Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gorgeous in Gail

This week we profile one of our most unique, eco fashion accessories, The Gail Scarf.  The super soft wool blend is made in Italy from recycled fibres.  Scraps from the cutting room floor are taken and reprocessed into new yarns which are then felted to perfection to give this scarf a beautifully tactile look.  The scarf fades from taupe to brown to black. 


Left: Designer, Jennifer pairs her Gail Scarf with her favourite brown and purple Lorraine Cardigan.  She chose handmade wooden buttons from Woodlot to accent her scarf.  Woodlot is a Canadian company that creates handmade wooden buttons, jewellery and toys from fallen trees and reclaimed lumber.

Right: Meaghan pairs her Gail Scarf with the Thieves 5 in 1 dress.  The dress is made from beautifully soft Tencel jersey and can be morphed into many different forms.  Thieves is a Toronto based eco fashion line by Sonja den Elzen.

The Gail Scarf is available exclusively at:
Eco Diva Clothing (Arlington Heights, IL)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Emergency Post from the One of a Kind Show!

As you may or may not know, we're currently showing our wares at the annual One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale here in Toronto.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the show, it's an extravaganza of handmade goods from Canadian, US and international artisans.  Expect to find original fashion, jewellery, fine art, ceramics, bath & body products, foods and many other clever creations.

As an exhibitor, this show is really intense.  It runs for 11 days - Nov 28 - Dec 8, so it's a serious time commitment, but we love it.  The customers truly appreciate all the hard work that goes into our designs and meeting other fellow exhibitors and talking shop is truly a pleasure.

I've had a few opportunities to peruse the other sellers and picked out a few I'd like to mention here.

EssenC Knitwear


When I came across the EssenC booth, I had to stop designer, Sinead Clarke to ask about her design process and talk shop.  By the time we were through, we'd agreed to trade sweaters and hopefully get together after the show is done!  Originally from Ireland she has ventured across the Atlantic to bring her designs here to us.  I think you'll agree that they are very original and inspiring!


Here's the sweater I'm hoping to get.  I'm having trouble deciding what colour I like best.  I'm thinking charcoal grey or brown/beige as it will go with everything.  Plus I'm trying to tone it down and look a little more sophisticated lately.

Rosella Resin Jewellery

Again, I had to stop myself from jumping up and down with excitement when I turned the corner to find Rosella Resin Jewellery.  Sisters Jessica and Gwynne have teamed up to create this line of beautiful, unique, funky jewellery.  Being that it's resin based I was a bit suspicious when Jessica informed me that it was eco friendly, but the formula they use is actually derived from pine oils taken from the waste streams of other manufacturing products.  Encased in these colourful resins are beautiful & delicate feathers, lichens and shells.




Cokluch

An old favourite of mine, Montreal based designers Laurie and Christine have been designing under their label, Cokluch since 2007.  Originally specializing in leather goods from handbags to jackets, they've since expanded to offer a range of women's clothing as well.  Their bags are functional, durable and truly stylish.


Along with this chic and stylish "Bang Bang" Dress, I also picked up my fourth Cokluch purse, a heritage inspired messenger bag with embossed triangle motif in a bright cognac stained leather.

Jennifer Glasgow

And last but not least, I'd like to mention another Montrealer, Jennifer Glasgow.  I've been eyeing up Jennifer's designs for the past few years but was finally seduced by her sophisticated and flattering designs this time around!


The Austin Dress looked great on the hanger and even better when I put it on!  And being that it's made from a hemp/organic cotton blend it was a bit of a no brainer for this eco-fashionista.


I also picked up a dress version of the beautiful Blythe Blouse.  When I went back to pick up my dresses I had the pleasure of chatting with Jennifer Glasgow herself.  We bonded over fabric sourcing and chatted about her shop, General 54 in Montreal.

So although I did break the bank a little, it felt really good to be supporting other like minded designers and artists.  It really gives me peace of mind to know that these goods were made by other small independent businesses who do their best to create jobs and value in their local communities and beyond!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gwen's Got Style!

