Vancouver cat and coffee shop lovers can rest easy knowing that as of Monday December 14, 2015, our city opened its first cat cafe. With a simple crowd-funding page, entrepreneur Michelle Furbacher gained enough public support to create her dream space, Catfé. The concept for the cat cafe is quite simple; it’s a place where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while a snuggly feline sits on your lap. It is a place that provides a service for those who are unable to keep pets of their own, or who are looking for a unique social experience. And if you fall in love with your snuggle buddy, you can apply to adopt them. I had a chance to sit down with cat enthusiast and Catfé owner Michelle to discuss her new pawject.

By Andrea Hooge
By Andrea Hooge

Farah Tozy: Tell meow a bit about yourself.

Michelle Furbacher: I’ve been a cat lover my whole life, from the magical moment in the first grade when I met my family’s new kitten, through my fastidious collection of Garfield books and the “Punk Cats” poster that adorned my pre-teen bedroom wall. (FYI I would never condone dressing kittens in leather jackets and ripped jeans with guitars now, but my 9-year-old self thought it was the coolest thing ever.) But only after volunteering for the West Vancouver SPCA and the North Vancouver Animal Welfare Shelter did I really start to understand the complexities of cat behaviour. After my own cat, Peanut, passed away two years ago, I started a live-in cat-sitting business so that I could spend quality time with kitties again. Business was good—so good that I barely slept at my own home last year. Through cat sitting, I got to know a lot of different cats with different kinds of personalities, and learned even more about the feline mentality.

I want to provide others with the same experience I was looking for through cat sitting—a space that offers feline companionship for those who don’t have a cat of their own, or just really like hanging out with kitties. At the same time, I have a good understanding of what cats need, and their welfare is of utmost importance to me. I will work hard to create a safe, happy space that will feel like home to the cats until they find their forever home.

FT: Would you describe yourself as a cat enthusiast?

MF: Yes definitely! Though I wouldn’t think of myself as a crazy cat lady. I really appreciate cats and think of them as little people, with their own personalities. I wouldn’t say I love every cat, because they’re all so different. They’re little furry people to me.

FT: Why did you decide to work towards opening a cat cafe?

MF: At first it was because it was a place I really wanted to go to, so I was waiting around for someone to announce they were opening one. That wasn’t happening. I’ve heard that the ones in Japan are hourly rates for you to hang out with cats, whereas the European ones are cafés with cats hanging out; you can stay as long as you want. I actually visited a couple of cat cafes in Europe and I believe that vibe is more fitting for Vancouver.

FT: How do you envision Catfé being a part of the social furrabric of Vancouver?

MF: Because a high percentage of rentals in Vancouver don’t allow pets, Catfé will be like a home away from home for cat lovers in need of some quality cat time (and) a get-away for cat lovers who have allergic partners, or for tourists and travellers who miss their cats at home or students who aren’t able to keep pets of their own. We want the kitty lounge to feel like an extension of your living room, with board games, WiFi, and a library of books. We’ll host art shows for feline-inclined artists, movie nights, readings and more. We are building Catfé for the community—a new space for animal lovers looking for a unique social experience. A place to learn about cats. A new way to facilitate adoptions. A place to spark discussion about the feline homelessness problem in the Lower Mainland, and where cat owners can learn about cat behaviour and proper cat care.

Additionally, there are therapeutic, stress-relieving benefits to spending time in the company of four-legged creatures. A purring kitty in your lap can beneficial in so many ways—(they can) lower blood pressure, improve motivation, decrease anxiety, ease loneliness and ward off depression. Some quality kitty time can improve mental health and increase compassion towards animals, and in turn, towards all creatures. Basically, Catfé will result in peace on earth!

FT: Sounds very pawsitive! What can a visitor to Catfé expect?

MF: As per discussions with Vancouver Coastal Health, we need to have food service completely separate from our kitties, and so Catfé will be almost like two businesses side by side: a cafe and retail boutique for cat lovers, and a lounge space featuring 8 to 12 resident foster cats. Customers can order food and drink from our take-out menu, and bring it with them into the kitty lounge. Access to the cat area will be free with purchase from the cafe. To make the spaces more interactive, we plan to build some window perches connecting the two spaces. I want to have a rotating artist showing their work, maybe make space every few months to put up a new cat-related artist.

