Make It! The Handmade Revolution is the largest independent retail show of its kind in Western Canada, with shows in both Vancouver and Edmonton. Owned and operated by the sibling team Jenna and Chandler Herbut who are designers themselves, the idea behind the market arose from their own personal experiences in having difficulty getting their friends to come visit them at traditional craft fairs. With Make It!, they strive to overhaul the craft market image and transform it into a hip and upbeat experience for shoppers, complete with food carts, licenced bar, and groovy tunes to pump up the vibe. In addition, they create a platform for Canadian independent artists who create ethically made products to showcase and sell their wares. Win-win opportunity for all!
Over the years Make It! has grown and flourished, and this year is the biggest one yet with over 250 artisans setting up shop inside the PNE Forum. Shoppers can choose from a wide spectrum of handmade items, from pottery to felt brooches of your boyfriend’s likeness (for when you want to literally wear your heart on your sleeve or lapel). What was a bonus for a frugal fashionista like myself was the fact that many of the items were very reasonably priced, especially compared to other markets. And there was no doubt that inwardly reminiscing to the 80’s new wave tunes heard overhead enhanced my stroll up and down the aisles. Thanks to the DJ who knew how to win my heart!
Dancing Leaf Design
Dancing Leaf Design had already caught my eye at the Hycroft Manor Christmas Market a week ago and didn’t lose any of its lustre the second go round. Noriko Mahoney is the creator behind the brand who derives inspiration from small treasures in nature and transforms them into delicate jewelry made of Japanese lace. Each piece is beautifully intricate and featherlight; wearing one of her creations adds an air of elegance to the wearer while at the same time feeling invisible as they weigh next to nothing. My friend Liz fell in love with them all and was making subtle hints to her hubby….isn’t there some big day coming up in the next month that involves gift giving?
HJN Leather Craft Co.
As for myself, I fell in love with HJN Leather Craft Co. at first sight. Made of ethically sound high quality vegetable tanned leather, the handbags and accessories are hand sewn using a traditional saddle stitch method. Hand stitching is stronger than the usual lock stitch used in sewing machines and is favoured by leather workers for its durability. Over time, as with all leather, the goods will soften and develop a wonderfully rich patina from exposure to the elements and oil from the owner’s skin. The minimalist clean lines and structured forms are what made me melt with desire. I’ve been looking for the Perfect Purse forever and HJN may have made the closest one to date.
Under:story is the collaborative brand of knitwear and fashion design by two friends, Terri Potratz and Kim Cathers. Both emerging designers themselves, they bonded over their shared passion and aligned design sense, and decided to merge their talents. Kinda sounds like how the Style by Fire team was created! Newly launched in Fall 2013, Under:story uses reclaimed cotton and leather to add embellished touches to their one-of-a-kind garments, jewelry, accessories, and home décor. I immediately recognized Kim Cathers from Project Runway Canada and Vancouver ECO Fashion Week fame, and it was inspiring to see how her career has evolved over the years. Their pieces are indeed very unique, many a little puzzling on the hanger and only coming together when worn on the body. They leave a lot of room for creativity, allowing the wearer to play and come up with her own personal interpretation on how to wear them.
Davie & Chiyo
Davie & Chiyo began as a pet project of sister duo Fumi and Himi Bull who designed and made clutches for bridal parties. Their success in the bridal market has led to their growth into a multi-machine studio operation with a team of sewers. Their line has also expanded considerably to include casual tote bags, day handbags, hair accessories, and jewelry. I especially loved the recycled kimono fabric and sleek telegram leather clutches. All the accessories showed polished craftsmanship and construction.
Make It! Market continues this weekend until Sunday December 1st. Don’t miss out!
Photos + Words by Aurora Chan