ETHICAL FASHION + plus-size: A CHAT WITH LISA AVIVA

Lisa A. Bleviss has designed both men’s and women’s apparel and accessories for private clients, and stores such as Holt Renfrew and Takashimaya. Her work has sold in luxury boutiques and department stores in the U.S.A., Canada & Japan.

An emerging luxury brand for sustainably minded women sizes 10+, LISA AVIVA utilizes timeless silhouettes and luxurious fabrics. Slow fashion in clean lines, crafted locally with luxe materials – simplifies dressing for the boardroom, the playroom or the red eye to anywhere.

LISA AVIVA‘s materials are carefully considered, utilizing natural fibers – wool, cashmere, linens and cottons.  All pieces are designed, created, and sewn in North America.  We acknowledge our industry’s impact on the global environment and continue to research and implement ways to create fashion positively and ethically.

Photography: Walter Singh | Model: Sarah DeMelo | Hair + Makeup: Jackie Shawn | Photographer’s Assistant: Eddie Nehani | Styling: Joelle Litt | Styling Assistant: Brit Wacher | Jewelry by: Michelle Ross

As a privately owned company focused on balancing fashion and sustainability, LISA AVIVA has committed to the following models of sustainability:

”We are committed to slow fashion. Honoring tradition and heritage clothing and accessories, our garments last for years, not days or months.​

We value the knowledge and experience of our artists, believing that every relationship is reciprocal. A collaboration based on mutual respect enhances the collective experience.

We choose to partner with other small businesses in the many stages of developing a collection, especially those committed to sustainable models.

We are committed to transparency, sharing with our clients the steps we take each season to become increasingly sustainable, such as: eliminating synthetic blends after Collection 1.

We reduce our impact on the environment, beginning with the design process and lasting throughout delivery:

Given the choice of ordering mass quantities, we minimize waste by ordering and producing smaller, exclusive quantities.  LISA AVIVA utilizes Oeko-Tex Standard 100 zippers for outerwear, from a specialty manufacturer and sources unique deadstock notions from specialty suppliers.  Recycled materials are employed whenever possible, for print materials, as well as for packing and shipping.

Photography: Walter Singh | Model: Sarah DeMelo | Hair + Makeup: Jackie Shawn | Photographer’s Assistant: Eddie Nehani | Styling: Joelle Litt | Styling Assistant: Brit Wacher | Jewelry by: Michelle Ross

A TALK WITH LISA AVIVA ABOUT ETHICAL + SLOW FASHION

How did your passion for design start and how your creative process work?

I have been passionate about design for as long as I can remember. I was raised by artists, and spent my formative years surrounded by a community of art and design professionals.

That said, I am first and foremost an artist. As recently echoed by a Donald Judd quote at the MoMA in NYC, I believe that art is fluid and that mediums overlap. I am deeply influenced by fine art, and much inspiration stems from the work I see in galleries, museums, and on the street. I am also inspired by my surroundings – currently living in Canada, the A/W 20/21 collection is inspired by the beautiful colours and shapes of nature, in this spectacular country.

How fashion nowadays helps and motivate you to become a fashion designer?

I previously stepped away from the fashion industry (working only for those in my inner circle), as I needed a reason to create. Creating beautiful accessories was not enough. I needed meaning – that was in 2008. It took me until 2015 to feel prepared to launch a new collection – one that served women like myself, while consequently minimizing our impact on the environment. It was of the utmost importance that I create a collection based on conscience, awareness and responsibility. At a time when many fashion companies were overburdened by debt, I prioritized sustainability in all aspects of the business. And when the company took a toll on my health – I stepped back and took the time I needed to feel rejuvenated. So, in all, the sustainable fashion movement feeds my soul.

Photography: Walter Singh | Model: Sarah DeMelo | Hair + Makeup: Jackie Shawn | Photographer’s Assistant: Eddie Nehani | Styling: Joelle Litt | Styling Assistant: Brit Wacher | Jewelry by: Michelle Ross

Can you tell us a little bit about your references for the last collection?

Last year, during a trip to the Canadian McMichael Gallery, I was stopped in my path by a painting whose colours and lines reverberated in my soul. The Lawren Harris painting, “Mount Robson,” was arrestingly beautiful and Harris was a member of the famous group of Canadian painters, The Group of Seven. While the group focused on landscape painting across the Canadian wilderness, many captured uniquely Canadian monuments – including the Rocky Mountains, in Western Canada.

