Hello again, Aurora!
Friday October 1st marked a day of celebration for local Adhesif Clothing designer Melissa Ferreira. She hosted its inaugural solo fashion show at the intimate Jacana Gallery in South Granville. Guests were serenaded by the jazzy stylings of songstress Jackee Guillou and her double bass player, adding a touch of class to the evening. Then the show began – a parade of refreshingly alternative models from Morrismore Productions showcasing Adhesif’s Fall/Winter 2010 collection. Inspired by the 1930’s, the pieces were true to the label’s signature style, with vintage and recycled fabrics lovingly sewn together into one-of-a-kind garments that always have a sense of whimsy about them. And the colours! Ms. Ferreira has always shied away from the safe blacks and neutrals favoured by many other designers, choosing to revel in unusual colour and pattern combinations. Mixing plaid with stripes, overlaid with a dash of lace – why not?
Having known Ms. Ferreira for a number of years, I have watched her labour of love grow from a fledgling start-up business to the success that is it today. It is heartening to see a local talent find her niche in today’s attention-deficit fashion world of quantity over quality.
On this special occasion, I thought it would be an opportune time to chat with the designer and ask her a few, or rather, a lot of questions.
Q: What does Adhesif mean?
A: The short answer - "We stick to you" ;)
Q: What is your design philosophy/vision?
A: To create beautiful, handmade, one-of-a-kind garments full of personality made with high-quality reclaimed materials. Although style comes first when creating our designs, we also feel good about doing our part for the environment by reducing waste and reusing materials that are already in existence so that our clients can not only feel good but also look great.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a fashion designer?
A: No, I actually ran away from this path but it has always been there in front of me. I have always loved fashion--vintage clothing in particular--and the fact that my mother is an impeccable seamstress, but there are many other creative outlets I enjoy and have explored. A career in fashion ended up making more sense than some of my other talents so I ended up fusing many of my other creative ideas and putting more focus on this ability.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from for each season?
A: My inspiration comes from many places, mostly vintage clothing, interesting but useless inventions, coffee, people watching, old films and music, last impressions, nature, color, texture, and love.
Q: Is each article of clothing individually designed and produced?
A: Yes, every Adhesif garment is meticulously designed and handmade by myself and my small team. With that said every single garment starts and ends with me. I personally source all the fabrics, care for them, deconstruct them and cut the pieces from the found materials. The garments are sent out to local home sewers and returned back to me for finishing details.
Q: How do you strike that balance between mass production and being commercially viable, versus maintaining the one-of-a-kind quality of your clothes?
A: I have struggled with the idea of "mass producing" one-of-a-kind pieces since the beginning of Adhesif. I have spent many years fine tuning my own sort of formula in being able to not only own a specific recognizable aesthetic but also create many of the same design that maintains that desirable "one of a kind" quality. I think the key is diversification within what is available, as well as versatility. Above all else I will always choose quality over quantity. In my mind it isn't necessary to have an abundance of something if it is only going to withstand one season. I strive to create quality goods that last a lifetime.
Q: How do you think the fashion retail industry has changed in light of technology?
A: As touched upon lightly in the last question, I think that almost everything in today's age is made to be disposable for the purposes of consistent and mass consumerism. As advancements in technology increase, the ability to create things that are faster, bigger and cheaper reduce the issue of quality control. Most big businesses tend to focus instead on volume. Anything "handmade" has become somewhat of a romantic notion, thus very desirable in a day where most things are made with machines.
Q: Do you find that more of your customers buy online versus in person?
A: No, certainly most people shop in person, especially now that we have a flagship location in Vancouver (2202 Main Street). Being that every piece has its very own personality, I think it is fun for the consumer to see all of the pieces up front. Also I think part of the experience is talking with the creator and getting "the story" behind every piece. With that said my online shop is definitely getting more and more traffic since the shop opened.
Q: Congratulations on your new store and inaugural fashion show! You’ve taken Adhesif to the next level. What is your next set of goals?
A: I have many goals both personal and professional. I would like to do more traveling for sure, and I would really like to expand on a men's line.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a designer?
A: Above all else, once you've found your niche/aesthetic, persistence and resourcefulness are key. I would suggest any designer out there to take a few business courses.
Q: And last but not least, what is one of your fashion guilty pleasures?
A: SHOES! :D