Backstage at Vancouver Fashion Week, we talk to Faun Studio’s founder and designer, Marisa P. Clark, about her ineffable rise in the fashion industry, and her emphasis on maintaining eco-consciousness within her collections.
Faun Studio is a brand made out of love for fashion and sustainability. On Vancouver Fashion Week’s F/W 22 runway, Marisa P. Clark used eco-dyed recycled yarns and and organically grown cotton to create pieces inspired by the modern artist Matisse.
What inspired your brand?
I graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2016, and then I started designing my ready-to-wear brand after that. I designed under my own name for a couple years. I think my first show after Vancouver Fashion Week, I was still doing it under Marisa P. Clark. As my brand grew I really wanted to create more of a story behind it and take myself out of the picture a little bit. So I came out with Faun. I actually had the logo before I had the name of the brand, and I really knew I wanted to do something with it because it has a deer with flowers in its antlers. I remembered being like “Flora, or fauna, like something like that…” and just one night being like “Oh my god, I should just call it Faun!”
Have you always known you were going to go down the fashion route?
Ever since I was a kid, I used to be obsessed with clothes. Even when I was six years old, I remember laying out my outfits for the following week down to the socks, the necklace I was going to wear, the hair accessory, everything like that. So for my undergrad I studied political science economics and I didn’t really see myself working in fashion, I saw myself working for an NGO, or some sort of charity. After a couple summers doing internships and stuff like that, I started to realize that it would make more of a significant change if I created a business that held the standards that I wanted, so I kind of tried to take something that I love, fashion, and something that’s always a very destructive industry. So, I tried to find a way to incorporate sustainability and make it more eco-conscious.
How are you merging eco-consciousness into your clothing?
So, part of the collection is made with recycled yarns, some of it is eco-dyed. I took a course in Mexico just learning about different natural dyes there, so some of the collection uses handspun wool that’s naturally dyed, and then the ready-to-wear components, that will be available to purchase in the fall, are made with BCI cotton, Better Cotton Initiative, which really makes an effort to make create strong partnerships with people that grow cotton, and use more organic methods for growing it.
So, there’s a mix of ready-to-wear components that will be available in store, and then a mix of stuff that I hand-crocheted myself. Some of the pieces took probably a month straight of knitting seven hours a day.
“I was born in Calgary but my mom is from Vietnam. That was also a part of my inspiration getting started. I really saw Vietnam as a top producer of clothing in the world, so I wanted to see how we could work better with those practices and make it safer and better pay and all those things.”Marisa P. Clark
What inspired this specific collection?
Prior to the pandemic I did a lot of dresses, worked with a lot of silk, and things like that. I think we are in a new world of fashion now where people really gravitate towards comfort, and having pieces that can transition from hanging out and working at home, but also taking it to everyday. I wanted to take something that wasn’t a sweatsuit but had that comfort level, so you’re going to see a lot of pants with the stretchy waistband and looser fits. It’s kind of that idea of looking really put together but ultimately feeling really comfortable.
What’s your creative process like?
It really depends. Sometimes I am waiting for inspiration and other times it’s a really active process of looking through books, magazines, and just trying to find imagery that speaks to me. This collection, I was really inspired by this idea of taking modern art and combining it with natural elements. You’ll see kind of a sense of that motif, but it’s in a very block art style. I really wanted to make sure it was entirely wearable, so I sat down with my wholesale agent and really talked about what our buyers and our boutiques were specifically looking for, rather than creating pieces that might be a standout but you’re only going to wear once a month. So I tried to incorporate a lot of neutrals and basics into it.
What modern artists do you find yourself drawn to?
I love Matisse and I love how he does these cutouts of different figures where they’re abstract shapes, but then when it’s all put together, you can see exactly what it is. You’re like “Oh, that’s just a circle, just a shape,” but when it all comes together you’re like, “Oh, wait, that comes into the form of a woman.”
What’s the vision of the future of your brand?
I have a bunch of ideas but I think learning more about natural dyes and using handspun wool and things like that makes me really want to work on that myself, and bring more attention to the wool industry to Alberta, and across Canada as well. I want to try to find a way to make small-batch production available to other designers in Canada and make things a lot more local.
Thank you to Faun Studio’s Marisa P. Clark for your dedicated mission to maintaining sustainability and eco-consciousness within the fashion industry. We look forward to seeing more of your vibrant looks out in the world!