Concordia-based young designers attend fashion show for the first time

Concordia Fashion Business Association hosts fashion show

The world of fashion is constantly evolving, and young designers are at the forefront of innovation. In late March, four young designers from Concordia University showcased their talent at a fashion show hosted by the Concordia Fashion Business Association (CFBA). The event provided them with a platform to express their creativity and gain exposure in the industry. 

The CFBA is a club founded by Concordia students that aims to introduce students to Montreal, but as co-president Sydnee Grill put it, they introduced Montreal to Concordia. Preppy punk was the theme of the show and designers interpreted it to their liking. 

First to show was Oliver Suri-Cernacek, who showcased a collection that combined traditional fabrics and modern silhouettes. Some designs were influenced by his Indian heritage while other pieces challenged the idea of sexiness in the workplace. 

One of his pieces, for example, was a skirt that focused on the Hindu concept of Āśrama, a system that seeks to explain the stages of human life. Suri-Cernacek’s collection was a standout at the fashion show, and his use of bold colors received a lot of attention from the audience.

Next up was Hannah Silver King, who presented a collection that was inspired by her fabrics. Her handmade designs were a fusion of different recycled fabrics, all cut and sewn together. 

King’s collection was both sustainable and fashion-forward, and her innovative approach to design was praised by the spectators. She dreams of being able to work alongside other talented Montreal artisans to create collections of upcycled garments. 

Third on the list was Mariana Tropea, who showcased a collection that was entirely made up of crocheted items. Her designs were feminine and punk, and she used soft fabrics such as yarn to create tops, hats, shoulder sleeves and more.

“Seeing my friends wear my own clothes, it’s like a dream I had when I was a kid,” said Tropea. She sold many pieces at the marketplace held after the show. 

Last but not least were Ethan Irwin and Adam Garcia, who presented a collection that was inspired by streetwear and Montreal culture. Their designs were grungy and minimalistic, and they collaborated with other Montreal artists to create their pieces. 

Their collection was a mix of cut and sewn handmade pieces, made with all kinds of fabrics such as denim. It was the first time they showed their pieces on models. “It used to be made in my basement, so it’s definitely nice being on our first small runway,” said Irwin. 

Overall, the fashion show was a great success, and the young designers received a lot of praise for their talent and creativity. 

“The show was actually pretty good. I really like the designs,” said audience member Jeremie Omeomga. “The pieces actually spoke for themselves […] Concordia students can be very proud of themselves.”


Concordia Farmers’ Market is back for the fall semester

Farmers’ Market at the Loyola Campus. LUCAS MARSH/THE CONCORDIAN

The market wants to promote sustainability by offering local and organic food to Concordia students

The Concordia Farmers’ Market made its comeback on both campuses for the fall semester. 

Until the last week of October, vendors will offer local and organic products to students. The market takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at Loyola and on Thursdays at the downtown campus. 

Lacey Boudreau, one of the coordinators for the Farmers’ Market, explained that it started as one of the many projects within the Concordia Food Coalition. Founded in 2013, the Food Coalition aims to promote a more sustainable food system at Concordia. 

“It’s one of the pieces of the puzzle that we’re trying to put together for a new food enterprise,” said Boudreau. “We want to give students the opportunity to have very direct access to local organic food every week.”

In front of the F.C. Smith Building at Loyola and the J.W. McConnell Building downtown, local vendors from the neighbouring area sell their organic products. Among them are the vendors from Co-op CultivAction, a food cooperative that is part of the Concordia Food Coalition. 

Caleb Woolcott, a member of CultivAction, said the co-op provides food from its mixed diverse vegetable garden with the goal of making fresh local produce accessible to all. 

Through their community-supported agriculture program, people can order baskets at the beginning of the season and come to the Farmers’ Market to pick up fresh vegetables every week. Vegetables are sourced locally from their garden that six staff members are responsible for, along with volunteers and interns. 

A part of the garden also serves for the development of permaculture gardening techniques and is used by students to learn and practice sustainable agriculture.

“Urban agriculture, a lot of it is about community engagement, and there is a really wonderful community around the garden,” said Woolcott. 

Nico Schutte, co-founding member, explained CultivAction’s main goal is to work on food sovereignty within the University. 

