrings, sterling silver, britannia silver, 14K gold, yellow cubic zirconias



Koi Fish ear cuffs, sterling silver, simulated gemstones, 24K gold


Engagement ring (private commission), platinum, pear-shaped rose cut diamond, yellow sapphire, green sapphire





Sunday, May 30, 2021

Raquel is an award winning VCC Jewellery and Design Program Grad! I saw her recent display at the Annual Student Exhibition at the VCC Broadway Campus 1120 E 7th (south east corner of Glen Drive and E 7th) May 29-June 12. Here are 3 photos that show one of her exquisite necklaces, her Designer Statement and her Karl Brown Scholarship. More details via her Instagram raquelale. Thanks Raquel, for bringing Brazil to Vancouver Jewellery.

I have been attending the VCC Jewellery and Design Program Exhibitions and Sales for many years and encourage you to do the same. Usually at the VCC Campus, downtown, they are a fine example of unique jewellery design as well as fantastic displays of training and talent. Here is an interview with Karin Jones, Department Head of the program: COVID 19 Interviews: VCC Jewellery: How Students Shine On | Clothes Line Finds - Vintage clothing, fashion events and reviews

Interview Questions and Responses:

Q: Where are you from and does that influence your work?

A: My name is Raquel Ale. I am the mother of two boys, chemical engineer, former stockbroker, and now a jewellery designer. I recently graduated in Jewellery Art & Design at VCC, and I loved every second of it. As much as learning metalsmithing techniques and design principles was exciting and challenging, my favorite part of the program was the people. It was inspiring and life-changing to have the opportunity to learn from my peers and instructors, who are as passionate about jewellery as I am.

I am originally from Amazonas, Brazil, and I have been in Vancouver for nearly four years. Brazil is a very colourful and culturally rich country; those colours and energy have an enormous influence on my designs. The people are warm and expressive, and perhaps that explains our relationship with jewellery and accessories. For example, it is not unusual for me to wear three different earrings on the same day. In my opinion, the more expressive the person is, the more they are willing to display their identity through jewellery.

Q: Do you think that Jewellery/Accessories are visible on the runway, on TV, and at important Ceremonies?

A: From the glamour of a runway and a red carpet to the simplicity of day-to-day life, fashion and jewellery are everywhere and complement one another. A simple dress can look stunning when paired with the right accessories, not necessarily the most expensive ones. Beautiful jewellery can be made with anything from diamond and gold to recycled materials. In fact, I am immensely passionate about exploring unexpected combinations of materials in my designs.

Q: Where would you like to see your Designs?

A: My desire is that the people wearing my pieces relate with them at a personal level, beyond the materials they are made of. To me, the true value lies within empowering people to express themselves through my work. That is my mission as a jeweller.










Tam, Raquel, Mike, Sayeh and Kourosh

Tam Rueter is a top graduating Student in the VCC Jewellery Art and Design Program. They received the Mountain Gems Artistic Achievement Award. A standout window display at VCC's Broadway Campus 1120 E 7th (Glen Drive at 7th), on from May 29th-June 12th, their beautiful designs are nestled against cedar bark and moss, in keeping with their love of nature and eco practices. Love their idea about jewellery being " tokens of meaningful moments". I choose clothing for colour, but I do wear jewellery, mostly earrings and brooches, that tell a story. Try my best to avoid plastic, but then, there are those few vintage pieces....

Q: Where are you from and does your background shape your work? 

A: I was born and raised in the Fraser Valley, Cloverdale if we want to be specific. I would definitely agree that my background shapes my work, especially in the instance of my grad pieces. I was always an outdoors kid, but with having camped a lot and attending a forest education summer camp for many years, that really just kind of solidified the garden hermit within me. Coming from a European heritage, the Dada and Arts and Crafts art movements really spoke to me. So, I love to really just have fun with creating art (with jewellery and in any other form), and also in a way make fun of art. There’s a lot that I think is kind of overrated or too “high-society” for my taste, I believe art should remain personal and accessible. I also love when you can tell that something is handmade; it just adds a special connection between the artist and the viewer. Of course it takes a lot of skill to make a piece immaculate as well, but I think it takes equal skill to showcase a step in the process that was done to a piece, but in a presentable way. 

Q: Where would you like to see your Jewellery go? Runway, Theatre, Gallery, Store? Locations? Who will wear your work and what will that say about identity? Culture? Trends? Interests? 

