designer Warren Steven Scott began making colorful statement earrings in 2018 and selling them in a Toronto boutique before pivoting and launching his e-commerce site. During the pandemic, accessories really took off, and were worn by fashion editors, celebrities and politicians Alike Scott has since branched out into clothing and eyewear, with recent collaborations for new look, here, he tells cb how did he do it,
I grew up in Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island. it was the 90s, so fashion file And fashiontelevision Always on. I was mesmerized watching these models walk the runway in ethereal looks. I ended up studying general science in college, but after my second year, I told my parents that I wanted to try my hand at fashion design. They were excited for me, and my mom even helped me find a bridal seamstress on Craigslist to teach me how to sew. I applied to the Fashion School at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson). I made a pleated hourglass dress, but since I was just starting out, I cut the fabric along the weft for the grain line, so the stretch was vertical instead of crosswise. Despite this mistake I still managed to get in.
I am a member of the Nlaka’pamux nation, and my band has sponsored my studies. After graduating in 2014, I did two internships with Toronto designers—Comrags and Jeremy Lang—where I learned running a fashion label, Independent designers wear all hats, so you need a variety of skills, from sewing to managing supply chains.
In 2018, I was working in retail at Comrags and wondering what I should do next. The first thing I saw was an announcement about Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. My band made me buy my first sewing machine, a computerized Juki. My first collection, Sissy, featured floral silk dresses and high-collar prairie blouses. I needed accessories to go with them, so I created a series of oversized earrings using motifs from my Nalacapamux and Sentsiles roots—ovoids, feathers, crescents, and trigons. Indigenous jewelery is traditionally made with beads or silver and turquoise. I liked the idea of rendering traditional shapes in an unexpected synthetic material: brightly colored acrylic (which also happens to be fairly inexpensive). I had the shapes laser-cut, and I hand-assembled the earrings in my apartment.
After that show, I couldn’t build a full collection, but I did have the capital to make 30 pairs of earrings, which I displayed in a pop-up inside Comregs. They sold out in a single weekend, which made me think I could make a viable business out of just the earrings. I built an e-commerce site, shot a lookbook and rented space in a shared studio in Toronto’s West End. I personally delivered to the post office and sold around 1,000 pairs in 2019.
The earmarks caught on during the pandemic, when people were really making an effort to support Canadian and BIPOC businesses. My clients used to recognize earrings on each other—once, it even happened in a courtyard in Florence, Italy. And then the trend, Cosmo And New York The magazine covered him. people would tag me to tell that celebrities like reservation dog‘ Devery Jacobs or comedian Benny Drama wore them. That’s how the earmarks got off: through word of mouth.
Last year, I moved to a bigger studio and created a little piece of fabric and art I called Cedars in Sek-he Sky. Sec—that’s the traditional name for Palm Springs—is on the Cahuilla area, where I went hiking in 2021. On some of the dresses I used ruching, which mimics the weaving of cedar baskets—and weaving is a skill passed down through generations in my family. But the fabric is contemporary: polyester in luxe shades of purple, pink and blue.
Recently, the founders of New Look in Montreal asked if I would be interested in designing a line of glasses. We launched in October of 2022 with 19 retro-inspired frames. I wanted to offer a bunch of sizes and colors so anyone can find themselves in a pair. Each one is tipped with a vibrant pop of color and named after someone who played a role in my success. This sense of personal connection drives everything I do. About 20 North American retailers carry my line, but it’s still a small operation. My studio assistant handles earring production, and I still do all the sewing, most of it on the computerized Juki machine my band helped me buy years ago. I’ve never raised the prices of the earrings—they’re all under $100—because I want them to be accessible. I love having a local spot right around the corner. Perhaps this could be a sustainable fashion brand.
he loves five things
Scott’s Essential Sources of Inspiration
“I listen to this podcast, hosted by Terry O’Reilly, while drafting and sewing in the studio.”
“It’s on my list of places to visit for 2023. I’d love to try a jewelry or cooking class while I’m there.”
a silk blouse
“I love the idea of throwing on a special occasion blouse with jeans under an apron for going to the grocery store or even cooking.”
“Arden’s 25th Anniversary” Happy? Am I listening to the new acoustic version of ‘Ode to a Friend’ over and over again.”
Audi Murray’s work
“Murray, a Métis artist from Saskatchewan, decorates everyday objects like toilet paper rolls, socks and teabags with glass beads as a way to question what is considered sacred.”