Defining the work of In House Creations isn’t a simple task. That’s how they like it.
“In House is a creative shared space,” smiles co-owner Graham Hood. “It’s an incubator for different mediums of art. We’re all clothing designers but other artists rent the space from us too. We host events, We do screen printing. We have a photo studio. It’s an office for us. It’s where we come to work.”
In House is a creative shared space. It’s an incubator for different mediums of art.
In House is all these things and more. Graham, along with friends, co-owners and fellow Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design graduates Marcus Quon and Matthew Harrison, are using their shared creativity to build something unique. Their primary focus is their streetwear label Sans Parole but, as they as explain as we sit around a drafting table in their cavernous studio space in North Vancouver, their lofty goals aim higher. They’re creating community.
“Lululemon, Arc’teryx and Aritzia are cool,” clarifies Marcus, “but they don’t really represent the culture and what’s going on here in Vancouver. There’s no reason why Vancouver can’t be a global fashion centre. We’re trying to give people a reason to care. It’s not going to take just one person. It’s going to take people from different clicks to make that happen. We’re doing everything we can to be there at the front when it’s all said and done. If we can start something that motivates others to do this, great! We’re motivated to be part of what’s going to happen, even if it’s not us who has the big breakthrough.”
There’s no reason why Vancouver can’t be a global fashion centre. We’re trying to give people a reason to care. If we can start something that motivates others to do this, great! We’re motivated to be part of what’s going to happen, even if it’s not us who has the big breakthrough.
Shared ambitions are at the heart of this design collaborative’s philosophy. Sans Parole is a combined effort, even though Graham, Marcus and Matthew all design independently. A shared aesthetic and, equally importantly, a deep sense of trust ensure they’re always on the same creative page.
“Let’s say I bring a sketch of a jacket I want to design to the table,” explains Matthew, “but I’m not sure what kind of pockets I want to add. I’ll bounce ideas off these two, and through talking it over we decide what it’s going to look like.”
“We’re all confident enough in each other that we never have to worry about wack stuff,” continues Marcus. “We are super honest and constructive with each other. If we don’t like something we’ll speak our mind. Nothing goes out without being approved by all of us.”
Teamwork is everything for this design collaborative, which is especially remarkable when you consider the team’s diverse backgrounds. Marcus had his own fashion history: he’d started his own streetwear line when he was still in high school in Vancouver. Matthew and Graham, both from the small town of Martensville, Saskatchewan, took a different approach. Graham, a former WHL hockey player, found his love for design while travelling the world. Matthew, a young father, put his fashion dreams on hold while he worked in Fort McMurray and underground in a potash mine in Saskatchewan.
“I realized I was going to die down there,” he explains, “so I applied to Blanche Macdonald and moved to Vancouver.”
Blanche is a great point to get into designing. It’s a busy yearlong course. That forces you to commit to it.
Blanche Macdonald is where the three young men formed friendships and began their formal fashion education.
“I love Peggy Morrison,” insists Matthew as soon as the topic of conversation turns to their time at Fashion School. “She is the greatest wealth of fashion history that you’ll find anywhere. There’s no library that holds the wealth of knowledge that she has. Anything you want to know about any designer or garment, she can tell you. And if she doesn’t know she’ll look it up and tell you tomorrow. She’s a great lady.”
“Blanche is a great point to get into designing,” confirms Graham. “It’s a busy yearlong course. That forces you to commit to it.”
I love Peggy Morrison. She is the greatest wealth of fashion history that you’ll find anywhere. There’s no library that holds the wealth of knowledge that she has. Anything you want to know about any designer or garment, she can tell you. She’s a great lady.
That commitment has never wavered. Graham, Matthew and Marcus collaborated together for a year in a cramped living room with a drafting table and one industrial sewing machine before being offered their current space in North Vancouver. They spent months clearing out a mix of functioning machinery and junk. After that, it was time for them to concentrate on what they do best.
“We’ve assigned roles to each other,” continues Marcus. “We’re doing different jobs but we’re working towards the same thing. We can each put 100% of our effort into 33% of what needs to be done.”
“We do everything together,” agrees Graham. “Matthew takes care of the printing, Marcus does the social media and marketing, and I do the back end business stuff. You can’t run a business like this by yourself.”
We do everything together. Matthew takes care of the printing, Marcus does that social media and marketing, and I (Graham) do the back end business stuff. You can’t run a business like this by yourself.
Producing and printing branded merchandise for dispensaries, garages and other clothing lines keeps the revenue coming in. But the greatest thrill for the In House Team is the continued ability to turn ideas into design reality for Sans Parole.
“The best thing about this is the opportunity to make whatever I want,” insists Matthew. “It’s not like having a boss. These guys’ agreement is the only limit to what I can do.”
“There’s a sense of freedom,” smiles Graham. “If you can find a way to make money doing what you love, then nothing else matters. Our day is what we want it to be and for me that’s a beautiful thing.”