Closing Up Shop

Dear Local Buttons friends and family,

In joyful sorrow we bring you the news that Local Buttons is closing shop as of December 2014. The decision lived in our hearts long enough for us to be sure that we made the right final choice. We are eternally grateful for the extraordinary journey our “pepe passport” took us on. Unlike so many great ideas, ours lived for 4 years and breathed inspiration into us, and the community at large.

We humbly realize the action heroes we made ourselves out to be as two twenty-something overambitious and underprepared ladies, intending to change the face of fashion…all at once! We have led VERY exciting lives! We set out to change the system that drives the fashion industry to be socially and environmentally destructive. In all seriousness, despite our lack of preparedness, we are humbled by our incredible successes. Through friendships, trust, and skillful work we manifested an ethical clothing company.

We are so proud to say that we partnered with the Handal family, local to Haiti, to create our Design Lab that saw 10 full time tailors come to work in a facility that was safe, collaborative and offered a hot lunch program. We pride ourselves on having paid two times the national minimum wage, therefore pushing from the inside for reform within an industry that typically disregards those that produce the goods. We are delighted to have dressed people all over the world in tailored, up-cycled, fashion that respects people and the earth.

At Local Buttons we believe that the fashion industry MUST and will change.

We discovered the creativity, beauty and challenges that Haiti presents. We worked internationally with some of the most passionate, creative, compassionate and dedicated artists, social advocates, entrepreneurs, business owners, academics, and diplomats. We saw every side of the fashion industry. We were given an inside view into traditional manufacturing solidifying our belief that this form of manufacturing must shift. We were inspired by others pioneering with us in the movement for a more equitable industry and greater consumer consciousness.

So! How do we lay our dream to rest? Do we fold it up and tuck it away in a little corner in the back of our brain, never to be thought of again?

No! We put our dream to rest with a PARTY to celebrate the beauty that was and will continue to be Local Buttons. We invite you to party with us this December and we will release the grand details as soon as we have them! We are offering the last of our exclusive line to you. You can walk away with a UNIQUE piece, never to be made again. Come toast to an epic four years with us.

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who supported us along the way. There have been so many that have been integral to making Local Buttons what it was. Over the past 4 years we made some amazing friends and created some of the best memories in Haiti, Canada and the US.

We could not have done any of this without the immense support of our families and roommates, who believed in our vision. We are both fortunate enough to say that our families and roommates stood by us the entire way, provided valuable insight, an endless ear for our stories, shoulders to cry on and promotion that only a proud mother and father can offer.

Our Haitian friends offered endless support. Hans Garoute openly welcomed us to Haiti back in 2010 and has been our biggest supporter in Haiti to this date. He plugged us as the experts in pepe and we will forever be indebted to his generosity. Geoffrey and Tony Handal opened up their space and allowed us to expand our facility. Geoffrey, Olivier, and “Madam” welcomed us in to their home while we stayed in Haiti. It never ceased to baffle us when we stood back in Haiti and looked at the project that took shape. Gaelle Coicou, our production manager in Haiti, was integral to making our facility run smoothly. Perez Fertil and Jean-Manuel saw to it that we could safely walk in to the Pepe markets in Port-au-Prince and leave with treasures in hand. We worked with AVSI, an Italian NGO that brought us to Cite Soleil so that we could work with talented and artistic metal workers to make our jewellery line. And none of it would have been possible without the 10 extraordinary tailors we worked with.

We began to compile a list of our helpers in Toronto and you guessed it…it went on forever! We are overcome with gratitude. Expect enormous shout outs and hugs at our PARTY to feel just how HUGE your impact has been in our lives and the life of Local Buttons.

Thank you, all, from the bottom of our hearts.

See you in December!

Love and light!

Anne & Consuelo

We would like to thank the following individuals for their support throughout the life of Local Buttons

Dr. Tasha Lewis, Dr. Luann Lafranz, Jim Beqaj, Dr. Anil Netravali, Dr. Huiju Park, Nick Parker, Helen Trejo, Vanessa Sanchez, Sarah Jurgens, Jianan Su, Sarah Portway, Nathan Monk, Marcelo Canario, Edmilson Rocha Lima, Brad Karjama, Trish Nixon, Dr. Webb, Navin Khanna, Lucie Dipronio, Vicki Saunders, Abigail Slater, Jenn Bannon, Danilo Ursini, Faderr Black, Kaela Bree, Dana Kandalaft, Kelly Drennan, Sarah Kear, Jane Wu, Joanna Kviring, Randi Bergman

 

Spring Pop Up @ Senisi’s

We’ll be popping up at Senisi Fine Foods this Friday to help you jump into spring looking your best! We promise the snow will fade away just in time…

Come by for NEW spring fashion fresh from Haiti and Joe’s deliciously inspired treats of sandwiches and coffee! 

