News

  • Eastside Culture Crawl: November 14-17

    Published Nov 12 2019 in art, culturecrawl, design, diane kennedy, Eastside Culture Crawl, fashion, shop local

    Every year, the team here at Diane Kennedy looks forward to the Fall season, in part because our city holds a very special 4 day event.

    We are thrilled to be participating (instead of attending) in this year's annual 23rd Eastside Culture Crawl. For those not in the know, it's an event that celebrates the tremendous impact that Art and Design has on our community in East Vancouver. The Crawl began as a small group of Eastside artists interested in engaging with the public. They eventually decided to come together as a circle and promote an open studio event. 

    Eastside Culture Crawl banner

    As one of Vancouver’s yearly cultural highlights, The Culture Crawl provides a great opportunity to explore East Vancouver’s vibrant arts scene and laude our local artists for their contributions to our city. Vancouver’s strong and creative arts community is a key element of what makes Vancouver such a dynamic and thriving city. As a proudly Canadian fashion line, being located in the heart of such an inspiring neighbourhood is such a blessing to us.

    In the first few years, attendance was only a few hundred people; participants and attendees included. Fast forward 20+ years and The Eastside Culture Crawl has grown to include over 480+ artists and 68 venues. Participants include visual artists, craftspeople and designers, and the event attracts more than 40,000 attendees, lovingly dubbed, "crawlers".

    Culture Crawl map

    Be sure to come visit us! We're "E1" (click here or the above map to find our studio!)

    We're so honoured to be included in the Crawl's wonderful line-up of textile and design artists; their work is well worth your attention. Textile practices go back as far as humanity's origins. Over history, this "technology" has led to the invention of basketry, weaving, knitting, stitching and ever increasing complexities of design and process. It's only natural that the fashion industry works closely with the artistry of textile production. Together, pieces are created that not only express one's individuality, but can also make statements about social/ethical values, such as our personal commitment to Eco/Ethical fabric and production practices.

    From November 14-17, our designer, Diane, will be on hand to chat with you about our inspiration, process and execution of our work. Our design process is created almost entirely on a computer, but using a machine does not mean we simply push a button and the finished product appears. Computer–aided design, for example, is a labour-intensive, highly skilled process. Patterns need to be created and tested, prototypes are sewn and fitted on real bodies. Adjustments are made, patterns are graded for size and a cut layout is created to make best use of the fabric. Each Diane Kennedy garment is then sewn on a machine by a skilled seamstress, all of which happens at factories very close to East Vancouver. We'll be able to go into more detail about these processes to anyone who visits our studio during this event.

     Diane Kennedy Studio will be open for the Eastside Culture Crawl

    The Eastside Culture Crawl is a grand opportunity to learn more about our process. We're excited to show you how much goes into every piece we design & produce!

  • Plus Size Labels; Who Needs Them?

    Published Oct 30 2019 in diane kennedy, fashion industry, plus size, plus size fit expert, Size

    We can spend our whole life avoiding labels, or living up to them and proving them wrong. When it comes to your clothing are they really that important? Many articles have been written about the use of the term "plus size". The feeling is that it is an outdated and marginalized term that tries to put larger women into a less exciting and frumpy box with dark colours and God forbid; horizontal stripes. The plus-size clothing industry has come such a long way and smart consumers expect the same quality and attention to fit and detail as anyone else. Why wouldn't we?

    Models wearing Diane Kennedy clothing

    Size Is Just a Number

    Both the models above are wearing the exact same size, but their bodies are different. Does it matter? What if we just forgot about that label. Let's concentrate on clothing companies that spend the time and effort making sure that what they make really fits properly and makes you feel fabulous. Plus is not a size but it's a definition of clothing sizes and that's really all it needs to be. In the clothing industry, garments are grouped into different sizing clusters like Missy, Petite, and Tall. Plus is just another range of numbers that literally corresponds to a group of sizes.

    "Fit, quality, comfort and feeling great in what you're wearing are way more important than the size on the label." ~ Diane Kennedy

    Designer Diane Kennedy's message is "Happiness is not size specific"
    The Illusion Tunic is coming back soon in colour Reign (above) and also Black and Teal

    Break The Rules!

    Fashion rules are made to be stretched and broken according to what rocks your world. Labels that we despise will always be around and one of the best things we can do is ignore them. It's best to not get hung up on the terminology. We aren't saying that a world where a size is just a number and a size 2 and a size 20 is marketed and sold exactly the same wouldn't be a wonderful dream. Until that happens the term "plus" can mean "more".

