A space to shop for socially conscious fashion

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

As Meagan Cann sees it, her latest fashion venture on Main Street in Danbury has several dimensions.

It’s an opportunity for the fashion conscious customer to buy heirloom pieces that they can wear year after year. It’s an opportunity to buy clothes and accessories… and art, to support local designers, artisans, and artists. And, it’s an opportunity to shop responsibly.

Cann is the driving force and founder of Workspace Collective, which has found a home in the back of the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut.

Workspace Collective offers an opportunity for local artisans to sell their jewelry, sweaters, blouses, and more in a space curated by Cann. In addition, workspace also sells garments from brands created by artisans overseas who are paid livable working wages for their efforts and whose supply chain is completely transparent.

Cann, a Danbury native who transplanted to Brooklyn, N.Y. for several years before returning home, decided to open Workspace Collective when a friend told her about a grant that was made available for businesses that had an arts focus.

Workspace Collective, with its focus on selling locally made fashions, made sense for Cann. Her background was in fashion merchandising. And she spent 10 years working in that field, including a stint at Macy’s. Additionally, she had a longtime interest in sustainable fashion.

During her time at Macy’s, Cann said she was responsible for negotiating with fashion buyers. “I had the inside look into the supply chain and how we were treating factory workers. I didn’t want to be part of that. I started focusing on sustainable fashion.”

At first, for Workspace Collective, Cann said she found her designers by reaching out to those she already knew from the sustainable fashion universe. After a while, local designers who heard about the project reached out to her. Those designers than told other designers. And artists found her who then told other artists.

“It grew organically,” said Cann.

The store is curated so designers don’t sell necessarily everything they want to offer, said Cann. Typically, designers will bring in their goods and Cann will pick and choose what she feels makes sense for Workspace Collective.

And the designers all individually create their wares, said Cann. They aren’t manufactured in some factory somewhere, said Cann.

One of the designers that has found a home at Workspace Collective is Doreen Breen of Thomaston, whose brand is Soul Threads, said Cann. Breen takes old coats and gives them a second life by embellishing them with new details.

At Workspace Collective, Cann said she tries to connect the artisans with their customers. And Breen, she said, came in a recent weekend to work on her garments as the customers watched her transform a piece for sale.

This process of connecting customer and designer, said Cann, reinforces the value of the products that are sold. Additionally, Cann said designers sometimes will offer workshops to help customers have an even deeper understanding of the pieces. That information component is just as valuable for customer and artisan, said Cann.

As for who Cann sees as the customer for the Workspace Collective, she is directing her inventory toward women, ages 25 to 45, who are globally conscious. Also, she said the store is not about a customer buying their entire wardrobe at Workspace Collective. Instead, she said it is about buying pieces that won’t be tossed in the back of the closet after one year’s use. They are intended as pieces to build a wardrobe around.

Designers represented at Workspace Collective, which is in the @287 Gallery in the Danbury Main Street offices of the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, are:

 

Garnets in the Rough

Darlene Garrison

Jewelry

New Milford, Conn.

garnetsintherough@gmail.com

 

Bread X Butta

Lynsey Ayala

Marble clothing

Crystal jewelry

Brooklyn, N.Y.

lja_0313@yahoo.com

 

Mikki Mikki Art Jewelry

Michele Counihan

Handmade jewelry

Brewster, N.Y.

michelelinkc@gmail.com

 

Ellie’s Acres

Sasha Petrovick

Goat’s milk soap

Maine (from Danbury)

sashakatrina@yahoo.com

 

Julissa Designs

Julissa Cadena

Clothing/jewelry made in Danbury

julissa@julissadesigns.com

 

E.H. Strern

Emilia Stern

Silk jewelry

Kingston, N.Y.

sternemilia@gmail.com

 

Ave Rivera

Ave Rivera Ceramics

Ceramics

Hamden, Conn.

Ave@averivera.com

 

Soul Threads

Doreen Breen

Textile art

Thomaston, Conn.

breendoreen@gmail.com

 

A.Bernadette

Andrea Reyes

Upcycled Artisan Fashion

New York, N.Y. / Uganda

andrea@abernadette.com

 

Conscious Clothing

Rose Phillips

Organic materials

Michigan

rose.consciousclothing@gmail.com

 

Liz Alig

DeeDee Hatchell

Sustainable fashion

Nashville, Tenn.

deedee@lizalig.com

 

Mara Woman

Elena Scutaru

Artisan made fashion

Moldova

knits@marawoman.org

 

Mayamiko

Paola Masperi

Ethically made artisan fashion

Malawi

info@mayamiko.com

 

Same Thread

Katie Metzger

Artisan made

Thailand

katie@samethread.com

 

Threads 4 Thought

Amanda Soloman

Organic cottons

New York, China

amanda@fairandsquaretrading.com

 

Wildlife Works

Joyce Hu

Organic cottons

San Diego, Kenya

joyce@wildlifeworks.com

 

Kashmiry Jewelry

Katie Kashmiry

Locally made fine jewelry

New York

k.kashmiry@gmail.com

For more information, call (203) 733 9541 or by meagan@workspacecollective.co

Model Rozana Tamis wears some of the fashions from Workspace Collective in Danbury. The project specializes in sustainable fashion. The jacket is from Soul Threads, which is upcycled and made in Thomaston. (MIKE CHAIKEN PHOTO)

Model Rozana Tamis wears some of the fashions from Workspace Collective in Danbury. The project specializes in sustainable fashion. The jacket is from Soul Threads, which is upcycled and made in Thomaston. (MIKE CHAIKEN PHOTO)

Model Rozana Tamis wears some of the fashions from Workspace Collective in Danbury. The project specializes in sustainable fashion. The sweater is from Mara Women- Handwoven in Moldova. The skirt is from A. Bernadette and crafted from upcycled materials from Uganda. (MIKE CHAIKEN PHOTOS)

Model Rozana Tamis wears some of the fashions from Workspace Collective in Danbury. The project specializes in sustainable fashion. The sweater is from Mara Women- Handwoven in Moldova. The skirt is from A. Bernadette and crafted from upcycled materials from Uganda. (MIKE CHAIKEN PHOTOS)