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

 

Collaboration

We have had the absolute pleasure of working with two very talented and passionate tech interns for the past few months. We asked them to share a few of their thoughts about their time working with us and were thrilled when Marcelo agreed. It’s integral to Local Buttons success that we reflect collaboration at all levels of our company. From Canada to Haiti we know that we learn the most when we work as a team. Here in Canada Marcelo has been integral in helping us revamp our site, make our garment map and is working on a waste tracking system for us. If anyone is looking to hire a talented and ambitious web developer, Marcelo should be your choice!

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I’ve been working for a long time as a freelancer programmer, and I’ve had with a wide variety of customers: a musician, an architect, an association, a bookstore and the list goes on, but still Local Buttons stands as an unique experience. Why? The fact that I’m writing this post is itself a proof that I’m being given the opportunity to do something different. Here, I get involved in more steps than just sitting there and programming. My opinion is valued and requested even when it doesn’t concern my field of work. I feel part of the company, not just a third-party who’s there just to deliver a service. This is the genuine Canadian spirit, in a country that thrived by welcoming people from all around the world, who were willing to contribute.

In Local Buttons, we (I feel like speaking as a part of the company) have nothing to hide; We’re proud of what we do and each step of the process is carefully designed (and constantly improved) to be respectful to people and to the environment, but none of this would have any value if the same idea weren’t applied to the interns. A great company is built from inside out, not the other way, and Local Buttons is a perfect example of that. It will thrive, just like Canada.

-Marcelo Canário, Intern web developer

Fashioning the Mind

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”
-Diane Vreeland
The integration of fashion and academia is not something that immediately springs to mind when you start speaking about clothing. However, the two are closely linked. Fashion integrates architecture, engineering, chemistry and art. It is this integration that allows for the greatest creations.
The fashion industry, which must constantly reinvent itself, is undergoing a massive change as consumers begin to demand more from their clothing. A shift away from fast fashion and towards ‘slow’ fashion is the only way forward. We are beginning to place greater emphasis on understanding the impacts of the fashion industry on our natural environment and those who create our garments. But in order to succeed, it is vital that equal attention is paid to aesthetic, functionality and impact.
Just last week we got to be the fashion nerds we really are as we watched (like proud mamas) our Cornell dream team present to a team of judges in DC for the 2014 P3 Competition and National Sustainable Design Expo at the 3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival.  The team presented the findings of a year-long study/project focusing on waste reduction in the clothing manufacturing sector based on our model in Port-au-Prince.  The dream team won an honourable mention and we are thrilled to know the partnership with Cornell will continue!
Oh, we also met Bill Nye on our DC adventures.
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Shop Local Pop UP @the Hyatt

This Saturday we will be pairing up with some seriously talented ladypreneurs to take part in the 2nd Annual Women Supporting Women Shop Local Pop Up at the Hyatt Rooftop in Yorkville.

The day promised to be full of innovative female leaders, fashion & beauty.

More Info here

Purchase tickets here

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