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Voyager Journal
  • Designer Profile: Melissa Ferreira of Adhesif
Designer Profile: Melissa Ferreira of Adhesif

Meet Adesif Clothing’s Melissa Ferreira — Vancouver based designer of one-of-a-kind pieces made from reclaimed fabrics and vintage materials. Surrounded by nature’s beauty and embracing a “want not, waste not” mentality, Melissa takes us through her creative process and where she finds inspiration for design.

What’s your background with design, and how did Adhesif get started?
I am actually completely self taught with regards to fashion design although I do have training in business management.
I have worked as a vintage clothing buyer, off and on, for the past ten years for indie boutiques here in Vancouver. I learned how to pattern draft by taking apart vintage clothing and putting it back together again whilst refurbishing damaged pieces I would find. This is how Adhesif Clothing was born approx 7 years ago now.

You use recycled materials in all of your designs, how do you go about
deciding which old find turns into what new gem?

Usually I will source materials for months sometimes years before I accumulate enough of one kind of thing and then I will implement the textiles into a collection. For example the rare 1950’s bark cloth bodice’s in my Spring-Summer 2010 line. I actually collected the bark cloth material for over 10 years before I decided to use it.

There are advantages to being an independent designer, e.g. you have
complete quality control over your line — what are the main disadvantages
you’ve faced?

The main disadvantage I’ve come across in being a designer that creates “one of a kind” designs, is finding help to cut out, compose and create all the little creations. It is a very creative and personal process and everyone has their own take on how to put things together. My own personality exists in every single piece I create, this is almost impossible to mimic, it’s almost like trying to teach another person how to paint a Picasso.

Being based in Vancouver, how does your environment affect your design?
Well it’s obviously very beautiful here in Vancouver. Nature is almost everywhere you look. With this said I have always been a bit of an environmentalist with a “waste not want not” mentality.

What is the one must-have item for Autumn/Winter?
OOoooh…that’s a tough one! If I had to choose just 1 item I’d say the “Bing Bolero”. I love the double breasted button plackets and the combination of plaid and leather. This is a real statement piece and so much fun to layer with. This piece can be worn in a street chic way with your fave t-shirt and jeans or formally to add a little character to your little black dress. A definite must have!

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
The one thing I’m very grateful for is that I never run out of ideas or inspiration. Often I have a very tough time deciding on just one kind of concept. I will say that much of my inspiration is attributed to vintage clothing and old black and white films, the costumes from 1950’s are just mind boggling!

Can you describe briefly your creative process?
Answer: My creative process…briefly?! Ha ha ha…not really but I’ll try. In very simplified terms, I hand select vintage textiles and clothing, wash and dry them, deconstruct them and use the fabrics to create my ‘one of a kind” creations. I use anything from old jeans, t-shirts, dress-shirts, sweaters, wool blankets, tweed and suiting to silk scarves and the list goes on.

Is there anyone you look up to and model your self after?
My mom is a huge source of inspiration, she’s a beautiful and very strong women. I also like Vivienne Westwood’s story, she learned how to design clothing from taking old vintage clothing apart too.

If you weren’t designing clothes, what would you be doing?
I love diorama’s and stop motion animation, I would probably be a film maker.

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