Though Orb Clothing’s Vancouver-designed casual women’s wear now lines the shelves of more than 300 stores, the line, founded by Glenn Taylor and Leslie Lee, began with simple intentions—to inspire women and promote confidence in their outward appearances. With an emphasis on ethics, they employ a team of designers who craft seasonal clothing collections that fuse style and active lifestyles in a fun manner, much like the hurdles typically placed along fashion runways. The artists' lively prints and warm colours add originality to sweaters, dresses, and jackets, as well as organic cotton tanks, tops, and handbags.
When not creating styles or fighting autonomous sewing machines, Orb's crew partners with charities such as Free the Children. They also run the Orb Girl program, which awards fashion contracts to women doing exceptional deeds within their community.
First opened in Vancouver, Bang-On T-Shirts' shops have spread over the past decade to dot the globe. No matter which continent they call home, the custom-printing stores emphasize a retro style, filling their binders with hundreds of images inspired by fashion, pop culture, and music. Patrons flip through the binder of in-store designs, selecting ones to customize or print as is. Creative types bring their own photos or illustrations of the monster living under their house in for pressing. Once customers lay out their T-shirts and tank-top patterns, staffers emblazon the cotton tops right in front of them.
At Cottage Quilting, shelves groan under the weight of more than 3,500 bolts of fabric awaiting adoption by nimble hands. Friendly staffers help customers navigate reams of brightly hued designer cottons, sweet floral prints from Amy Butler, and vivid batik patterns in their quest for the perfect cloth. They can also point crafters toward hand-dyed threads, pattern books, and tools such as rotary cutters and mats, as well as new sewing and embroidery machines from Bernina and Brother. Their classes dole out guidance and inspiration for students of varying skill levels, focusing on anything from binding basics and hand embroidery to crafting reversible aprons that enable a single chef to play both good cop and bad cop with fallen soufflés.