Posts tagged made in Canada
Behind the Scenes: Hutchison's Spring 2017 Lookbook

Slow fashion is all about the quality of garments – think well-made staples that are always in style. While there will always be new trends we love to try each season, there’s a benefit to building a wardrobe of well-made basics that are made to last. A couple weeks ago, I headed over to Hamilton Studio to meet designer Sofia Del Giacco. With an appreciation for the slow fashion movement, she founded her collection of classic, cozy basics in Montreal last year under the label Hutchison

A recent transplant to Hamilton, she was preparing to shoot her Spring 2017 lookbook with local photographer Claire Dam. I stopped by the shoot for a behind-the-scenes look at her new collection. And to hear more about her creative process, her dream customer and how she feels cities influence personal style. Keep scrolling to read my interview with Sofia!

Hutchison’s brand philosophy is to keep life simple, joyful and beautiful. What led you to these principles and how do you contribute individually to this philosophy?
After working for a larger fashion house for many years, the need to keep up with the fast fashion market started to wear on me.  I wanted to branch out and worry less about where fashion was supposed to be heading, and focus more on what's always mattered to me: simplicity and comfort. People feel beautiful when they are comfortable.  By focusing on basics, I try to eliminate the unnecessary clutter in my life. I practise this in my designs and in what I wear.

What type of woman do you have in mind when designing the line? How would you describe the Hutchison customer?
The Hutchison customer is definitely someone who is comfortable in her own skin and is her own person. She's not trying to be anyone but herself. 

Can you share a bit about your creative process?  
I wish I could, I mean even for myself. I am a little disorganized in terms of designing.  I don't like having a routine during my creative process, I prefer chaos. It somehow just works better for me. Design definitely has different stages to it.  Once the designs are completed, I think I naturally switch modes into a more systematic person.

How has living and working in Montreal influenced your brand and approach to your design? Do you think cities have an influence on personal style?
Absolutely. Growing up in Montreal has opened my eyes to many different cultures and their fashions. I love people watching!  Growing up in such a vibrant city, every person will without even being conscious of it, inspire you to mature into your own personal style. It's just a natural way to experiment. 

Their are so many people running around in the city, I wanted to offer a comfortable clothing line that can compliment their busy schedules, from students, to office workers or the busy stay at home mom, running around non stop. I wanted to design something that I really would want to wear.

What brought you to Hamilton and what are your first impressions?
I met my partner in Montreal about 10 years ago. He is originally from Hamilton and I have been coming down to visit family and friends ever since we started dating. You can tell that there has been a lot of positive change in this city and we thought it would be a great time to be a part of it. It's inspiring to be part of change. Hamilton has a lot of character and characters. I've been enjoying myself exploring.

You believe in a simplified wardrobe.  What do  you hope you contribute to the slow fashion community and the broader Canadian design community as a whole?
In terms of the fashion community, I would like to contribute bringing back the relationship between the designer and the customer. By operating a small business, I meet customers who like the brand. It's a nice feeling to talk with people who encourage what you are doing and motivate you to keep going. There is definitely a lot of competition out there, but there is still a community of people who appreciate designers and their work.  It's all about growing that community and empowering small businesses to grow and stay afloat in such a fast paced environment.  

What advice do you have for aspiring designers? 
It's tough but if you are truly passionate about what you are doing, its worth it. I would encourage all aspiring designers to get organized when it comes to the business end of things. Even if it is a system that you've created and only works for you, get yourself organized. it's too easy to get overwhelmed and feel that you don't know what to do next.  Also, I put yourself out there. There are lots of people willing to give you advice and help you to be more strategic. Listen to what people have to say, but bounce it off your gut. 

How do you like to wear your favourite Hutchison pieces?
Definitely with denim. 

Do you have a most treasured garment or accessory in your personal wardrobe?
 I do. It's a turquoise and gold statement necklace that belonged to my mother. It's funny because I'm not much of a jewelry kinda girl, but this necklace makes me feel so elegant and well put together, even if I'm only wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  

What was your last splurge purchase? Your last great find or steal?
 My last great find was a chunky knit cardigan I found at a thrift store in Montreal. It's nothing fancy, but it is so comfortable and I only paid five bucks for it. I usually wear it when I'm lounging around the house or out for an evening stroll with Jack, my dog.


Head on over to Hutchison Montreal to shop sofia`s current and past collections! and follow @_HUTCHISON_ on Instagram to see some shots from her new lookbook. She`ll be showing her upcoming collection at capsule in New York sept 17 - 19.