A: I’d love to see my pieces in galleries at some point, I enjoy that they make art very accessible. And as somebody who also enjoys going to galleries for either just fun or inspiration, I’d love to lend my art to that experience. As well, I think it would just be really neat to collaborate with other designers for something to be included in a runway show, or some type of stylizing for publication. So I guess the dream moving forwards is really to just collaborate with other artists that I resonate with and share a similar vibe and vision. It's very important to me to stay true to myself for my creative satisfaction. So if you’re somebody who’s interested in nature and out of the norm jewellery, hit me up! 

Q: Do you think Jewellery is visible enough? I would like to see more and especially more Canadian, more Eco, more reflections of nature, etc.... 

A: This is definitely a big question. Jewellery is very visible, especially with all of the types of ads we have now. They’re everywhere. However, I don’t believe that all types of jewellery are visible. I grew up with exposure to your sort of classic retailers with straightforward, classic styles. You open a magazine, and it’s there. You turn on the TV, and it’s there. It honestly wasn’t until I was really jumping into this industry that I discovered really how vast the community of artisanal and other jewellery is. So I'd love to see more exposure and visibility for those communities! I think the artisanal/handmade communities are for sure getting more attention recently with the kind of boost we’ve had to supporting local. This is great! Something else I’d  just love to see from brands or artisans themselves is a big push for trying to be more eco-conscious in our production. Whether it’s using recycled metal to reduce the harmful mining to our planet, sourcing our materials locally, or simply by using recyclable/compostable packaging. Any step forwards is a step worth taking. 

Q: What has been your favourite part of being at VCC? 

A: It's really hard to pick just one thing as a top favourite, but I’d probably have to say that it’s honestly just the community within the program itself. The students, the faculty. Everyone has connected so much over the past 2 years. It’s such a special feeling to be growing and learning together. It’s been so important for me to bounce ideas around with other jewellers; it’s really helped me to push my creativity and methodology. All of the faculty are so supportive and insightful, I know I’ll still be pestering them a little bit for years to come. (Sorry not sorry!) 

Q: Where can you see your creativity taking you? 

A: The first thing that came to mind is also the most important for me: all I want is to live a comfortable, creatively satisfied life, while helping others collect tokens of meaningful moments in their lives. To make and share art. Very, very sparkly art. And wherever that happens to take me, career or geographically (or other) wise, is completely fine with me. 


Tam's exhibit at VCC  - photos by Tam

Snapped by Colleen

All photos below are by Tam







I have long been a fan of VCC's programs, especially Jewellery Art and Design. The exhibits, usually in the  main foyer of the downtown campus, are beautifully displayed and Students, surrounded by Staff and Parents, are articulate and well prepared for creative careers. This time, the Annual Student Exhibition will start Saturday, May 29 and will be displayed for 14 days at  VCC's Broadway Campus, 1120 E. 7th. You can see it from 11:00-11:00 along the covered arcade along the North Wall of the building. It is a window exhibit. I am going on Saturday to take some photos because this one, is not to be missed. 

Karin Jones, Department Head of Jewellery Art and Design, truly supports her Students becoming well known in the Community and a blog spotlight is one more way to do this. 

The first light is Leah J. Lang, tops in her Graduating class. More information via Leah's instagram at: westcoastmetalproject Thank you, Leah for bringing light into dark times!

About Leah Lang

Q: Where are you from and does this influence your designs? Does identity shape your work? 

A: Where I am from is very much a part of what I do. I think, my values and environment are  reflected through my creative process which does influence the work.  

I grew up in various parts of the west coast including Salt Spring Island. My roots are there. I’ve  found the islands a huge source of inspiration. Exploring the lushness of old growth forest,  shell midden beaches and twisted arbutus groves. Observing nature when it is left to do what it  does best to fully express itself .. is so visually enriching. I have always felt close to the land,  and particularly the west coast. 
In the summers I tree planted up north to pay for art school. Then completed a BFA at Emily Carr College of Art and Design and UBC followed by studies in Horticulture. After that,  gardening for the Vancouver Park Board and eventually became fully absorbed creating in the  Vancouver film industry in IATSE 891.  
Vancouver has been my home for a while now. The city and its architecture inspires me and  has also become an important influence. 

Q: Where would you like your jewellery to go? I am thinking, of course, about the commercial  aspect, including sales/career .. 

