Trends may come and go, but good, classic pieces can go the distance.
That's the philosophy behind Montreal-based footwear brand, Cartel. Helmed by PEI-native Davis Guay, the company is making waves in the Canadian fashion industry for its stylish, high-quality and well-crafted footwear.
Rather than looking to trends, Guay, who says he grew up in a "non-traditional environment with hippie parents," would rather defy the fast fashion movement and offer shoes and boots that can be lived in for years.
An image from Cartel's spring/summer 2016 lookbook.
"I think a big part of what motivates the fast fashion customer is that extreme want of what's new," Guay tells HuffPost Canada Style in a phone interview. "It's a huge segment of our society is almost victimized by this push socially and corporately to really make you feel like you want so much and you need so much and we're not really playing that game.
"We're trying to make something that lasts, something that is timeless."
Cartel Footwear founder and designer, Davis Guay.
The classic aspect of the design is evident in Cartel's designs, though each piece has a few special touches to give it that Cartel edge: think Chelsea boots in lizard-embossed suede and leather booties with a distinctive slant. Each pair is designed in the Montreal neighbourhood of St-Henri where Guay resides, and is manufactured in Mexico.
This season, Cartel is introducing shoes and sandals to the line, which debuted with boots.
"I'm designing shoes that I would want to wear if I was a woman," Guay says of his pieces. "A lot of my inspiration is drawn from everyday life, what you see on the streets, in the airport, at a concert, you take it all in — everybody does it at a certain level."
But does a brand like Cartel have a chance in surviving an environment where fast fashion is so popular? Guay thinks so.
"There's a certain human element to buying from a brand like Cartel. I think it's communicated through the product and through the branding and you have a more personal relationship with the product," he says.
And Guay plans to slowly grow the business, which launched in late 2015, in a "very natural, organic way."
"I have no interest in forcing the product to the consumer or maybe bending the philosophies of the brand to reach a larger customer base or more buzz," he says. "I think we've got a pretty solid project here and we've got a pretty strong philosophy and as long as we stay to its core, the brand is going to grow itself."
Cartel's spring/summer 2016 is available for sale at cartelfootwear.com, with sandals being released on April 15th.
You can check out the full spring/summer 2016 lookbook and collection below: