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Green fashion special

by admin October 20, 2009

Green fashion special

by admin October 20, 2009

After six years of university, Geneviève Dumas knew it was time to find a job. Like many graduates, Dumas had no idea what she wanted to do. After stints in art, public relations and marketing, she was still not content. Meanwhile, in her free time, Dumas and close friend Geneviève Flageo, would alter clothing to make their wardrobes unique.
“People would stop us on the street to ask where we bought our clothing and every time we would tell them we made it,” said Dumas. “But they didn’t care, they only wanted to know where they could get it.”
In the summer of 2006, the pair decided to head out onto the road, signing up for every trade and craft show they could find. They brought a small collection of pieces with them and told people the rest of their line was sold at a Montreal boutique. Not long after, the St.-Eustache natives opened their art/fashion studio, Moly Kulte on Mont-Royal Ave. in the heart of Montreal’s Plateau.
Since then, the duo known as the Genevièves, have been creating chic designs out of recycled materials &- a cause they are passionate about.
The merchandise in the store shows buyers that one doesn’t have to sacrifice style to wear Eco-friendly apparel. With tops and blazers ranging from $45- $80, and dresses and skirts from $56 – $78, Moly Kulte aims to keep up with high fashion trends while reducing our society’s textile waste.
Moly Kulte is only one of several initiatives in Montreal currently selling and promoting recycled clothing. These different stores tailor to individuals who desire an alternative to the conformity of brand named clothing, as well as to those who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing recycled clothing.
“These designers do more than sell unique clothing, says Isabelle Boisvert, owner of recycled clothing store Folle Guenille. “They sell a sustainable way of dealing with our textile waste.”
Ioana Radu, executive editor of MontrealEnvironment.ca, a blog focused on informing the public about environmental issues and polices in Montreal, stresses how destructive the life-cycle of producing new clothing can be.
“You must think of everything involved, from production of materials to their processing, the manufacturing and finally the distribution,” says Radu.
Radu explains that recently, the clothing industry has become much more reliant on materials like nylon and polyester which are made from petrochemicals in a very energy intensive process that creates nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Producing natural fibers such as cotton and linen requires the use of pesticides and herbicides that can potentially infiltrate our soil and water and pose a human health risk said Radu.
With globalization sending more and more manufacturing offshore, Radu warns that one must also consider the environmental effects of transporting textiles, such as increased carbon dioxide levels, ocean pollution, and additional fuel use.
“Buying recycled, vintage or thrift store clothing is a way to decrease the environmental impact of the clothing industry while supporting our local market,” said Radu.
Unlike merchandise in vintage or thrift stores, recycled clothing designers take old clothing and redesign it into new fashions. Sometimes designers use three to four old articles of clothing to create one new piece.
Recycled clothing designer Isabella Pasinato of Dita & Bella, explains how each piece she creates undergoes a long multi-step process. She finds most of the clothing she uses at church bazaars and Certex, a non-profit organization that collects used clothing and either exports it to other countries or sells it to companies to use as scraps.