Localist: Keephouse Studio
Keephouse Studio

Keephouse Studio, a home goods lines, is founded on the belief that everyday moments can be made special with objects that are beautiful, functional and well made. "From a young age I was shown the importance of a well made object," explains founder, Alissa Kloet. "I have come to realize the impact that the things we bring into our home has on the atmosphere we create for ourselves and the people that we welcome in."

 

From linens and pillow throws in original patterns, to handcrafted wooden trays perfect for any occasion, Alissa finds meaning in objects and moments well made. Though I couldn't visit her oceanside studio in Seaforth, Nova Scotia, I did have the pleasure of chatting with Alissa about her work with Keephouse Studio Read on!

Keephouse Studio

Tool for occasions. Can you share what led to these principles and how are you contributing to this brand philosophy? 
There are homes that immediately feel warm when I walk into them. The space is welcoming and, human. It doesn’t take long for me to notice that the handmade ceramics, woven table runners, artworks made by a friend, are telling the story of the person that lives there. In my own home I follow that rule by William Morris that has had such a huge resurgance lately: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Functionality is really important to me, quality is really important to me. On top of that I want the things I make to be aesthetically pleasing so that people enjoy using them and enjoy the small moments they have with them. 

You studied textile design at Sheridan College. What brought you to Nova Scotia to study fine arts? What has the experience been like building a business there?
I came to Nova Scotia to continue studying textiles at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. I took the opportunity to also take classes in other mediums as well. I started Keephouse within a year after graduating. I’ve felt extremely supported while building my business here. There is a great community of designers and makers who are open and willing to share what they know. We also have a lot of resources to help us make steps towards success. The downside has always been that suppliers are so far away, as well as larger markets.

Can you share a bit about your creative process?
I’ve been trying to be better at carving away time to be creative and have no expectations of the outcome. It can be hard when the to-­do list never seems to get shorter! For me, the process starts with smaller ideas, drawings, collages in my sketchbook. These are like little notes to myself of things I want to explore further. When I’m getting ready to put together new patterns I come back to these as a jumping off point. Two processes I really love are working with paper that I’ve textures and working with cut paper. I have an affinity for the illustrations in vintage children’s books so I am often working towards that look.

As a home goods designer you create a variety of products for your collection, from beautiful serving trays to pillow coverings. How do you choose which products to add as you are expanding your line? And how often are you adding new designs?
If people are looking for something and it feels like a good fit I try and bring it in. Once fabric has been screen printed it can become so many things from there which makes it really versatile. The wood products are a bit harder because each product takes a lot more time to put into production. Over all I lean towards trying to design new products that solve a problem and serve a function. I bring out new designs at least once a year ­ around mid/end of summer. 

You were selected as a finalist for the Canadian Etsy Awards. What do you hope you contribute to the Etsy community and the broader Canadian design community as a whole?
That was such a lovely surprise! I’m fairly new to the Etsy community. My shop has been open for quite a while but I didn’t really know what I was doing! My business has primarily been wholesale into shops across Canada. I’ve benefitted greatly from the mentorship of other Etsy sellers and the Etsy team here, Maritime Makers. I would love to give back by sharing my skill set with others. I also volunteer with a local organization, Halifax Crafters Society, which helps create opportunities for makers to sell their work and wants to see Halifax keep growing as a creative hub.

What advice do you have for aspiring designers or artisans who are starting up a studio or business?
I think it’s really important to create a support network. Meet other people, find mentors, being willing to be vulnerable and be willing to learn. Starting a business is like performing a character analysis on yourself. You become so aware of your strengths and also your weaknesses and you have to be ready to face them. You are going to want the support and advice of people who are already in the middle of it.

Keephouse Studio


Favourite thing about Nova Scotia?
The ocean! I get to look at the Atlantic Ocean all day, every day. I still can't believe it.

Do you have a most treasured item at home that you’ve made, bought or been gifted?
The one I’m thinking of now is a small wooden box my husband made for me when we were dating. He took a lot of time to put in these really nice details. It houses a collection of things he gave to me like origami animals he folded and little notes.

Where would we find you on a day off, when you are not in the studio?
Definitely outside. The weather is warm, so gardening is a high priority as is ocean swims. I also just got my motorcycle license so I need to practice up!


I've rounded up a few of my picks from the Keephouse collection. You can shop the rest here!