Here at Paper People, we put a lot of thought and care into each and every one of our upcycled pieces.  We spend hours sourcing the perfect materials for our reclaimed vintage eco fashions, always keeping in mind the end use.  We know that you like to stay warm and cozy in the winter and you appreciate the comfort, quality and breathability of natural fibres.  So when designing the Gwen Hat, we made sure to use only the softest merino, cashmere and angora so that even those of you with sensitive skin could enjoy the warmth of wool!


Jenn is going all out grunge.  She pairs her brown Gwen Hat with a hand me down men's army jacket that she tailored to fit her along with her favourite cords and Doc Marten boots.



 Jessie of Sugar Rush Jewellery is cozying up in her favourite Paper People pieces of the season.  She pairs her grey Gwen Hat with a matching Denise Sweater and black Diane Leg Warmers.


Meg-O of the Deadly Nightshades, an all female bike gang and arts collective is ready to ride!  Her her pink Gwen and pink & red patterned Maria Arm Warmers create lively pops of colour against her grey Modrobes jacket (made of polyester from recycled water bottles).


Tanya is showing off her favourite fall colours!  She pairs her orange Gwen Hat with coordinating Diane Leg Warmers and even manages to pull off the matching lipstick!


The Gwen Hat is available at independent retailers across Canada:
Awear (Collingwood, ON) 
Ecoexistence (Toronto, ON)
Eleven : Eleven Boutique (Calgary, AB)
Flock Boutique (Ottawa, ON)
Fresh Collective (Toronto ON) 
Hemp & Company (Victoria, BC) 
Boutique Lily Ka (Montreal, QC)
Luvly in Lunenburg Nova Scotia
Natureal Junction (Toronto, ON)
Persephone's Wardrobe (Guelph, ON)
P'Lovers (Kingston, ON)
Still Eagle (Nelson, BC)
Taiga Yoga & Therapy Centre (Yellowknife, NT)
Workshop Boutique (Ottawa, ON)

as well as at:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

All about Alice

So it's that time of year again when we introduce all things fuzzy.  And it's finally cold enough to do it without making all of you readers cringe.  Fall/winter is our favourite season here at Paper People, as we love to keep you warm & cozy with our delectable sweaters, knits and one of a kind upcycled accessories.

Here at Paper People, we are always thinking of ways to conserve on materials and reduce waste and our accessories line is the perfect solution to that.  The Alice Mitts are made from scraps left over from clothing production.  And inevitably when cutting fabric yardage, there is always a little bit leftover from the end, so we use our leftover jersey scraps to create the linings of these mitts.  Organic cotton jersey of course!


Designer, Jenn checks for falling snow in her winter getup.  She chooses a feminine, floral pair of Alice Mitts to match her Theresa Cowl.  And the little pops of colour are a great accent to her Soia & Kyo coat (designed in Montreal) that she picked up at Fresh Collective.  Visit Jenn at the One of a Kind Show & Sale here in Toronto to pick out your very own pair or two!


Jessie is looking warm and cozy in her winter attire.  Check out her gorgeously eye catching Alice Mitts and matching wrap that she crocheted herself!  We just love how beautifully the colours accent together.  As designer of both a jewellery, Sugar Rush, and nail polish line, Renegade Fawn, Jessie is all about colour!


Liz is looking stylish and edgy in her winter wear.  Her black & grey Alice Mitts match nicely while still creating a subtle contrast with her midnight black attire.  Liz and her partner Kelly of The Style Initiative will be hosting a holiday pop up sale in December at Banu on Queen West.  Be sure to mark it on your calendar and surprise your loved ones with a unique, locally made treasure this holiday season!


Meaghan is rocking a nineties look with her earthy hues and vintage blouson jacket, a fun hand me down from a friend who went up north.  Her brown and cranberry Alice Mitts accent her outfit perfectly.  Meaghan's all girl bike gang/arts collective, the Deadly Nightshades just did a collaboration with Bookman Lights of Sweden.  Check out their super current, super funky stylings here.


