Conscious Consumerism

Courtnay- A La Court Creative

retailer, artisanNick OgdenComment

Like a warm hug; that’s the way handmade knitted scarves and sweaters make a lot of us feel. We can sense the effort and care that the creators of these types of garments put in to making them. With every stitch, ball of yarn, and needle grasped, the creators of handmade knitted products are putting a piece of themselves into every article they create. This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Courtnay from A La Court Creative.

Courtnay is a new Halifax artisan, creating knitted products, jewelry, art, and just about anything else that she feels inspired by. During our conversation, an overwhelming feeling of creativity and an urge to share it with our community washed over me as Courtnay spoke with me. Our chat went on long tangents about everything from Queer Culture to Nova Scotia’s Education System, and I am thankful for these tangents. Courtnay is a person with a huge passion for sharing her creative gifts with the wider community and I am so happy to help her do this.

How did the brand start?

I would knit in my spare time making Christmas presents for friends and family. I received such positive feedback it gave me the push to just start selling my pieces. I recently reconnected with my inner creativity after being lost by the “growing up” process; the positivity from family and friends really gave me the confidence to start creating again. I also wasn’t very happy with the idea of a 9-5 job because it stifled my creativity and that is not something I wanted to lose. So I started working in a position that gave me more time to create during my off time.
— Courtney, A La Court Creative
 Courtnay, A La Court Creative 

Courtnay, A La Court Creative 

I think, like a lot of creative people, finding a balance between being creative and working is extremely hard. Being able to have your creativity as your work is a blessing and for the few of us who have this opportunity, we must take it and cherish it, as it is something that many people will never have.

What does your brand represent?

It represents a collection of my creativity and whatever falls under that umbrella. I couldn’t decide which avenue to focus on, so I dabble in everything I feel inclined to. I started using dead stock and recycled products for my jewelry and artwork so I don’t add the wasteful throwaway culture. It also forced me to use what I already have, allowing me to be more creative, not being able to make the same thing over and over.
— Courtney, A La Court Creative

What story do your pieces tell or what stories are you trying to tell through your pieces?

My knits tell a story of simplicity; the traditional maker. I want them to fill a very basic need that we have as Atlantic Canadians; we have a specific lifestyle and climate that requires big, warm knits. In our colder seasons we want to feel wrapped up and cozy
Most of my jewelry is my version of trying to reconnect with family heirloom style pieces. I was inspired to start making jewelry from a pair of pearl earrings that my late grandmother left me, and the simple, elegant styles she loved to wear. They make me feel connected to her and I think a lot of people want that kind of connection to their family.
When it comes to clothing, I was always interested in fashion and design. But I always stuck to the middle ground, balancing between feminine and masculine clothing; finding it a struggle to decide how to best portray myself. I want to create unisex clothing so everyone can feel comfortable in what they are wearing, and not be worrying about on which side of the line they should walk. And the materials I want to use are that of up-cycled fashion inspiration.
— Courtney, A La Court Creative

Gender identity and how we choose to portray ourselves to the world is an incredibly powerful thing. In an instant we are judged, critiqued, and have opinions formed about us before we even have a chance to say “Hello”. Expressing yourself—your true self—through the clothing you wear is so important because, in part, it tells people around you a bit about yourself. Having the right clothing available to help you tell your story is even more significant. I applaud Courtnay for her efforts to try and make this type of clothing available. There is enough in this world to make our lives difficult; worrying about what and how we represent ourselves through our clothing should not add to these struggles.

Will you be shifting your products for the warmer seasons?

Yes, I want to create my unisex clothing line in time for the summer months, but I am still gaging exactly what that will look like and how to create styles that are more widely accepted across all genders.

What can we expect from your brand?

The unexpected. I have an idea of what the brand will look like but I am always changing my focus and remain open and responsive to that change. I want my products to make people feel good and be long lasting, to try and reclaim the durability and classic-style longevity of fashion in past generations. And I will always try to use pre-existing products to make new ones
— Courtney, A La Court Creative

If you are interested in finding out more or would like to purchase a piece from A La Court Creative head on over to their Intagram and Spreesy pages.

Knits. Gender identity. Eco-Fashion. A La Court Creative is all of these things and many more. Courtnay is a fantastic creative and I am so glad she is a part of our local artisan and entrepreneurial community here in Halifax. I can’t wait to see what her unisex clothing looks like when it is released.

Thank you for reading and have a great one!