Our Rebellious Story
Rebellious Clove started as an experiment. I wanted to see if I could make upcycled leather clutches from garments that had been given to me. People tend to give me a lot of stuff, sewing supplies, old clothes, label makers, scissors, books, magazines etc. And I was tired of never using them.
Before we really get into it let me tell you more about myself. Hi. My name is Danielle McAllister. I was born and raised in the Kingston, Ontario area and I am the owner/designer/do everything person behind Rebellious Clove. I learned to sew from my grandmother when I was about five years old and haven't really stopped since then. She taught me how to recycle and upcycle clothing WAY before it was a trendy thing to do. We would go shopping at the neighbourhood sharing centre and buy bags of clothes for a dollar, then spend the day cutting them up and making new stuff. My grandmother was a huge influence on me growing up and it was partly because of her that I decided to go to fashion school in Toronto.
In school I spent my off time volunteering at the now defunct Toronto Fashion Week and meeting all kinds of different designers. I worked backstage as a dresser for the models. I basically jammed people into complex outfits without messing up their hair and make-up in under a minute. It is not glamorous at all. But I did meet lots of interesting people including dressing a well known Canadian TV personality for a runway show. What I did notice from all my time backstage is that all of the models looked pretty much the same. Same size, same height and same overall look. And I was not OK with that.
From then on it was pretty much my mission to be different in the fashion industry. I started making plus size clothing to sell and for myself. I made jewelry that was fun, quirky and unusual. I started to talk about being plus sized and fashion online through my YouTube channel and overall I just want an inclusive fashion industry. This is where I really turned into a rebel.
Now I still do all of that but I have added a bit of eco fashion back into the mix. It all started with making some zippered clutches for my friend's eco fashion line. From there I started developing my leather sewing skills and figuring out how to sew on my regular machine. Each piece I make is completely unique as it is cut from a different garment each time. Every garment has its own character and story so I try whenever I can to keep the wear and stitch lines visible. As well most of the pieces are unlined so you can see the life it led before hand.
When I am creating a new bag or accessory I sit down and contemplate what I think should come out of that garment. I plan where I can fit in the sections I need but still get interesting stitch lines. I also work hard to minimize waste, so when I have small scraps I make jewelry and for larger scraps I give them to other makers who can use them.
I am on a lookout constantly for inspiration on what to make next!