Thursday, April 22, 2021

Adhesif Clothing From Vancouver to Germany - The Story and the Brand Continue....


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 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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