The people of Newfoundland and Labrador, throughout the centuries, have lived their lives engulfed by a sea-faring culture. The sea is embedded in their livelihoods and heritage. They owe much of the beauty of their surroundings to the seascape. The oceanic textures of this environment have inspired artists and craftspeople throughout the province’s history: from the indigenous peoples who had first claim to the land, the settlers, and its current dwellers, all have some claim to the sea and its inspiration. Those who have built their livelihoods on the ocean have provided the people with much of their folklore and culture. This way of life, like a great swell, engulfs Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans in a world of oceanic inspiration.
Yet through industrialisation, the sea and landscape is compromised for mass-production and profit. In fact, the fashion industry has been rated one of the world’s top polluting industries. While it is continuously trying to innovate to find greener methods of production, it is imperative that they not only look to new technologies, but also reflect upon traditional crafts to harvests their sustainable methods.
The intent of this project is to unite and showcase Newfoundland and Labrador’s skillful textile crafts/art in a single contemporary fashion collection; inspired by their relationship with the seascape. From the towering cliffs and rocky shorelines, textures are abundant! We see them in the rock formations, shell clusters, corals/plant life, tides & waves. These textures provide an abundance of inspiration for the fibre arts community. Showcasing these crafts, is essential to the sustainable future of fashion as well as preservation of heritage.
We have therefore sought the aid and skill of local textile artisans to develop artistic pieces. The organizers of Engulfed 2024, who are seasoned designers, will render these pieces into a unified contemporary fashion collection as a tribute to Newfoundland and Labrador’s brilliant talent and culture. They will guide the craftspeople in a single vision while allowing their skills to shine.
The intention is to debut this collection on the runway at Montreal’s Fashion festival 2024, and to continue to exhibit this body of work in multiple galleries and events across the country to display the talent of these artisans to the nation.
We would like to extend a very special thank you to Susan Furneaux for her instrumental guidance and mentorship in the process of launching this project. Her expertise and invaluable insight & advice has helped this project come to life. We are extremely grateful and appreciative of all her guidance, time and support. From reviewing documents to extending words of encouragement, we could not have done it without her.
Thank you Sue!
See below to Check out her work
About the Organizers
Richard Brophy was born and raised in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland. From an early age his fascination with art and fashion would lead him into a creative life and career within the fashion industry. He is a previous graduate of the Textiles Studies program with College of the North Atlantic. Graduating in 2009, he majored in Print & Dye, Knitting and Surface Embellishments. He received the Governor General’s Award upon graduation for the highest academic achievement within the program and college. To further his studies in fashion, he then attended College LaSalle in Montreal, Quebec. He graduated from the Fashion Design program in 2013, majoring in Women’s wear. Throughout his creative career within the industry, Richard has headed up brands for mass-market Canada and the United States. Currently, in his role as a men’s wear designer for a prestigious Montreal brand, he is elevating men’s wear for the North American market of major retailers and e-commerce sites. While flourishing in the industry, Richard has stayed true to his artisan roots. In 2017, he launched his first independent couture collection GILDED. This collection aided a children’s school & orphanage in Ghana. His passion to give back through his art drives him forward. He incorporates as many traditional techniques as he can into his collections with the importance of preserving these precious skills. Richard is also passionate about teaching future artisans his trade. His craft will pass on as a legacy to his Irish/Newfoundland heritage and culture. Richard’s long-term goal is to return to the province of Newfoundland & Labrador to establish a fibre arts residency for emerging textile artists and designers.
MARIE-JOELLE LEBLANC (MJ)
MJ, was born and raised in Ottawa Ontario. As a young child, she excelled in visual arts, and was admitted to a speciality art school to develop her skills where she excelled in oil painting. She then pursued a degree in communications where she focussed on graphic and motion arts. However, this did not satisfy her creativity, where she was longing for more tangible art forms rather than digital ones. In 2012, she collaborated and co-designed a small capsule collection of menswear that was presented in London during the 2012Olympics, where celebreties, artitist and fashion personalitites were all present. This experience made her leave her 8-year career in communications to pursue studies in fashion design in France. In 2015, she graduated from the prestigious Ecole Superieur de Mode et du Design in Paris where she majored in corsetry with a minor in leather work and textile creation. While in Paris, she worked behind the scenes for designers such as Vera Wang, John Galliano, and Alexis Mabille. She also collaborated on a fashion show for her debut lingerie collection which was showcased at Cite de la Mode overlooking the Seine. Upon her return to Montreal, she assumed the role of Head Designer for an iconic American Fashion Brand. Her European influence allows her to experience fashion as an art form and focus more on the creative process rather than the product. This has yielded her immense success in the industry. Her work has been showcased internationally in London, Paris and California.