The Alice Mitts are available at independent retailers across Canada:
13 Reasons (Port Dover, ON)
be Solely Canadian Clothing (Courtenay, BC) 
Ecoexistence (Toronto,ON)
Ecotopia Naturals (Sidney, BC)
Eleven : Eleven Boutique (Calgary, AB)
Flock Boutique (Ottawa, ON)
Fresh Collective (Toronto ON) 
Hemp & Company (Victoria, BC)
Boutique Lily Ka (Montreal, QC) 
Luvly in Lunenburg Nova Scotia
Rub of the Green (Midland, ON)
Studio Intent (Calgary, AB)
Tapestry (Calgary, AB)
Workshop Boutique (Ottawa, ON)

as well as at:

Monday, November 25, 2013

What's in store at the One of a Kind Show!

The One of a Kind Show & Sale is fast approaching!  For those of you who have never been, this show is truly a treat.  It's a juried show, so each exhibitor is hand selected by a panel of judges and we are truly honoured to be showcased!  The theme is artisanal products that are handmade by crafts people from Canada and the US.  Exhibitors run the gamut from fine art, to fashion and home decor to bath and body products and of course the ever popular flavours section.  The show runs 11 days from November 28 to December 8th and for those of you who are busy at the office, there is a late night shopping event on Thursday, December 5th where the show will be open until 11pm.

Tickets are $14 at the door, but take advantage of our special insider deal and get yours for just $11!  So come visit us in booth F-08.  We'll be happy to help you pick out the perfect holiday outfit or gift!

With just a 10'x10' booth space, we have to be very selective, only bringing the best of the best.  Of course we'll be fully stocked with all the fun giftable mittens, arm warmers, leg warmers and hats, but our real passion is the clothing.  So here's a brief showcase of the styles you can expect to see at the One of a Kind Show this year:  

The Lorraine Cardigan

The Jacqueline Dress

The Yvonne Cardigan

The Maude Blazer
The Rose Cardigan

The Elaine Vest
The Stella Dress

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Loving the Lorraine

Here at Paper People we're very careful with our use of materials when creating our fun, environmental, upcycled fashions.  Colour and texture choices are strategic.  Some of our looks take 4 or even 5 different vintage garments to create, so we've really got things down to a science.  The lovely Lorraine Cardigan is no exception.  

With the Lorraine, we decided to create a real statement piece.  Something bold, beautiful and not for the faint of heart.  For this sweater, we've taken 3 different patterned sweaters and matched them with a beautiful solid recycled wool fabric from Italy.  This way, each sweater is truly unique and special, just like the lovely ladies who shop with us!



Jessie pairs her beautiful, feminine, floral Lorraine with a delicate slip dress, lace tights and chunky platform ankle boots.  She plays with the ties, created a cinched in hourglass silhouette.  Very Courtney Love, very 90s.


Designer, Jenn continues the grunge theme.  She pairs her red striped Lorraine with a plaid flannel shirt she picked up at a clothing swap, jeans and her favourite Doc Marten boots.  She ties the belt in the back, allowing the sides to flow and hang open freely.


Liz creates an edgier look, pairing her green Lorraine with black pointy boots, faux leather leggings and a statement necklace created from upcycled zippers.  She plays with the ties, creating a funky asymmetric wrap look.


 Meaghan goes for an Almost Famous look with her fun retro shades, grey tights and loafers.  She does an origami like folding technique to neatly envelope herself.  She liked her Lorraine so much that she decided she had to take it home with her!


The Lorraine Cardigan is available at independent retailers across Canada:
Awear (Collingwood, ON) 
Ecoexistence (Toronto, ON)
Eleven : Eleven Boutique (Calgary, AB)
Fresh Collective (Toronto ON) 
Gaia (Thornbury, ON)
P’Lovers (Halifax, NS)
Still Eagle (Nelson, BC)

as well as at:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Beth: the Beauty of Organic Cotton

In the grand scheme of sustainable fibres, organic cotton is one of our favourites.  Earlier in the year we met with the folks from Canopy, a not for profit that advocates for the preservation of forests worldwide.  Through our meeting we learned that over the past few years there has been a rise in the popularity of rayon (like we didn't notice!).  This was due in part to the increase in cotton prices.  Rayon is manufactured from cellulose fibre, the most popular source being trees and it has contributed greatly to deforestation across the globe.  Cellulose fibres from trees are too stiff on their own to make soft, wearable fabrics so they must be processed chemically with caustic soda which is a highly toxic substance.