FT: Unfurtunately, I don’t own a cat. What kind of atmeowosphere should I expect?

MF: Some people think cats are antisocial, but there are as many different personality types of cats as there are of people. We’ll choose cats with more outgoing and social personalities for Catfé. Being out of a cage and free to roam about (the space will be equipped with ‘cats only’ retreat areas for when cats don’t feel like basking in attention and adoration) will also allow their personalities to flourish.

We will have a cat carer on hand at all times to answer questions about cat behaviour and ensure harmony between human and cat folk. ‘Dog people’ may find themselves crossing over to the other side after a little feline companionship.


Catfe is located on the second floor of International Village Mall (southwest corner, overlooking Keefer and Abbott), and is open daily from 11 am to 9 pm, except for Thursdays, when they close to bring in new cats from the BC SPCA. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit Catfe’s website


Don't miss this designers next show. F'real.
Don’t miss this designers next show. F’real.

After all the success from completing the 68 lb. Challenge at Eco Fashion Week back in April, Sad Mag friend Evan Ducharme has invited us to witness his very first liberating collection ICONOCLAST, where everything—from music to venue—has been designed by Evan. This VCAD alumni has been featured in Fashion Night Out Vancouver with his collection Crepuscule, as well as Eco-Fashion Week with his collection Belladonna; both lines received immense positive feedback. I have no doubt in my mind that his upcoming Made to Measure runway show on Friday August 22nd at East Van Studios will be stunning. I had a chance to chat with Evan before the big day.

SAD MAG: What should we expect on Friday August 22nd? 

EVAN DUCHARME: This season I started with an approach to Prohibition-era mechanicism. I merged a dystopian society with 1920s-30s silhouettes in the style of the silent film Metropolis. The narrative compares the cataclysmic decline in Metropolis to Sunset Boulevard’s Norma Desmond and her descent into madness as she clings desperately to her sinking film career. The collection consists of 10 looks for the womenswear and unisex markets.

SM: What three words would you use to describe this new collection?

ED: Industrial. Streamlined. Elegant.

SM: How excited are you to showcase all of your hard work?

ED: Very! It’s my first solo presentation, having full control of the environment and mood is a privilege. I’m blessed to have a great team of people alongside me to help bring my vision to the catwalk; I hope it’s well received.

Check out more info about Evan on Twitter or Facebook.

Showcasing clothing from local designers, challenging up and coming designers, and providing tips on sustainability, Eco Fashion Week has become a well-known event in Vancouver, from bloggers to socialites attending the three-day events. It kicked off on April 27th with seminars, and then ended on April 29th.  Our fashion writer Farah Tozy was invited for a special media event in part one, the Thrift Chic Challenge in part two, and the 68lb challenge in part three. Read on Sad fashion lovers. 

photo 1
Farah and her fashion pals at Value Village.


A week before Eco Fashion Week, five journalists and I were invited to Black 2 Blond salon for a La Biosthetique pampering party. This eco-friendly hair salon not only uses natural products, it also promotes sustainability by ensuring that even the packaging for hair care, skin care, and makeup products are made from recycled materials. The European company was founded by Marcel Contier in 1950s Paris, where he blended natural ingredients with high quality products to create La Biosthetique. Siegfried Weiser, president of La Biosthetique, has kept the focus on the environment by using only natural, high quality, raw materials. With the strictest and best quality practices, La Biosthetique brings their European style to Vancouver. They have been the backbone in EcoFashion Week for many seasons, providing full makeup and hair for all the models. Feeling like an ordinary Cindy Crawford, I sipped on my coffee while receiving an aromatic scalp massage, hair treatment, hair styling and make up touch ups. It was hands down one of the best salon experiences I’ve had.

After we got dolled up, we travelled with the Eco Fashion team to the newest Value Village in Coquitlam. Thanks to Value Village, we were given gift cards to thrift together an outfit for Eco Fashion Week. Not only was I learning the tricks of the trade from none other then the eco-stylist herself Myriam Laroche, the founder of Eco Fashion Week, I was getting hooked up with an outfit for the event!


