Ask the creators behind Maison Cyma when they launched their fashion brand and they can humorously say when they were 10 years old.
Like many little girls, long time friends Cynthia Girard and Mary-Jo Dorval played dress up together and organized pretend runway shows when they were growing up. They showcased clothes they made with old materials for a fashion company they baptized at the time, Cyma Designs.
“When we were younger, I don’t think we realized this was such a big passion,” Mary-Jo explains. “It’s only a number of years later that we realized this was a passion we could actually transform into our life’s work.”
Over a decade later, armed with degrees in both fashion design and fashion business, the twosome ‘officially’ launched Maison Cyma on the big stage at New York Fashion Week in the fall of 2015.
I chatted with the duo to learn more about their brand philosophy and eco-conscious line of womenswear and accessories.
What is Maison Cyma’s brand philosophy?
Cynthia: Ecology and sustainability is at the heart of the brand’s mission. Throughout the creation process, we try to have as much respect as possible for animals and the environment. We only work with recycled furs and we use fish leather as opposed to cow leather which is much more eco-friendly. We want to educate customers on where our materials come from. Also, in terms of ethics, we create all our products by hand here in Montreal. So really our entire company process is based on positive industry change.
Why did you launch a company based on ethical values?
Mary-Jo: We are surrounded by over consumption. We are very conscience of our environment and what is happening in our society and we really noticed that there was a gap in the market for a company with such values. We wanted to do better and do what we can to contribute to the well being of the planet and our society in general.
Cynthia: Our company is also a platform to educate people and create an impact on a larger scale.
Where do you find your materials?
Cynthia: The fish skin comes from the fishing industry, and not the overfishing industry, just to be clear. When the fish skin is removed by the fishermen, instead of it being thrown back into the water which is actually bad for the environment because it takes so long to disintegrate, the skin is sent to a company to get turned into leather. The fish skin is tanned just like regular leather, but with products that are much less harmful for the environment.
What was the inspiration behind your latest accessories collection?
Cynthia: We often have our client in mind when we are designing. In fact, we have many types of clients in mind such as the trendy woman, the businesswomen, and basically a dynamic woman who wants to have an ethical accessory to complete her outfit.
What is your most popular item at the moment?