“Though I have a pattern, each piece I create is unique,” says Pasinato. “With each one I must match the colours and ensure that it looks enough like the others of its kind so that it blends well into my collection.”
Both Pasinato and the Genevièves of Moly Kulte make sure their scraps do not end up in landfills by using them in their other designs or transforming them into accessories. Avoiding throwing out textiles is necessary according to Action RE-buts, a Montreal coalition for ecological management and economic waste, which states it can take 100-500 years for most textiles to decompose.
Pasinato is part of a group of nearly 20 designers who have their collections on consignment at La Gaillarde, an ecological clothing shop on Notre-Dame St. West. The non-profit store is run by a board of members and volunteers, and uses only salvaged materials for everything from their racks and hooks, to their shelving and furniture. The boutique carries vintage, thrift and designer recycled clothing, tailoring mostly to women.
Based on the inventory of both La Gaillarde and Moly Kulte, it’s instantly noticeable that men’s lines are truly lacking in the recycled clothing sector.
Clio Forsyth Morrissette, an eco-stylist and board member at La Gaillarde, says she would like to expand into men’s apparel, but she isn’t sure there is enough demand. She says there are still too many misconceptions about recycled clothing and the changes its undergone in the last couple of years.
“Here at La Gaillarde, we try to represent what eco-fashion has become,” said Forsyth Morrissette. “We carry designer’s entire collections which means that we have a range of sizes so you don’t have to be lucky to find something that fits. We focus on quality rather than quantity and strive to be as fashionable as possible. We only carry clothing that has flare.”
Forsyth Morrissette explains she doesn’t want customers to think a piece looks recycled. Rather, she wants customers to look at the large selection of pieces and see how unique each design is.
“I want someone to try on a piece and fall in love with the idea that they get to own something no one else will have,” said Forysth Morrissette.
Amidst the positive feedback, there are those who question the recycled clothing concept and the seemingly high prices for what they consider previously worn clothing. They struggle to understand why they are asked to pay $40, $50, even $100 for “rags.” Reactions like this are expected says Forysth Morrissette, but volunteers at La Gaillarde love the opportunity to explain to hesitant shoppers the benefits of buying local and recycled.
“It is important for buyers to know the immense impact local designers have,” said Forysth Morrissette “Buying their products means we are developing our own culture and creating a community that can be self-sustainable.”
She stresses that in the $50 shirt there are no hidden costs. “You are paying for a local designer to create their next collection and are enabling them to have a career, which is a lot better that paying for the production of new fabrics that are destroying our environment,” she said.
On Dec. 4th – 6th, Eco-friendly designers and their supporters, will have the chance to participate in the Biosphere’s fourth annual Recycling-Artists Eco Fair. For three days, 54 artists will be selling their merchandise to shoppers who are making an effort to be more sustainable in their holiday gift purchases. Many of La Gaillarde’s designers will be present, including Pasinato of Dita & Bella.
“The designers are very willing to share tips and tricks with other designers,” said Boisvert, the fair’s coordinator. “There is very little competition between them, mostly because their priority is to promote recycled clothing and keep the movement going and growing.”

