Why So Slow? My journey to slow fashion.

Inner Tides  mixed media painting, 2009

Inner Tides mixed media painting, 2009

Six years ago, I began rediscovering my love of painting and rented a studio at The Beaumont Studios for a year. As my work evolved, I was often told my paintings would look great as textiles. This idea stuck in my head for a while until I finally played around with it a couple of years later.

Stricken  mixed media painting, 2008

Stricken mixed media painting, 2008

Whilst playing with paint, I was also re-learning how to sew my own clothes, and started up-cycling old garments and reinventing thrift-shop pieces for my own enjoyment. Eventually this led to trying my own fabric dyeing using acrylic and raw canvas, and printing on it with my own hand-carved linocut block prints. The results were pleasing, so I used the fabric to make simple items like obi belts and clutch purses under the designer name, DRIFT. It was a rustic, distressed style much different than what I create with JUNCO these days.

CORSAIR obi belt

CORSAIR obi belt

Over the course of a year DRIFT began offering textile jewelry, larger accessories such as vests, and block-printed linen garments. It was fun and rewarding work! I soon realized that I was stepping into the realm of slow fashion by creating unique hand-made items. It was very labour intensive, and sadly I had very little free time to create enough items on a regular basis to begin making a living on them. I began thinking about alternatives that would still allow me to use my design skills without compromising the slow fashion aspect of my work.

I eventually landed on designing textiles digitally and printing fabric to sew into clothing and accessories. Unfortunately there wasn't a local, let alone Canadian option when I first searched for manufacturers, but after a couple of years Art of Where opened up in Montreal, and they offered a great printing and manufacturing service to start trying out my designs on clothing as made-to-order items.

GLOAMING - my first design using Art of Where's services.

GLOAMING - my first design using Art of Where's services.

Which brings us to the present! I'm now starting to source Vancouver-based fabric printers as there are a now a couple of options, so I'm really looking forward to designing my own clothing pieces and having them made in small batches right here in town. Over the summer you should start seeing some new items, and in the coming year I'll be getting things out into local markets and launching my own pop-up events. If you're in Vancouver, stay tuned for where I'll be selling!

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading my story. The slow fashion movement is going strong in many places around the world, but is still a very small portion of the industry. I encourage you to hunt around the web for handmade clothing and other "slow" designers. Etsy is a great place to start, and visiting local craft and fashion markets is a wonderful way to support your local economy. Every little bit helps! Learn more about slow fashion>>

Some designers in Vancouver you should check out:

Amacata: naturally hand-dyed textiles and handmade jewellery
Della Terra Design: Hand woven and naturally hand-dyed fashion accessories and more
Allison Smith: High quality limited run seasonal clothing collections
Sunja Link: small batch fashion designed and sewn in Vancouver since 1999
Mixtli Apparel:  Limited Edition, hand printed eco fashion