Shop the Exchange – Lennard Taylor

A return to slow fashion

Lennard Taylor’s versatility as a clothing designer and painter is a great thing for women’s clothing – and the environment.

Instead of encouraging people to buy the next trendy item each season, his collection is based on creating a capsule wardrobe, with happily non-seasonal, transitional items you can wear over and over again.

“A capsule wardrobe is something that I think all of society should be drifting toward – more like a uniform,” Taylor says. “I believe in garments for life… because you don’t need a lot of clothing, you need just a few good pieces that work together.”

If you’ve ever seen Lennard Taylor waltzing around the Exchange District in his signature black bowler hat and self-made, architectural garments, you know he lives and breathes his own mantra. 

When you buy a piece from Lennard Taylor’s (LT) boutique at 246 McDermot Ave., it can be seen as a green investment in more than a few ways.

Local pieces you can keep reinventing

“My boutique is a little bit different because you can come in and you can see the sewing machines… and the garments are all made right here in Winnipeg,” Taylor says. “Every single piece that I make is a work of art, and it’s part of who I am as a person.

“Our products – we care about them. So if you rip it, tear it, break it, stain it, don’t throw it out. Bring it in to us. I’ll paint over top of that stain (and) make it look like it’s always meant to be there. And you’ve got a new piece.”

To go even further to spare waste, Lennard Taylor accepts end-of-life clothing to create “wearable art” for the walls, celebrating a garment’s contributions to your life.

Lennard Taylor’s brushstrokes make it onto most of his pieces – even signing his initials and numbering the iteration of each garment, like 1 out of 500, similar to an art piece.

Contribute to confidence

“I’ve been a designer for about 12 years now, a painter for about 17 years, and everything I do is just to make people smile and feel good, whether it’s my art, my clothing, or my words,” he says.

His goals are validated with a lot of the feedback he receives on how confident the clothing makes women feel. The garments have an architectural structure to them – while fabric flows in the right places, allowing for women’s curves to be celebrated.

“(People) like my work because it’s comfortable, it’s sophisticated, and it’s timeless,” Taylor explains. “Obviously everything I make has pockets, because what modern woman doesn’t need pockets?”

This versality and a utilitarian approach to fashion – without sacrificing style – has been popular across Canada, seeing Taylor travel his work to international fashion shows, inciting devotees around the world.

But, Taylor has held firm to his Winnipeg roots, and his Exchange District location, hoping to encourage buying local and a return to slow fashion. “For me, the Exchange is an iconic heritage district. We have the most eclectic, best shops anywhere in the city,” he says. “People just have to come down here and see it.”

Knowing the fashion industry is one of the worst pollutants in the world, Lennard Taylor attacks the system from within – doing his part to deconstruct the mammoth that is fast-fashion.

“If we have a couple good pieces that we can use and reuse, and keep using, that’s really what it’s all about.”

Find Lennard Taylor’s beautiful, timeless designs at 246 McDermot Ave.