Montreal designer uses Dollarama materials to make exclusive clothes

Finding time to work on making clothes can be tough while working a nine-to-five job to pay the bills, and buying materials is often expensive — but Montreal-based designer Colin Meredith is finding ways to jump this hurdle.

Designer seeks to show others they don’t have to be rich to make clothes — only creative

Colin Meredith's collection includes track pants made from umbrellas, 3 jackets made from Ziploc bags, beach balls and Dollarama plastic bags respectively, and a pullover made out of face cloths and a hanging shoe rack.

Fashion design can be an expensive and difficult field to break into.

Finding time to make clothes can be tough while working a nine-to-five job to pay the bills, and buying materials is often expensive — but Montreal-based designer Colin Meredith is finding ways to jump these hurdles.

He wants to let other aspiring designers know that they don't have to be rich to make clothes — only creative.

One of Meredith's more recent collections is called Dollar Wears.

This jacket was made out of beach balls found at Dollarama. (Claire Loewen/CBC)

Its pieces are made from items Meredith found while walking through the aisles of Dollarama. It's somewhere he finds himself quite often.

"Seeing all the usable materials in there really inspired the process and the choice to use that place," Meredith said.

Part of the appeal to using dollar store materials is how inexpensive they are. The designer's operation is pretty basic — he usually works from home with a sewing machine in his bedroom.

"That's definitely at the heart of the project," Meredith said. "Not being able to afford the nice materials that I want to use, and still making the end product without [them]."

A lunch bag jacket and umbrella pants

One of the first things he designed for the collection was a jacket made from lunch bags.

His most recent addition to Dollar Wears: a motorcycle jacket made out of duct tape inspired by leather jackets and motocross jump suits he saw on a fall trip to Mexico. (Submitted by Colin Meredith)

The collection snowballed to include track pants made from umbrellas, three jackets made from Ziploc bags, beach balls and Dollarama plastic bags, and a pullover made out of face cloths and a hanging shoe rack .

"I figured I'd keep going on this path of repurposing crazy [stuff]," he said. "I really wanted to find a singular source for all the stuff to come from."

These Vans Old Skools sneakers, made in collaboration with Vans Canada, were built out of J-cloths, dish scrubbies, and a lunch bag. (Submitted by Colin Meredith)

Choosing Dollarama as his focus was both a challenge and part of making a clear message for Meredith. 

"It only stocks the cheapest products that we produce, which I thought would be a fun contrast with one-off or handmade 'fashionable pieces,'" he said.

Though some have reached out to Meredith hoping to buy his Dollar Wears collection, the clothes are one-off garments that aren't even meant to be worn.

This pullover was made from Dollarama face cloths and a hanging shoe rack. (Claire Loewen/CBC)

"The way I appreciate the project the most is when you're looking at the piece on the wall, off of somebody, and appreciating the materiality [of it]."

He's shown the collection three times, including in an installation at Place-des-Arts for Montreal's Festival Mode & Design near the end of August.

His most recent addition to Dollar Wears: a motorcycle jacket made out of duct tape inspired by leather jackets and motocross jump suits he saw on a fall trip to Mexico.

One of Meredith's more recent collections is called Dollar Wears. Its pieces are made from items Meredith found walking through the aisles of Dollarama. (Claire Loewen/CBC)

Dollar Wears isn't Meredith's only collection — he also makes clothing under his brand called Hobby. 

The Montreal designer's garments have been attracting attention.

Rapper Drake recently posted a photo on his Instagram, where he is shown wearing a hoodie made by Meredith.