“We’re trying to have a circular food economy in Concordia,” said Schutte. “The idea is to divest in the international factory farm food system that clearly does not feed the majority of people and only contributes to climate change.”

Though the market closes in November to reopen next summer, the team hopes to be active during the winter semester.

“There is the possibility of some pop-up holiday markets that we’ve been talking about or different things happening throughout the winter until we start again next summer,” said Boudreau.


JSEC’s Montreal Youth Summit on Sustainable Business

“Our business school needs this and our community needs this,” said Mariya Chugay, president of the John Molson Sustainable Enterprise Committee (JSEC).

What Chugay is referring to is the Montreal Youth Summit on Sustainable Businesses that took place over the weekend. John Molson School of Business (JMSB), Desautels Faculty of Management and Hautes études commerciales (HEC) de Montréal business schools collaborated on a weekend of raising awareness and discussion around sustainability in business.

The summit had 42 speakers over two days.

Chugay described the first day as a horizontal involvement with the attendees. There were about 20 speakers facilitating panels, where youth could listen and learn from the speakers. The second day she described as vertical involvement, where students got more hands-on experience through skills training sessions. There, they could apply what they learned on the first day to the workshops.

“This event is larger than what we’ve done before,” said Chugay. “We are trying to unite youth and unite universities.”

Chugay explained the purpose of the summit was to break the silence on the conversation of sustainable practices in business and to educate, inspire and connect youth. For example, there were discussions on the future of sustainability in finance, climate change policy and competitiveness, and exploring the environmental sustainability of alternative currencies like cryptocurrency.

If they don’t know what sustainability is, we are not going to get anywhere to mitigate climate change,” said Chugay.

Rachel Copnick, an international business student at JMSB, said she attended the event to gain a better perspective of people in the business sector who work with sustainability practices.

“I think it’s the future,” said Copnick. “I think the people who are not looking at it are ignorant. Although our generation can continue to earn money and have a successful life without [practicing it], it’s not sustainable. We need to be responsible, we’re in a crisis right now.”

Sarah Knight, who is studying marketing at JMSB with a minor in sustainability studies, said by coming to this event, she wanted to learn more about the relationship sustainability has with businesses.

Knight explained that she learned a lot from the Climate Change Policy and Competitiveness panel, specifically about venture capitalists, who buy stocks or ownership shares in private companies for their limited partners, to try to make a profit for their limited partner’s clients. During the panel, Knight said speaker Mihaela Stefanov, a senior manager in the Climate Change and Sustainability Services at international professional services firm Ernst & Young Global Limited, explained how the sector that would gain the most profit differs per province or country, depending on their main energy source.

“I learned more about what venture capitalists are looking for right now in this sector, which is renewable energy,” said Knight. “I thought it was interesting to learn that renewable energy in Quebec isn’t something that’s going to make money because we already have hydroelectricity, but in other countries like Germany it’s a huge investment.”

Sustainable event

Chugay explained the Youth Summit was environmentally sustainable as well.

“Down to the core, we’re going almost 100 per cent paperless,” said Chugay.

Chugay added that JSEC hired the Concordia Dish Project, a reusable dish service, for the event. She added that they even received the sustainable events certification from Concordia, which JSEC and other sustainable organizations on campus oversee.


Photo by Jad Abukasm

Student Life

Let’s talk about trash baby!

“One day, I was browsing Reddit and I saw a lot of posts that were tagged #TrashTag; it was a picture of before and after of a trash cleanup,” said Lucas Hygate. “I saw that and was like ‘hey, I can do that.’ Then I thought I’ll do it way bigger and now it’s TrashTalk.”

Hygate, a 21-year-old philosophy student at Concordia, began TrashTalk Montreal, or TrashTalk for short, earlier this year. The idea started in February and has massively evolved from the stages that began in Hygate’s basement.

“Now, we’ve grown and evolved into a much larger, official organization that really tries to cater towards hosting these cleanups and inviting people to an event that is really something that we do, rather than just for helping the earth, the motivation is really to try to have some fun with it,” said Hygate.

Photo via @trashtalkmtl

The project came into fruition in April after floods devastated many communities in the West Island. Hygate recalls the intersection of Pierrefonds and Saint-John Boulevards was so flooded that it resembled a lake more than a street.

