Fashion Forward to End Violence Against Women

For Immediate Release:

October 8, 2013

Fashion Forward to End Violence Against Women

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Eco Fashion Week seventh edition highlights community, sustainable, and socially progressive enterprise My Sister’s Closet second hand store run by Vancouver’s Battered Women’s Support Services.

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) takes on its third appearance at Eco Fashion Week (EFW), orchestrating a provocative program for the runway at Robson Square, October 9th at 6 pm. Billed as “Fearless,” their collection is a platform for vintage and thrift fashion teamed with an honest, candid discussion of violence against women.

“As the third-most environmentally damaging industry on the planet, the $300 billion global fashion industry leaves a large waste footprint. As one of the most pressing social issues of our time, violence against women is endemic, an epidemic and continues unabated. We must take every opportunity to engage our community to take action to address these global concerns through local solutions” says BWSS Executive Director Angela Marie MacDougall.

My Sister’s Closet was first opened in the 1990s as a means to connect with community —providing free clothing to women and families escaping domestic violence, unable to return home and needing to start anew— and helping to support the organization’s counselling, violence prevention programming and advocacy activities. Today proceeds from sales go to fund BWSS Youth Ending Violence prevention program and Women’s Safety and Outreach, a mobile response for women victims of physical and sexual violence living in Vancouver Downtown Eastside.

Wednesday evening runway show “Fearless” was curated by nine women, including two artisans who have designed unique pieces for the event, and features the thrift and vintage clothing donated by members of the community.

“Just because it’s thrift, doesn’t mean you have to give up quality or beauty, we are all becoming much more aware and My Sister’s Closet joins the ever expanding number of thrift and vintage shops opening throughout Vancouver.” says My Sister’s Closet Manager Samantha Kearney.

With over 25,000 reported incidents of violence against women in one year alone, BC carries the reputation of having the third highest rate of reported violence in Canada. This grim statistic speaks to the urgent need for organizations like the BWSS and projects like My Sister’s Closet, both in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.


My Sister's Closet at Eco Fashion Week 2013

For more information:

Angela Marie MacDougall

Executive Director, Battered Women’s Support Services

Tel. (604) 808 0507


My Sister’s Closet is a thrift boutique with women and men’s clothing and local women artisans’ designs. All proceeds from My Sister’s Closet go to funding BWSS services and programs for girls and women who have experienced violence.

My Sister’s Closet is located at 1092 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC.

Battered Women’s Support Services established in 1979 with the goal of the elimination of gender violence. They provide crisis intervention, support groups, counselling along with training and education programs responding to over 10,000 direct service requests annually.

Please visit below links for more details about My Sister’s Closet:

My Sister’s Closet at Eco Fashion Week 7th Edition:

My Sister’s Closet, a social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services:

Tickets for Eco Fashion Week 7th Edition are available here:

My Sister’s Closet Lookbook – SS13

New Image

an inspiration for new adventures,
new possibilities and new looks.

MY SISTER’S CLOSET is featuring both classic and new eco-fashion trends of the summer season. There’s a new and fresh look for every occasion and for everyone.

Be daring, be bold.
Be nautical or bohemian.
Be what you imagine.

My Sister’s Closet Lookbook SS13 is available here.

My Sister’s Closet, a social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services is grateful to all those who support their mission – to raise funds for intervention and prevention programs that service over 10 000 women.

Special thanks to models Mya Isabelle Aubin and Emmanuel Matovu (Heat Wave). Emmanuel is also featured in our campaign – “June: An International Call for All Men to End Violence Against Women” at

BWSS My Sister’s Closet welcomes local artisan Melanie Bronwen Cookson!

Melanie Bronwen CooksonMelanie Bronwen Cookson was born in Lillooet, B.C. in 1972. She studied fine art at Okanagan College for two years before going to Poland in 1994 to be the first artist-in-residence at the International Artist’s Centre in Poznan. From there she opened a new gallery space in Szczecin.  Naming her business Sovka  (which translates to “little owl” in Polish) pays tribute to her time in Poland. She then returned to BC with an invitation to complete her third year at Emily Carr Institute.

After continuing to live and work in various places around North America, Melanie settled back in Vancouver in 2004 and was introduced to porcupine quills by an Ontario resident who brought some quills to Vancouver.

They soon landed a contract with local fashion designer Richard Kidd. After the contract ended, Melanie continued to work with the quills on her own, developing dye techniques and learning traditional quillwork online while honing her own methods.