Let’s recall the thrift chic challenge: from seasons past: three stylists receive a $500 gift card to spend at Value Village, and are required to create a collection of clothing. The looks can be for any season or occasion. Various local designers have put together amazing looks but I have to say that this seasons participants were extremely impressive.

Fancy fashions. (R-L, Man Up, Jerome, Hey Jude)
Fancy fashions. (R-L, Man Up, Jerome, Hey Jude)

First up was MAN UP by one1one magazine’s Ghazal Elhaei. With an emphasis on work attire, Ghazal stunned the audience with her pieces. Included in most of her looks were sleek button-ups,  vintage blazers, fitted pants, fun socks, shoes and best of all, scarves or glasses as an accessory. Her pieces supported each other very well, and the collection as a whole was stunning. For all the office men out there, I recommend you take note of these looks; they’re stylish and affordable!

Next up was Label Deficiency’s Jerome Onsario. This collection featured various clothing for spring and summer. His pieces ranged from dresses to pants to shorts, with casual tops and button-ups, in addition to an assortment of chunky jewelry. He decided to keep a neutral color scheme throughout the line with pops of coral. When asked how he was able to find so many coral items, he told me he was shopping at Value Village everyday for the last month to find the perfect coral colours. This is definitely not the last time you’ll hear about this newcomer.

Last, but never the least, were the stylings of Lauren Clark and Lyndsey Chow from Hey Jude. The two had a specific colour palette of pastels, whites and off-whites. Blending together socks, sandals, jumpsuits, furs, satins, silks, and patterns, all the ensembles fit so perfectly together. The talented ladies featured women’s and men’s wear with a spunky twist by having the La Biosthetique team create mysterious, dark eyes and the indescribable “I woke up like this” hair. Everything was so chic and unique that I, already being a HUGE Hey Jude fan, fell back in love.


68lbs is on average how much clothing a person tosses in the wasteland. Instead of throwing it away, a designer rummages through Value Village stores across the lower mainland to find fabric they can manipulate into a collection of clothing effectively eliminating an addition 68lbs from being thrown away.  This years 68lb challenge candidate was Tammy Joe from Young Oak. With a simplistic, light colour palette, Tammy Joe blew away the audience. First of all, her show started off with an interpretive dance featuring 68lbs of clothing stretching across the runway. Dancers formed different shapes with their combined bodies, clinging onto each other as a trumpet player played a melodic tune.  Following the dance, the show began. Moving towards different shades and patterns, Tammy Joe focused her line on spring/summer clothing. What really impressed me was her diverse collection featuring skirts, dresses, shorts, pants and even a trench coat. My favourite piece was a sleeveless jacket that had a quilt-like material on the side. Not only was it extremely unique, it looked so comfortable! All the pieces were wearable and will be seen in my future closet.

Younh Oak shows structural flare.
Younh Oak shows structural flare.

Be sure to check out Eco Fashion Week  to learn about their upcoming events. The amazing team at Eco Fashion always puts their heart and soul into everything, making sure every event is better then the last. If you’re interested in being a part of the action, apply! They’ll love to hear about your Eco Fashion endeavors. Itching to see more photos? Head to Eco Fashion Week’s Facebook page!

Sitting down with Alex Waber and Lynol Lui, friends of Sad Mag and skilled photographers, was quite an adventure. Discussing everything from selfies to country music, this unstoppable duo is on their way to success in the photography world. With various similarities and an abundance of differences in their art, they’re definitely going to make their Fashion No.1 Photography Show diverse and unforgettable. 

FN1_Postcard_print-02Sad Mag: Tell us about yourselves.

Alex Waber: My dad was a photographer, so when I was really young, he gave me cameras to play with. I learned on film, which was good because I learned to focus on something; granted at the time there were lots of photos of my dog and toys. My fascination with photography turned into a fascination with video in high school. I went to Capilano College for cinematography and worked in the cinematography industry doing safety videos, like “why you don’t wear ear buds when you’re working.” Ultimately I learned I didn’t like film because there are too many people and egos involved, and the hours were crazy. I ended up taking a step back into photography since there is so much more freedom in photography.

