Katherine Soucie is an award winning Vancouver, Canada based artist + designer + entrepreneur + educator specializing in the transformation of textile industry waste. She studied Fashion Design in London and Toronto before furthering her studies in Textiles and Visual Art in Vancouver.
In 2003, Soucie established a zero waste textile design company, Sans Soucie, which translates from French to “worry free” or “without a care”. This studio focuses on the development of a proprietary textile process she incubated while she was a student. Her process involves the recycling of pre-consumer hosiery mill waste (aka. pantyhose) using environmentally friendly artisanal processes. This waste is reconstructed into new cloth and made into clothing, accessories, home decor and 3D forms. This unique textile has only been made available for use under the house label and not produced anywhere else in the world.
Her experimentation with textile industry waste has resulted in an extensive body of work driven by her desire to integrate hand -raft applications with industrial processes. Thus, creating meaningful textiles that encourage the act of use and reuse where materials are made with care in respect to our environment.
Her textiles, garments, accessories and sculptures have been showcased throughout Canada, US, Japan, China and Australia. She is a recipient of the BC Creative Achievement Award, 2006 (Canada), shortlisted for the Niche Award 2007 (USA), recipient of the International Design Green Award for 2008 (USA) and shortlisted for the Sustainable Art and Design Competition 2014 (UK).
Ms. Soucie is the Program Director for Fashion at LaSalle College Vancouver. She is currently the Artist in Residence with the City of New Westminster -- Solid Waste and Recycling Program, 2018. Recently nominated for the Vancouver Fashion Week Industry Originator Award, 2018.
“I am a designer who transforms waste, utilizes obsolete clothing and textile machinery and incorporates traditional artisanal techniques to produce a Canadian cultural product that not only represents my story, but that of where we live and the society we live in.”
The basis of my design process includes the emphasis on color, texture, structure and shape.
Music, nature, history, art, archeology, ecology, urban culture, travel, architecture, Buddhism and our overall environment serve as ab infinite resource of inspiration in work, life and design practice.
The main focus at Sans Soucie is to transform waste textiles into unique textiles and by-products using artisanal textile techniques in combination with obsolete and digital technologies.
As a designer, it is important to have the ability to adapt, be curious and ready for that moment of (re)discovery. For me, I have learned to understand that my greatest breakthroughs are a result of a mistake. The moment, I am not present or focusing on the task at hand, I find myself in a position faced with some form of disruption. Over time, I have learned that this more often than not opens up new directions and pathways in my research and design practice. I see my mistakes as opportunities to connect with my creative process.
Philosophy: Zero Waste
Textiles influence and affect all aspects of our daily lives. From the clothing we design and wear to the blankets and carpets we have in our home, our society is highly dependent on functional textiles.
While studying Textile Arts at Capilano University, it became apparent to me that there was an overabundance of non-functional textiles and waste in our world that needed to be made functional. I became aware throughout my experimentation that a process of dyeing, cutting, and silk-screening regular-grade nylon hosiery resulted in a more stabilized and functional material. Not only does the material become stabilized, but it is also machine washable, more abrasion-resistant, and less likely to ruin or run.
Since developing this process, I have been producing and exhibiting one-of-a-kind and limited production hand made textiles and clothing made from hosiery mill waste obtained by mills in Canada and the US. This has since expanded into other 3D forms and sculptural installations as I look to transform the waste I produce in the studio into objects that speak to the creative possibilities that waste has to offer as a material resource. I believe my specialization in working with waste and hosiery has not only reinvented a use for this material, but it have prevents it from going to the landfill.
From the textiles I use.... to the dyes and silk-screening pigments I apply in my process, I am making a conscious effort to use products that are safe or minimally-damaging to our environment. It is important to me that we are aware of our resources, and how using them affects our environment. All water, dye, inks and textile scraps are used, reused and fully exhausted in-house where it is possible to operate from an open loop system.
My design philosophy and company name, Sans Soucie, which translated from French means ‘without a care’, truly represents who I am as an artist and designer. The textiles, clothing and sculptural forms I create are built in response to my need to address cultural identity in relation to the identity of the cloth and materials I work with. I design by intuition and strive to maintain a presence where I can operate from a space of reciprocity.
The education I have received in clothing, textiles and visual art enables me to be question yet be self reflexive about what it means to work from a zero waste philosophy.