A: I will continue to explore and create a body of work and apply to Art Jewellery shows and  exhibitions or a gallery. I gravitate more toward an art based perspective rather than creating a  brand in commercial production. I see myself making jewellery that is expressive; a bit more unusual and mostly non traditional..  that encourages thought and explores ideas. I tend to think of ‘Jewellery’ as metal art or sculpture on a tiny scale that can be accessible as  small wearable pieces of art. 

Q: Do you think jewellery is visible on the runways, on tv and in the movies ? 

A: Yes, I do think jewellery can be highly visible in a fashion context and in movies especially  when it pushes the boundaries of what is expected... and if it raises questions or has a voice  and inspires discussion or explores issues. This is when it becomes exciting to me. Jewellery as art is a great medium for this.  It might even be interesting to display students Art Jewellery on live models in a similar way as  clothing fashion is presented in fashion week. This would encourage visibility ..and the pieces  themselves would definitely get larger : )

Q: What has been your favourite part of your time at VCC? 

A: Metal Techniques and fabrication of any kind fascinates me... the precision!  Learning that one millimetre is actually an incredibly vast space to be explored and respected.  
I loved Art History & Design which is the foundation of everything ART, of course!  Navigating technical drawing and learning the tips and tricks of drawing gems that give the  illusion of being real and visually jumping off of the page. This was pretty great too! Computer design class brought an introduction to the endless possibilities of 3D printing as an  invaluable new tool in jewellery..and Gemmology opened my eyes wide to the world of gems  and examining their physical and optical properties and unique identification characteristics.  

The two years of the Jewellery Art & Design introduced us to so much material and it went by  very fast! The programme was challenging and rewarding with excellent professional  instruction. I am now looking forward to continuing gemmology in the fall and exploring my  new skills and expanding on them.  

Q: What do you think about the jewellery of architecture? I, Collen think our grey buildings could be more exciting and could be enhanced by 'jewellery'. In keeping with the theme of women and creativity how can jewellery express this?

A:  Leah says: ‘Jewellery’ of architecture immediately makes me think of the huge spinning chandelier under  the Granville bridge... that is Art Jewellery for buildings ! I love this."  

For me architecture is great visual resource in designing jewellery. Vancouver has a lot to offer with our West Coast style, historical and modern buildings, Art  Deco, Mid Century and the exciting new post Modern construction we are seeing now in parts  of the city. You might have to look for it but it’s all here. I think jewellery, absolutely, can be  more than purely aesthetic and offer meaning from wherever you derive your inspiration. 

Leah Lang Jewellery Art & Design VCC, 2021 

Moss brooch, oxidized silver, mother of pearl

Wild nootka rose ring, mother of pearl

Tidal seaweed necklace, oxidized silver, mother of pearl, abalone

Seashore barnacle necklace, oxidized silver

Barnacle ring, oxidized silver, lab created blue topaz


Lichen earrings, oxidized silver, mother of pearl  




Sunday, May 16, 2021

I heard Celeste, interviewed on CBC and was impressed by how well she represented Fashion Design at VCC. Then, as I watched the fine video, Let There be Fashion, I saw more of her and her collection: Still Sideways. Always a great volunteer and role model, she answered my questions here:

1)What would you wear to Vancouver Fashion Week? Why dress for events?

I haven't shopped for clothing much, over the past few years, so my wardrobe has been pretty simple, but if I am dressing up, I will add more rings and bracelets. I would likely wear a black fitted top, v neck, loose pants with pockets, combat boots and lots of accessories. People can wear whatever they want to live events, but it is fun to add a little "extra" for something special.

2)Where are you from and does that inform your style?

I currently live in Vancouver, but grew up in Cloverdale and Sarnia, Ontario. My style is more based on what I am doing (working, going to school, learning about pattern and design). I am drawn to thrift stores because I like to wear things that resonate with my life. I start with basics and build. 

3)What are your thoughts about making a Fashion Video versus a live show? 

A Fashion Video is a great alternative, since live shows are not happening right now. I love that our program, Fashion Design, collaborated with the VCC Digital Media Program. They did an awesome job of putting everything together, showcasing our work in such a creative way.

4)Tell us about your CBC Interview, highlighting the VCC Fashion Design Program.

