Milan, Paris, Sackville? Seamstress bringing fashion to province
Sackville seamstress Jeska Grue is creating clothing, with a hope to side step sweatshops
When naming the great fashion capitals of the world Sackville, New Brunswick doesn't come to mind. But seamstress Jeska Grue is doing her part to at least get it on the map.
She designs, sews and ships her eponymous fashion line in her home studio.
Grue's one-woman shop operates on a small scale, and that's by design.
"I'm doing it this way because the way I produce things, a lot of care is put into it the sewing techniques that I use, the fabrics that I use [and] it's a more durable piece of clothing for people to have," she said.
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Grue is hoping the time, care and expense put into her garments will make it a cherished item worn for years.
Not only will the item not end up in the land fill, customers can know their clothing was not made in a sweatshop.
"The difference is that someone is being paid fairly for their labour, that's probably the most major thing," said Grue.
After graduating, Grue studied to become a seamstress, leading to her decision to start her own line of clothing last winter.
"I have different locals come in to help me be fitters so it's tried on by a few people of each size just to make sure everything is working," said Grue.
Customers can find the garments online or just around the corner from Grue's home studio at Little Cat's Bazaar.
"I have some of her stuff right here and it's actually selling super fast which is nice," said Chujunian.
"People are really excited about her clothing."
Doing things Grue's way costs more. Her pieces range between $130 and $190.
"If you're going to get a piece of ethically-sourced clothing that is hand sewn by one person — she works extremely hard on every single piece that she makes — so I think most people get it," said Chujunian.
Grue estimates she spends about 40 hours a week sewing to fill orders, which come in from across the country.
The designs are made of organic cloth from Vancouver or India at a small family operated mill, though Grue is looking forward to the day when she can find fabric made in the region.
"You could get an entirely closed loop garment that's been grown and sewn in Atlantic Canada," said Grue.
"I think it would be really great to hire more skilled seamstresses that get to remain in their community or come and live in a small town in New Brunswick," said Grue.