In the process of production, brands will often create some sort of waste. Samples, overstock, misprints and customer returns could all end up being destroyed or thrown away. Or, like Raised by Wolves has done in its latest collection, that waste could become something completely new.
Raised by Wolves’ (RBW) latest collection, Alpha/Beta, is based entirely around existing fabrics and garments taken from previous RBW drops, as well as Canadian Armed Forces surplus, and vintage denim sourced from a vintage store in Toronto. The result is a selection of one-off or limited-edition jackets, hoodies, jeans, tees and patchwork quilts.
In an interview with FUTUREVVORLD, Co-founder Cal Green revealed the story behind the collection which has its origins at the beginning of the pandemic. With factories closing due to COVID-19, Green and the RBW team began addressing the overstock they had stored in warehouses. “We have never destroyed overstock (it was never a consideration for the brand),” says Green, “but over the years we‘ve collected boxes and boxes of samples, defects, returns, blanks and overstock.” In all that material, they found their inspiration for the next collection.
In a departure from its clean, graphic approach to streetwear, the Alpha/Beta collection is much more distressed, with a handmade, Frankensteinian aesthetic. Items are given visible hand repairs or treated with a variety of dyes and bleaches such as black beans, maple leaves and rust.
“The original concept for the line was to repair products in a human way,” Green told FVV. “Not a factory repair where you couldn’t tell where it was fixed, but to actually highlight the repairs or imperfections with patches and hand-stitching.”
Due to the restricted nature of working with overstock and existing materials, everything was approached on a case-by-case basis. This gives every item in the 200+ collection a completely unique look. The jeans, for example, feature lots of hand-stitching that will both reinforce the vintage denim and give each pair its own individual finish. The jackets with webbing ties are one-of-a-kind, constructed with overstock denim, sleeping bag liners and aprons, with additional hand-stitching and details. The hoodies are hand-treated with sprays of bleach and dyes, and are reminiscent of a DIY punk aesthetic.
RBW worked with designers and makers to produce the collection. The quilts were made by Eric Patton using overstock camo, quilting fabrics and Polartec Thermal Pro. Limited to a run of three, these standout pieces are a mix of contrasting patterns and colors, with traces of the artist’s hand.
The rest of the collection was produced in Montreal by Atelier DNHN. In addition to the pieces mentioned above, there are six panel caps, beanies, scarves, tees, sweatpants and a one-of-one sweater featuring free-hand embroidery. Although sourced from different places, the collection has a unifying identity due to each being treated by hand.
Will we see Raised by Wolves using this method of production again? Green thinks so: “Now that Alpha/Beta is established and has proven itself a viable solution for the brand to upcycle garments and materials, it’s definitely something I’d like to continue.”
The Alpha/Beta collection is available now exclusively on raisedbywolves.ca.