Melissa Ferreira

Adhesif Clothing is welcoming summer with its Kickback Kimono, Petal Blouse, Meadow Dress and Canopy Tank. These easy-layer creations are designed to take Vancouverites from the beach – sun willing – to dinner. “Something I’ve come to understand about the West Coast,” says founder and designer Melissa Ferreira, “is that fashion needs to be functional for this demographic, typically due to an outdoorsy, relaxed lifestyle.”

Ferreira’s entire Spring-Summer 2016 collection, like all those she has designed since 2003, incorporates reclaimed and vintage textiles. ‘Handmade’ and ‘upcycled’ are key values behind Adhesif. This year, Ferreira’s designs include vintage scarves, floral printed stretch lace and 1970’s floral prints. “I source all the vintage textiles myself,” says Ferreira, “launder them and deconstruct them before using the reclaimed textiles towards the creation of our garments.”Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.03.28 PMWildberry Dress

“Every single one of our patterns and garments are created, cut and composed by hand. After 12 years, they are sewn by me and one other amazing woman: my mother. She worked in garment factors in Montreal for decades. I have yet to meet another seamstress/dressmaker who sews as skillfully and professionally as she does. “

Ferreira has long been a vintage clothes fan. “I have always liked statement fashion and contrast colours, so I get an endless amount of inspiration when I see fashions from the past. It was so well-made and expressive.”

Melissa is self-taught – like Vivienne Westwood, a designer she admires. “I started off designing by taking apart vintage garments to see how they were put together.” A young Ferreira and her mother were in and out of secondhand shops and Melissa would experiment with reworking finely constructed vintage pieces.

After high school, Ferreira got a job as a vintage clothing buyer for True Value Vintage. “On my first day of training, they told me I had a good eye and trained me for several years on how to decipher the decades, from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. That, in a nutshell, was my fashion school.”

Kickback KimonoScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.19.07 PM

Now, Adhesif has a popular Etsy shop and a boutique on Main and 6th featuring Ferreira’s work and that of other local artists. “We are proud to say that all of our offerings are made in Canada and the majority of the pieces are sustainable.”

Being in Vancouver further encourages Ferreira “to keep the production of my clothing label a zero waste process as well as up to 95% up-cycled.” She was the closing designer for the 2012 Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver. “I came up with 30 up-cycled looks for this show made entirely from vibrant colours and eclectic vintage prints.”

EFW Media Wall FW13

As her reputation has developed, Ferreira has been lured into other exciting adventures. “Most recently, I was given the opportunity to work with Microsoft as a designer of up-cycled designs for two lead characters in a TBA video game coming out later in 2016. It was such a fun experience to see some of my design ideas implemented into their main characters.”

Despite our city’s “rubber boots and sweatpants” reputation, Ferreira is delighted to be working in Vancouver. “As an ecological designer, I am always inspired by the glorious and abundant amount of nature there is here to be in awe of.” It’s important to her that every handmade garment in the Adhesif collection has “a heartbeat and a story to tell.” For Ferreira, this is “a true labour of love, from start to finish.”

Written by Elizabeth Newton



* Adhesif Photography by Patryk Widejko Photography




Evening, Kits Beach


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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton