Vancouver is home to a thriving fashion industry made up of individuals committed to its growth and success. Get to know these personalities in The Inseam and discover what makes the Vancouver Fashion scene so awesome. Every month, The Inseam’s Eco Edition focuses on the innovators that shape the green movement in local fashion.


Photo courtesy of Edit Accessories

A recent transplant from Toronto, Joanne Maharaj Lewis started Edit Accessories in 2002 after being inspired to make products that have a limited impact on the environment. The bags, mittens and scarves are mainly made from re-purposed textiles and garments; like the gorgeous brown bag that used to be a leather bomber jacket! The cute mittens that used to be sweaters are a perfect staple for Canadian winters. Now in Vancouver, Joanne and Edit are making the push into the West Coast eco fashion market.

Jessica McIlroy: Tell me about your background in design or fashion.

Joanne Maharaj Lewis: My design skills are self-taught; which started back when I was 9 or 10 hand stitching clothes for my barbie dolls. During my teenage years I was a competitive figureskater.  A friend’s mom, who used to sew costumes, showed me how to make a simple dress, and it went from there. I would make practice costumes, and skating accessories, which eventually turned into a small business. I learn how to design items, basically by taking things apart and looking at how they are made.

JM: How did Edit get started?

JL: Edit started as a hobby when I was pregnant with my son. I stated making bags out of recycled denim that was left over from a couch that I had recovered. My friends saw them, and a little demand started. From there a friend who had a clothing shop put some into the store. Edit continued on a small scale basis for 5 years, and officially started as a business in 2008 with the idea of Edit: to Alter, Adapt or Refine

Photo courtesy of Edit Accessories

JM: How did your interest in re-using textiles and materials start?

JL: I originally started with re-purposed denim, as it was inexpensive, durable and easy to source. That parlayed into looking for other garments with interesting fabrics that I could take apart and used for making my accessories.

JM: Tell me about your products and what you offer.

JL: In 2008 we started the official Edit business as a mostly winter product-based line with our mittens made from re-purposed wool sweaters. In the last four years the mittens have had a huge demand, and have taken up most of my production time. In 2012 we added the snap wrap scarf to our F/W line-up, which was also received very well. Finally in Spring 2013, I have come full circle and gone back to making bags! I am now working with re-purposed leather jackets, as well as re-purposed denim, trench coats and vintage fabrics. We make satchel bags, and different sized zip pouches.

JM: What brought you to Vancouver?

JL: My husband’s job recently brought us to Vancouver, and I am happy to be in a new city with so many green initiatives!

Photo courtesy of Edit Accessories

JM: How are you connecting with the Vancouver fashion and craft community?

JL: We have participated in two spring markets here in Vancouver, Portabello West and Got Craft? Which were great because we were able to meet and mingle with so many other talented makers. From those shows I have made contact with a couple Vancouver makers that I am hoping to collaborate with in the future! We also have been lucky to be included in the Poppy Talk (a popular Vancouver design blog) “Here Comes the Sun” Marketplace for June/July.

JM: What does the future hold for Edit?

JL: We will be continuing our Edit Bags, and hopefully make them available all year round, perhaps changing up the designs/fabrications every season. The mittens are going into their 6th Fall/Winter Season coming up. We look forward to the fall/winter/holiday markets that will be happening here in Vancouver!

You can find Edit accessories at room 6 in North Vancouver and you can purchase items from their online shop.