Genia Evelina’s ‘Heirloom’ collection is here to stay

A fashion philosophy that embraces sustainability for a timeless collection

De Marco is currently producing her pieces on demand. She is hoping to obtain contracts with retailers within the year. Photo Chahinez Dib

Genia De Marco, the woman behind the brand Genia Evelina, describes her latest ‘Heirloom’ collection as seasonless.

 She is putting forward what represents her collection best, and that includes clothing that is made to last.

“It was about creating something that makes you happy, and not something that you just want to throw after three uses,” she said.

De Marco would play a lot with the word “heirloom” and think about its meaning in terms of clothing. She created this collection in which every piece is made to be passed down to loved ones or “just to cherish for your life,” as De Marco explained it. 

The local designer went back to her previous designs to create this signature look of her brand using organic fabrics such as hemp silk, cotton poplin and peace silk. 

She is putting forward—in the ‘Heirloom’ collection—natural colour ways and hand-dyed soft colours.  

“I picked the ones I felt made sense as core pieces so that I can kind of establish my signature Genia Evelina styles,” she said. 

Prior to launching the label Genia Evelina in 2018, De Marco graduated from Theatre Design at John Abbott College—where she specialized in costume and set design—and Fashion Design at Lasalle College. 

De Marco repurposed an old blanket she found at a thrift store to create the white jacket in the ‘Heirloom’ collection. Photo Chahinez Dib

She was originally thinking of staying in theatre before falling in love with the Fashion Design program. 

“What I always loved about theatre is that you get to bring people along a journey by appealing to their different senses,” she said.

 De Marco aims to create a “full world” with the brand, and every collection would have its own story in that world.

“I want it to evoke an emotional response as opposed to just something on trend,” she added.

De Marco showcased her ‘Heirloom’ collection on Oct. 24 and 25 at Corail Blanc, a Montreal-based jewelry store located on St-Laurent Blvd. 

“I want it to evoke an emotional response as opposed to just something on trend.”
Genia De Marco

Lindsay Donna, the owner of Corail Blanc and a good friend of De Marco’s, shares the same values when it comes to slow fast fashion. 

“I love to support what she does [...] She always offers high quality and pieces that her clientele can wear for years to come, ” said Donna. 

Cupcakes and mimosas awaited the visitors where they could admire handmade fashion jewels that were displayed all over the store.

De Marco uses organic fabrics for most of her designs. Photo Chahinez Dib

De Marco’s seasonless collection includes a beautiful silk dress with cross back details, a fluffy white jacket, and a two-piece set of high-waisted wide-leg fuschia pants with a matching jacket both made 100% OEKO-TEX organic cotton—a label for textiles tested for harmful substances.

“I think her ‘Heirloom’ collection offers the perfect mix in femininity and romanticism,” Donna said. 

The “Flora Dress,”—a mini slip silk charmeuse dress—was Deva Ouellet's favourite piece. 

“A fabric that lets you see the beauty of a woman’s body,” said Ouellet, who modelled for the SS20 collection. 

For Ouellet, the ‘Heirloom’ collection is composed of two sections. On one hand, it portrays a conservative yet daring woman who’ll turn heads in a crowd. On the other hand, this collection allows women to “embody a soft romantic aesthetic” by wearing  fabrics and soft colours that benefit their bodies. 

“I was feeling beautiful and confident,” said Ouellet. “[The collection] screams femininity.”

“Powerful, happy, inspired” is also how De Marco wants women to feel while wearing her clothes. For her, it has always been about working with inspiring women and creating clothing with the purpose to empower women, make them feel like they are putting their best self out there. 

As a slow fashion label, Genia Evelina’s pieces are made ethically in her Montreal home studio; creating clothing that will not harm the planet any further is a defining aspect of her brand identity. 

“It’s always really difficult to decide to put a product out there when there's already so much stuff that exists,” De Marco said. “So how do you justify making more?” 

She noticed a significant shift towards sustainability before the pandemic started. While people are starting to be more aware that they don’t need to overconsume, De Marco hopes they will also realize the importance of buying local. 

“Just to be more conscious of buying clothing that you actually love and that fits with your lifestyle, aesthetic and your personality and not necessarily with trends,” De Marco said. A mindset that ties up with her collection. 

De Marco and Ouellet also share the same values when it comes to fast fashion. For Ouellet, it is important to be informed of the origin of fabrics and the chemical products that infiltrate the fabrics in order to buy clothes that are less harmful to the planet and more ethical. 

Not only does De Marco share those ethical values with Ouellet, but also with others. This is also part of the reason she named her latest collection “heirloom.”

“The idea [of ‘Heirloom’] is something that you pass down throughout the generations [...] that has a lot of value to you.”