    Diane Kennedy models wearing the Jink Jumpsuit

    More Awesome! More Joy! More Love! More clothes, please!

    XOX Barb

  • Our Bamboo Fabric Part 2

    Published Oct 24 2019 in

    From Part 1 of our blog from last week, we continue to explain the different processes that are an integral part of our quality Canadian made bamboo.

    Bamboo

    From Fiber to Fabric

    Viscose from Bamboo is made from the leaves and soft pith inside the bamboo stalk. These are extracted through an industrial steaming process and then mechanically crushed and dissolved in vats of sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye. Lye is environmentally safe when used responsibly—it's one of the main ingredients in 'hippie' homemade soap.

    When the bamboo pulp is reduced by lye to a smooth liquid, it is extruded through tiny nozzles into threads that are then soaked in acid. The acid bath neutralizes the lye and sets the threads, which then can be spun into yarn, dyed and woven. This process is the reason we use the term 'Viscose from Bamboo', as per the Canadian Labelling Standards Act, but bamboo is used to make the viscose instead of the usual wood pulp.

    Bamboo Fiber to Fabric 

    The process used to turn bamboo into a fiber, which is used almost exclusively today (the viscose process), can also be eco-friendly—if the manufacturer makes the effort to capture emissions and treat effluent. This includes energy use and water consumption during manufacturing. The objective is to keep both consumption rates to a minimum. 

    Unlike many other nations, Canada has implemented very stringent regulations covering our industry that monitor and control both what is applied to the fabrics and what is discharged from our textile facilities; the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Chinese textile factories alone produce about three billion tons of soot—air pollution linked to respiratory and heart disease—every year by burning coal for energy.

    smog from Chinese textile factories

    Dyeing

    The most visually striking and often the most reported problem around the world is the discharge of untreated (or even treated) wastewater from dyeing plants. In developing nations, it is released directly into the environment and contaminates drinking water sources that humans depend on. 

    Pollution from a textile dyeing plant

    As previously mentioned, in Canada, ecologists have worked with our elected officials to put in place the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.  A very important part of this legislation was the Effluents from textile factories. In other words: water that is rejected from textile dyeing plants. 

    Ditech

    Clean Water

    Our textile dye house is the only one in North America to install advanced finishing equipment that uses a closed-loop system. They use a combination of hydroelectricity and natural gas, which is used to heat the boilers that heats the water used to dye the fabric. This is a system that dramatically reduces the expelling of smoke into the environment and oils and impurities into the water. They filter wastewater to be free of lint and debris and monitor, record and neutralize the pH of the water on a daily bases. Four times a year, they have an independent lab test their water to ensure they are producing water with the lowest pollution possible. They also work with an environmental company for waste management. In contrast, textile mills in developing countries generate one-fifth of the world's industrial water pollution and use 20,000 chemicals, many of them carcinogenic, to make clothes.

     Canadian Lake

    Biodegradable

    What happens to your garment once it's been worn and discarded? The final life stages are just as important as the beginning. Natural fabrics are biodegradable. Garments made from synthetic fabrics like polyester take decades to biodegrade whereas natural fabrics like wool can biodegrade in one year. Bamboo is a natural cellulose fiber and is 100% biodegradable in soil by micro-organisms and sunlight. The decomposition process does not cause any pollution in the environment. 

    Along with all the eco-benefits of quality Canadian bamboo comes an amazing longevity, which is one of the primary reasons why we use it to make our garments. We're dedicated to the #slowfashion movement and thrilled to have customers reporting to us that they have worn our clothing for years and years.

    To learn more about our sustainable fabric, and the styles we make from them, please subscribe to our newsletter.

     

    love Diane

     

     

     

     

     

  • What makes our Bamboo Fabric different; Part 1

    Published Oct 17 2019 in bamboo, eco friendly, garment manufacturing, Made in Canada, sustainable

    There are very few fabrics that get a perfect report card in terms of what's best for the environment. To access any fabric, it's important to look at the whole process; where it comes from in the beginning, how it's made and the end of the cycle as well. As an eco-conscious company, we want to share with you the reasons we've chosen to use Canadian made bamboo in our designs.

    If you have worn our bamboo clothing, you'll already know that it is naturally soft, drapes beautifully and is extremely comfortable to wear. This was our original inspiration for using organic bamboo for our designs. As awareness grows for the health and wellness of our planet, using natural fabrics has become a movement rather than just a trend.

