Shop YYC: Studio Intent

Studio Intent is an intimate, brightly lit retail space on the bustling Stephen Ave in Calgary, AB. It is owned and operated by Chantal, a lady with class, confidence and a passion for celebrating Canadian designers. The store is home to 100% Canadian designed and made clothing. My New Neighbour was incredibly intrigued to learn of the intention and heart behind Studio Intent so we arranged to spend some time getting to know Chantal.

A little about Chantal’s background...

As Chantal gained success in her finance career, she was able to invest more into clothing. However, over time she felt dissatisfied and empty with her purchases, wondering more and more about where her clothes were coming from. She decided that if clothing is a form of personal expression, it is important to be mindful and connected to the makers behind that expression. She is committed to buying Canadian made clothing and decided she would get personally involved with making this accessible to Calgarians.  

What Studio Intent is all about...

Studio Intent is about dressing with intention; connecting the consumer with the creator, creating sustainable funding for local designers and support for ethical producers and maintaining high environmental and labour standards. The space is intimate and personal. It offers the customer a chance to work one on one with the friendly and knowledgeable staff to purchase the perfect pieces for each season.

Success at Studio Intent is…

The pieces coming out of the big chains are ‘fast fashion’ and disposable because they want you to come back week after week. In fact, these clothes fall apart so easily they are often not even suitable to donate when the consumer is finished with them. Success at Studio Intent is helping customers reconnect with their clothing and build a sustainable wardrobe that lasts through trends and different seasons; keeping customers coming back season after season for quality pieces. Success is also helping designers grow their brand and aiding in the building of community between designer and consumer.

The dream for Studio Intent…

The dream is to introduce customers to how accessible sustainable clothing is and to get them excited about their purchase. Studio Intent wants to help customers see what their money is supporting while purchasing beautiful clothing that lasts.

Challenges to shopping ethically…

Accessing ethical brands locally and finding and getting answers to questions about brands can be challenging. In regards to the boutique, the challenge is to be as pure as possible in what is brought in. For example, prints and colours can be toxic and Chantal will not compromise the sustainable ethics of the store for the sake of a nice print.

What it’s like to be a first time customer at Studio Intent…

The boutique focuses on one on one service to encourage a unique experience of finding clothes that fit the individual’s style and figure, perfectly. It also allows a one on one conversation about the designers, fabrics and style of each line. The direct relationship the store has with the designer is conveyed to new customers, helping them understand where their money goes and how they can directly impact what clothes should be made by providing feedback about the pieces and collections the designers offer.

Advice for someone just starting to shop ethically…

  • Start small - pick a few things to buy ethically. Made in China doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad, but research the company and see what their values are. Start a conversation with the company – email them, do they care? Are they transparent or do you have to dig? As consumers ask more and more questions there will eventually be a global standard. People vote with how they spend their money.
  • Think about what you need in your closet – is there an ethical option? Find a local boutique or brand that you can ask some questions and start with one or two garments.
  • Reconnect - find out where your clothing is coming from. Remove yourself from global empty consumerism and focus on spending your dollars locally.

Chantal admires…

Nicole Bridger, Eileen Fisher, Stephanie Jackman from Reap Calgary and the annual event Sustainable Style YYC.

Chantal’s personal style…

Comfortable and minimalist with an appreciation for clothes that have interesting fabric, texture and shape.

The best part of Chantal’s job…

It doesn’t feel like a job! Chantal gets to put her energy towards creativity and style while connecting with customers who are interested in or share this same passion.

Brands that Chantal is especially excited about at Studio Intent…

  • Nicole Bridger – great fabrics, non-toxic dyes, silk is machine washable (feels great and easy to care for), tailored but very comfortable, accommodates different body shapes.
  • Erdaine – seamless sweaters, fabric is great and warm, summer and winter pieces.
  • Yoga Jeans – good price, good denim, cut for a women’s shape, so comfortable you could do yoga in them!
  • Bano eeMee – leather jackets made in Calgary/Pakistan with non-toxic vegetable tanning that is not chromium based (unhealthy for local water systems).

3 things Chantal can’t live without…

Yoga, comfortable but stylish shoes (her favourite are Fluevog), and wide-open spaces.

Calgary is wonderful because…

Chantal has noticed that people living in Calgary come from all over the world and are specifically seeking something ‘new’. There are lots of exciting niches to be filled in the city and lots of wide open spaces to explore outdoors.

You can find Chantal eating at…

Big fish on Edmonton Trail, LDV Pizza Bar in Bridgeland, Heaven Aritsan on 17th Ave.

You can learn more about Chantal and Studio Intent on their Facebook page, website, or we encourage you to drop by the store and chat with Chantal in person (she is incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and fun to shop with)!