Lynol Lui: I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Lethbridge, where I came from. I started out doing fine arts, mainly drawing, then I got into photography through my sister and her partner at the time. They were based in Hong Kong, so I was fortunate enough to take a trip out there during my second year of university. They got me my first professional camera and her partner let me do my first shoot. All he said was “have fun,” and I just started firing away. I was so nervous, but that was my very first publication. That’s when I fell in love with photography and started to mend it with my drawings.

SM: What kind of set up do you prefer (music, tea etc.) when you’re photographing or editing?

AW: Music is crucial. Aside from country and hip-hop, I listen to everything else. I’m really into ambient noise right now. Through the editorial shoot I did for Sad Mag, I got wrapped up in the scene of experimental noises. It’s probably made a shift in my fashion photography. Before, I was inclined towards certain shapes, now I’m becoming more abstract. I can do my work on the bus, at a café, or at home, as long as I have my music to keep me in the zone.

LL: It’s interesting how influential music is. I always put hip-hop on, grab a coffee, sit in my office and I’ll literally be working for eight hours straight. When I’m doing a shoot, I like more of an intimacy of just the model and me. If someone else is there, she might feel uncomfortable.


SM: Do you prefer film or digital photography?

LL: Mostly digital. This technology is here right now so I might as well use it.

AW: Digital for clients, and film for my own personal stuff.

SM: How do you feel about Instagram?

LL: It’s a new way of marketing. It’s been an amazing platform for me; it’s opened so many doors. I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can. I know a lot of photographers that use it as a platform to showcase their art. They have two accounts, daily life and work life. I actually did a shoot once, Instagram specific. It was just to see if we get recognition from the brands we were photographing and we did get recognition. Just recently, I was reading about NY

Fashion Week and how some designers take advantage of Instagram. Some don’t allow pictures, while others like Tommy Hilfiger were inspired by Instagram, and had hashtags everywhere.

AW: I have a mixed relation

ship with Instagram. I’ve argued this with a lot of artists about this. It disguises mediocrity (iPhone camera photos) with a trendy filter, but then a lot of the filters are based off of the deterioration of photos. So it makes it look like the photos were taken ages ago. It kind of plays with a sense of time, this photo taken now, happened in the past. I like the way it dabbles with the sense of time in that way. Seflies are another trend I find fascinating.

SM: What should we expect at your upcoming art showing on Friday, February 28th?

AW: We got a DJ, a bar, a wicked bartender that makes wicked cocktails, and wicked beer. Tons of people are coming like friends, family, and people we’ve never met that have become attached to our work.

LL: People that I’ve worked with, people in the industry. The public. It’s a good night to come out, listen to some music look at some beautiful pictures.

SM: What does the future look like for you?

LL: I told myself I would start printing more this year. I’m also going to keep submitting to editorials. I’d like to do more shows since this is my actually my first show in Vancouver. Last year, I was in local editorials and a few magazines in the US, so this year I hope to expand to bigger US magazines, and maybe even European editorials.

AW: Pretty much the same for me. I think Warhol said, “Make something, and while everyone is busy criticizing that, make something else.”

Make sure to stop by Remington Gallery and Studio at 108 East Hastings on February 28th from 7pm to 1am to see the fabulous photos by Alex Waber and Lynol Lui. Follow Alex Waber on Facebook and follow Lynol Lui on Facebook to keep up to date on their art, lives, and future shows!  

It’s difficult to find a pair of jeans that work for all your wobbly bits without giving you saggy bum, mom waist or love handles. Dutil denim helps you avoid asking your partner with the struggle by finding the perfect pair for your body type. Specializing in both women and men’s jeans, they have become a leading supplier of quality denim in Canada with a Vancouver store that opened in 2006, and a Toronto store that opened in 2011. They carry various types of cuts such as skinny, straight and boyfriend, in addition to different types of styles like low-rise and high-rise. The best part is that they come in different raw and washed denim colours, so the options are legitimately endless! You can see over 25 brands such as Levis, Cheap Monday, Naked and Famous, Baldwin, and more at the Gastown location on West Cordova and Cambie.

I got to chat with Thalia Stopa from dutil denim to discuss everything behind everyone’s favourite material. (Make sure to read til the end—there’s a contest down there!)

All dat denim. Come get some.
All dat denim. Come get some.

Sad Mag: Why did you decide to focus solely on denim?

