It has been more than four years since Toronto-based Label Verseau launched its first collection. Then, a fledgling hobby of founder Josephine Kent’s, the first offering from the designer’s brand was “quintessential ‘Verseau’” as she puts it. “I never thought sexy was taboo,” remarks Josephine about her first output as a designer. Named “The Denim Collection”, skirts and bralettes formed the bulk of the line, created using repurposed salvaged denim materials; the idea was simple: sexy, fashion-forward, wearable clothing.
Now, on the heels of the brand’s latest release, and with a focus on the designer’s indigenous roots, Verseau hasn’t strayed far from the designer’s initial vision. The latest collection, entitled ‘belladonna’ is equal parts femininity and sex appeal, all decolletage, straps, and loud hues, it reveals the two dichotomous sides of the designer’s aesthetic world.
“Verseau is really about combining those two sides of myself and finding ways to make womxn feel sexy while still feeling coy and chic.” Kent feels strongly, too, about the brand’s indigenous roots. “Verseau is an indigenous-owned and designed brand. We try to keep that front and center, whether it’s through representation in our campaigns, or using proceeds to donate to the Native Women’s Resource Center of Toronto.” Most importantly, she remarks, “it’s about a cultural resurgence of indigenous creatives.”
“It feels better when I’m making the clothing myself” she opines. As a small brand with a focus on handmade custom pieces, Kent believes the cultural push toward slow, sustainable fashion is what has propelled her brand’s success. “I have people reaching out to me saying they don’t want to support these fast fashion brands, and, I think at the end of the day it’s about building that rapport, and that sense of community.” Within that slow fashion process, she feels is inherently an indigenous perspective toward making. “I source all my fabric from Canada, it’s all handmade, and there is zero waste.”
Where the brand thrives? The intersection between this sentiment, and her own personal creative inspirations. “I think you have to trust your own taste as a designer, or else what is the point? Whatever it is: femininity, elegance, sophistication sexiness. I want to make women feel how I feel in the clothing that I make.”
“With this latest collection, I really wanted to push the boundaries. How can I make one-of-a-kind pieces that are handmade, unique, and that push the envelope of what is being designed in Canada?” Kent feels, she hit the mark. “The response has been amazing, and with the support of the Indigenous Fashion Support program at Ryerson University, I have been able to really elevate my brand this year.”
What’s on the horizon for the brand in the second half of 2021? “I’m putting out a few select pieces throughout the summer. The bouquet handkerchief top, new bikinis, I’m conceptualizing Fall/Winter 2021. It’s the 5 year anniversary of Verseau this Summer so I’ll be putting out something special, but you’ll have to stay tuned.”
You can find Verseau on Instagram here.
Cody is the Editor in Chief and senior contributor at liminul.
He is a photography aficionado, fashion enthusiast, avid Lana Del Rey fan, and lover of all things aesthetically pleasing.