Claire Bouvier has many faces….an art teacher, photographer, stylist, creator & owner of The Claire Closet and most recently she had her clothing range on the runway as part of Value Village thrift chic challenge at Eco Fashion Week. She took some time out of her busy day to tell me more about her collection.
Describe a typical day for Claire?
Hmmm. This is a tough one because every day feels quite different. However, my day is divided into two parts. 8-4pm is dedicated to my high school art students and my evenings and weekends I spend working, playing and creating the life of The Claire Closet. As a high school teacher and the owner of a company, my days are quite scheduled but they never feel the same. There are so many new opportunities every day. It’s awesome. The only typical part of my day is that I set an intention or a goal for my day. It is this that allows me to keep a focus.
What was your motivation behind starting ‘The Claire Closet’?
It all started with a big closet and lots of wonderful women. I have always loved the idea of fashion growing up but I always felt it was out of my reach. There were limited options to learn about the topic of fashion with other girls my age. The few options that were available were extremely costly. Over the years, I have come to realize that many young girls share the same interest. As a result, I have the chance to bring my passions as a high school teacher and love for eco fashion and art to create The Claire Closet.
How does ‘The Claire Closet’ work?
The Claire Closet is a BIG closet that exists both online and offline. We have created an online community that bring all the women in this world together by sharing, creating and exploring topics that empower women through eco art and fashion. Our online world exists on facebook, instagram, twitter, word press and we’re in the process of starting a youtube channel! Offline, we focus on a lending and styling thrift shop, runway shows and weekly workshops. The workshops are for any girl in grade nine or ten. They have the chance to meet and learn from young industry experts and mentors in the eco fashion, beauty and entertainment industries. The goal of The Claire Closet is to help young girls develop their passions in the arts as well as becoming leaders of eco-fashion, developing lifelong skills in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and innovative approaches to tackling social problems.
Do you remember your first fashion purchase?
My first fashion purchase was in Value Village. I was 13. My role model and friend Sarah was 18 and she introduced me to “thrifting”. I remember thinking “Oh my goodness, why are people spending all their money on ONE sweater when you could come here and buy 5?!”. I also loved the fact that thrift shopping is always a surprise. You never know the treasures you’re going to find.
You collaborate with other women from creative backgrounds on your project ‘The Claire Closet’….how did you all start to work together?
I love people. I have spent most of my life connecting with inspiring individuals, specifically women. Having someone like Sarah in my life was so important to me as a young girl. She taught me the importance of being resourceful and creative with my appearance. But most importantly she taught me to be self-confident. Therefore I have dedicated the project to connecting with amazing women to come and mentor The CC girls. All of these women are people that I have worked with or shared a mutual interest with. It’s amazing what happens when you come together and share your passions.
What piece from your wardrobe is among your current favorites?
My favourite dress that I thrifted was a vintage purple velvet dress. Sadly, the dress is in “repair” since I ripped the whole seam in the back because I was dancing too hard at my friend’s wedding. Luckily though, I was able to photograph my little sister in it last year!
Who is your muse?
I have many. However, I would have to say that my icons are simply the women in my life that follow their passions and inspire people as they go. My mother is a wonderful example.
How did you get involved in Eco Fashion Week?
I was at a wedding and started chatting with a mutual friend that worked for EFW. We were both so excited about our thrifted wears. She suggested that I get in touch with them and share my work. Four months later, The Claire Closet had the chance to walk the runway at the Vancouver Eco Fashion Week!
What was your inspiration for your collection?
My inspiration came from the people in my life. As mentioned, I love people. I love their stories. I wanted The Claire Closet line to reflect a story of women from the 1920’s to the present with an electro-swing feel.
Which is your favourite look from the runway?
I LOVED the top hat with the red jacket.
I love the coat-hangers in the hair. What was the idea behind that? Was it difficult to create?
Thank you! It was so exciting! The idea was to showcase our logo but also to show that the girls were wearing the hanger. It was difficult to put together but La BIOTHETIQUE was amazing! Such an amazing crew to work with back stage. A big big thank you to the team!
What was the biggest challenge you faced in pulling this collection together?
To stay focused on one theme. I kept finding SO many amazing pieces while I was thrifting at Value Village but they did not go with my theme. It was a wonderful distraction but I had a tight deadline.
Any advice to consumers on how to be more eco when shopping for fashion purchases?
It can be overwhelming when you first go “thrifting”. There is so much choice and it can be quite overwhelming. I always suggest that you choose one thing to look for at a time.
Catwalk photos by Peter Jensen