Ecofriendly Fashion with Shefelt, Vancouver Designer

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shefelt_front_dress Photo by Ramses Radi

“I was always good at Math and Art at the same time”, says Vancouver-based sustainable fashion designer Shefelt, who happens to also have a Master’s Degree in Engineering. With a talented rug weaver for a grandfather, she’s deeply influenced by the handmade rug-making tradition of her Persian roots. Beyond crafting one-of-a-kind environmentally friendly clothing, she also seeks to defy Western misconceptions of fashion in Iran. “It always sounds like people think Persian women are wearing veils all the time.That is not true at all! In my opinion Persian women are among the best dressed women in the world.”

Shefelt Eco Fashion – Textile Art: Felting Wool

Wool isn’t always a sought-after fabric choice, but Shefelt argues that it’s all in how the wool is spun, utilized and processed, “most people don’t realize that very fine and soft dresses can be created out of wool”. In Shefelt’s case, it’s all about wool felting: “Felt is defined as a non-woven cloth that has been pressed or matted together with out any internal structure. Feltmaking is an ancient process that involves pressing fibres together. Wet feltmaking (which I use) involves agitation of wool on a mat. I think my engineer side is coming out.”

So what exactly does Shefelt’s organic, handmade apparel look like? Let us show you …

Fashion Story – Felting Under Water

“I like to go back to the source and think about why I am creating the design and where the concept comes from.”

shefelt floating dress design Photo by Beata Kacy,

“The idea for under water shots came from the fact that all the felt dresses are made out of the interaction of water and wool. Traditionally you want to see the dress’s movement in the air, but I wanted to know how the dress flows in water. One of my friends, Beata Kacy, a local, Vancouver artist who practices under water photography suggested that we do a series of under water shots with a dress. It was a great opportunity for me to work with her and the results were amazing.”

Recyclable Chic – Merino Wool Felting mixed with Organic Cotton and Recycled Silk

merino wool, ecobutterfly organics, 100% hand spun organic cotton dress with recycled silk

Merino wool, ecobutterfly organics, 100% hand spun, organic cotton with recycled silk. Model: Erika Walter, Photo by Ramses Radi

“I love texture. I love the complexity of the surface. I get excited about colors and I admire good composition. I want to be wowed when I look at a dress. The context also is very important to me. For me, every dress belongs to a story. I want to figure out the story behind the dress and I want to be challenged.”

NOMADE – French Hat Making Exhibit

Felt hat for Musee du Chapeau in Lyon, France depicting a fresh take on headwear worn by Nomadic women in Iran Photo by Lisa Chase

“The Musée du Chapeau in Lyon, France has an international contest for hatmaking each year. The theme for this year was NOMADE. This theme valued traveling, freedom, moving through space in creativeness and asked for revisited ethnical head dresses. I have seen a lot of traditional nomadic “felt” in Iran and decided to take part with my own interpretation of the theme. I researched what women wore in Nomadic communities in Iran and my hat very well reflects a traditional Persian head cover. My hat design has different elements in it. It has fire ( orange, bright color), it has earth ( earth coloured wool), it has a pebble-like texture ( which represents rivers), and is actually made with a fabric that come originally from a nomadic community in Iran. This hat is currently in a temporary exhibition among other selected hats in Lyon and will be sent back to me in October.”

Future Prospects – Shefelt Eco Wedding Dress

eco wedding dress design by shefelt

“I have had a few requests for bridal gowns and I am considering creating a few unique bridal dresses. Besides that, I will keep creating new designs. Every dress is a piece of my dream that is becoming true. I hope people enjoy wearing them.”

Connect with Shefelt designs and inspiration at, Follow Shefelt on Twitter @shefelt, and check out the Shefelt Facebook Page.

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published in / kreative finds / FASHION