If you go through your wardrobe today you can likely find many garments made from rayon.  T-shirts and knits made from rayon have a slight sheen to them, are thinner than cotton, less prone to wrinkling and have a tendency to shrink and pill after just a few washes.  At Paper People, we prefer organic cotton as it washes and wears better and does not contribute to deforestation, nor does it require harsh chemicals.  It is naturally soft and absorbent.  We chose organic cotton for the Beth Top features here.


 Jessie is looking vibrant in her colourful ensemble.  She chooses the Beth Top in fuchsia to match her hair and throws on a pair of fuchsia shoes to coordinate.  Her contrasting green pants and make the colours really pop and she tops it all off with a brass necklace from her line, Sugar Rush.


 Jenn picks her Beth Top in purple of course!  She dresses her top up with a ruffled, tiered skirt, lace scarf, lace tights and matching purple boots.


Meaghan is ready for work in her teal Beth Top.  It's the perfect pop of colour for her professional black skirt and blazer.  Always eco, and always caffeinated, Meg never forgets to bring her reusable coffee cup.  This one is made by Keep Cup with sustainability in mind!


Liz is comfy and casual in her green Beth Top.  She throws on her favourite dark denim, brown boots and accents her look with a brown scarf.  Liz is a professional stylist and PR agent for classical musicians and she's a real live wire to have on set! 


The Beth Top is available at select independent Canadian retailers:
Eleven : Eleven Boutique (Calgary, AB)
Natureal Junction (Toronto, ON)

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Rose Like No Other

Made from 100% upcycled materials, each sweater is truly a one of a kind eco fashion piece.  From the funky printed sweaters right down to the mix and match vintage buttons, we had a lot of fun creating these cardigans and we hope you'll have just as much fun wearing them!


Designer, Jenn picks the Rose Cardigan in classic grey with a fun yet subtle teal and purple print.  She pairs it with a pair of pants she dyed and embellished herself.  One of the great features of this piece is the folding cuffs.  They're long enough for the tall ladies but comfortably fold up for those of us who are less lengthy.


Jessie picked her favourite Rose in fuchsia to match her hair!  How fun is that?  Join Jessie tomorrow at Bling It On! where she'll be showcasing her jewellery collection Sugar Rush and debuting her new nail polish line, Renegade Fawn!


Liz Parker of the Style Initiative is looking stunning in her quirky brown and teal Rose.  And we love her matching necklace!  Liz has been working hard all month along with collaborator Kelly Kan to bring Bling It On! to you tomorrow here in downtown Toronto!  Liz has been a stylist and PR agent for many years and she's using her talents to help promote local designers through this exciting new project.  So drop in tomorrow for a showcase of locally made jewellery, meet the designers and stay for a few cocktails!


Meaghan is looking bookish in her two tone black and white Rose Cardigan.  She pairs her cardi with a Toronto made dress by Parade, grey tights and t-strap heels.  Meg has coined the tagline "warm and pretty" for my line.  I'd say she's got the right idea in mind.



The Rose Cardigan is available at independent retailers across Canada & the US:
13 Reasons (Port Dover, ON)
Awear (Collingwood, ON) 
be Solely Canadian Clothing (Courtenay, BC) 
Eco Diva Clothing (Arlington Heights, IL)
Ecoexistence (Toronto, ON)
Ecotopia Naturals (Sidney, BC)
Eleven : Eleven Boutique (Calgary, AB)
Fresh Collective (Toronto ON) 
Gaia (Thornbury, ON)
Luvly in Lunenburg Nova Scotia
P'Lovers (Kingston, ON)
P’Lovers (Halifax, NS)
Rub of the Green (Midland, ON)
Sew Dandee (Winnipeg, MB)
Something Else (Port Colborne, ON)
Still Eagle (Nelson, BC)
Tapestry (Calgary, AB)
Workshop Boutique (Ottawa, ON)

as well as at:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Eco Halloween Costumes

I thought I would take this opportunity to get into the Halloween spirit and share some of my costumes from recent years.  Being that I have a studio full of fabric, vintage clothes and sewing equipment at my disposal, putting together a last minute costume is never an issue.  And being the frugal and eco conscious fashion lover that I am, my favourite materials to use are fabric scraps.  I've got boxes and boxes of them that I keep neatly sorted by colour and fabric type.


