Can we change the world through our clothing?
Insiya Rasiwala chats with Anna Gilkerson of deux fm.
Originally from small town Nova Scotia, Anna Gilkerson left the rural landscape of her youth to study fashion at FIT in New York City and at Polimoda in Italy. This lovely lady is on a mission to create beautiful, wearable clothing and contribute to her local Nova Scotian economy. She brings with her not only passion for the sustainable lifestyle but also experience – she was previously a designer at eco-favourite, Matt + Nat and founded Deux FM in 2006.
The line, which is pronounced deux femmes – implies two women or the dual woman. In Gikerson’s words, “Deux fm is for the woman who broadcasts both fashion and ethics.” For Fall 2009, Gilkerson continues to hones her trademark clean-lined, yet feminine styles at affordable prices.
Adding another notch in her eco-fashion belt, Gilkerson will be participating in Eco Chic Geneva in in January 2010, a conference in conjunction with the United Nations Trade Development to promote and educate the world about the sustainable clothing industry, as well as the GreenShows in NYC on Feb.17th, 2010.
Here are some excerpts from our chat. Scroll below to see some of our favourites from Deux FM’s 2009 fall/winter collection.
Y. Have you always wanted to design? And was it always clothing?
A.G. I was always into art and design. I studied art in New York before I went to F.I.T. I took painting, sketching and sculpting- all before I decided to get serious about fashion design. As a kid I loved to make costumes and fashion drawings but I was never overly serious about it. It was one of my joys, simple as that.
Now I can’t believe I am so lucky I get to do what have loved since I was a child and I get to be involved in an important industrial movement that is doing good for the world.
Y. How has growing up in Nova Scotia influenced you and your philosophy with respect to design?
A.G. Nova Scotia is a very eco minded place. Our provincial recycling system is stellar and we are also very community oriented and locally focused here. It is a very natural place and it’s quiet, the air smells good here.
Y. What was your experience in NYC like and Florence?
A.G. The experiences were amazing! Coming from a small town and taking up digs in NYC was an intense adventure. I learned a great deal about hard work and dedication in New York and a lot about living life from the Italians. The Italians have such natural style and I love their attitude to life. I rode a bicycle there and took the subway in NYC. Both very green methods of transport whereas in NS we drive a lot because it is the country and there is nothing here. That is what I do miss about the city, the energy and the passion and the eco transportation! Montreal was huge for me as well, I worked in the fashion industry there and I learned so much about collection development and production. Having my own business has taught me how to run a business, so there has been lots of trial and errors. I am content with the path I have taken thus far.
Y. Do you think we can change the world through our clothing?
A.G. I think that the green fashion industry is one facet of a global scale movement. It is equally important as all the others but I think it takes more than just clothing.
Fashion can help because it speaks to a young generation. There are so many brands now that provide green fashion equal to or better than the non-green.
It is hard to tell the difference these days and this is what helps change.
Y. What inspires you?
A.G. True style, not following trends, honesty, humor, luxurious comfort, beautiful colors and imperfect textures, whole fashion eras and tiny details.
Y. What else are you passionate about?
A.G. My family, music, travel, food, books, movies, the ocean.
Y. Where can we find deux fm (on the west coast)?
A.G. Nowhere as of yet! Alberta and online are the closest you will find. I am hoping to secure some west coast retailers but the competition is crazy over there. BC is a mecca for organic clothing + lifestyle.
Y. Can you speak about any initiatives you are involved in to promote eco fashion in Canada?
A.G. For Fall 2010 we will be launching our new organic-intimates collection that is produced locally by an established century old underwear manufacturer. Recently we provided work to local sewers by making bikinis out of reclaimed fabric ends and we have also worked with a women’s knitting co-op in Peru. We also have begun to provide internships to students and graduates that want to learn more about local and eco fashion business opportunities. We continually donate to charities such as the David Suzuki Foundation and Clean Nova Scotia.
Y. What can we look forward to for your new collection.
A.G. Our Spring 2010 capsule collection is inspired by the old world of wooden sailboats. In coastal Nova Scotia, despite job loss due to factory displacement and over-fishing, there remains a thriving boatbuilding community. The deep blues of the North Atlantic play against the washed out sky and the soft antique whites and taupe of deck, rope and sail. Loosely tailored menswear combine with feminine silhouettes to create a look that is both function and fashion. Fabrics include hemp, soy, lyocell and organic cotton jersey blends, bamboo denim, OEKO-TEK certified organic cotton shirting, linen jersey manufactured in Canada and GOTS certified organic cotton denim from India.
*We also have a capsule summer collection also coming out at a later delivery. New swimwear styles, gorgeous dresses and soft summery sweaters in bold jungle hues.
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