As for the collection’s photography – I wanted to pay tribute to French female talent, as it was my first season showing in Paris. I chose the work of Suzanne Valadon as a source of inspiration, as she was an incredibly talented painter who studied the art world, first as a model and later as a painter. She charted her own course, throughout her life, much like the LISA AVIVA woman.

“Self-Portrait,” Suzanne Valadon, 1898.
“Mount Robson,” detail, Lawren Harris, 1929.

Are you sick of people talking about millennials? Do you see yourself as a designer for young people, a new generation?

I think, particularly in these times, that it is important to focus on our humanity – that which unites, rather than divides us.

How do you think fashion competitions can change the business industry? Will you apply at some in the future?

There is great honour in being recognized by one’s peers, though I have no desire for celebrity. I prefer instead, to focus on creating art.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes?

The LISA AVIVA woman is empowered by her clothing – she is the work of art. The garments are a tabula rasa, allowing the wearer to be the artist, embellishing the look as they see fit.

Creative + Art Direction: Lisa A. Bleviss | Photography: Eddie Nehani | Model: Daniela Lombardi

What do you think it’s your best-selling piece from your last collection?

My best-selling piece from the collection is the Pebbled Wool Skirt, in Camel. The perfect solution for women desiring a professional luxury wardrobe, and made from a luxurious 100% wool knit, the skirt fits and flatters with a series of design details intended to subtly highlight curves. The fabric, custom-knit in Italy, is to die for and the cut could not offer any more comfort – as opposed to many woven suits that feel tight and restricting. Just another reason it is perfect for a work from home wardrobe. In fact, I am bringing the style back for A/W 20/21…

What do you think about the opportunity of selling your products on online platforms, you think it might be a good showcase for your work and your future?

I believe that online sales allow for a broader audience reach, and currently do so on my website: lisaaviva.com. 

What young designers need right now from fashion industry to grow up?

In these extraordinary times, I believe more than ever, that young designers need a raison d’être for creating their collections. Keeping in mind the importance of a sustainable future, young people launching new collections must bring something new and absolutely necessary to the table, in order to create and shape a new and future fashion industry.

List us three favorite designers / icons who inspire you.

Dries Van Noten – for truly understanding the principles and elements of design

Pierpaolo Piccioli – for his wit (specifically the Moncler collections)

Maria Grazia Chiuri – for her commitment to exquisite beauty

Autumn/Winter 20/21 Collection

The arrival of a new decade. Tumultuous and loud. Turmoil engulfs the world within the first few days. A sombre time.

How different are the times, than those of the last century? The end of WWI brought a time of reckoning and a time of rebuilding. A period of transition, much like our current times. One need only consult an astrologer, to discover that astrological events this year have set off past chains of events, that changed our world forever.

Photography: Walter Singh | Model: Sarah DeMelo | Hair + Makeup: Jackie Shawn | Photographer’s Assistant: Eddie Nehani | Styling: Joelle Litt | Styling Assistant: Brit Wacher | Jewelry by: Michelle Ross

Sustainability is increasingly urgent. Natural fibres are employed
and hand processes honour the work of artists. There is much work
to be done, evident in the multilayered hand felting of Canadian Artist, Natalia Lunata. Organic raw materials, fleece straight from the sheep – the unwashed scent of the barn. Ultrasoft blends of Merino Wool and Baby Alpaca handknit, transform raw fleece into luxurious, body-conscious knits.

Inspired by the Group of Seven, Lawren Harris’ “Mount Robson” Canadian winters are communicated through line, colour, shape. Arctic Ocean, Northern Skies, Rocky Mountain – colours that create vivid imagery.

The Ice is palpable. The sky is thick and blue.

Photography: Walter Singh | Model: Sarah DeMelo | Hair + Makeup: Jackie Shawn | Photographer’s Assistant: Eddie Nehani | Styling: Joelle Litt | Styling Assistant: Brit Wacher | Jewelry by: Michelle Ross

Monolithic structures are animated by the outspoken women of the early 20th century. Depicted in intimate portraits by French painter, Suzanne Valadon – women tell their own stories, speak their own truths. Unwilling to stand in silence, these women reflect our time and like Madame Valadon, refuse to be silenced.

We pay homage to all those who have come before. And now, we “wear the pants.”

– LISA AVIVA

The photoshoot images are tributes to the French painter, Suzanne Valadon. She made history, as a model first for many of the male painters in the late 19th century, and later as a painter in her own right. Most importantly, Suzanne depicted women from a woman’s perspective. 

LUXURY YOU CAN LIVE IN.

SUSTAINABLE LUXURY CLOTHING FOR WOMEN SIZES 10+

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