The organization is a non-profit that aims to pick up trash in public areas that’s been discarded and collecting for years – but why call it TrashTalk?

“One night I was telling my friend Sam about this idea, he was driving me home,” said Hygate. “Suddenly, he looks at me and goes ‘Lucas! I have the perfect name for you: TrashTalk’ and then it was TrashTalk.”

“We want to make sure it’s not just superficial talk, we actually want to turn that talk into action,” said Kayleigh Tooke. Tooke is the VP of communications for the Concordia club of the same name that was started on Oct. 7 to facilitate the non-profit’s activities, according to Hygate. She also works with the nonprofit by trying to connect to people to get involved with the organization. Also members of the nonprofit are Malcolm Adamson, Nicholas Tsibanolis and Nicolas Vyncke.

“Half of the name is Talk: more than just cleaning it up, it’s preventing it for the future,” said Angad Malhotra, a computer engineering student at Concordia. Malhotra is one of TrashTalk’s members, taking care of the visual design and marketing aspect. He and Hygate know each other from John Abbott College, where Concordia has a sister club, but it wasn’t until TrashTalk that the two became closer.

“I didn’t talk to Angad three years prior but I still had his number in my phone,” said  Hygate with a laugh. “We don’t remember why. And now we’re friends.”

Diego Rivera, the VP External in charge of event planning for TrashTalk Concordia, is also a philosophy student, which is how he met Hygate and decided to join the club. He spent time in Cambodia over the summer and heard about Tijmen Sissing, the Trashpacker who backpacked across Asia picking up trash.

“Out of that, I really wanted to start some kind of movement that, when I met Lucas, I was like ‘holy shit, this is perfect’,” said Rivera.

Photo via @trashtalkmtl

On the note of international trash cleanup, 18-year-old Joseph Poulin, who recently joined the club after meeting Tooke, was also inspired. During his trip to Kigali, Rwanda over the summer, townspeople would congregate every week or so and clean the community. Not only has the movement inspired him to join TrashTalk to pick up trash, it has also inspired him and those around him to create less trash.

Native to a small town near Quebec City, Poulin’s family owns a sugar shack. “We started a garden right next to it so that reduces our amount of trash,” said Poulin. “Instead of going to the grocery store and buying packages, we produce our own stuff, like fruits and vegetables.”

“On the first cleanup, it was me and my friend Nick,” said Hygate. “We were going out and we went to this place right next to this very popular commercial area. We looked at it and we started picking up. We cleaned for a solid half an hour or so, not too long, and we found a $10 bill – our first piece of good karma came out of the very first cleanup.”

Since its founding, TrashTalk has conducted approximately 15 cleanups in various areas throughout the West Island. Each cleanup takes approximately four to six hours and can yield massive amounts of trash. To plan a cleanup, they usually scout a few areas that potentially have lots of trash, choose one, then tell city councillors  they plan on conducting a cleanup. They’re well supported by the community in this respect: most of the cleanups attract local politicians, city district members, large groups of volunteers.

One of the places that they’ve worked on is Angell Woods in Beaconsfield. Their most successful cleanup at this location resulted in 1,275 pounds of trash collected – in a space no larger than a couple of hundred square feet. After the trash is picked up and sorted and divided, it’s usually brought to the edge of the location and sectioned off until city workers pick it up and properly dispose of the various types of trash. The boroughs also often offer gloves and garbage bags to facilitate cleanups which, as Hygate explains, is already a solid blueprint for successful trash removal.

“At all of our cleanups, we’re able to find some very interesting things,” said Hygate. With the interesting trash they find – tractor parts, decomposing cars and 50-year-old 7-Up cans with branding that no one recognizes anymore – they plan to create art pieces such as sculptures. The aim is giving passerbys an incentive to keep the space clean and to not litter in the first place.

“There’s a lot of layers that add up to why TrashTalk is a fun thing to do and a purposeful thing to do as well,” explained Hygate. “People need the opportunity to come out and engage with the environment in a whole, very productive manner where the impact is direct and you see it right in front of you. When you’re done a trash cleanup, what will happen is you’re going to turn around and the place you’ve just been slaving at for three or four hours, and you took out a thousand pounds with another 20 people, you look back and that place really does look cleaner and it really does have a great difference to it.”

