“And buying three of these will not even make you a shallow bitch!”
This is Glenn and Will Pasco bantering about their up-and-coming fashion company, Paswera Label, over hot chocolates at the Fyxx on a chilly Sunday evening.
Despite the whirling winds outside, the feeling is one of warmth as Glenn, 31, agrees with his younger brother’s statement.
Will, 27, was affirming that there is meaning behind the garments they design. The name Paswera is a blend of their parents’ last names (Pasco and Owera), and they emphasize that their clothing is mindful of their cultural background.
“It is a homage to our parents’ history,” Glenn explained. “There is gothic Spanish, and the Japanese aesthetic of simplicity, precision and architecture. That combined with glamour: a lot of shimmer, a lot of shine.”
“We are true to ourselves and unafraid to be different,” Will began when asked what Winnipeg should know about the line’s creators; Glenn added that they are able to see beauty even in sadness.
“We always have a glimmer of hope in the midst of tragedy,” he said.
The two agree that they love seeing layers – a trend that, because of the fall and winter seasons, is in style among Winnipeggers. They have noticed, however, that the city has yet to be defined by an image.
“Winnipeg’s lack of a strong fashion identity is our inspiration,” said Glenn.
It’s why the brothers, fashion graduates from Ryerson University, have stayed in the city instead of moving to fashion capitals like New York and Paris.
The brothers are currently working on a studio space in the Exchange District, which will be used to design and manufacture custom-made garments, some already available for purchase.
“Here, you are not expected. It’s like you are designing out of the blue, but that is where the greatest designs come from,” Glenn said.
But it’s a precise idea of their ideal consumer that serves as the foundation to the designers’ vision.
Each collection is crafted in association with a relevant cause or issue. In 2007, the two organized a fashion show running on the theme “A Woman’s Importance in the World,” to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, thus helping to combat cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death among Canadian women.
“By wearing our garments, you are supporting the age-old philosophy of just being yourself. Within the collections, you will find no prejudice whether you are female, male, gay or straight,” Will said.
“Or half-unicorn!” Glenn joked.
Public figures like Enya and Lady Gaga are also sources of inspiration.
While on the subject, Will mentioned the term “lament.”
“It is a beautiful word that, to us, embodies a continuous state of transition; putting to rest the past and going toward the future.”
Published in Volume 65, Number 5 of The Uniter (September 30, 2010)