Published in Plaid Magazine Online, January 2012
Photos by EK Park, Pasada Media
Melanie Ferrara, designer of the womenswear label, Device Design Co., believes that “fashion isn’t as mysterious as many companies would like us to believe, and its success is not in beauty alone.” That’s why she creates designs suited for a practical lifestyle and keeps versatility, quality, and environmental impact in mind (and not just the attractive aesthetic that manifests in her designs).
“I design for women who know what they like and have their own sense of style and beauty,” Ferrara explains. “She is a woman who seeks designs that fit her life and not vice versa. She admires fashion and takes pride in her appearance but is also critical with discerning taste.”
Like Ferrara’s own personal style, her designs are understated, classic and always feminine. They appeal to the many incarnations of the modern woman, suiting her different roles while still allowing her to express her individuality. She creates comfortable, pragmatic designs geared towards her sophisticated customers.
Her Spring/Summer 2012 collection was inspired by this woman, who Ferrara describes as “conscious, effortless, and always beautiful” and exudes “grace, confidence, and femininity.”
Ferrara is an advocate of sustainable fashion and a member of Fashion Takes Action, an initiative that strives to make fashion more socially and environmentally friendly by working with both designers and consumers.
“I was attracted to FTA because I am both personally and professionally interested in finding alternatives to products and practices that are environmentally and socially harmful,” she says. “The fashion industry in particular continues to have a negative impact – pesticides to grow cotton, toxic dyes, and overseas factories with poor working conditions and compensation. Fashion consumers unintentionally exacerbate this by laundering and disposing of these items – the sulphates, phosphates, dyes and perfumes in fabrics and detergents are just as detrimental to our lakes, rivers, landfills and lives.” In her own work, Ferrara uses fabrications like wool, organic cotton, hemp and bamboo instead of synthetics and produces her pieces in Toronto instead of overseas.
As a child, Ferrara began to sew on her grandmother’s sewing machine while her fledgling interest in fashion design developed, but she reveals she wasn’t always comfortable in her designs. “As a teenager, people would stop me to ask where I bought my outfit, and I could never admit to being the designer!” Ferarra remembers. “I suppose I finally got over my shyness.” That she did. She went on to graduate from Ryerson University’s Fashion Design program and began her line in 2008.
“Fashion in another mode of self-expression, another avenue of discovery, another apparatus in your arsenal,” Ferrara says of the philosophy behind her collections. “That is where the name Device came from – the idea that clothing can somehow become an avenue through which the wearer achieves her goals.” Make it your goal to find out more about Device Design Co. and its eco-friendly designs.