    It's important to us to source our fabric in Canada as much as possible because the standards for (water) waste management and pollution are so much higher than other countries where Bamboo usually comes from.

    Water pollution in Jian River, China

    photo credit: RiverBlue

    Natural Fibers

    Sustainable fabric is sourced from the environment, this can occur in one of two ways, either plant-based fibers (like linen, cotton, bamboo) or sourced from animals, (like silk, wool, cashmere) The fibers are grown, extracted and spun into yarn that is then used to either knit or weave textiles. By contrast, polyester; a synthetic petroleum-based fiber, is made from a carbon-intensive non-renewable resource.

    Bamboo, the Plant

    Bamboo is a wonderfully beneficial plant and just might be the world’s most sustainable resource. It does not require the use of pesticides and herbicides for crop production, as a result, plantations can easily be kept organic. Additionally, as the plant is flood and drought resistant, water irrigation is not necessary for production, requiring very little maintenance.

    It’s extremely fast growing and can grow up to a meter or more per day. It produces a huge biomass, both above and below the ground. Growing bamboo improves soil quality and helps rebuild eroded soil. The extensive root system of bamboo prevents soil erosion by holding the soil together and retaining water. It doesn’t require replanting each season because its vast root network continually sprouts new shoots, all the while converting sunlight and greenhouse gases into new growth. One study found that when planted in large groves, it can store 4 times the CO2 as a stand of trees of a similar size. 

    Diane Kennedy Bamboo Made in Canada

     

    Sustainability

    The second step of sustainable fabrics is how the fabric is manufactured into textiles and the impact that manufacturing has on the environment. This includes energy consumption and water consumption during manufacturing. The objective is to keep both consumption rates to a minimum. 

    Energy Use

    We purchase about 85% of our bamboo fabric from a mill in Canada, which uses hydro-electricity, and green energy. The natural flow of water in rivers offers kinetic power that can be transformed into usable energy. To produce hydroelectricity, the water flow is directed to the blades of a turbine, making it spin, which causes an electrical generator connected to the turbine to spin as well. This generates electricity. Our supplier uses a combination of hydroelectricity and natural gas, which is used to heat the boilers that heats the water used to dye the fabric. In contrast, fabric made in China uses coal to fuel factories which causes so much pollution it can be seen from satellite photos.

    These are just some of the reasons that make our bamboo fabric different. Please, visit our blog next week to read part 2.

     

     

     

  • Social Media; Pressure to be Perfect

    Published Oct 04 2019 in Behind the Scenes, diane kennedy, social media, success, women in business

    In an era where the pressure to be perfect – or at least look that way online – is extreme, what does it mean to be successful? When you have an idea – a company you want to build, a project you want to foster – success is watching it bloom and grow. But how do we measure it? Once upon a time it was marked by a person’s sense of satisfaction, achieving new goals, seeing financial growth – or maybe even just enjoying the simple pleasure of being one’s own boss. These days it often gets evaluated by entirely different terms: how many followers on Instagram or Facebook? How many likes on a photo? How many shares on a video? Suddenly the goals are more elusive – and often it looks like everyone else is having an easier time being successful. The pressure to be perfect can make the tough job of bringing a dream to life even more challenging.

    Canadian designer Diane Kennedy

    The View From Inside

    The reality is that everyone talks about the wins, but very few talk about the losses. People share the great days, but not the hard ones. For every success – in business, in life, in our personal goals – there are countless fails. The pressure to be perfect comes from feeling that no one else is experiencing the downward slopes. From the outside all we see is the summit. Remember that for every success you see on social media, there are failures that no one takes photos of.

    Canadian designer Diane Kennedy with models Leah Tuttle and Viola Evans

    Keep Going – For Yourself

    Being an entrepreneur in the social media age is both a blessing and a curse it seems – it’s easier than ever to get your name out there and your idea or project or business can become famous overnight with the right set of circumstances. But that pressure for perfection is amplified in the echo chambers online. It’s impossible to set aside social media entirely but create and focus on goals that are outside that realm. Remember why you had this dream in the first place – and what measures of success you want to use for yourself. Maybe it’s how many followers you have, but maybe it’s also how you feel when you go to bed at night, how your customers (or readers, fans, listeners, and so on, depending on what you create) respond to what you’re doing. Focus on the good – an email of thanks, an unexpected collaboration – and allow yourself to set aside the pressure to be perfect for a few hours each day. Your dreams might look great in a well-filtered photo – but they’ll feel even better while you’re living them.