As you probably know, my very favourite fabric to work with is reclaimed wool sweaters.  And what could be more appropriate for staying warm and dry for a cold, wet, Canadian Halloween?



Last year I raided the scrap bins to put together my very own reclaimed pigeon costume.  I pieced together larger light grey sweater scraps for the cape like wings and decorated them with an assortment of feathers made from grey pinstripes, tweeds and herringbones left over from some deconstructed men's wool pants.


And the previous year found me staying warm in my moth cape.  Made from a beautiful patchwork of beige, taupe and cream coloured sweaters, I accented the wings with coasted sized doilies.


So next Halloween, think about getting crafty before you head out to buy a costume.  Visit your local Goodwill or thriftstore, attend a clothing swap, or if you're in the GTA, shoot me a message, I just might have some extra fabric scraps that are looking for a good home!



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stylish in Stella

At Paper People, we know that for Canadian eco fashion lovers, staying warm while still looking sexy can be a challenge.  If boxy coats and frumpy sweaters aren't your style, then slip into a Stella Dress.  Made from a beautiful collage of knit fabrics, each dress is slightly different and totally unique.  We use high wool content upcycled sweaters sourced here in Toronto, Canada and combine them with a beautiful, soft Italian wool knit made from recycled wool fibres.  For those of you who are sensitive to wool, fear not.  We've lined this beauty with organic cotton jersey just for you!


Designer, Jenn chooses the Stella Dress in cranberry.  Since she rides her bike around town until the snow falls, she needs a lot of warm layers even when she's going out to a bar on the weekend.  She loves this dress because it's warm but still sexy.  Jenn pairs her dress with black leggings, vintage cowboy boots and a drawstring tote she picked up at a recent clothing swap.


Jessie, designer of Sugar Rush Jewellery chooses the Stella Dress in purple. She styles her dress with some fun black polka dot tights, black patent boots and tops it all off with a brass oak leaf necklace from her own line.  


Liz Parker of LIZPR and The Style Initiative chooses the Stella Dress in classic charcoal grey.  She pairs her dress with a distinctive, statement collar necklace, bracelet and purple boots.  This November 9th, Liz will be co-hosting Bling It On! a showcase of local jewellery featuring Jessie's jewellery line Sugar Rush and her new nail polish line Renegade Fawn.


Meaghan chooses the Stella Dress in green and styles it with an earth tone jacket and scarf.  Very fall, very 90s.  Her boots are made by Ark, a subsidiary of the sustainable shoe brand El Naturalista.  For more tips on how to be stylishly sustainable check out Meaghan's blog, Adam & Eve Consume: Buy your way back to Eden.

The Stella Dress is available at independent retailers across Canada & the US:
Awear (Collingwood, ON) 
be Solely Canadian Clothing (Courtenay, BC) 
Cat's Cradle Boutique (Toronto, ON)
Eco Diva Clothing (Arlington Heights, IL)
Eleven : Eleven Boutique (Calgary, AB)
Fresh Collective (Toronto ON) 
Gaia (Thornbury, ON)
The Loop (Thunder Bay, ON)
P'Lovers (Kingston, ON)
Sew Dandee (Winnipeg, MB)
Something Else (Port Colborne, ON)
Taiga Yoga & Therapy Centre (Yellowknife, NT)
Workshop Boutique (Ottawa, ON)

as well as at:

Monday, October 28, 2013

How to Wash, Wear & Care for your Wool Sweaters

Here at Paper People, wool is a precious commodity.  Through years of working with upcycled or reclaimed materials, we've learned many tips and tricks for restoring sweaters that have seen better days and keeping them looking fresh.  Unlike cheaper materials that age quickly, with a little tender loving care, quality wool garments can stick around in your wardrobe for years rather than just one season.  Now if that's not eco, I don't know what is.

Eco Properties

Like all natural fibres that come from the Earth, wool is a completely renewable resource.  Sheep, goats, llamas and rabbits are raised and sheered for their coats.  Vegetarians should know that some animals are raised for sheering only and allowed to roam in pastures unlike the caged animals in factory farms.  Others are raised for their milk and meat and the wool is a by product of this industry, insuring nothing goes to waste.  At the end of its life, pure wool is completely biodegradable, releasing nutrients back into the soil.



