Through The Designer's Eyes: Montreal
This month we head to Montreal where designer VUJÀ DÉ takes us through the city that inspires and gives life to a body of work that is full of personality and true ingenuity.
Where do you live? How would you describe the creative scene in your city?
Montreal, Canada; Montreal is very independent. It has a very unique and special vibe that only exists here, and it's also very contemporary city.
How long have you lived there?
I've lived here for eight years now.
Is there a large design community in your city? How do you interact with it?
Fashion de la Mode represents local designer collection every year. It's an incredible platform that supports young fashion designers.
Souk&sat shows a multitude of contemporary creations from Montreal artists. It is fun and offers up a wealth of inspiration in terms of new types of materials.
How does the city inspire you?
Honestly, my inspiration doesn't come much from the city itself. But I do think that Montreal is a great place for creative development, particularly because it is not in this state of speedy development—it's a place that embraces all different kinds of art.
What are the must-sees and must-dos for visitors?
The SSENSE boutique in Montreal, which just recently launched, has awesome collaborations in terms of projects with talented designers from all around the world, such as Virgil Abloh, Craig Green, and Jacquemus.
What makes your city special?
The bilingual language environment is such a core component of the city—it makes it feel very special and global. This blend of cultures bleeds into the architecture as well, which is quite cool.
What do you love most about your city?
I love how Montreal fully embraces the many different types of art. And the fantastic views and environments on each and every street are quite wonderful.
What cuisines are distinct to your city?
Smoked meat & poutine!
Where is the best place to stay? Eat, drink, and decompress?
I'd choose to eat, drink, and hang in the Mile End area of the city any day of the week. It's got a hip vibe, amazing places to eat, and a whole lot going on.
How does the culture in your city impact your designs?
Sometimes I will use French influences and components in graphic design elements.
Do you manufacture your clothes in your city? If no, why not?
I manufacture some of my pieces here—numerous pieces I produce locally and some are crafted in China.
Does working outside of a traditional "fashion capital" like Paris or New York City impact your work in any way? How does it help or hinder your process?
Maybe the whole industry here is not as mature as New York or Paris. It can be challenging when it comes to the sourcing and production part, but at the same time, it reduces the constant and intrusive noise from the outside, which enables us to keep designs under your roots.
What is your city missing in terms of design and creativity? What does it have that other cities do not?
It certainly lacks the stable and defined sourcing and production chains.
How does the fashion scene function within your local culture?
It has different vibes due to Montreal's variety in style. It can be urban, wild, heritage-based, french classic and chic.
How has your city changed in the past few years? How have these changes impacted your designs?
Fur and leather used to be an important market in Montreal because of the trade history and the long winter. But now it's much less prevalent.
Looking at your business and the changing landscape, will it be sustainable to stay in your city for the long term?
My Montreal studio is more like a lab of design, while sourcing and marketing will be done more in my studio in China.
If you left your city tomorrow, where would you go? Would uprooting reshape the way you create and design?
I would go to Shanghai, mainly because it is more fast-paced when it comes to the whole business element of fashion as well as with the design production space.
Do you think inspiration is tied to the physicality of a place or is it something greater? How about in your city specifically?
I think part of it is, but not really by the physicality—it's more about the people who surround you and the many things you experience, which could be a source of inspiration.
I've now started to infuse some strong colours in my designs, which is partly influenced by Montreal's younger generation—it's a good way to mix many different types of ideas together.