Ovate captures the synthesis between the poetic romanticism of a past time 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, silver, leather - 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 history and traditional costume, 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 right hand, 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, aside from a few studio sales throughout the year, the visual presentation of my garments is of utmost importance. Photography is a passion of mine, I mainly shoot on 35mm analog cameras and I process black and white film and make prints in my small home darkroom. I also shoot some digital images for product shots, though my true love is analog. 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 looking for muses and 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.
I also devote time to various forms of fibre arts, primarily weaving on a traditional wooden floor loom and natural dyeing with plant and flower extracts. Occasionally, I offer a selection of handwoven scarves in local wool and alpaca, organic cotton and Japanese washi paper. Each scarf can take up to 10 hours to weave and I generally work in a simple plain weave to truly emphasize the beautiful natural textures of the fibres. I occasionally have limited edition pieces in silk or linen that I've hand dyed with leaves, wood, flowers and fruit peels. The natural palette of plant dyes is vast and beautiful and the process is a sort of alchemy that I find exciting, unpredictable and rewarding.
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.
Dedicated to sustainability, I also offer a selection of vintage and antique clothing, accessories and homewares. The awareness that so many beautiful, useful and well-made garments and objects are already in existence (and in abundance) is very present with me and I believe that buying secondhand is a cornerstone of a more sustainable way of living. I personally source every item, selecting pieces for their quality construction, natural materials and design. I aim to curate a thoughtful and artful selection of quality garments in natural fibres that can be easily introduced into a contemporary wardrobe. You can shop my vintage selection here: www.histoiresvintage.com
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,
For all enquiries : email@example.com