Leaping Into 2018


This inaugural blog post wants to say ‘THANK YOU’ to everybody who has visited Asset Designs at artists’ markets, bought products, told a friend about the company, followed us on social media, and shared our posts. 2017 has been the year that Asset Designs leaped forward, thanks to the loyal and engaged community that has grown around the slow fashion movement.

So far, in 2018, Asset Designs has hit the press three times! First, I had an interview with Sonia Mahajan, founder of The Stitch Magazine. Sonia’s passion for my brand’s mission (to offer ethically sourced clothing at an affordable price) became clear during our conversation at the cozy Cafe Osmo. Sonia was happy to share her own thoughts on the viability of conscious consumption. She quickly pointed out pieces of her sleek outfit that came from her favorite ethical brands, like Rumble Apparel and Chance & Fate. Sonia later wrote that Asset Designs “embodies everything we hope to see in the world of sustainable fashion: creativity, individuality and ethical production”. I spoke frankly with Sonia about the difficulties I’ve faced sourcing ethically created garments in Canada. She writes:

“Battistin reveals how securing quality fabrics was one of her biggest obstacles because many of the companies she interacted with worked hard at hiding information from her. She described one instance of requesting the certification of sustainability and ethical production from a factory only to receive radio silence on the company’s end. Her experience of supply chain opacity is significant to how we, as consumers, shop because it reveals how easy it is for brands to lie about, or misrepresent, their sustainability ratings and certifications.”

While I talked business with Sonia, I got to talk about my creative process with Marissa Ramnanan, the host of CJLO’s ‘Let’s Get Lit’ segment. It was so exciting to sit behind the switchboard at Concordia University’s broadcasting studio. Truthfully, I hadn’t ever discussed my poetry writing process or design planning before my segment with Marissa. I started seriously writing poetry about two years ago, and this creative burst was informed by my time spent on exchange at the University of Bristol, in the UK. I spent time traveling western & eastern europe in the last two years. These bouts of stimulus and discovery served Asset Designs well. The pocket poems were born from snippets of these poems, written while traveling.  If you’d like to listen to the full segment, it can be found here. One quote that Marissa highlighted, was my claim that:

“We should be just as passionate about what we put on our bodies as we are about what we put into them.”

This was an off-the-cuff remark, but after thinking about it more carefully, I realize how powerful this concept is. So many of us eat locally sourced produce, practice meditation, and exercise regularly. Many people choose to avoid products that were tested on animals. But, why don’t we bring this similar level of conscious consumption to our wardrobes? We interact intimately with these fabrics every day. They are our social presentation, our shield from the elements, our source of self expression. Shouldn’t we care about where our fabric-based identity comes from?

I asked this question, and answered many more at the P[h]assion Social Justice Brunch. The panel event raised funds for Aids Community Care Montreal, and discussed various social justice issues created by our insatiable desire for cheap, trendy clothing. Isn’t it disturbing to consider the socio-economic inequality and environmental pollution represented by a simple ‘fast fashion’ tee shirt? According to a TED investigation, 2700 litres of water are needed to produce the average tee shirt, enough to fill 30 bathtubs. Now, let’s think about the people making these tee shirts. According to Oxfam “in just 4 days, top fashion industry CEOs earn the equivalent of a garment worker’s lifetime pay”. If you’d like to engage with statistics like these, please read the “Loved Clothes Last” online publication. It is a wonderful resource created by Fashion Revolution to offer resources and tips for the conscious shopper.

The mission of ‘slow fashion’ is to forsake traditional retail schedules and create staples made to last. Acknowledging that our clothing touches many human hands before it reaches us is something that we’ve been conditioned to conveniently ignore. 2018 will be a groundbreaking year for this movement, and I’m thrilled to have so many of you coming on this journey with me.

If you want an accessible way to learn more and meet our team, come join us at our Slow Fashion Clothing Swap & Film Screening of RiverBlue, on February 22nd from 6-9pm at Maison Notman House in Montréal. 

Can't wait to meet you,

Tessa