A graduate of UQAM and Concordia University in fashion and design, Anne-Marie Laflamme has been in business with her best friend, Catherine Métivier, with whom she founded atelier b, for over twelve years. Their lines for women, men and children are designed and produced locally in Montreal from natural fibres. To eliminate wastes from their manufacturing production, they launched a line of objects for the home made through circular economy. The brand is mainly sold online as well as at their Mile End boutique workshop. In addition to design, she is responsible for communications and sales. Interested in sustainable design and engaged entrepreneurship, she enjoys discussing and writing on these subjects. Also a lecturer at the two universities where she studied, she is involved in the transfer of know-how within atelier b, whether through workshops or by participating in conferences and panels.
Since atelier b’s inception, in 2009, sustainability has always been at the heart of our vision. All too aware of the impacts of our industry on the environment that surrounds us, we have always focused on creating clothes in the most responsible way possible. We have achieved this by both by designing garments that are as durable as they are timeless and by focusing on natural and ethical
fibres. Sustainability is never completely achieved and can always be pushed further. After 12 years of slowly improving, we were ready for a more radical improvement in our project. I always have in mind the whole production process of raw materials; from agriculture to transformation and shipping, a lot of energy is put into it and every little scrap should be treated as an environmentally costly piece. This is how we started researching into cradle to cradle in order to completely avoid textile waste with our new objects collection.
We are now working on making our brand one that is 100 % zero waste. We achieve this by transforming the remnants from the production but also by reclaiming used atelier b garments to either thrift them or completely recycle them (if too worn) to create brand new objects. The transformation of scraps and garments is done by shredding the fabrics and making a pulp, a process akin to paper making, to then press the pulp to create new solid objects that can be used at home.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
Circular economy is a new beginning to the project but cannot be its end. To me, there can be no real sustainability if it is not made accessible to the most marginalized communities in our society. To achieve real change, there must be a revolution within the industry so that every last individual can profit from these changes. Commitment for a better world comes through action, but action must also include education and advocacy towards a collective better future, with no one left behind.
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