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Taking Something Old and Making It New: Meet Trista The Woman Making Fashion More Sustainable

Trista Smith packed in her job as a nurse and started working in the fashion industry, aiming to make it better and more sustainable by using only reclaimed materials

  • Wedding dresses
  • Lace
  • Canada

Trista Smith is a designer and dressmaker from Vancouver Island, Canada  Six years ago she packed in her job as a nurse and started working in the fashion industry. But there is something about Trista that sets her aside from the rest, Trista’s fashion is sustainable; all of her fabrics are reclaimed and reworked into something more 2018…

Hi Trista, it’s lovely to speak to you. At Zankyou we are so impressed by what you do. Can you tell us a little bit about where it all started?


Yes, of course. I live on the picturesque and captivating Vancouver Island where I live with my family. I enjoy writing, reading and creating so starting this company back in 2011 was something that gave me so much joy. It was only last year that I decided to go full time into women’s fashion, and now I sell my garments online. Creating is something that feeds my soul in a way that is so pure and simple; when I’m creating a dress I am absolutely blissed out, so it’s more than what I do for a living. It’s who I am.

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Trista and Her Daughters. Photo: Myrtle and Moss Photography

Amazing – it’s so refreshing to hear someone be so passionate about their work. How has it been since it started, what’s the process like?

The process is very simple. I design and construct each piece myself in my little studio in Sooke BC, and I source most of my fabrics through world vintage dealers and suppliers. Sometimes I find pieces at estate sales, auctions, salvage houses or thrift shops. I’ve always used reclaimed fabrics.

Yes, that’s something that really makes you stand out in today’s world. What inspired you to exclusively use reclaimed materials, and which ones in particular do you work with?

Well, all of my pieces are sustainable. I love all fabrics, but I use mainly vintage and antique lace. In particular I love working with vintage table clothes. I just finished three very silky slinky velour dresses for a fashion event and the slippery texture was quite challenging but the end result is just heavenly.

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Photo: Blush Photography
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Photo: Myrtle and Moss Photography

And how would you describe your style?

My style is very boho romantic. It’s elegant, timeless and comfortable, which I realise is important, especially for brides!

Lovely, yes it’s super important if you’re going to wearing the piece for hours and hours! So, you’ve achieved so much already with your designs… what’s been your biggest achievement so far and where do you see your company in the future?

I recently showcased in Vancouver Fashion Week and that was an incredible milestone for me. My vision for the future looks a lot like what I’m doing today. Collaborating with incredible artists and teams, making beautiful art and sharing my fashion perspective with anyone who is interested. Creating whatever feels good in the moment and building beautiful relationships with my clients. I’ll continue to cherish my talent and hone my skills growing as an artist and manifesting great things for 2018.

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Trista at Vancouver Fashion Week
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Photo: Kate Whyte Photography

That sounds amazing. Can you let our brides know where they can get hold of one of your garments?

I sell a lot of my designs on my Etsy store. But I am also working with a lovely bridal store in Victoria BC to develop a trunk show, so keep your eyes open for that!

Wonderful. Thanks so much for talking to us Trista, we’ve enjoyed learning about how sustainable materials are the way forward in the fashion world!

Trista’s innovative and, most of all, inspiring dresses have been worn by some of the most beautiful boho brides… Head over to her Instagram and Facebook to see more of what she has created. And for more inspiration for bridal wear, make sure to check out some of the most recent collections for 2018 brides:

Gemy Maalouf’s 2018 Wedding Dresses: Haute Couture For Your Special Day

Top 50 Unique Hairstyles For Any 2018 Bride


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