Thalia Stopa: To focus on one thing gives us the ability to know so much about it. When people shop here, it’s almost like a personal shopping experience. We know so much about denim and how everything fits, so we can easily steer people in the right direction.

SM: Tell me about the shopping experience at dutil.

TS: Everyone comes in for something different so we try to have something for everyone. Someone will come in, they’ll have an idea of what they like. We’ll grab a bunch of brands for them to try. They come out, and we give them our honest feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Everyone’s has his or her body issues, so we’re really good at trying everything on beforehand. The only way to know if something really fits is to have it on your body. We have all that knowledge, and we use it to help people.

SM: What are some of the more unique brands that you carry?

TS: We tend to give start up brands a chance. Like Wood and Iron, it’s a brand new brand from a little mining town out of Quebec. It’s their first production run ever. Same with Tortoise, a brand out of LA that has limited quantities. The jeans are made by hand.

SM: What are the best selling jeans at the moment?

TS: For women’s, it’s boyfriend cut jeans, they’re back with a vengeance. We have a boyfriend/skinny hybrid, which I love! For men, a longer rise and a tapered leg is in but with a lot of room in the thighs.

SM: What is the upcoming trend in men and women’s denim?

TS: I’m definitely seeing a lot more tears, distressed, and repair details. In the past few years, it’s been steered clear from due to liability issues when people are trying on the jeans. For men’s, it’s more washes. Our store used to be mostly raw denim, but now it’s 50/50.

SM: What should we look forward at the Saturday February 22nd event?

TS: There’s still a strong subculture of denimheads that are devoted to buying the smallest size possible, breaking them in and never washing them. The jeans are customized to their body. For example if someone has had a wallet in his or her back pocket for years, you’ll see an imprint of that. Basically we’re gonna see people who are passionate about the whole process, people who are proud of their subculture and what they’ve done.  It’s wearable pieces of art.

With hopes of adding tailoring and additional artists on their record label, dutil denim is on the way to becoming a pioneer denim supplier for North America, and maybe even the world. Make sure to follow dutil denim on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more denimhead filled fun! Make sure to stop by their store on Saturday Februrary 22nd to either enter the Fade February contest, or watch our awesome Sadmag judges decide which top three denimheads win a free pair of jeans.

There’s also a contest! Share your favourite style of denim (skinny, highwaisted, bellbottom—the options are endless!) in the comment section on this post (with your email too), and you’ll  have a chance to win a $100 gift card from dutil. Winner will be announced on Sunday, February 23. 

Floral frocks + floral fascinators = perfection

With her unique ivory silk dress featured in our latest Fantasy issue, Jordanna Hardy is hitting the fashion market by storm at the young age of 22. Recently featured in pRIZE Magazine, FaceON UK, and The Scene PG, this Prince George native decided to move to Vancouver after being accepted into the Blanche Macdonald Fashion program. First fearful of the big city, Hardy excelled in the Fashion diploma program and released a line like no other.

This talented designer decided to take the historic tale of King Arthur and his Knights at the Round table to a whole new level. She refurbished the idea of chain mail with modern flare. The fantastical line features evening gowns that have a gothic romanticism about them you can only dream of. She puts an emphasis on combining her European heritage with history, film, and fantasy, while using contrasting fabrics and textures.

Hardy has plans to hit the Vancouver fashion scene head on by releasing a second line in the near future. I had the chance to sit with the inspiring artist to discuss her past, present and future:

Sad Mag: What inspired you to create designs based on King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table?

Jordanna Hardy: That’s a good question! I actually have British heritage, I’ve always been a big fantasy and literature buff. I’m not sure why, but I wanted to do something with chainmail. Coincidentally, there was a TV show at the time called Merlin, It featured young King Arthur and of course, Merlin. Looking at the costumes inspired me to do more reading.

SM: We honestly love all your pieces, especially the dress featured in the latest Fantasy issue. What materials do you usually look for when you’re in sewing designs?

JH: Even though I’m starting a new collection right now, I try to be consistent. I look for 100% silk and 100% wool. I don’t like chemical blends, the quality isn’t always there. I try to keep it simple with those types of fabrics.

SM: What does the future hold for you, an up and coming designer?

JH: Hopefully good things! There is so much going on at the moment that I’m taking it one day at a time. I really want to get my own line off the ground, that’s definitely my primary goal.

