LOCALLY MADE SPORTSWEAR BRAND PAYS IT FORWARD WITH SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
Story by Rebecca Poyton-Murray
When you can’t find anything you want to wear in your closet or in stores, what better way to resolve the dilemma than by making it yourself? For the makers of Muttonhead, this seemed like a logical solution.
Created for comfort, Muttonhead’s unisex wares are on display this week at the Mutts & Co. Traveling Market, and Plaid caught up with Paige Cowan, Muttonhead’s Brand Manager, to see what we can expect.
How did the Muttonhead team meet?
The three of us (Paige, Meg and Mel) met while attending Ryerson University. At one point we all lived with four other girls in a run-down house in Regent Park with only one bathroom! It was a pretty funny experience, we came out alive, but we had some close calls there. Aside from the muggings, girl fights and stolen bologna, we came out of it with a strong like-minded friendship.
Your brand ethos is sustainable clothing. What made you decide to focus on casual wear?
We make what we want to wear. That’s always been the idea behind the line. We initially started making outerwear for snowboarding because there was nothing out there that we wanted to wear. As our tastes grew so did the line, and we transitioned into sportswear. We still make outerwear but are now focusing on bringing the same functional principles to everyday basics.
If you could pick five of your items, what would you pick to make your favorite outfit?
This season we would pick some easy to wear pieces that work equally well in a man or woman’s wardrobe. This kit would include our “Classic Trouser” in recycled hemp, and since sunny Spring is just around the corner, for those warmer days one could substitute the “Camp Short” for the trousers. Our “Reversible Crewneck” tee is good if you are a bit of a messy kid or have a tendency to stay out late; you can flip it inside out and voila – it doesn’t look like you are doing the walk of shame! Our “Camping Hoodie” has been an everyday staple since our first season, and the “Biking Sweatshirt” is soon to be an old classic. To top it all off, we would add one of our 5-panel caps that we made in collaboration with Raised by Wolves and will be available in July.
Is it important to you to promote the fact that you are locally made?
Yes it is. We keep it local. We find that actually meeting people face to face is just a better way to do business. Everyone and everything has a story behind it, when you become so detached from a big part of your process (for example, [by] producing overseas) you lose some of your story. We get our hangtags printed at a little independent print shop down the street, we buy our shipping containers from our neighbors next door. We think that it is important to support small businesses and we want to show people that it isn’t very hard to do. It might cost a little more initially but in the long run it is an investment in your community.
Who or what are your inspirations?
We are most inspired by people around us who are doing great things. Often it isn’t even within the garment industry. When we see impressive things our colleagues and/or friends are putting out there, that is what is inspiring to see. The world is not so kind to small independent business, it really doesn’t matter what industry you are in. So when you see people within your circle of influence experiencing success it motivates you to continually improve, expand and keep at it.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
We have worked with a wide range of sustainable fabrics, however our favorite would have to be simple organic cotton twill. It’s classic, durable and can be worn season after season. The reason behind [using] sustainable and natural fabrics is the same purpose of creating timeless pieces; we are trying to move away from disposable fashion and encouraging people to wear our pieces out instead of throwing them out at the end of the season.
What made you decide upon creating unisex clothing?
For us there need not be such a separation between men and women’s clothing. Some of us live with our boyfriends and frequently we share many pieces, so why not double your wardrobe and see what the boys have to offer. We are big fans of menswear, primarily because there is a demand for well-crafted pieces made in beautiful fabrics. Essentially we try to combine all the things that we appreciate from menswear and incorporate them into garments that we can wear too.
Can you tell us about your upcoming event?
We are really excited about the Mutts & Co. Traveling Market that runs from next Tuesday the 17th to Sunday the 22nd. For the past year and a half we have been hosting all sorts of events across the city and have worked with some really amazing people along the way. It is a concept we hope to build upon and it not only encompasses a temporary retail shop, but it also introduces some more elements of our lifestyle. From vermiculture to craft brewed beer, we like to practice what we preach and introduce our customers to other local companies who not only make quality products, but do so in our own backyards. The Market focuses on everything from clothing and accessories, to food and re-purposed furniture. We have daily demonstrations, tasting and installations. There is something for everyone!
What items should we look out for?
This season we focused on classic work wear separates and reversible pieces. We produced a limited edition fully reversible infantry jacket with one side 100% recycled polyester and the other a military grade cotton twill camo. We also did our own version of a classic gym short, which was inspired by ’70s skateboard apparel, perfect for guys and girls who wanna hang loose.