I was excited when we were given the opportunity to be part of the CBC Interview. It was my first time being on the radio. I was nervous but it was really fun. (Note that Celeste was articulate and enthusiastic in her support for VCC and for Fashion Design.) As she says," it was 8 years from the time I graduated high school until I entered the VCC program. I learned the importance of volunteering as a form of giving back."

5)What has inspired you to move forward, especially during this time?

My family and close friends and accomplishing my goals, keep me going. The goals have been a driving force: to keep exploring new things and achieving that which seems unattainable. I am also inspired by being in the woods, near water and in the mountains.

Next steps include practicums and work in the industry, to expand my skill set. I will continue my own projects, creating, creating, creating! 

Thank you, Celeste for volunteering for this interview! We love to know more about the future of Fashion! Thanks, too, to Sarah Murray for her ongoing enthusiasm for Fashion, Fashion Programs, Emerging Designers and those who want to write about them. 



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Randi Winter/The P2P Life & Luxe Beat Magazine, recently (May 8) interviewed local Canadian Model, Nova Stevens, in an article: Miss Universe Canada 2020 and Canada's Representative to the Miss Universe Competition. Nova is introduced by Randi: "Nova Stevens, Miss Universe Canada 2020's journey from refugee to model, actress, social activist, author and now to the Miss Universe stage representing her adopted country of Canada and first woman of South Sudanese descent, is truly inspirational. She is Canada's second black Miss Universe in 68 years. The 2019 winner, Zozibini Tunzi inspired her to enter Miss Universe Canada again, seeing someone who reflected her reality. Her charity, GO SuperNova and her We'R One Project recently took Nova to Ethiopia to reunite with her family, separated by war, after 21 years. Her next stop was South Sudan to meet heads of state bringing over 10,000 COVID-19 and HIV tests, promising more tests and to screen over 20 prevalent diseases.

Photo by Nina Pak

Nova is a co-author in Pursuit:365 and co-founded the Juneteenth and Freedom and Rights Marches in Vancouver. These were powerful but peaceful, safe with tens of thousands attending. They were instrumental in getting Emancipation Day, August 1st declared in Vancouver in 2020 and this year, recognized federally. Nova's future plans include more humanitarian and civil rights causes and a future in political office. Randi guested on Olio by Marilyn and you can read about the many reasons why Nova is so very well qualified and so deserving of our votes by May 15th, this Saturday. To vote for Nova Stevens, go to missuniverse.com or Vote.missuniverse.com and watch May 16th the finale from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida."

Nova is well known here, for her work with Designers and Artists. She truly commands the runway and is in high demand for her work ethic, people skills and dynamic self expression. She says: "I can't deny my passion for fashion. Fashion, has always been a huge part of my life. Whether it's being on the runway, playing dress-up for photoshoots or using it as a tool to express my individuality. One of my favorite quotes by the one and only Coco Chanel "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening" this to me, sums up what fashion represents."  

Artist, Writer and Photographer Nina Pak shows Nova's expertise, on her website. To quote Nina "this was a collaboration with the designers Lillian Makweja O'Brien and jewelry designer Carolyn Bruce. I love working with Nova; she is very professional and very kind. We had a lot of fun!"


Photos by Nina Pak



Thanks to Randi Winter and Marilyn R Wilson for sharing their introduction to Nova Stevens! Here she is in her 2020 Miss Universe Canada, dress by Michael Cinco, Internationally renowned Filipino Couture Designer, currently based in Dubai. 


Photo credit Browning Hill

Nova and Randi Winter

We wish her all the very best in all her endeavors! Marilyn lists these links to Randi's extensive coverage, in her magazine as well as links to Nova's bio on the Miss Universe Site, as well as social media info. here:

Miss Universe Links:

Nova's bio on Miss Universe

Nova Stevens Magazine

Vote for Nova Stevens

Links to Nova's Social Media and Website:

Facebook 

Twitter

Instagram

Website

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Written by Colleen Tsoukalas

Let there be Fashion is VCC Fashion's Video that highlights 11 Grad Fashion Students, their design inspirations and a sample of their latest collections. Sarah Murray, Coordinator of Fashion and Producer,  hosted a Zoom presentation during Digital Vancouver Fashion Week, on Sunday, April 18th and we were able to chat and comment as we watched. 

Shadi Arastehmanesh is a fine Graphic and Fashion Designer from Iran. (2017)  Her collection, TURQOISE TREASURE,  for the luxury market and her evening dresses are made from satin and organza, and feature fabulous accessories, crowns, tiaras, brooches and more. Cuffs, collars and other pieces are interchangeable so that one look can be many. Shadi talked about COVID and its effects on her design process, here.