Wearing

Wool is kind of a wonder fibre.  It's warm and insulative yet breathable, unlike synthetics that make you sweat.  It is naturally water resistant which makes it ideal for cold, wet weather.  Merino wool, one of the softest, smoothest wools is now being used in sportswear for high performance base layer clothing because of its ability to wick moisture away from the body.  It is resistant to mould and mildew and staying fresh rather than collecting a build up of body odour.

Washing

Wool is naturally stain resistant.  Rather than absorbing, residue remains on the surface, and the fabric is not prone to water marks which makes for easy spot cleaning if you're in a pinch.

Now, I know it's all too common to see a fine wool garment ruined in the wash.  Wool fibres are covered in a shingle like structure.  When heat and agitation is applied, the shingles lift up and lock together, causing the fabric to shrink up and become stiff.

I find Soak Wash is the best way to care for knit garments.  Add a teaspoon full to a sink full of cool water, let your garment sit for 15 minutes, then gently squeeze the water out and let dry.  No need to rub, agitate or even rinse.  I chose the scentless version as it's free of artificial fragrances and easy on the skin.  I picked mine up at Fresh Collective.


Wringing out can cause some knits to become warped or misshapen, so I find the best way to remove excess water is to lay it flat on a towel, roll it up and then step on it.



Mending

Sadly, many goods have become disposable to our consumer driven society.  Clothes come cheap these days and the sight of a little hole or stain is enough to send an otherwise perfectly good garment to the curbside.  I know it's an archaic concept in this day and age, but we CAN mend our own clothes.  It's simple, it's easy and it can add a few years onto the life of some of your favourite pieces.

Pilling

Pilling occurs when loose fibres find their way to the surface.  When abrasion occurs, the fibres clump into balls or "pills" which stay fixed to the surface by loose fibres that have not yet broken.  Hence pilling occurs in areas of increased abrasion like collars, cuffs, thighs and underarms.  Wool, polyester, nylon and acrylic have the most tendency to pill, however, wool pilling wears away over time as the pills have a tendency to break away.


If you're finding your sweater has developed pills and you'd like to give it a little love, I recommend the Sweater Stone.  The Sweater Stone is a pumice like block made from post consumer recycled materials.  When you rub the stone against the fabric, its abrasive surface collects pilling and loose fibres, leaving the surface looking clean and new again.



Pulls

Looser knits are most prone to pulls but many knits can become caught, resulting in yarns pulling out from the fabric.  As a non knitter (believe it or not) I find pulling these stray yarns to the back side of the fabric is the easiest fix I find.  I usually take a standard flat head pin, stick it through the fabric a few millimetres away from the pull, letting the head of the pin surface at the base of the pull.  I then wrap the loose yarn around the pin and pull it to the under side of the sweater.

Holes

Usually when your favourite garment develops a hole, it's time for conspicuous patch work or the donation bin.  One of the many upsides to wool knits is they are super easy to mend and can look good as new with a few simple stitches.  Fluffier, bulkier knits are easier to mend than fine, thin knits like merino, but this concept can be applied to any sweater with varying results.  And my advice is don't let these go for too long.  Smaller holes are much easier to mend with more pleasing results.


Start out by choosing thread that is a few shades darker than the actual fabric.  Light colours come forward and dark colours recede, so the dark thread colour will be less noticeable if it shows on the surface.

Anchor your thread on the back of the fabric.  Now pull the thread to the front of the fabric.  For long, skinny holes I like to weave side to side across the hole, making sure the thread is hidden between the bulk of the yarn.  Pulling too tightly may cause puckering, but not pulling tightly enough may cause the thread to show, so it's important to apply just the right amount of tension.


For larger, rounder holes I will sometimes repeat this going up and down, again, making sure to be gentle while keeping the thread concealed.


Tie a knot on the back side.  And to finish it off, press the area with a hot, steamy iron.  Wool is easily moulded and shaped with a little heat and steam, so this last step should create a nice clean finish.  With a little practice in this technique, no one will know there was ever a hole to begin with!

So there you have it ladies and gents, your complete guide to sweater wear and care along with a little background information.  Now the question is, are you brave enough to try this at home?