For more information about TrashTalk, how you can participate or to donate, visit

Feature photo by Laurence B.D.

Student Life

Going the extra mile in the field of green restaurants

Nestled into the vibrant borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, La Cale pub marks the first of its kind in the new wave of zero-waste restaurants in Montreal. Behind this innovative project stands a group of friends who let us peek behind the scenes of managing such a place. 

Josh Gendron shared how everything came to be after a long discussion with his co-owners Gabriel Monzerol, Lann Dery and Luca Langelier.

“We go way back and, after a while, we ended up working all at the same place,” said Gendron. “We wanted to open up a pub and be our own bosses.” Thus, the idea of overseeing a place of their own was conceived.

They did not want to conform to the status quo as, across Montreal, you can easily find an everyday pub. The four partners forced themselves to think of a way that would make them stand out, and that was when Monzerol suggested opening a pub with an ecological concept.

“Since we have been open, in our style of operation, we have not accumulated a full [amount] of trash yet,” said Gendron. Inspired by Béa Johnson’s book, Zero Waste Home, and her “refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, compost” model, what originated as being eco-friendly quickly transitioned to the zero-waste formula. Hence, even the minimal accumulated trash, which is essentially compost, is properly taken care of by a private company.

At this point, Gendron said that many considered their business idea as quite ambitious in regards to questioning how it would be sustained. However, with enough restaurant experience under their belts, they knew which practices to incorporate and how they were going to handle the pub.

Various approaches were taken into account in preparation for the opening. From interior design to day-to-day operations, La Cale follows its zero-waste philosophy in creating a business from scratch that is green at every step. The process began with how each piece of furniture was brought into use.

“Instead of buying new furniture, most of what you see inside is all recycled, second-hand or [materials] that were in the trash,” said Gendron. “Some [pieces] we built ourselves, like the bar countertops that came from pallets and the wood beams from the floor.”

The chairs and the tables again reaffirm the zero-waste motto of reusing, as they were taken from different restaurants that went out of business. Customers can also except sprinkler pipes as table legs, two-by-two pieces of wood from pallets used for lamp holders, trash lamps. Despite being rather nontraditional and not straight out of an IKEA catalogue, each of these little details helps create La Cale’s distinctive ambience.

Behind the bar, there is also a great deal of self-production in regard to the preparation of drinks. Instead of relying on mainstream plastic bags, which get thrown away after use, tonics and syrups are homemade. They are stored in glass bottles, which not only preserves the freshness of the taste but also spares the owners the need of a supplier. The pub does not stop there; it has even gone the extra mile of revolutionizing the beer culture.

Because the caps on beer bottles cannot be recycled, the solution La Cale provides is simply getting rid of serving this option.

“The only substitute is canned beer,” said Gendron. “Everything else is on tap because it’s the most efficient and eco-friendly alternative. Pretty much all of the alcohol is local, from local Quebec breweries, which also helps reduce the carbon footprint.”

Usually, local products translate to a boost in prices in comparison to outside imports. However, despite the dominating presence of local brands, La Cale puts the effort into balancing out the green concept to bill ratio. Unlike many places that serve beer, La Cale offers a pint for $7.50, which can be considered rare for Montreal.

Indeed, the project aims to change the way we think of pubs but, at the same time, it manages to remain competitive. Gendron claims that what makes the real difference are the small details in relation to execution. He doesn’t deny the hardship in taking up such a risky endeavour but knows that this is just the beginning.

“Financially, when opening a pub, there is a small margin of profit,” said Gendron. Right now, we are fresh, we are new, and we hope people will be interested.”

For him, La Cale can also be an inspiration for other businesses to follow the zero-waste model.

In the future, the owners are seeking to host more live performances. The pub has already hosted a couple of gigs featuring local bands and musicians. The show area, as Gendron refers to it, is also open for comedians to perform their bids while customers enjoy their eco-friendly drinks and good food.

The chef has currently cooked up a seasonal vegetarian menu that will leave anyone longing for a portion of the restaurant’s sweet fries. Carnivores should not lose hope in this place, as meat options will soon be introduced.

The interior aesthetics will also undergo more decoration with the addition of plants and mural paintings by emerging artists.

“What we really want is to influence other people, but without forcing our idea down their throats,” said Gendron. “Just to show that it is doable.”

