Story by Darja Pilipovic, photos courtesy of anniethompson.ca
Annie Thompson's new bike-wear collection GIRRRILLA
Annie Thompson is a Toronto-based fashion designer and maker -- and cyclist. Thompson supports the arts, green living and the environment by making clothing with a minimum carbon footprint. Her latest line of clothing, GIRRRRILLA bike wear, is made with cyclists in mind -- it will help you get noticed, which is something most cyclists need. Thompson's clothing is locally made with sustainability kept in mind in both the design and production practices.
This season, Annie launched a new reflective bike wear collection - GIRRRILLA - and we chatted with her a bit to find out more about the collection, her inspirations, and her cycling habits.
One of the interesting and unique features of this brand, is that Thompson offers in-store and at-home fittings. Depending on where you're located, you can either pop into the shop or she can roll over to your place to discuss the design of your desired garment. Additionally, existing garments can be modified to offer a better fit. Besides ready-to-wear, the atelier receives many requests for unique pieces such as wedding dresses that go beyond the glitz (and brand), that are timeless and wearable again after the special event. The entire process is fairly intimate and can be justifiably lengthy, but clients feel it is definitely worth the effort for a unique custom-made piece that is created using sustainable production methods, and will outlast trend and fashion.
Of her bike wear line, Thompson told us a bit about her inspiration and vision for the collection:
“What I was trying to do with the bike wear collection is make something that looks good on women that doesn't necessarily have to be sporty, that you could just put on when you're biking to work, or walking your dog at night. Just something that people can throw on and be seen and be noticed. And something that has a little bit more style than the average "manly" construction vest that's available anywhere.”
The bike wear line is made to be wearable and practical -- but it's also très cute. It's difficult to combine design with practicality, especially when fluorescent nylons are in the equation. Safety is a key aspect of the design, and is especially important to Thomspon as she is a cyclist herself.
She's conscious of the dangers surrounding cyclists, especially during fair-weather seasons, and wanted to make something a little more unique than the bike wear typically available in stores. Incidentally, her collection pays homage to the construction suit -- she was inspired by construction worker's uniforms. Thompson's take is definitely more feminine. Her vision: “Hopefully, the wording at the back of the vests will put a smile on the drivers face, instead of them wanting to say the f word.”
The company also works hard to maintain sustainable production. The studio donates all of their fabric scraps to local artists, craftspeople and anyone that can use them. They also recycle everything they can, including the paper from the cutting table and all of their patterns, which Thompson burns in her sauna at home. They concentrate on using the most sustainable materials such as eco-bamboos, despite the slim selection in the market. The focus is to create garments that are timeless and created for the individual, rather than following trends.
Thompson spends her time in the studio and on two wheels divided between Toronto and Wasaga Beach, and loves cycling late at night when the streets are quiet and harmonious.
For more information on Annie's tailor-made and unique pieces, please visit: anniethompson.ca
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