Lisa A. Bleviss has been into fashion for as long as she can remember. As a child, she recalls drawing looks and constructing miniature garments out of odds and ends, which she would send to her grandmother, an accomplished seamstress. The daughter of two artists, Bleviss was born and raised in Toronto, but spent much of her childhood in New York City. She cites her extended family’s heavy involvement in the Art to Wear movement as an early influence, as well as a spectacular art teacher. “She had travelled to Papua New Guinea and loved to have us paint with ochres”, said Bleviss, “I imagine her colour palette was deeply influenced by her travels.” After high school she received a four-year merit scholarship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She subsequently continued her studies periodically at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Bleviss’ brand, LISA AVIVA, launched at the end of 2016. Putting sustainability front and centre, Bleviss designs and creates minimalist clothing from luxurious fabrics, with an emphasis on classic forms and silhouettes. Though she runs the business herself, her process is highly collaborative, working as many as thirty people at a time. She works with garment industry professionals in New York City as well as, more recently, hand-knitters. Referring to her work as slow fashion, Bleviss prefers to pace herself “in an oftentimes demanding industry”, so far having released just four collections. Though it is currently only available online in the USA and Canada, or at private sales, Bleviss is on the lookout for retailers that share her vision for providing consumers with sustainable luxury.

An eclectic mind, Bleviss is influenced and inspired by dozens of designers and brands, including Etro and Dries Van noten, Loro Piana, and Rei Kawakubo. She also cites artists such as Maurizio Cattelan, Bruce Naumann, and Jenny Holzer as amongst the most influential for her work. At Vancouver Fashion Week, Bleviss’ Hand Knits collection was a highlight. Inspired by a piece originally knitted over a decade ago, Bleviss worked with industry professionals to develop new patterns and samples made from hand-dyed yarn. The collections’ colour palette ranged from ‘cinnabar’ to ‘ice’, and much of the yarn was custom dyed in Canada for the showcase.

In the future, despite receiving offers for some incredible positions in the fashion industry, Bleviss is committed to growing her sustainable luxury brand.

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