Reduce, reuse … rewear? 

Squamish’s Cooney sisters take environmentally friendly approach to fashion

click to enlarge Funk-tional Fashion Lara and Angela Cooney model some of their wares
  • Funk-tional Fashion Lara and Angela Cooney model some of their wares

What: Leather and Lace Fashion Show

When: Wednesday, July 9

Where: FireRock Lounge at the Westin

Tickets: $5

At first glance, Whistler may not seem like the most fashion-forward place, but right next to the guy clad in spandex shorts and sneakers is a young woman sporting a funky, vibrant dress, while clutching a sleek handbag. Ah, the duality of this small mountain town.

Chances are, that dress, cobbled together from fabrics of an abundance of colours and textures, is one of the creations of Clothes Minded Apparel and Design, a clothing company started by two Squamish sisters.

Angela and Lara Cooney, 23 and 32 years old respectively, are both graduates of the fashion program at George Brown College. Originally from Ontario, the sisters now call the Sea to Sky region home.

Lara moved here about four years ago, and Angela followed last summer. Clothes Minded was born soon after.

“We kind of teamed up together to take on the world!” Angela said with a laugh.

Their clothes are, for the most part, reworked vintage pieces.

“I kind of started just by being tired of my own clothes and kind of cutting them up and making them new,” Angela explained. “We both kind of liked that same style, like taking old clothes and revamping them.”

One of their signature items, legwarmers made from old sweater sleeves, could be spotted slouching around legs through town all winter.

“Sometimes we just rework old clothes, but other times we’ll take a jacket and totally cut it up and make it into a skirt,” Angela said.

They use a wide range of materials to create one-of-a-kind items, and further individualize each piece with silk screening or a splatter of paint.

The basic philosophy behind Clothes Minded is pretty simple: make functional, fashionable clothes for real people. And they want to be as environmentally friendly as possible, in the process.

“We really like to recycle, being in the kind of world that we live in,” Angela added. “…We try to use every little bit of the reworked clothes that we make into something.”

But they don’t just work with vintage materials. They also have a line of bras and panties, with items like booty shorts that they create from bright lace.

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