As if Startup Fashion Week 2015 Day 1-4 wasn’t amazing enough, the final day and runway show made it even more of a spectacle. See all the photos of the runway here. The runway is specially designed to exclusively support and showcase new, up and coming Canadian fashion businesses and brands. Amongst this talent studded list is Maison CYMA, a recycling fur fashion brand started last year by two fashion graduates from Montreal. Before their highly anticipated runway show started, I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing these two ladies, Cynthia and Mary-Jo. Although they are not sisters, they’re like two peas in a pod—they finish each other’s sentences, they both share the same passion and vision, and they’re both veeery tall.
We met up in the lounge area outside the runway before quests started to arrive. They were both wearing their original brand’s pieces, which looked gorgeous! [You’ll see more photos below]. We proceeded to chat about why they started a recycling fur fashion brand, their vision and concept of the brand, and what they look forward to most at SFW.
A very big thank you to the founders and designers of Maison CYMA for allowing me to interview them.
(Above: the two lovely founders of Maison CYMA, Cynthia and Mary-Jo. Aren’t their outfits just badass or what!)
When did you decide that you have to start a company that renews and recycle fur?
We actually know each other for a really long time—26 years. When we were kids, we would play dressup—so we’re making garments, taking pictures of them and creating small magazines. When we grew up, we both studied in fashion. And then one day, we were just like, we have to do it for real. From our values, we really like the idea of recycling and we wanted to take it from there to recycle fur and make something empowering to women. What we notice as well is when we talk about fur, there are usually two speeches—fake fur and new fur. Nobody talks about recycled fur so it just made so much sense in this era we live in to start this movement where recycled fur is an option for consumers in fashion.
How do you want the women who wears your pieces to feel when they wear it?
The first thing we want them to feel is empowered. They feel like they need to stand straight. We don’t want them to only wear our garments because its pretty or anything like that. But also because they want to share the same point of view as us—they want to support the cause, the vision.
Where do you import your fur from?
Old fur coats—there is plenty of it! Salvation Army. There are people who buy fur coats house to house and we buy it back from them. They’re like chasers of old fur coats (laughs). You can buy from friends in our network. So like your grandmother doesn’t want it, we can buy from her. There’s another option where we buy leftover pieces of fur that are sewn together in one massive sheet. So there are many options to provide fur.
What is it that you are most looking forward to at StartupFW?
We want people to hear of us—its our first collection so we want to spread the word, our vision. We want them to be aware that recycling fur exists. As we said before, there is the new fur, the fake fur, but there is also the recycling fur. A lot of people are not talking about it. We want them to know us and know that there is a third option. By talking to bloggers like you and achieve a level of awareness amongst people, is what we want.
What does the future look like for your brand?
Our goal is to create our own foundation. We want to take 1% of our profits to this foundation to bring awareness about recycled fur, animal rights. The main goal is to create our own foundation. We want to spread our vision and our beliefs.
What is your favourite place to have brunch in Montreal?
Avenue. Its like a nightclub. There are cool decorations (laughs).
Who is your favourite role model, celebrity?
Stella McCartney. I read an article about her, her visions in fashion, she’s ethical and very inspiring. She’s well known and succeeded that way so it’s inspiring for me.
Who is your favourite startup business here at SFW?
DCT. The 3D printing jewelry. It’s a world that I don’t understand. Its super intriguing. Its different. It’s not something I’m used to seeing and familiar with. I think it’s a good idea to combine technology and fashion so I believe that they’re on to something (laughs).
What is your favourite fashion line?
Balmain. I love details, I’m a fan of details. And you’ll find this in our collection. Fun Fact: our fur is removable. We have a magnet system that makes it very easy to remove and wear it without or with. You can wear your normal jacket during the day and add the fur on in the night!
Congratulation to Maison CYMA’s first collection and here’s for more to come!