One of the infamous “Cats” of Tight Club, Cath Lebrun (the h is silent) has been coming to classes for the past three years. She's the type of person who when you meet them, instantly wins you over with her friendly smile, charming French accent and insane sense of style.
Every outfit has us like, “Where did you get that jacket/bag/shirt/bottom?” When we found out she designed and made each piece herself, we became even more smitten. They're more than just clothes, her pieces are thoughtful, functional, and beautiful. Given the chance, we would raid her closet in a second!
Tell us a little bit about your career. We know you are a designer for Lululemon, but what team are you on and how long have you worked for the company?
I have been with Lululemon for 4 years this October! I design outerwear for women. That's how I met Keighty, she used to be a fit model at Lulu.
Where did you work before Lululemon?
I worked in Montréal for a ski brand, Orage. It was my first job out of university and I was so green. I had no idea what the industry was about but my team was awesome and I learned so much.
I moved to Vancouver for a design job at Lulu, I came here for an interview and that was it! I moved a few weeks after. I started as a graphic designer for textile and after a little over a year I started doing both graphic design and outerwear; it quickly became a full time role.
Is it true that you made all your own clothes for a whole year? What inspired you to do that?
Yes! When I explain it now it does sound a bit cray, but back then it made so much sense! It kinda began the first year I moved to Vancouver, I started a project called twelve jackets. The goal was to make one jacket a month for a full year.
Because it was raining so much in Vancouver, I thought it would be easier if I had a bunch of nice jackets to wear. Also I had just left all my people in Montréal and Québec City so I did not know what to so with my time! I was taking pictures of the jackets every month and put everything on tumblr and sending the link to my friends and fam every month. It was kind of a way to keep in touch.
After a year it was all done. I had twelve jackets and I was stoked. But everybody was like: what's your next project, what are you going to do? That's when I decided to make all my clothes for a year, which became not butt naked. I didn’t buy any clothes for all of 2013, I made everything.
Jackets but also tees, crewnecks, pants, dresses; everything I wanted to wear. By the end of the year I had a bunch of clothes but my jeans all had so many holes in them, that's the one thing I couldn't figure out - making a pair of jeans! So I bought new jeans but kept on making most of my clothes and I still do.
I take pictures of my favourite things from time to time and add them to the tumblr. It's still a way to stay connected with home – I send my grandma the link every time I update it.
Do you have a favourite piece or one you're particularly proud of?
I think it's my first seam sealed jacket. To seam seal a jacket you have to tape every seam after it's sewn, it prevents the water from linking through. Usually it's done with a bonding machine but really all you need is heat so you can do it with a basic iron. A few hours and burnt fingers later I had a waterproof jacket and I stayed dry in the rain.
When did you learn to sew?
My mother and grandmother showed me how to sew when I was a kid. My mom always made Halloween costumes for my brothers and I; I loved watching her sew. I was obsessed with the fabric store – picking fabrics and trims. She showed me how to read a pattern, how to use her old Singer sewing machine and how to do things the right way, step by step, how to be meticulous.
Whereas my grandma showed me how to go wild! How to bend the rules a little to transform an idea into a real thing. She can make anything – no need for a pattern or a plan, just fabric, scissors and an idea.
Do you have a favourite part of your process? What's the hardest part about making your own garments?
I love sketching and I still love going to the fabric store. The hardest part is definitely seeing a project until the end. Lining, pockets bags, inner finishing, the things you don't really see but that still matter. Sometimes I think if I knew how many hours I would spend on a piece I would never start it!
Whenever I wear a new piece, a lot a people ask how long it took, and I always make it up! I don't know, I lose track. I don't like counting the hours, I just work on it and at some point it's done.
Any pieces you've made that didn't turn out the way you wanted or expected?
Yes, often! when I start rushing to finish something is usually when it goes wrong. Time is of the essence!
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
Tricky questions, I feel like the answer is a bit deceiving; it's everywhere and everything. People, magazine, traveling, shopping, the internet... it's like everything I look at piles up in a corner of my brain and then pop! There's an idea.
Most recent splurge?
My new Jensen Acne boot$.
Describe your colour palette
Black on black on black - sometimes I go wild and wear white or navy.
What do you look in clothes when working out?
Good workout clothes are crucial: bad workout clothes = bad workout for sure! My ultimate pet peeve is when my tights run down, that's the worst! I sweat a bunch, so I prefer wicking fabrics so I don't feel too wet. I like tight bottoms and looser top. I like when I can tuck my top in my tights so when Keighty makes me do burpees I don't flash everybody.
Are you working on anything right now?
Always! I am working on a waterproof kimono-esque jacket and a new puffy vest for winter and I am knitting a sweater. I always like to have a few projects going at the same time.
Can you tell us about your Coeur de Loup leather jacket?
I wanted to make a new leather jacket for fall. I picked a hide from Lonsdale Leather here in Vancouver. Coeur de loup is a 90s french song. It's about love and lust - this guy, the singer, is madly in love with this girl but he can't settle down with her. He says, "Being in love is like being a kamikaze, like a legionnaire who likes adventure and wishes to travel but wants to do so without commitment."
Very french...! I strongly recommend listening to it although I am not responsible if it gets stuck in your head... forever! I always loved these lyrics: Coeur de loup, it means heart of the wolf, it means fierce and free!
Images by Valerie Legere.
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