Vancouver Mom had the chance to chat with Stephanie Ostler, owner, designer and girl Friday of Devil May Wear, a wonderfully inspiring boutique located at 3957 Main st. (at 23rd Ave.) and whose focus is on creating ethically responsible fashion from sustainable materials.
I still can’t get over how absolutely sumptuous Stephanie’s collection is – and the raw talent this mid-twenties gal has in both her design and technical skills. Ninety percent of the items in her store are handmade by Stephanie herself – from her fun collection of brightly coloured undies to purses and handbags made from reclaimed vintage fabrics to her elegant jewellery. Her hand-knit items are to die for – gauntlets (fingerless gloves) made from hand-spun yarn, gorgeous shawls and ponchos. And almost everything is available at wickedly affordable prices. I could not believe that her hand-knit shawls were going for a mere $95! (You must go right now and pick one up!)
But items aside, the most lovely thing about Devil May Wear is Stephanie herself, who seems to have be the guardian angel of all things simple, hand-made and fashionable. She is devoted to creating wearable functional art and you can see her tremendous optimism in everything she makes. There is a certain beauty in the production of such handmade objects in the face of a tough economic climate and a world of mass production.
What inspired you to start Devil May Wear?
I was once told I have a print makers mind, which has always sat nicely with me. It was in regards to my question of why do I like making more than one of something. Maybe not many of the same thing but I find it thrilling to make a practical piece of art, perfect it and then make many. I also think that fashion is one of the most detrimental and one of the most demanding industries I’ve ever heard of so I feel like it’s a place I can elicit the most change. I decided that I would always do my best to express myself and never sacrifice fashion for function or for ethics. I also don’t think that clothing designers can change the industry without competing with China so my biggest overall personal challenge is how do I hand make sustainable clothing ethically and reasonably price it against China. That’s a lot of problems to solve right there.
How would you describe your store and your brand?
I can’t take myself seriously and I think that is greatly reflected in my company. Everything’s got character, color, texture, and excitement. I also have a great appreciation for early century style and quality. Without any effort my clothing often reflects times past even featuring vintage, reworked supplies. I’ve given our store the atmosphere of a retro living room or smoking room (sans smoke) fully equipped with a warm fireplace and Etta James crooning.
My brand is all about making ethical, affordable, adorable clothing that fits real women. Our store is about being friends. I have the friendliest staff in the city and we just want to help everyone who walks through the door. Weather it be a story, a laugh, a discussion or the right outfit. We love all our visitors!
What do you think moms would like best about Devil May Wear?
We have a large volume of young moms coming through our doors. To start with, we are just in the right neighborhood to meet them all and I am glad for that. Moms need comfortable clothing that moves and stretches with their movements plus they often need room to grow or shrink. For a new mom it can be hard to find the right fit that gives the flexibility they need without sacrifice of style. In our challenge for real women fits, we usually accomplish just that. And if our gals just can’t find the right fit, since we make everything on site we also do many alterations.
Where can we get your products?
Though the best place to find us may be our store on Main St. We have many other stores across Canada and the states as well as online. Please see our website for more details since there really are so many wonderful options.