Melanie Bronwen Cookson

Melanie Bronwen Cookson

The process of quillwork takes many steps to complete, and requires time and patience. Each quill is examined closely, tipped, sterilized, and then dyed up to five different colours before being cut into beads. The quill beads must be soaked in warm water before working with them, and then flattened repeatedly while being sewn on, one by one.  Traditionally the First Nations artisan women softened the quills by holding them in their mouths and then pulling the quills through their teeth to flatten them (like eating an artichoke). But there is a substance in the marrow of the porcupine quills that causes eventual blindness, so this traditional method has stopped.  Porcupine represents the spirit medicine of “Innocence” in traditions of First Nations throughout North America, and while not of First Nations descent, she hopes that her quillwork pieces embody and pass on that medicine.  Melanie uses recycled leather and found objects here and there in her work. The quills are sourced from road-kill in Ontario.  Melanie also dabbles in up-cycled fashion design, and is a licensed and active herbologist.

BWSS My Sister’s Closet welcomes local artisan Melanie Bronwen Cookson

Her inspirations boil down to chance, punk rock, contemporary and traditional First Nations art, and a heavy, edgy Earth vibe. Her Mother continues to be her greatest influence.  Having faced and overcome many challenges including substance addiction, trauma, and compromised health, Melanie now focuses on her goal of growing her design label into a successful business that can give back to her community.

BWSS My Sister’s Closet welcomes local artisan Melanie Bronwen Cookson

BWSS My Sister’s Closet welcomes local artisan Melanie Bronwen Cookson


Women Artisans at My Sister’s Closet: Creating Art for Empowerment – Crochet Designs by Ivani Adamastor

Women Artisans at My Sister’s Closet: Creating Art for Empowerment

Crochet Designs

by Ivani Adamastor


Battered Women’s Support Services engages in social enterprise that extends the entrepreneurial spirit to support Women Artisans to do what they love, while generating revenue that helps support them and their families.   There is no shortage of creative and talented women affiliated with us and since 2010 we have supported Women Artisans market their handmade products through our boutique My Sister’s Closet located at 1092 Seymour Street, in Vancouver, BC.  Here’s more about about My Sister’s Closet.

Violence and abuse are present in the lives of many women and the struggle for healing, empowerment and self-sufficiency involves many steps.  Our Women Artisan Program invites jewellers, potters, clothing designers who create wearable art to participate in enterprise as part of an empowerment process.

My Sister’s Closet invites all Women Artisans to create art that can be exhibited and sold in our boutique @ 1092 Seymour St, Vancouver BC.  Please read our blog featuring Artisan Laura Harrison.

Crochet Designs


Ivani Adamastor





Ivani Adamastor’s new line of crocheted clothing and accessories is a reflection of the designer’s amazing eye for detail and passion for creating new things.






Ivani creatively combines new and reclaimed materials into special one-of-a-kind items.




Producing her own clothes from whatever materials she could get her hands on demanded much creativity and skill.


Ivani loves breathing new life into unused fabric which adds a unique touch to her beautifully crocheted designs.

Every item is hand crafted with lots of love and care. Ivani hopes you will enjoy the warmth and beauty of these hand made items as much as she enjoys making them.


Zero Waste Fashion

Zero waste fashion – February 15th, 2011

Eco-fashion designer launches ambitious fashion incubator

(zero.O.lab) is a collaborative project developed by successful Vancouver based eco-fashion designer, Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie, to produce the first in house design label for My Sister’s Closet, a thrift store & clothing boutique featuring local designers and artisans.

My Sister’s Closet is a social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), a non-profit organization that provides support and advocacy for women who have experienced abuse.

This innovative fashion incubator, to be launched on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 during an evening of fashion, music and art, is a multifaceted, year-long project that aims to promote zero waste fashion.

Utilizing the unsaleable materials obtained from My Sister’s Closet, Soucie is in the process of implementing a system that will allow the organization to produce a clothing label out of these discarded materials.

The (zero.O.lab) project will also serve as a space for artists, designers and creative thinkers to conduct research on zero waste fashion, collaborate on design projects and study fashion production and consumption.

On February 15th, 2011 the first series of garments produced under the (zero.O.lab) design label will be installed at My Sister’s Closet, 1092 Seymour & Helmcken St, Yaletown.

This stylish event will feature a performance installation by artist Shannon Lazzarotto, music by High-Society and more.

My Sister’s Closet Commercial dr. location Closing

Thank you for being a part of the solution…

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Battered Women’s Support Services will close the Commercial Drive location of My Sister’s Closet at the end of February. Thank you for believing in our store on Commercial Drive.

We will continue to operate My Sister’s Closet – Yaletown and your support would be appreciated.

My Sister’s Closet Yaletown

1092 Seymour Street in Vancouver