The Canvas by Querencia is thrilled to be welcoming Fashinnovation, the visionaries who are building this boundary pushing platform and their particpants and guests to The Canvas by Querencia on September 4th for the official VIP after-party of the 2019 Summer Edition.
In 2016, we founded Querencia Studio, a small, independent fashion brand looking to find its way and distinguish itself. Our journey, observations and the collective movement towards more ethcial and sustainable standards, led us to a realization: a movement of this kind, with this momentum, deserves a place to gather, plan and facilitate collaboration. And so the initial concept for The Canavs by Querencia was born.
Since launching this community in 2019, we’ve hosted dozens of panels, concerts, exhbitions, events and experiences focused on adressing the Sustainable Development Goals in a multifaceted, creative and exciting way. How we transformed our current Headquarters, a former industrual warehouse on Bedford Avenue, to New York City’s sustainable fashion hub hosting over seventy international fashion brands, a Goodwill Donation Center and a Global Fashion Exchange Swap Shop is a matter of a unique coincidence that might be one of sustainable fashion’s most exciting opportunties.
The Retail Landscape: How it Happened
Walk along Bowery, Soho or the East Village in Manhattan or Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn and you’ll see large, empty storefront windows with obnoxiously large telephone numbers plastered on them. New York City and cities around the world are plagued by increased vacancies. Retailers seem unwilling to risk being unable to pay rent. Landlords refuse to budge on lowering it. The result is a lack of long term tenants and reliability. Many argue that “Retail is dead”. We see it differently.
This unique retail landscape with increased vacancies, together the rise of ethical fashion, are happening at the same moment and the opportunity for weaving them together creates solutions for both parties and rewards international fashion stakeholders of all sizes. At their core, these partnerships emphasize cooperation and collaboration where, previously, cooperations like this would have been considered strange. We believe this search for opportunities based on mutual incentives and shared understanding is critical to solving the world’s most critical issues. Fashion can set the tone as to how we do so.
Querencia Studio started with an offering of t-shirts and then expanding into cut and sew pieces with fabric from FABSCRAP. We launched online and looked to gain exposure at various markets and pop-ups in New York, California and abroad in cities like Amsterdam and Paris. As we expanded our efforts, we felt that the ethical fashion industry lacked a centralized gathering point. When we heard that Hunter College’s former bookstore was vacant, we immediately looked to bring a fashion-centric installation to a school buzzing with artistic talent but lacking a fashion program. Through a part rent-part revenue share agreement, in June of 2018, alongside the President of Hunter College, we launched The Canvas by Querencia at 904 Lexington Avenue.
Relying on the feedback of students, faculty, and educators for this first iteration, we evolved the model, expanded our network and tested key concepts. We held panel discussions with industry insiders, fabric sales with FABSCRAP and hosted pop-ups engaging students and faculty.
When we finally ended our one-year installation, we had secured a revenue share agreement to move the operation to Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue, where we now call our Headquarters. Here, we’ve grown The Canvas to be a multidisciplinary retail and event company featuring over seventy brands from around the world and a model built off three core pillars that we see as the future of a responsible and educational retail experience: Reduce, Reuse, Retail.
The Canvas Model: Reduce, Reuse, Retail.
Reduce waste and empower local communities through employment opportunities.
Our Goodwill Donation Center brings the opportunity to donate goods to the century-old non-profit which empowers individuals with disabilities and other barriers to work to gain independence through employment.
Reuse what we have and make the most out of it.
In partnership with Global Fashion Exchange, The Swap Shop is a constantly evolving membership system allowing guests to bring in clothes, earn points and swap without limit.
A global community of over seventy brands, adhering to the same goals that nation-states and NGOs are using to guide progress towards a sustainable world. By unifying a diverse community of brands under one roof, we are expanding the reach of smaller brands through a shared vision. All brands and garments are tagged with the respective SDGs addressed by their individual supply chain, design process and charitable contributions to causes aligned with the goals.
Scaling The Canvas Model
In the coming weeks, we’ll be making an announcement on our expansion plans for the future and expanding our partnerships with landlords on a global scale. As the United States finds itself amid a green revolution and a rising political class with a comprehensive appreciation of the impending dangers of climate change, there is no better time to take this movement global.
To the Fashinnovators reading this, we invite you to join us as we bring The Canvas model abroad and bridge Bedford Avenue with global cities that we have gotten to know and love.
See you Wednesday.
Devin Gilmartin Tegan Maxey
Cofounder and President Cofounder and CEO
The Canvas by Querencia
About The Canvas
The Canvas is is a retail and experience firm focused on addressing the Sustainable Development Goals. The space holds over seventy brands from around the world, a Goodwill Donation Center and a Global Fashion Exchange Swap Shop. The Canvas has hosted world-renowned artists such as Michael Murphy, an installation in collaboration with Cuba’s first independent fashion brand, Clandestina, and Google Cuba, and weekly events, concerts and experiences focused on progress towards the seventeen goals defined by the United Nations for sustainable development by 2030. Follow The Canvas on Instagram @thecanvasbyq and find out more at thecanvas.nyc.