After a two-hour sit down with Hardy, I knew it wouldn’t be the last time. Her kind-nature and friendly smile made me excited for her future. She is a gem of a person, and I can’t wait for her next collection. If you’re interested in finding out more about Jordanna Hardy, check out her website, or Facebook

Charming and simple, Love Medals send a clear message.

Handcrafted in Vancouver and featured in our latest Fantasy issue of Sad Mag, Talia Tanaka puts a new twist on luxury and environmentally friendly.

We all have heroes in our lives that we admire immensely. It’s hard to give a gift that expresses how much someone means to you—be it your grandmother who mails you hand-knitted socks every winter even though she lives in Florida or your best friend who shows up to your house with Ben and Jerry’s, and the latest George Clooney movie because you had a bad day. These people are heroes in your eyes and you love them endlessly. Love Medal celebrates the people you love most in your life with a simple “thank you.”

Creator Talia Tanaka graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design before founding Love Medals. After a few years of researching jewelry ideas in Japan, Tanaka came back with the idea of Love Medals, pieces that “[celebrate] relationships amongst family, friends, lovers, and even ourselves.” Love Medals combines luxurious Japanese ribbons with ethical Canadian diamonds to create the most distinguished pieces of jewelry that are cast in 14k gold, sterling silver or bronze. She uses the highest quality materials for all her medals, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pins while staying eco-friendly.

What first began as a company out of her parent’s basement has become a socially conscious jewelry line Tanaka is proud of. Love Medals is located in a 100-year-old studio space that is well equipped with a recycling program where materials such as wax, solutions, and metal scraps are reused, and packaging is either recycled or biodegraded. To top it all off, Love Medals refuses to use any animal based products, and plans to use reclaimed metals in the future.

Sad Mag: Your designs are very unique; we’ve never seen anything like them! How did you come up with the idea to incorporate medals in your line?

Talia Tanaka: Thank you. Well the medals are actually the core of my line and everything else is inspired from those designs. The idea for the medals came about quite simply, but grew into something much more meaningful and profound. I was living in Japan at the time and decided to start my own jewelry line. It was important for me to try and create something different and unique. I came across these vintage war medals and was instantly drawn to them. The inner ‘hippie’ in me thought, “These are great. But they should be Love Medals!” I made some quick sketches in my book, and when revisiting them later, began to see a much larger intention behind the idea.

I truly believe love is what makes the world go ’round. We are all here to learn how to Love, which is not necessarily an easy thing to do! Love is not just a romantic notion, but also one of acceptance, patience, peace and understanding. Love Medals are a special way to acknowledge appreciation for all those things with the people we care about.

Our last cover girl sported some lovely Love Medals.

SM: We noticed you donate some of your profits to Invisible Children  why is this foundation important to you?

TT: There are many, many issues that are important to me, but Invisible Children was a good place to start. Part of Invisible Children’s objective is to stop the abduction of young African children for use as ‘child soldiers’. These children are forced to do horrific things and many suffer completely meaningless deaths. There’s a natural alignment between what Love Medals stands for and what Invisible Children hopes to achieve.

SM: Your line celebrates heroes, who do you consider the hero(es) in your life? 

TT: That’s a great question! My personal definition of a hero is someone who actively and continuously challenges themselves to evolve past their own mental, physical and/or spiritual ‘limitations’, and is successful in doing so. I believe life presents all of us with opportunities to accept that challenge, and it’s not any easy task should we choose to accept. So I have great respect for anyone who takes on that journey. They are my heroes and inspiration. And of course my partner and my son, who motivate me to be the best I can be.

Love Medals has a blog called ‘Love Medal of Valour’ that reveals local heroes in the community who are socially conscious. In honour of all their hard work and outstanding help, they are awarded with a Love Medal Star lapel pin. If you have someone in your community that is deserving of a prestigious pin, please visit the Love Medals website or follow Love Medals on Facebook, and Twitter

Do you ever have one of those moments where a name or brand keeps popping up in your everyday life, be it on television or a fashion event? And instead of Googling it right there and then, you keep putting it off? I had that happen to me for the last year with the brand fiveleft. Finally, I researched it and realized I should have checked out Lincoln Heller’s designs a long time ago! Luckily for me, fiveleft was showcasing designs, producing belts live, and was part of the runway show at the Circle Craft Christmas Market.

