People visit Montreal for its culture as a city of nearly non-stop festivals, for its style and French lifestyle in North America, and for the culinary scene that put it on the world map long before many other cities celebrated their locally-grown talent and flavors.
One of the best ways to connect with Montreal as a fashion capital, as an historic North American commercial center and as an artistic, creative and eco-innovative leader, is to go to one of Montreal’s most unique designers, Harricana.
BestTrip discovered this Maker who brings together Montreal and Quebec’s heritage as the center of the 17th and 18th century fur trade, one of the coldest major cities in the world in the winter, and as the fashion capital of Canada with her imaginative, ‘eco-luxe’ collections of items made from recycled furs.
Harricana’s designer Mariouche Gagne recognized that many Quebecers had parents’ and grandparents’ fur coats in storage, needed by previous generations for warmth in Montreal’s famous winter climate, but now languishing unused in an era of new fashion sensibilities, and better heating in cars, homes, and public places, as well as a concern about the ethics of fur.
Her design line answers all of those needs.
She shared the story of her ‘aha’ moment of vision, when she had to submit a design and was inspired to turn her mother’s old fur coat into an award-winning ski suit design.
That vision, of upcycling furs that are lying unused, into high-design, eco-responsible and, in her words, ‘eco-luxe’ fashions, accessories, home design and even jewelry, became Harricana.
Not only did she develop an exciting model of exchanging unused vintage furs – which last for generations – into modern, wearable and useful items that honor the origins of the furs, Mariouche has become in demand by the high-concept design scene around the world, including France, Italy and Asia.
Visitors to Montreal can visit Harricana and bring home one of the most authentic souvenirs of French Canada. You can even join an upcycled vintage fur pom-pom making workshop to get an appreciation for fur as Nature’s first textile, and of the skills and talents needed to craft beautiful and useful items from re-purposed fur.
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