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Elisa C-Rossow said that she wants her clothing to empower women to feel their best.Handout

For women’s-wear designer Elisa C-Rossow, an anti-fashion mentality led to an exploration of what it means to be classic. “If you want a timeless piece of clothing, you need it to last, you need good, luxurious materials and finishes and you need neutral colours,” she says. Founded in 2008, C-Rossow’s namesake collection is all designed, cut and sewn in Montreal, where she operates a studio in Pointe-Saint-Charles. It’s open to shoppers including those seeking made-to-measure pieces by appointment.

Hailing from Paris, C-Rossow studied fashion in the French capital before moving to Montreal. “In Montreal, you can live from your art because life is more affordable and the people are so open-minded,” she says. Taking inspiration from architecture, she focuses on elevated staples in a palette of black and white that are made to last and even offers clothing repairs at her studio. She also aims to operate a zero-waste business, sending leftover scraps of plant-based fabric to be recycled into price tags that are hand printed and cut by local artisans. Last year, she introduced vegan leather made of waste from apple juice production, which she uses in handbags, belts and, when any excess material remains, key chains.

“For me, how I feel when I put something on my back and go out the door is really important,” C-Rossow says, explaining that she wants her clothing to empower women to feel their best. “I really like to use clothing as armour in the world.”

Elisa C-Rossow, 2855 Centre St., Montreal, elisa-c-rossow.com.

Vivienne dress, $445.

June dress, $375.

Swan vest, $790, and Gretta pants, $395.

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