The Thrifty Designer is boutique on King Street East in Hamilton, Ontario owned by Leslie Smith-Aragona! Inside you’ll find upcycled fashion and some of Leslie’s exclusive designs.
What is The Thrifty Designer?
The Thrifty Designer IS used clothing and upcycled previous unforgotten fabrics. The Thrifty Designer IS upcycled fashion.
How did The Thrifty Designer come to be?
I had a 35 year career in fashion as a product developer and buyer. A portion of my fashion career was with Marilyn Brooks. I got my start with her. At 52 years old I found myself unemployed after a dedicated career and had to reinvent myself. I bought the store and re-opened under my own brand.
Why did you start The Thrifty Designer?
I started The Thrifty Designer for my love of thrifting and wanting to stay local. The store evolved. We were originally a studio, just disciplined. It kind of just happened that we became a place to come everyday and shop local, thrifted and upcycled finds.
What is your favourite piece you’ve designed?
Definitely kimonos out of burnout velvet scarves and my Supercrawl 2018 Collection.
Why is upcycling important to you?
After years of growing up in fashion it’s important for the future. We must buy quality over quantity. Customers need to trust the quality of an item. Quality is the most important thing and clothing today is not made the way it used to be. I love fabric and the growth of my own designs. Pairing the two together to create high quality sustainable clothing is what The Thrifty Designer thrives on. Repair also needs to be added the the 3 R’s. Investing in our clothes and caring for them and their quality help the slow fashion movement.
Do you think upcycling will continue to be an alternative for fast fashion in the future?
Yes, I really do. It has to be. People are becoming more aware. The younger generation demands quality. Slow fashion has a new place now and the quality is appreciated. There is a chance at having a slow fashion takeover with the younger generation putting and emphasize on quality and accepting it into their daily lives.
Are you excited about the growth of Hamilton fashion and how do you want to grow with it?
Absolutely! The city has put so much into food, the arts and film, fashion seems like the right to follow!
Other ways the Thrifty Designer supports the community:
- Supports the Eva Rothwell Centre
- 541 (on Barton) Button Program
- Donates Kimonos for charity auctions
- Every fixture in the store is sustainable, mostly secondhand