Leotie Lovely Shop

Leotie Lovely launched in 2011 selling vintage, pre-loved, and reworked clothing and accessories (with photography by Silas Chipelski). Summer of 2013 marks the first Leotie Lovely collection of limited edition, ethically produced handmade clutches, created using vintage materials (styled by Jessica Tsang and photographed by Felix Garside). This line will be sold alongside other vintage and re-purposed pieces carefully chosen for the site.

All items sold on leotielovely.com are vintage, re-purposed, upcycled, or recycled.

My love of thrift stores started at a very early age. At age nine, equipped with money earned from selling Femo creations at craft sales, I began trolling charity shops for lost treasure, purchasing knick-knacks to decorate my bedroom with, and finding pieces for my ever-important elementary school wardrobe. My love for second-hand clothing and vintage grew in my teens, as did my fascination with repurposing vintage clothing and sports apparel into party tops and costumes for Halloween. It was only natural that I would parlay this love for clothing into a career in fashion – first, working as a boutique assistant and clothing buyer; then, after studying marketing and PR, becoming a fashion journalist / blogger, PR consultant and marketing manager; and now, as an e-commerce business owner. 2013 marks my first step into the world of design and production with this collection of eco-friendly clutches.

I have been interested in eco-fashion since my early 20s when I became aware that we as a society have become disconnected from who, what, where and how the things we own are created. The construction of these clutches is a story in itself – a journey of time and research to upcycle and repurpose, filling in what couldn’t be found with ethically produced products, while ensuring everyone and everything contributing to this collection’s creation was paid fairly and treated respectfully.

I consider myself a curator, not a designer – these fabrics found me, not the other way around. Each clutch holds a memory of the time and place where its material was found; it is by happenstance that each fabric fell naturally into place to create a thematic collection.

The places represented by the contents of this collection are significant. The hand carved steer heads were purchased without knowing what they’d be used for, from an artisan in Bali during a four month traveling stint in 2012. It is serendipitous that they became the main feature for my first collection, coalescing the vintage fabrics I hand selected while home visiting family in Canada. These elements were further unified by assembling the clutches with Love in London Town, my home for the past 6 years.

Everyone involved with the development of these pieces from start to finish has put a lot of time, energy and love into them making it a really incredible process

Leotie (lee.oh.tea) means prairie flower. As a child, my mum let me help choose my sister’s middle name when she was born. I was 4 at the time, and became fixated on the idea that Emma ‘Flower’ Rose should be her name. But ‘Flower’ was too broad a word for this little lady, so we perused books of horticulture, discovering alternative floral names.  My mum came across ‘Leotie’, a word belonging to the Sioux who are native to the northern prairies of the United States and Southern prairies of Canada, including our home province of Manitoba. ‘Leotie’ is a reflection of our borrowed heritage, and has served to instil respect for First Nations people and their culture, as well as nature and the earth, in my sisters and I. 

The owl mask was created as part of the branding of the site, but it also simplifies photoshoots immensely! I chose an owl specifically as the mascot for Leotie Lovely because it is an animal I feel a certain affinity with, and one of the few birds that I encounter on both sides of the pond year-round, representing both my British and Canadian heritage. If you wanna make your own owl mask you can check out the DIY for er' right here: http://leotielovely.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/diy-owl-mask.html

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