Jaspreet Cheema designs classic apparel for women. Her collection, LIBAS, is one that offers timeless looks for all women. Her inspiration is Coco Chanel.

Brittany Cote is inspired by Horror Films and yes, she wants to design for film, and I can see her there. Silk dresses, zipper jackets, fringe skirts, black and white and so cool., this collection is named DISMAY.

Kelley Fung's line is MEMORY LANE and is all about her childhood memories. So fabric and fabric paint highlight fanciful looks that take us back but can be seen everywhere, now.

Jaya Grewal's HOT MESS, is dedicated to her mom and features brilliant colours, hand painting and a dynamic collection of very wearable styles.

Nataly Kingsley's CONNECTING GENERATIONS presents women's wear for all occasions. Nature themes are evident in her patterns. Wonderful accessories. Great fit and style make this a collection for women on the move.

Riley Simmons's PLAYING, is a vividly colourful invitation to be active, be imaginative and to play. Her clothing is great Sportswear and everyday delightful looks. She is going to study further in Graphic Design.

Celeste Sudermann - Love the title of her collection: STILL SIDEWAYS! Recycling, upcycling, using found objects and low budget, is an example of creating fashion with what is available and avoiding waste. Zippers, buckles and more are used in new ways, sideways, in her streetwear styles. Young, hip and unique! Celeste and Shadi interviewed together on CBC about their design journeys. Celeste will also be in the spotlight on this blog, very soon. Thank you, Celeste!

Rabab Loomba's collection, PRAKRTI,  is all about nature and bringing that into our clothing world. I loved her pink petal skirt and the green dress with plant patterns. She is inspired by Dolce and Gabbana.

Cristian Montoya brings his family and cultural background to his collection: EL CHARITO. Based on Mariachis uniforms, I heard music and saw performance, right away. Brass buttons, gold braid, jackets were outstanding! I can see these dynamic styles on runways around the world. 

Cayce Vanderzalm, SPELLS OF MAGIC designed a kids' collection that is playful and full of fantasy and adventure. Made to last, this is clothing that will be well loved and well worn. 

Marilyn Wilson interviewed these Grads, before we saw their video. It was such fun to be able to recognize them and know something about their collections so we could comment as we watched. More at oliobymarilyn.com.

The video, LET THERE BE FASHION, helped me see the Designers' journey and fashion story. I can see the collections as they would appear on stage or screen and where we live, rather than just on the runway. It was inspiring to learn about what shapes a Designer: Family, School, Nature, Art, History and more. Please watch and be amazed! Thanks Grad Designers, Sarah Murray and VCC team!

See the video at ~40 minutes below or here!


Image via Olio by Marilyn


See the VCC show at ~40 mins!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Written by Colleen Tsoukalas

I have been a huge fan of Adhesif for many years. The beautiful sweater I bought and have worn so many times, is a one of a kind, recycled and upcycled and deliciously both colourful and comfortable.

I have written about Melissa Ferreira Schwager and Adhesif events: Nifty for Fifty, Vancouver Fashion Week and One of A Kind Christmas shows. She tells her story best and this is hers as she relocates from West Coast Vancouver to Germany. 

I wanted to interview Melissa to spotlight a fabulous eco brand that we can still easily access.

My interview with Melissa 

Q: Adhesif is well known in Vancouver and now that you have moved to Germany, what remains constant and what has changed?

A: I will forever look back on my time spent in Vancouver with a lot of love for the incredible creative community there (which I still feel very much connected to everyday thanks to social media) as well as a ton of pride for the insane amount of work I put into establishing this little Sustainable brand. I think I participated in something like 250+ shows in my time spent in Vancouver so the roots are very deep there.

A lot has happened both personally and professionally in the last 18 years since first establishing Adhesif Clothing. A pinnacle point was opening and running our own Brick & Mortar on Main Street, Vancouver from 2010-2017. When we moved on from running the shop in 2017 we promptly got married in Germany that summer and got pregnant 2 weeks after that! Then in January 2019 we picked up and moved both home, family & buiz to Germany… but at the brink of a pandemic. (insert nervous laughter here) 

It has now been close to a year and half since I’ve returned to Canada, the longest time I’ve ever spent outside of my own country and away from family & friends. Truthfully, it has not been easy especially with not being to properly immerse into a new culture and learning a foreign language, but one thing has remained true…my creativity! My creativity has been my one familiar safe place and in all honesty my sanity too! One thing is for sure, I do not have the same amount of pressure I had living in Vancouver with the high cost of living. Sustaining a small-scale fashion business in one of the priciest cities in the World is to say the least, hugely taxing creatively. 

