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Ovate captures the synthesis between poetic romanticism and the spare beauty of minimalism. Artistry and functionality coalesce in a liminal space. Each garment begins with noble materials - cotton, hemp, wool, silk, linen - in a gradation of blacks and muted, neutral shades. Natural fibres and textures are best complemented by a desaturated, monochromatic palate.  Genuine beauty lies in imperfection; human creations, much like those of the natural world, are given life by their asymmetries and flaws. Drawing from these essential elements as well as costume and textile history,  with a focus on deconstruction, garment-washing, hand weaving and natural dyeing, the end result is as unique as the raw materials of which it is wrought.

Ovate clothing is entirely handcrafted by me, Audrey, and my assistant Gabrielle, in Montreal, Canada. Each piece is drafted, cut, sewn, pressed and packaged by hand, by the two of us. Our operation is very small and quantities are limited to what we can produce ourselves . The bulk of my time is spent designing the collection, sourcing materials, cutting, finishing and pressing each piece, packaging and mailing orders, answering emails, managing the website, blog and social media accounts, and photographing all the images you see here, while Gabrielle does most of the sewing production as well as some sample making, pattern drafting and grading. As I cut each piece by hand in my studio, waste is  minimal. I only use high quality, natural materials, and even the smallest pieces are  worth saving. While cutting pieces for the collection, all smaller off cuts are set aside and re-used in various projects that require small pieces, like quilts and baby and children's clothing, and the smallest scraps are turned into handmade paper.

As I only sell online, the visual presentation of my garments is of utmost importance. Photography is a passion of mine, I mainly shoot editorials on 35mm analog cameras and I process black and white film and make prints in my small home darkroom. I also shoot digital images for product images. Expressing myself and my vision through photographs is possibly the most exciting and creative part of my process. After creating the garment, presenting it to you the way I see it, through my own lens, with poetic softness and genuine emotion, is the truest form of my work. The models you see here are mostly friends of mine, as this is what feels most comfortable and natural for me. I rarely work with professional models and I much prefer having a stronger bond with a model than a strictly professional relationship. That being said, I am always open to meeting new, wonderful people to have in front of my lens. If you are in Montreal and would be willing to be photographed in clothing that I've made, please email me. I would love to meet you.

Ovate is only available directly via my online shop. I do not wholesale my line, as I try to keep the price point as accessible as possible, which means reducing mark-ups along the way from designer to boutique to customer. Moreover, I do not strictly follow the fashion calendar. I generally release two larger collections per year, in the early fall and early spring, but release dates vary. Throughout the year, I often release smaller collections of a few items or one of a kind pieces. Each collection is a continuation of the last and some pieces remain available for years, updated throughout the seasons with new fabrics and colours. In this way, pieces from the current collection meld seamlessly with past season items, avoiding trends as much as possible and creating a durable, personal and handcrafted wardrobe.

Founded in 2010, Ovate continues to evolve with me. Refining my aesthetic, my brand ethic and philosophy is a continuous journey. I am always looking to improve my work and methods, and offer the most carefully presented, high quality items that will be cherished and worn for many years.

Yours very truly,

Audrey Cantwell


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