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After six years of university, Geneviève Dumas knew it was time to find a job. Like many graduates, Dumas had no idea what she wanted to do. After stints in art, public relations and marketing, she was still not content. Meanwhile, in her free time, Dumas and close friend Geneviève Flageo, would alter clothing to make their wardrobes unique.
“People would stop us on the street to ask where we bought our clothing and every time we would tell them we made it,” said Dumas. “But they didn’t care, they only wanted to know where they could get it.”
In the summer of 2006, the pair decided to head out onto the road, signing up for every trade and craft show they could find. They brought a small collection of pieces with them and told people the rest of their line was sold at a Montreal boutique. Not long after, the St.-Eustache natives opened their art/fashion studio, Moly Kulte on Mont-Royal Ave. in the heart of Montreal’s Plateau.
Since then, the duo known as the Genevièves, have been creating chic designs out of recycled materials &- a cause they are passionate about.
The merchandise in the store shows buyers that one doesn’t have to sacrifice style to wear Eco-friendly apparel. With tops and blazers ranging from $45- $80, and dresses and skirts from $56 – $78, Moly Kulte aims to keep up with high fashion trends while reducing our society’s textile waste.
Moly Kulte is only one of several initiatives in Montreal currently selling and promoting recycled clothing. These different stores tailor to individuals who desire an alternative to the conformity of brand named clothing, as well as to those who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing recycled clothing.
“These designers do more than sell unique clothing, says Isabelle Boisvert, owner of recycled clothing store Folle Guenille. “They sell a sustainable way of dealing with our textile waste.”
Ioana Radu, executive editor of MontrealEnvironment.ca, a blog focused on informing the public about environmental issues and polices in Montreal, stresses how destructive the life-cycle of producing new clothing can be.
“You must think of everything involved, from production of materials to their processing, the manufacturing and finally the distribution,” says Radu.
Radu explains that recently, the clothing industry has become much more reliant on materials like nylon and polyester which are made from petrochemicals in a very energy intensive process that creates nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Producing natural fibers such as cotton and linen requires the use of pesticides and herbicides that can potentially infiltrate our soil and water and pose a human health risk said Radu.
With globalization sending more and more manufacturing offshore, Radu warns that one must also consider the environmental effects of transporting textiles, such as increased carbon dioxide levels, ocean pollution, and additional fuel use.
“Buying recycled, vintage or thrift store clothing is a way to decrease the environmental impact of the clothing industry while supporting our local market,” said Radu.
Unlike merchandise in vintage or thrift stores, recycled clothing designers take old clothing and redesign it into new fashions. Sometimes designers use three to four old articles of clothing to create one new piece.
Recycled clothing designer Isabella Pasinato of Dita & Bella, explains how each piece she creates undergoes a long multi-step process. She finds most of the clothing she uses at church bazaars and Certex, a non-profit organization that collects used clothing and either exports it to other countries or sells it to companies to use as scraps.
“Though I have a pattern, each piece I create is unique,” says Pasinato. “With each one I must match the colours and ensure that it looks enough like the others of its kind so that it blends well into my collection.”
Both Pasinato and the Genevièves of Moly Kulte make sure their scraps do not end up in landfills by using them in their other designs or transforming them into accessories. Avoiding throwing out textiles is necessary according to Action RE-buts, a Montreal coalition for ecological management and economic waste, which states it can take 100-500 years for most textiles to decompose.
Pasinato is part of a group of nearly 20 designers who have their collections on consignment at La Gaillarde, an ecological clothing shop on Notre-Dame St. West. The non-profit store is run by a board of members and volunteers, and uses only salvaged materials for everything from their racks and hooks, to their shelving and furniture. The boutique carries vintage, thrift and designer recycled clothing, tailoring mostly to women.
Based on the inventory of both La Gaillarde and Moly Kulte, it’s instantly noticeable that men’s lines are truly lacking in the recycled clothing sector.
Clio Forsyth Morrissette, an eco-stylist and board member at La Gaillarde, says she would like to expand into men’s apparel, but she isn’t sure there is enough demand. She says there are still too many misconceptions about recycled clothing and the changes its undergone in the last couple of years.
“Here at La Gaillarde, we try to represent what eco-fashion has become,” said Forsyth Morrissette. “We carry designer’s entire collections which means that we have a range of sizes so you don’t have to be lucky to find something that fits. We focus on quality rather than quantity and strive to be as fashionable as possible. We only carry clothing that has flare.”
Forsyth Morrissette explains she doesn’t want customers to think a piece looks recycled. Rather, she wants customers to look at the large selection of pieces and see how unique each design is.
“I want someone to try on a piece and fall in love with the idea that they get to own something no one else will have,” said Forysth Morrissette.
Amidst the positive feedback, there are those who question the recycled clothing concept and the seemingly high prices for what they consider previously worn clothing. They struggle to understand why they are asked to pay $40, $50, even $100 for “rags.” Reactions like this are expected says Forysth Morrissette, but volunteers at La Gaillarde love the opportunity to explain to hesitant shoppers the benefits of buying local and recycled.
“It is important for buyers to know the immense impact local designers have,” said Forysth Morrissette “Buying their products means we are developing our own culture and creating a community that can be self-sustainable.”
She stresses that in the $50 shirt there are no hidden costs. “You are paying for a local designer to create their next collection and are enabling them to have a career, which is a lot better that paying for the production of new fabrics that are destroying our environment,” she said.
On Dec. 4th – 6th, Eco-friendly designers and their supporters, will have the chance to participate in the Biosphere’s fourth annual Recycling-Artists Eco Fair. For three days, 54 artists will be selling their merchandise to shoppers who are making an effort to be more sustainable in their holiday gift purchases. Many of La Gaillarde’s designers will be present, including Pasinato of Dita & Bella.
“The designers are very willing to share tips and tricks with other designers,” said Boisvert, the fair’s coordinator. “There is very little competition between them, mostly because their priority is to promote recycled clothing and keep the movement going and growing.”

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