The concept of conceiving a career in sustainable fashion came to Braden Quinn when he dropped out of his engineering program at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
“I [told myself] ‘I don’t give a shit about any of this,’” says the now Tiohti:áke/Montreal-based designer. “I was interested in style and fashion and using clothing as a way to express myself.”
The creative expression of what would soon be his eco-friendly brand, dubbed TAPES, would soon come to life. What began through borrowing his mother’s friend’s sewing machine, is now a sustainable collective that brings clothing to life through the inspiration of nature and its way of being.
Elements of the natural world are constantly present in the designer’s output; with imprints of plants, subtle colour schemes that replicate the aura of naturality and in some cases, the clothes themselves feel as though they are breathing and growing. Organic in other words.
The name itself was born through the feeling of ‘vintage’ and a sense of ‘past-ness’, cassette tapes, something recycled yet can be brought back to life. In July 2021, Quinn moved to Montreal from Vancouver. TAPES and its relationship with sustainability have continued to be his passion ever since.
“Right now, my mind is [asking] how do we build a cultural movement in art that can actually make a positive impact on the world,” says Quinn. “This new idea, it’s called Emergencia.”
Emergencia, delves into the emergency that we face in the world, whether that be political or climate. “If you look at the etymology of the word, emergency, what it means is to arise or to bring them to light; that has a very positive feeling to me,” says Quinn.
“Essentially into our full selves, [it] has this feeling of blooming arising to the light.”
This concept plans to work alongside artists and brands that mimic the diversity that exists within nature. Currently, Quinn is working on a collection of pants, a capsule collection alongside friends that add to the Emergencia experiment. “It’s really about building community because that’s where we’re social creatures.”
TAPES aesthetic is somewhat influenced by the hippie movement of the 60s and early 70s, which can be seen through organic use of dye, and its ability to replicate nature’s messy allure. Quinn plans to emulate in their Emergencia collection. “It’s taking lessons, learnings and inspirations from the past, using that as a vehicle to create a better deal because you can always learn from the past.”
For Quinn, to exist in a space that is constantly growing in regards to upcoming brands, standing out means being aware of the production process, staying ethical and putting your creative expression on a pedestal.
“If you’re making clothes just have a message for people and have that be able to be expressed through the clothes,” says Quinn. “Have an idea that you’re passionate about, and go with it.”
“Be the fullest version of yourself.”
Rhea is Editorial Intern at liminul. She’s a Toronto-based writer with a background in queer subculture, finishing her final year at X University.