Photos by Cecilia Piga

Student Life

Humans of Concordia: Jack Beaumont

A first-year design student making clothes, the sustainable and eco-friendly way

Alexander McQueen’s controversial designs sparked Jack Beaumont’s passion for fashion at a young age. This passion quickly turned to action and, at the age of seven, they started sewing.

Beaumont’s brand, Conatus, officially launched two years ago when the designer was 17 years old.

The idea: to manufacture sustainable clothing. “I realized that the planet is sick and, in order to help it heal itself, we need to work on sustainability,” said Beaumont. Now 19, Beaumont is a first-year design student at Concordia.

Conatus is unique, focusing on using sustainable fabrics and dyes for its clothing. “When it comes to fashion, there are already too many people that are doing fashion unsustainably,” said Beaumont. “Eco-fashion is really the only way we can go in 2016.”

Beaumont was born in Toronto and moved to Vancouver in 2002. They finally settled down in Vernon, B.C. in 2009, where they still live when they are not staying in residence during the school year.  Beaumont said growing up identifying as non-binary was hard.

“When I was in Vancouver, the harassment got to a point where there were no other options but to relocate,” said Beaumont. Through the brand, however, Beaumont was able to create a kind of “shell” from the bullying. They said expressing themselves through fashion helped them stay strong.

Beaumont also aims to create clothing that acts as a shell—making the person wearing the garment feel strong and protected but, most importantly, themselves. “There is that fine balance between the strength and rigidity but also the fragility and the softness [of the frabrics],” said Beaumont.

Before Beaumont began producing clothes, they extensively researched and taught themselves about fabrics, dyes and different methods of production using organic fabrics. “When I was formulating [dyes], I researched some of the traditional and contemporary methods of dyeing,” said Beaumont. Black walnut became one of their favourites products to derive dye from.  Beaumont produces their clothes from their home in Vernon, B.C.

The designer described Conatus as avant-garde—an innovative and extravagant type of fashion. “People admire the brand as it is, but some couldn’t see themselves wearing a lot of it, as it very conceptual,” said Beaumont. The pieces they make have a modern haute-couture look to them.  A lot of the clothing is sleek, clean, monochromatic and not too fitted.

Beaumont hopes that they can eventually bring Conatus to a less niche clientele, with more wearable pieces.

“I hope that it is something that Concordia can teach me—sort of being able to take your own spin on a design and make it somehow wearable and sellable,” said Beaumont.

The young designer and their brand have slowly garnered worldwide attention, thanks to their social media platforms, through which Beaumont posts and sells most of their merchandise.

The clients, mostly individuals concerned with the environment, contact Beaumont directly through social media, or through their website that is temporarily down. From there, they discuss the details of the piece, including size and colour.  If the client is based in Vernon, the order is hand delivered.

One of the designer’s ideas for a future project is to take silk fibres and replicate them through a 3D printer or use a vat of genetically-modified bacteria to have them produce a garment formed from bacterial structures.

While Beaumont plans to re-launch their website in the near future, for now, you can find their  portfolio on Tumblr under “jackbeaumontportfolio.”


Montrealers get decorative with parking spaces

Park(ing) day in an international event that 35 countries are part of

Parking spaces around the globe were decorated last Friday, as part of the annual international Park(ing) Day. The way the event works is simple: find yourself a parking space and use this otherwise bland piece of asphalt as a blank canvas to create a temporary park or creative public space.

According to Park(ing) Day’s website, the event is designed to bring attention to the need for more urban open spaces and to facilitate a discussion regarding how public spaces are allocated and used.

The Concordia University Young Greens participated and designed their own green space during the event. They had a few plants set up in their space. William Gagnon, the President of the Concordia ambassadors group for the Green Party of Canada, explained the event is great for showing people alternative ways to use parking spaces and the effect that those have on a larger scale.

“It has a lot of effect, because everything that is little disruptive gives some food for thought, ” said Gagnon. “It just brings awareness and education.”

Photo by Mishkat Hafiz.

The annual event started back in 2005, with only one parking space in San Francisco occupied by art and design studio Rebar. Now, people and organizations are taking over parking spaces in 35 countries around the world on every third Friday of September. This was the fifth year the event was held in Montreal.

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