Lincoln Heller turns rugged leathers into modern styles for men and women. With some pieces simplistic in design, and others extravagant, Heller’s creations are produced in his studio at 1000 Parker Street. All of the leather is from a small family run tannery in the UK and uses a more eco-friendly vegetable tanning method. This means that the cowhides are soaked with tannins found in different vegetable matter like tree bark instead of the typical chemical tanning process. The tools used to create these beautiful items are over sixty years old, and are all made by hand. Detailing for these pieces are created with recycled objects like bicycle spokes and bolts. Everything is dyed and textured individually so no two pieces are the same (the thrifter inside me loves the uniqueness!) Piece-by-piece they’re sewn together, and as Lincoln Heller says “This leather, it absorbs your personality. It becomes a part of you. It takes on your lifestyle.”

Finding inspiration on the streets of Vancouver, Lincoln Heller’s accessory line fiveleft is definitely a local favourite. Seeing his designs on Shaw TV, Eco-fashion Week season 6, Circle Craft Christmas Market, and the Eastside Culture Crawl, I was very excited and honoured to interview him for Sad Mag.

Fiveleft still maintains that handmade aesthetic we're looking for.

Sad Mag: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Lincoln Heller: My name is Lincoln Heller. I’ve been living in Canada for almost 20 years now. I came from southern Washington State. I came here for school at Emily Carr. I didn’t know what I was gonna do, so I worked in the film industry for a little bit, then worked in graphic design. And then this business started for me in craft and fashion shows. I started at the Portobello West Market in 2006, I showed up to the show with a few handmade wallets. I didn’t sell anything for the first few shows, but there was something about communicating and networking, the social aspect of public sales that was really fun for me. That’s where it really started.

SM: Why did you call your company fiveleft?

LH: I’m left handed, five fingers on my left hand. When I was a kid, it was pretty obvious I was gonna have to make a living doing tactile, hands-on making things. I think fiveleft, the word itself, came from my liking to combine words. My whole product line always has two words smashed together. That comes from computers, the early days of file naming; everything had no spaces and it had to be lowercase. It came time at Emily Carr, where I had to come up a name. I was sitting at the computer thinking, and it just happened.

SM: What inspired you to make leather accessories?

LH: I’m fascinated with containers and things that hold our lives. Wallets, bags these are things that hold bits of our life. And how we travel throughout our day with the bits of our things. Things like, belts. These are small little things that are good for business. But what really fascinate me are men and women bags. They hold our life, and we carry them around.

SM: What des the future look for fiveleft?

LH: We started out in craft markets. Fashion has always been drawing, its somehow not a seasonal product. It’s timeless. It’s a mushy fusion of craft, art and fashion. Part of that is unclassifiable, its what people like. Real fashion people love timeless [things], but they also know how to pick the right trends. One thing that is happening is we’re starting to talk about a wholesale ready and accessible brand. There are two personalities that have been growing: fiveleft by Lincoln Heller (wholesale ready brand) and Lincoln Heller (unique products). Flexible products versus sophisticated designs.

SM: What would usually be playing at your studio?

LH: I’m an electronic music junkie. Things that make noise; I like noise in the shop.

Follow fiveleft on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or check out his online store.

Ever get sick of heading to the mall for holiday shopping? I sure do; the controlled chaos is too much for me to handle! I should be used to it after working retail for years, but no…I still hate it.

When Sad Mag was invited to the Circle Craft Christmas Market, I jumped at the opportunity—one-of-a-kind pieces, hot chocolate, Christmas music and a fashion show? That’s a Farah Tozy kind of event.

While researching Circle Craft, I recalled Adhesif Clothing right away; it was showcased at Eco-fashion week Season 6. The designer, Melissa Ferreira is a self-taught, vintage seamstress who mixes patterns and funky appliques with multiple patchworks. She focuses on reusing old pieces, and making them into fresh garments, as well as ensuring all of her materials are locally produced and 100% eco-friendly. Many of her pieces are perfect for Vancouver’s cold weather because they’re made of cozy wools, tweeds, and cashmeres.

