Renter defies renoviction
> BY KATE WILSON
“I Ilived in an apartment building for eight-and-a-half years. It was sold. When everyone else chose to leave the complex, I stayed. Maybe it was the wrong decision, but I wasn’t ready to leave my home—and I wanted to see what would happen if they didn’t follow the law.
“The new owners notified everyone that they wanted to start working on the building in four to eight months’ time. They told us that they would need to evict us all and that they had started the process of getting permits from the city.
“They gave us a lot of information about Vancouver’s tenant-relocation policy. It specifies a number of things, including their right to help you find a new place and the financial compensation that we’d be entitled to. It also provides an allowance for moving expenses and gives us the right of first refusal of a room in the new apartment block with a 20-percent discount. It’s a pretty good plan—but I noticed that in the document they gave us initially, not all the details were correct.
“Around November, the company gave everyone a form to mutually agree to end their tenancies. They also offered all the renters a $250 signing bonus. At that time, I knew that the new owners didn’t have the permits to begin the renovations. I decided not to agree to end my lease because I wasn’t ready to move, and a city official confirmed that I wasn’t obligated to sign. As I understood it, my lease with the building manager—and our commitments to each other—would continue.
“Everyone else in the building signed and left. Maybe they didn’t understand
As the environmental costs of the textile industry increasingly come to light—think about the thousands and thousands of garments that are produced by retailers such as Forever 21, H&M, and Aritzia on the daily—more and more people are reverting to the way of life of their grandparents, preferring to fill their closets with locally made, handcrafted garments.
But you don’t need to break out the needle and thread to build a wardrobe that stands the test of both trends and time. Here in Vancouver, there is a wealth of talented designers, metalsmiths, and shoemakers who are crafting ethically and sustainably minded apparel, jewellery, and accessories that will make you actually feel good about shopping.
Below, we highlight a handful of our favourites, all of whom will be appearing at Vancouver’s upcoming Fall For Local pop-up market or the inaugural First Pick Handmade fair.
HARLY JAE Those who fancy their wardrobe staples with a little vintage flair will find much to love in Harly
“I go to thrift stores all the time and I would see all these other clothes that didn’t fit me but were really awesome,” explains Barr. “So I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I could do something to these and sell them.’ ”
Recently, Barr began constructing her own pared-down denim pieces and fashioning her one-off, handstamped fabrics—often decorated with large geometric shapes—into easy-to-wear jackets and tops. A woman of many trades, the designer is an experienced metalsmith, too, and specializes in sculptural gold, sterling-silver, and copper jewellery that boasts a marred texture suggestive of years of wear.
“They look like art pieces almost,” says Barr. “They’re raw and rough but very wearable still.” These, along with Barr’s vintage reworks and a new line of bright enamel jewellery, will be on deck at First Pick Handmade.
ANDERSON’S BOOTS Kevin Milne is what you would describe as handy. The Toronto native has built motorcycle engines, brewed his own beer, distilled whisky, and even assembled guitar amplifiers with little help, so when he decided to transition from leather to vegan boots for ethical reasons, his next step came naturally.
“There are vegan boots, but they
tend to be made in larger factories and not necessarily made to last or to be resold,” Milne explains by phone. “So I decided to take it upon myself to make them.”
For a little over a year now, the designer has been crafting rugged, cruelty-free, and ready-to-wear men’s boots that work equally well at work and outdoors. The shoes, which use traditional English and North American production methods, are made of Ecolorica, a lightweight vegan substitute for leather that’s manufactured in Italy.
At First Pick Handmade, Milne will have samples of six-inch and eightinch lace-up boots, which are handmade upon order, as well as a selection of selvedge men’s Japanese denim that the designer recently began experimenting with. As for the name Anderson, it’s a way to carry on the maiden name of Milne’s mother. “I have all brothers and we’re all Milnes, and I thought it was kind of silly to have that name die off,” he says.