Slowing down fast fashion one button (and bow) at a time

They call it Fast Fashion, the rapid production and consumption of low cost items. Kayla Gilliland is helping teens of today and tomorrow, slow down and smell the rose-coloured thread.  

kids modeling their homemade backpacks (look ma, no princesses!)
kids modeling their sewing success (look ma, no princesses)

Gilliland, along with business partner, Linda Bell, recently opened Buttons and Bows, a sewing lounge and ladies fashion store in Maple Ridge, BC.

Gilliland explains that her drive in starting the business was to get local residents—particularly children and youth—excited about a past time that has become more retro than sock hops and disco dancing.

“A lot of young kids don’t see people my age sewing—they think it’s only something that grandmothers do. One of my greatest moments is when kids in my classes say things like ‘oh gosh, I want to be a sewer like you. I want to get a sewing machine for Christmas.’”


Not only does Buttons and Bows offer the city’s only source for high quality sewing notions and fabrics, but it also provides classes for children and adults on topics ranging from quilting to jean upcyclying. Buttons and Bows also stocks locally made, refurbished and consignment clothing.

Gilliland notes that one of her main priorities is encouraging local high school students to take sewing at school, which she does by offering a local source of the materials they need to complete their class projectes—such as high quality thread and pajama textiles.

“Already two of the local high schools are now only offer sewing up to the grade-eight level. For me, sewing classes were such a big part of my school experience—I want to make sure that others have that same opportunity,” says Gilliland.

an upcycled jean jacket by Gilliland’s line, Kay Loren.

In addition to the classes, Buttons and Bows also hosts a dazzling array of everything from Gilliland’s handmade leggings to upcycled belt-bracelets and of course, pre-loved buttons.

“We had one woman who had been collecting them for over 20 years. She brought in this big jar and had a story about each one, it was magical hearing her talk about them,” says Bell. “That is what makes this place so special: the people and we meet.”

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You can learn more about Buttons and Bows by visiting them online at their homepage or on Facebook or checking out their store in person at: 22785 Dewdney Trunk Road, Maple Ridge, B.C.

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