Maker Profile: Melissa Ferreira of Adhesif Clothing
Meet the Maker is a series focusing on showcasing and supporting up-and-coming designers, artists and creatives. Meet Vancouver’s Melissa Ferreira, the former vintage buyer turned designer behind Adhesif Clothing, a clothing line launched more than a decade ago in which all of the pieces are hand cut and sewn using recycled fabrics and materials.
Who are you and what do you design?
My name is Melissa Ferreira and I was born and raised in Montreal until the age of twelve where I relocated to Vancouver with my family. I create beautiful, high quality, lasting, one of a kind, handmade garments & accessories utilising up to 95% reclaimed and vintage textiles.
Tell us a bit about how you got you to where you are today.
I grew up with my mother sewing at the kitchen table when not working in garment production factories in Montreal. Naturally I learned how to sew from her. Like Vivienne Westwood, I taught myself how to design from taking apart vintage garments and seeing how they were put together. I spent many years working as a vintage clothing buyer straight out of high school. I am a self taught designer. The world of vintage clothing buying was my fashion school. I love everything vintage and it remains to this day my main source of inspiration. Vintage clothing, music, buildings, cars, appliances…they have all withstood the test of time because things were built to last and because they’ve lasted the pieces leave behind a legacy with abundant stories to tell.
I have been in and out of retail/fashion related jobs my whole life. I started Adhesif Clothing in 2003 and opened my own boutique (2202 Main Street Vancouver, BC) in 2010 where I also feature the work of dozens of other local and Canadian designers.
If you could choose one word to describe your collection what would it be.
Instagram, brushin’ma teeth in the shower, make-up & hair, add an awesome Adhesif Clothing outfit, consumption of a GIANT homemade smoothie while listening to classical music on CBC Radio and then a brisk walk to the bus stop (or on my bike in good weather) en route to the shop.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from a love of quality over quantity and the culture that goes a long with this mentality. It’s called “Slow Culture” and in my case “Slow Fashion” specifically. I’m inspired by anything created from the heart that has a heartbeat and a story to tell.
I get constant inspiration from vintage looks & original street styles. Effortless natural style of people just doing their thing, I love watching people in their own element. The ideas are endless…catching up with them all is the challenge.
Tell us about maintaining a balance. Do you?
As I’m sure you can imagine being an independent fashion designer who runs her own brick and mortar location while sourcing and producing every single garment by hand keeps the schedule quite full (not to mention Adhesif Clothing participates in a dozen different art markets annually!). Balance is a tricky thing to maintain under any work load. I try to keep most of my down time low key and in the evening I prepare and enjoy fresh home cooked (mainly Mediterranean inspired vegetarian) meals. I take my vitamins and get my 8 hours a night & I go to Yoga once a week. Ha! It’s kind of ironic that I live in such a pristine nature filled place like British Columbia and need to say I would love to get outside more but it’s true! I would LOVE to have more “ME” time but don’t we all?
Is there a designer or brand with whom you’d love to collaborate?
Shantell Martin. I have been following her work for the last decade. She’s got such an amazing free form way of illustrating which is supper organic and I really dig it. Her story is super inspiring to me. I watched her go from just starting out to being world famous. She’s awesome.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to launch their own business?
No matter how talented you are as an artist, if you’re thinking of being an independent self sustaining designer/artist/entrepreneur then I highly recommend taking some business courses or hiring out that part of the business to someone who likes accounting, book keeping, PR & marketing, etc. Or else you’re going to be the one who’s wearing all the hats!
What’s next for you?
I’ve been spending a lot of time and energy tapping into the European market for the last 5 years. I am Canadian but with Portuguese Citizenship. Germany (my partner is German) has become my second home now. I’ve had the opportunity to have photo shoots with a creative team I work with there for Adhesif Clothing’s past three years/Fall-Winter Collections including our upcoming FW 2016 Collection.
I’m also the organizer for an amazing annual art & design market called the Nifty for Fifty Sale which happens every April and features the work of 30 West coast designers and artists.