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Impact InVESTing

Impact8_2Impact Investment. A buzzing term in entrepreneurial world. Ventures with a social mandate are popping up at every corner. From local food companies, alternative energy solutions, sustainable fashion, education programs to health solutions we are seeing an influx of socially conscious entrepreneurs flooding the market. But how do these new ventures align themselves with mentors, investors and clients?

Enter Impact8 offered through MaRS.

We were lucky enough to be one of 8 ventures selected from over 150 that applied to be part of the first cohort to go through Impact8 at the MaRS centre. Impact8 is an 8 week incubator dedicated to helping emerging, existing and growing social enterprises succeed.

We just finished week 1 and I can already tell this incubator is going to be immensely beneficial for Local Buttons and personally for Consuelo and I. The other 8 ventures are dynamic businesses. It is inspiring to spend your time with others who are just as passionate about creating a space for social enterprise in the world. We have been partnered with two fantastic mentors who seem to instantly understand our business model and where/how they can help us grow and improve!

We spent yesterday at Miller Thompson law firm downtown Toronto learning ALL things legal. Helped clarify a lot for us. Sometimes a change of scenery can do you a world of good. We were on the 58th floor at 40 King St W and the boardroom had the most magical view of the city.

Can’t wait to see how the rest of the program unfolds!

 

 

Fall Fashion Pop-UP

Join us and celebrate fall in all of its glory with our Fall Fashion Pop-Up Thursday September 26th from 5-8pm.

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We have partnered with the Azadi Project and Nation Wares to bring you a fabulous Fall Fashion Pop-UP at the Fashion Takes Action Showroom in the Distillery District. These fantastic fashion companies create beautiful designs and promote ethical standards in the fashion industry. We are thrilled to partner once more with these two companies (we showed together at FAT this spring) to bring you all your fall fashion needs.

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NationWares:

One of my professors once told me that every garment we wear carries an element of the person who created it. Fast fashion and our culture of consumption has created oppressive systems of production. NationWares exists to provide an alternative to fast and cheap fashion while creating new systems of development and sustainability within the industry.
 
Taking the form of a social enterprise, NationWares is able to break the cycle of poverty for marginalized people around the world impacted by extreme poverty, disability, and HIV/AIDS. Fashion is our vehicle to drive sustainable change as we support artisans that create ethically made products that postively impact their society, economy, and the environment. Each hand-crafted item carries a story of hope and opportunity because the person who created it has made incredible strides to transform their life, family, and community at large. We are delighted to share their dreams, products, and stories with the world.  

The Azadi Project:

“When is comes to fast fashion, people are  increasingly recognizing that the status quo is not an ethical or sustainable option. More than ever before, consumers care about the global impact their purchasing power has and they’re making conscious decisions about their day-to-day choices.

Particularly in light of the horrific tragedy that killed over a thousand garment workers in Bangladesh, consumers want to support brands that respect worker’s rights, liveable wages and a sustainable means of production. The Azadi Project brand is all those things and more. We’re proud to be part of this growing consumer consciousness, as well as a broader movement that is providing ethical alternatives that respect people and the planet, first and foremost. “

Launching Jewellery Line

large leaf handThis summer while in Haiti we partnered with the Italian NGO AVSI. AVSI works in Cite Soleil, Haiti on a number of community projects. Through AVSI we begun working with an amazing group of artisans to create an accessories line for Local Buttons. The artisans are young men and women who run 3 different ‘ateliers’ (workshops) in Cite Soleil creating job opportunities for its residents.

Consuelo and I had the opportunity to visit and meet with artisans in Cite Soleil a number of times throughout our July trip.  Cite Soleil is not an easy place to live or visit for that matter. There is much needed in the form of improvement of quality of life and community development. Education and job creation are paramount in this development. Above and beyond there is dire need for a reeducation when it comes to women’s rights.

Yet, in Cite Soleil there exists a large community of talented young artisans looking for work and a way to showcase their art and talent beyond the borders of Cite Soleil and Haiti.

We are so excited by this new endeavour and business project. Not only do we get to expand Local Buttons line, but we get to work some amazingly talented individuals and continue to promote up-cycling.  Local Buttons is excited to launch to our jewelry line of up-cycled oil drums. To launch we have 3 styles of metal cuffs available and the line is only expanding. Please check out our etsy site for more information or email us at info@localbuttons.ca.

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(FAT) Alternative Fashion Week 2013

It has been an exciting year for us thus far and we are so thrilled to be showing at (FAT) Alternative Fashion Week in a show put on by Fashion Takes Action this year!

This is our first large scale, professional fashion show and we cannot wait to have our new designs and styles strutted by some fabulous models on the runway.

We are on Friday April 26th @ 10:40pm at 213 Sterling Rd.

See you there!

xo

 

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