Posted on March 21 2015
That time we were in the Sherwood Park News...
Local fashion designer gaining steam
An Eve and Enoch top is modelled at Greenland Garden Centre in Sherwood Park. (Photo Courtesy Crystal Tsang)
Local designer Jessilyn Poole is one example of a fashion designer who is living out the “buy local” motto.
Poole started eveandenoch.com in 2011, having graduated from Marvel College in Edmonton for fashion design in 2010.
“I starting sewing, though, when I was five years old. I’ve been working on stuff my whole life, basically,” she said.
“I started it because I love it, first of all. I have a knack for design and sewing, and kind of get the impression from the Edmonton area that people are looking for locally-made clothing, but they aren’t finding something that they’re interested in. I like providing people with a local, handmade option that’s still trendy.”
Poole said she began with a collection of five items, but has since grown to 30.
“I want to create clothing in my city because I think people have become really disconnected in retail — they don’t know where the clothes come from, who made them, and if you can put a face behind it, you can make them realize what they’re buying and make more conscious decisions and you’ll value your clothes more,” she said.
Thus far, Poole does all the sewing and designing herself, while sometimes enlisting the help of her mom to sew simpler pieces, and getting the help of her sister to help with the photography and branding.
Poole said the style of her clothing is contemporary women’s and a style mix of trendy, has clean lines and that focuses on details and cutouts in non-risky places, such as the back of a top.
“I think (my clothing) is a little bit more wearable than some I know of,” she said of what separates Eve and Enoch — which is currently an online-only store — from other local companies.
“There’s quite a few designers in Edmonton where you have to be really fashion forward to wear their clothing, and my clothing is more you’re fashion conscious, but you’re not crazy out there.”
She said her design process begins at her desk with what her favourite music is at the time.
“(I) start sketching what comes to mind. I will sketch pages and pages of ideas until I start to get on a roll,” Poole said.
“I usually throw out the first couple pages, but as my ideas start to flow and build off each other, slowly I end up with a concept, a theme and a vision. Then I fine-tune it, lay them all out side by side and carefully consider each piece.”
She said she considers aspects such as function, comfort and confidence.
“If it doesn’t speak to me in any way, I eliminate it,” Poole said.
“I have to find the materials, which also helps to fine tune a line. Sometimes I work totally the opposite and will find a fabric that I love. When that happens, an idea just comes to me as I look at and feel the fabric... I can see end pattern pieces and how they will all fit together in my head before I start to draft the pattern, sometimes even before I get a chance to get it sketched on paper.... I get an adrenaline rush from having an idea and then seeing it come to life.”
While she tries to get as much fabric as she can that’s local, Poole said it is her biggest challenge.
“I try, but it’s really hard in Canada to source fabric,” she said.
She sources organic, recycled and hemp fabric Vancouver, and gets her polyester and synthetic prints from overseas.
Poole’s mission statement is to make clothing that is beautiful and that makes people feel confident, as well as gives the customer the feeling that they made a good decision.
“(My customer) is young, knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to get it,” she said.
“She lives without regrets, because she has confidence in herself. She knows she’s living the best life she can.”
Poole continued: “People who say, ‘That’s pretty, but I could never wear that,’ I say, ‘Yes you can, you put it on, you walk out the door, and there, you’re wearing it.’ ”
The designer, who grew up and has lived in Strathcona County her whole life, said she started out at farmers markets, selling her clothes. Now, she hopes to be a well-known brand.
“I would like to have an online store that is a name that you have heard of before,” Poole said.
“I want it to be a key player in the clothing e-commerce world. I want all my friends to own something that I created. I just want it to be a brand you know about and you go to for online shopping.”