The Canvas NYC
The Swap Shop opening is just around the corner (Feb 1st!), and the founders of Querencia Studio and The Canvas gave GFX a glimpse into their world, how they met and eventually what inspired them to start their own brand and sustainable emporium! Have a read and check out their label space in Hunter College and Williamsburg!
Querencia Studio began with a purpose and place dear to us both. The Island School is a semester school on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas. At The Island School, science class is SCUBA diving and math class is focused on efficiency and resources on campus, from how rainwater is used to where solar panels are placed. Tegan grew up on Eleuthera and grew alongside the school. Devin was a student in the autumn of 2014 as a junior in high school.
In the spring of 2016, we were connected by the school and its founder. Tegan had begun looking into the uniform system, trying to find sustainable alternatives to its current operation and supply chain. Devin had been working in fashion, including fast fashion brand NEXT and multimedia company Milk Studios. When we were introduced, we saw the potential of our respective backgrounds and how, together, they could make for an impactful project. A few meetings later, we started Querencia Studio with the mission of introducing an alternative option for clothing that did not sacrifice sustainability for aesthetics, or vice versa.
Soon after we started, we began to grow our team. Kate Walz, our Lead Designer, joined in the winter of 2016. Beginning to grow past t-shirts and hoodies, we entered our first partnership with Goodwill NYNJ. They allowed us to explore their Astoria warehouse and select fabrics and garments to upcycle and create something entirely new. This became the G.O.N.E. FOR GOOD, or Garment Optimization Neutralizing Excess for Good, collection. A few months later, we were among the selected exhibitions at the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany. There, we presented our SURFACE LEVEL collection, made entirely with up cycled fabrics from FABSCRAP.
As we showcased our work and participated in pop-ups, we felt like our individual effort as a brand was not all we had to offer. That and our observation of empty retail space around New York City led us to experiment with a new concept: The Canvas by Querencia Studio.
The Canvas began within the former Hunter College bookstore in the summer of 2018. We occupied the space and built it out as a hub for conversation and collaboration. There, we developed partnerships with brands, companies, and people who are making fashion more fair, more accessible and more connected. Balanced Fashion hosted a series of discussions on how to build a sustainable fashion brand. Sustainable Fashion Circle hosted a roundtable and presentation of up and coming, New York City-based designers. FABSCRAP hosted their two year anniversary with us, followed by a one-month fabric sale. Later this month, we’ll open a photography exhibit alongside the students at Hunter College.
This November, we expanded to a second location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We kicked off with an amazing partnership with PAUSE Pop-up and our friends Romi and Leti who run around the world producing amazing pop-ups for ethical designers. We’ve collaborated with Goodwill NYNJ on setting up an attended donation center in The Canvas Williamsburg.
The only way this industry can change is if we work together. The goal of The Canvas is to create a place where ideas can be sparked and creativity can flourish. There is no substitute for conversation and it’s with this in mind that we are launching our partnership with Global Fashion Exchange. The GFX Swap Shop at The Canvas will continue to promote clothing swaps while highlighting consumer education with a culture calendar featuring leaders in environmental science, design and NGO’s and individuals making an impact on the world.
Our focus is on addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. There are seventeen of them but it’s the last of them, number seventeen, that we feel is most important to accomplishing them all: Partnerships. The Canvas by Querencia Studio is a place for those partnerships to begin, continue, and be introduced to the world. We look forward to seeing you here.