This year actually marks the 10th year for Adhesif. Ferreira plans to have an  “11th year party because it would be funnier. The more bizarre something is, the funnier it is. Nobody likes normal.”

I had the pleasure of sitting with the talented Vancouver designer for a few minutes during the Circle Craft Christmas Market to discuss her unique Adhesif Clothing Company. She was charming and funny, to say the least.

Adhesif mixes Christmas cheer and eco-friendly fashions.

SAD MAG: Tell us a bit about yourself and Adhesif Clothing.
MELISSA FERREIRA: I started out as a vintage clothing buyer. That was when I was 18, straight out of high school. Vintage has always been my first love and it still is to this day.  It’s a constant source of inspiration. The clothing line was the brainchild of that. I just decide to take old fabrics, and turn them into modern styles…but with a vintage twist.

SM: Three words to describe your line?
MF: The look is eclectic, whimsical and classic. Because it’s so eclectic, it remains forever a classic.

SM: Out of curiosity, what does Adhesif stand for?
MF: It doesn’t really stand for anything. I just thought it’d be really funny. I cut myself when I’m sewing all the time. So, I’m always opening up Band-Aids. Clothing’s kind of like that in that in many ways, you put it on depending on your mood, or feelings. It’s not a permanent part of you. It’s an “adhesive” to your personality. I just thought it would be funny.

SM: What inspired you to become eco-friendly?
MF: It wasn’t my intention to be an eco-friendly designer. I just really love vintage fabrics and styles. I love the character of things that are handmade; that have a story aspect. Where has it been? Who’s it been on? What would it say if it could talk? I just have a huge love of nostalgia. Because all the pieces are one of a kind, I have people saying “yeah it feels like a hug. It has a heartbeat!”

SM: What does the future hold for Adhesif?
MF: That’s an intricate question. We have a boutique (2202 Main Street), which is a big accomplishment for the line. I always want to think big. Maybe branch out into Europe. I’m always gonna do this, and its a journey in itself. The artist’s life is not white or black, its different shades of gray.

SM: A soundtrack to your clothing?
MF: I’m listening to a lot of blues at the moment. But I love it all! I listen to music 24 hours a day. I feel like I was a musician in my past life.

Her 1930s styles are featured at Adhesif Clothing Company on 2202 Main Street, as well as many craft shows (the next one being Make It in Edmonton.) Check out the website, Twitter , Instagram  and Facebook for more details about Adhesif.

Heels can help you reach high shelves AND feel empowered.

What is happiness? Have you ever have an accidental orgasm in the shoe department? These questions are asked in the one-woman play, My High-Heeled Life: Or, How I Learned to Keep Worrying and Love My Stilettos, by creator and performer Katharine McLeod. During this play, you’re taken on a journey into an optimistic woman’s mind. This comedy discusses the relationship between high-heels and life in a way you’ve never thought of before—suggesting shoes can create happiness, euphoric experiences, and best of all, can be a great cleaning tool.

The moment I walked into the auditorium, I noticed a sleek blonde woman sitting on a bar stool, doing her makeup, dressed in a tight, little black dress and a pair of black pumps. Every couple of moments, she glanced at the audience with a sly smile on her face. At that moment, I know it wasn’t going to be an ordinary play.

This beautiful young woman says exactly what’s on her mind, but out loud. She’s easy to relate to and honest, capturing every woman’s heart (and innermost thoughts). Throughout the piece, I realized her rationale between shoes and life actually makes sense. High-heeled shoes can be a physical manifestation of empowerment and sexiness, which can trickle down to a sense of happiness. She uses an example of walking in front of a construction site every morning, to feel desirable, gaining confidence after every strut.

She also mentions that high-heels are great for cleaning those hard to reach shelves.

My favorite part of the play was when the bubbly McLeod decides to take off her heels, and in doing so, loses all self-esteem and confidence. She goes into deep  thoughts about life that women of all ages can relate to. She makes you think of the negative things in your life and however bad they are, things could always be worse. You could have urine spilt on you instead of water while trying to strut your stuff in front of construction men.

Displaying both vulnerability and confidence, McLeod shines in this solo play; her acting was flawless. The play was well written, and a great comedic confessional into a woman’s mind.

More information about this play and other works by McLeod can be found on her website.