Cut up that vintage tee!
by Claire Miglionico
It was the simple yet perfect find that inspired Jenna Etcheverry to create in 2009 her ready to wear women’s line Madame Wolf: a wolf- printed vintage t-shirt spotted in Lethbridge’s Value Village. “It was the first t-shirt I ever cut up,” said Etcheverry, 25, during an agreeable meet- up at Higher Ground Cafe in Kensington.
The t-shirt being decidedly “very southern Alberta” – as Etcheverry puts it – set her on the hunt for more wolf tees. Etcheverry grew up in Cochrane, AB , and in 2007, she opted for Lethbridge, AB for a two year program in fashion design and merchandising. Upon graduation, she interned in Florence, Italy for fashion house Andrea Rosati where she recalls her only main challenge being her lack of knowledge in the Italian language.
Although Etcheverry is big into traveling, she said she has developed a strong attachment to Calgary. “I always want to come back here. It really is an upcoming city with a lot of passionate people who are wanting to learn,” she said of Calgary’s growing art community. Alberta Fashion Week – now only a couple days away – will reveal Etcheverry’s spring/summer collection for Madame Wolf.
“When I was going through names [for my line], I started playing with animal names,” she explained.
Additionally, bands with animal-inspired names like indie-experimental band Grizzly Bear set the tone in finding the name representational to Etcheverry’s ideals. She eventually settled on Madame Wolf — the ultimate rendition to her edgy yet feminine creations.
“There’s the ‘madame’ and there’s the wolf in all of us,” she said, further depicting the character she had picked out for Madame Wolf. Etcheverry finds particular inspiration in looking at fashion and art blogs and through music. “Sometimes I listen to Rihanna and I want to make the hardest collection ever,” she said with a laugh.
She said subtle trends that people may be afraid to play with also influence her into manipulating these trends into something more wearable. “I also keep the female figure in mind
(because) I think it is really important to accentuate different (body) parts (like) the waist (and) shoulders. Once that is accentuated, it makes everyone’s body look good,” she said.
For her spring/summer collection, Etcheverry found inspiration in Eagles of Death Metal’s cover of Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love. She defines Madame Wolf’s style as ‘girly grunge’ and ‘soft & sexy’ but admits it changes from collection to collection. Her spring/summer collection presents a grunge comeback all while keeping its girly side alive.
“I like the balance of a very pretty and grungy girl at the same time and making it work,” she said. Etcheverry has gotten a lot of exposure for Madame Wolf through Alberta Fashion Week but said she isn’t sure she is ready for all the attention yet.
However, the attention has motivated her into mastering the business side of the fashion industry and places it as her primary goal and focus for the coming year. “People want stuff but I don’t know how to give it to them yet,” she said. For now, Etcheverry sits her racks of clothing at home but encourages people to e-mail her. In the past, she has had successful private shopping parties where she had two girlfriends bar-tend while guests shopped around.
Etcheverry said she has total control over the look and feel she wants to portray in the Alberta Fashion Week’s runway shows for Madame Wolf – a commodity she is looking forward to accomplish this year. “[The team at Alberta Fashion Week really want the best for you and encourage you to ask anyquestions.
“Everyone’s just learning and it’s nice to go up to them and be like ‘what should I do with this?’ and ‘how should I approach that?’ ” she said. Catch Madame Wolf Sept. 30 at Alberta Fashion Week.