I had the chance to talk to Adhesif mastermind Melissa Ferreira shortly after I had posted about her Fall 2010 collection.
In a time where being green is mandatory, Melissa is finding ways to bring new life to old garments and fabrics that you probably wouldn’t think to salvage. We talked about her roots, inspirations, and how you can make a few quick fixes here and there to breathe new life into your possibly stale wardrobe.
How did you decide to get into fashion and sustainable fashion at that?
I’ve always been resourceful. It was the way I was brought up: to not use more than you need to and not waste anything you’ve been given. Growing up and even now, I’ve always liked looking different and having my own personal style. With that said, I used to wear a lot of vintage clothing. Eventually I ended up working as a vintage clothing buyer for a True Value Vintage and a number of other local companies. I was able to fine-tune my eye in terms of finding old fabrics. The skills I learnt in those years really helped me in terms of what I do now; it was a huge learning process.
Back then, I used to find a lot of fabrics that weren’t usable by the companies I worked for so they would let me buy them and refurbish them myself. Dream in Vancouver was the first store I started selling to. I realized that I was onto something. When I started, being green wasn’t as big as it is now, so now everything has catapulted into having my own business, store, etc. Everything was a fusion of my lifestyle, expression, etc; all of those things pieced together.
If I wasn’t making clothing out of recycled materials, I don’t know if I would specifically be in the fashion industry. I like the process of making everything one of a kind and special. I feel like everyone in the world has a special personality and that’s how I feel about the clothing I create. It’s fun to see who gravitates to what. It’s not just about buying a shirt, it’s about an experience.
So how are you managing the growth of your company? It started as a professional hobby and now it’s your full-time growing business.
Well, we just moved into a new location in Vancouver. It’s a work studio in the back and a retail store in the front. The expansion was much needed! I couldn’t fit anything more into my old studio! You need a lot of space for this kind of work because you’re always accumulated fabrics and such.
I’m not one to take huge risks. Everything has been a natural progression which is great. It’s all been really exciting. I’ve had to hire on a team and I’m always taking interns.
I recently posted about your Fall 2010 line. Where did your inspiration for that collection come from?
In general, a lot of my inspiration comes from music. There isn’t ever a silent moment when I’m working: there’s always great music playing. This passed year I have been heavily influenced by jazz and blues music and the culture of that time. I try to envision what it would be like to live in that time and how the music would have affected people living in that time.
Who were some of the artists you were listening to?
A lot of blues and jazz artists like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Robert Johnson, and others. Music from that era is timeless; it always seems to work no matter what the environment. It also fits perfectly with the vintage clothing that has been a huge inspiration for me my entire life. So it all ties together well.
Are there any quick fixes you can recommend for people wanting to liven up an old garment that they aren’t quite ready to part with yet? Say for example, a blazer?
A blazer is a perfect example. If you look through decades of fashion, there have always been suit jackets for both men and women. A well-tailored suit jacket goes well with any statement piece. If you have a jacket in your wardrobe that you really like but needs a makeover, you can always take it to your local tailor to have it altered for your shape or a new style. Unfortunately, a lot of people would rather just go out and buy something new.
You can even change the buttons!
Exactly! Even just changing the buttons can do a world of difference to any garment. You can even dye your garments. If you can’t do it yourself, maybe even look up your local designers to see if they’ll help you out. Don’t be afraid of all the options available to you! It’s about being resourceful and creative!
What are some of your favourite finds?
I’m always really excited to find wool, printed wool, tartans, and stuff like that. Or garments from the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s: that’s always really exciting.
What are your favourite trends?
I love the high-waisted look. It’s so attractive on the female form. Whether it be pants, a pencil skirt, a dress with a flattering wasteline, if you look through the history of fashion, the style repeats itself over and over again for a reason. Regardless of your body type, it generally always looks fantastic.
Least favourite trends?
Uggs. I’ve never liked them. They’re frumpy. I get that they’re comfortable but they look like they should be worn around your home.
Ya I don’t get the frumpy look either.
I think it’s a West Coast mentality. I’m from Montreal and you don’t see that as much there. There’s a lot of environment and nature in Vancouver. I get comfort is part of the West Coast lifestyle, but I wish people would put a little more effort into their look. You can be comfortable and fashionable.
I like when someone looks comfortable in their own skin and when they’re wearing something that personally suits their body type. I don’t like when people follow trends just because they’re trendy. Not everything that’s trendy suits everyone. Like MC Hammer pants: it doesn’t suit the masses! I encourage people to be experimental but that being said, don’t be quick to buy into things just because they’re popular.
Well, it’s been great chatting with you! I haven’t checked out your new store but I think I’ll do so this weekend! Thanks and all the best!
Please do check it out; it’s a very whimsical store and I’m sure you’ll find something! Thanks!
Check out the Adhesif’s website to see what the new store looks like and to see where you can find Adhesif’s garments in your area.
Also, here’s a great video ( a little old but still good) of Melissa talking about Adhesif.