Engulfed 2024 - A variety of crafts in a single collection;
Fashion Show & Exhibition that will highlight the skills of Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich fiber arts heritage.
October 4th, 2022

Project Overview 
The intent of this project is to unite and showcase Newfoundland and Labrador’s skillful fibre arts in a single contemporary fashion collection, while promoting sustainability and the province’s traditional craft techniques.
The idea is to gather a skilled group of knitters, crocheters, weavers, dyers, etc… to develop artistic pieces, which seasoned designers will render into a unified contemporary fashion collection as a tribute to Newfoundland and Labrador’s brilliant talent and culture.  

There is a void of crafts/couture in Canadian fashion as the industry focuses on disposable fast fashion to appeal to the masses. Production overseas replaced domestic manufacturing, and the need for skilled artisans became obsolete. It is the curators of Engulfed 2024’s opinion that fashion without craft is deprived of its essence and therefore carries little value.
Also, as the fashion industry has been rated one of the world’s top polluting industries, it is continuously trying to innovate to find greener methods of production. It is imperative that we, as conscious individuals, not only look to new technologies, but also to reflect upon our heritage and harvest its sustainable methods that were passed down through the generations. Fiber arts and crafts are the foundation for a cleaner approach to the future of fashion.
Having grown up in Newfoundland surrounded by crafts and local artists, Richard perused to master the trades so he could strengthen his designs. Upon moving to Montreal to further his fashion career, he kept the vision of, one day, bringing together multiple crafts in a single heritage collection. This vision inspired MJ as she had been longing to expose the importance of crafts in fashion to the Canadian industry. Through this collection her mission of providing a greater appreciation for the mastery of artisanry will unfold.  Deciding to partner together on this project, the idea evolved into creating a collection that is inclusive of the artisan community of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Acting as ambassadors for this team of talented artisans, Richard and MJ intend to bring this body of work across the country in an expo of awareness and promotion of arts in fashion, hoping to install in each viewer a sense of nostalgia, pride and understanding of heritage crafts.

Why focus on crafts from Newfoundland and Labrador
The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has a strong craft community that encourages mastery of their arts. With the province’s Crafts Council that works to maximize the artistic and economic potential of the craft community as well as introductory and academic classes from the Anna Templeton Center, this assures solidarity amongst the members of that community that encourages growth of their industry. 

The Theme
Given that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador throughout the centuries have lived their lives engulfed by a sea fearing culture, it is embedded in their livelihoods and heritage. They owe much to the beauty of their surroundings to the sea scape. 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 are drawn to the sea and its inspiration. The ocean is a way of life and much like great swells, it engulfs Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in a world of oceanic inspiration; so too will the Engulfed 2024 Gallery Exhibit submerge its viewers in the province’s cultural heritage.  

About the Organizers 
Richard Brophy 
Richard Brophy is currently working within the fashion industry as a men’s wear designer, catering to mass market North American retailers/brands. Richard’s background however, is steeped in Couture and fiber arts. Originating from Newfoundland, he is a former graduate of the Textile Studies Program (2009). He specialized in Natural Dyes and Knitting. He then furthered his education in fashion design at College LaSalle in Montreal, Quebec (2013). Along with his industry career, Richard has successfully delivered couture collections and taken part in artistic collaborations which celebrate his expertise in textile art. Being of Irish/Newfoundland decent, he has put much emphasis on preserving the traditional fibre arts and techniques of his heritage and culture.

Marie-Joelle LeBlanc
MJ is currently working as head designer in Montreal for a renowned American women’s fashion brand. Her creative work, however, is entrenched in French Couture as she studied and graduated from the prestigious Ecole Superieur de Mode & Design in Paris. She majored in corsetry with a minor in leather work and textile creation. Her European influence allows her to experience fashion as an artform 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.   

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Marie-Joellle LeBlanc                            
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