Currently, my home & HQ for Adhesif reside in a very peaceful village in the countryside, 20 mins drive from Frankfurt, with a lot of surrounding nature. Although I do miss the city beat from time to time, I must admit It is a welcomed change in pace, especially with a wonderfully    curious 2.5yr old in tow! 😊 It has given me an endless supply of creative freedom which was what I was looking for. I’m very happy with this new more balanced & sustainable space in my career and personal life.

Q:Which fabrics/materials are your favourites and how do you source them in Europe?

A: As we head into the warmer seasons, right now I’m working with a lot of natural fibres like vintage cotton & silk for my Eco Printing process. In colder months, my most favorite textile to work with is wool primarily from reclaimed wool sweaters like Cashmere & lambswool. Wool has great sculptural possibilities. I also really love old denim as it feels like it only improves with the more layers you add to the process.  I specifically work with reclaimed materials, always have, and wherever possible I like working with natural fibers, they just feel better on the body. I’m happy to say that since the start of the Pandemic I have not bought a single piece of new fabric! I have worked primarily with the stockpile of vintage materials I packed with my entire studio in a 10ft shipping container which arrived mid February 2020. Once it’s safe to venture out again I do plan on hitting up the variety of different Flea Markets they have in the bigger cities though, especially the incredible ones I’ve had the pleasure of  visiting in the past held in Paris which is only a 4 hr train ride away from where we live!! 😊 

Q: You organized many events in Vancouver, including Nifty for Fifty, one of my favourites. Will you continue with these in Germany or are there new ways of marketing?

A: I’m currently an exhibitor in an incredible Art & Design event in my region called Unique Der Manufakturenmarkt. The event features high end craft made in an incredibly unique way. If all goes well with things opening up I will be showcasing my latest work on May 29th & 30th 2021. The event is held in a gorgeous Monastery founded back in the year 1136 set amidst roaming vineyards in the famous Rhine region. It’s a real visual treat to be apart of as an artist with a great community of creators. The organization who runs this event, has a slough of similar events throughout Germany which I someday hope to join in on. There are also several other events I have been invited to be apart of in Stuttgart and Berlin but I have had to put plans on hold due to the pandemic, like many of us, which we all hope will disappear someday. Check out www.omms.net/manufakturenmarkt for more info about this event.

Q: Are you designing for kids? What is your vision for clothing for active, imaginative, mighty kids?

A: As you know I have designed some outerwear for little people age range 1-5 yrs, some cute upcycled blazer style jackets’ ponchos, cardi’s and pullovers. I have fun with them but I’m not super interested in creating an entire line for kids at the moment to be honest. It’s a whole other venture which I don’t have the concentration for right now and there are a TON of other makers already doing such an incredible job with upcycled kids clothing like @cos_mos_kid on Instagram! 

5. Tell us about your new upcycled Eco Print Series.

A: We're SUPER excited to announce our newest and highly anticipated Upcycled Eco Print Collection!

Since the start of 2021 I have been having so much fun experimenting with this "new to me" natural surface design technique involving the use of locally sourced botanicals to create gorgeous reliefs onto vintage silk & cotton, the results are super so elusive and romantic, I got to say I’m totally hooked!

Additional details within this new series involve and overlay of silk-screening and hand dying to enhance a multi layered effect. I hope this highly detailed series will be enjoyed as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it! 💖🌿 The release of this new collection are out April 22nd 11am PST on Earth day!

Q: I love my sweater jacket and while it is years old now, it still looks new. Where can i send it to be repaired should the cuffs or elbows go. I can't sew or knit.

A: Check out “Spool of Thread” on Kingsway at Fraser, I feel like they would be a good resource to know about any repair workshops or individuals who might be offering these services. Alternatively, I would reach out to Stephanie Ostler at “Devil may Wear” as I know she has offered workshop like this in the past.









Photographer: Thomas Ruppel


Founder of Adhesif : Melissa Ferreira Schwager

 
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