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04 Dec, Sunday
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Montreal Families

Artsy kids can colour clothes and accessories

A line of clothing and accessories created by a Montreal mother of two offers appeal for anyone who loves to colour. Couleur-moi’s products feature modern, simple designs with bold black-and-white illustrations, and are intended for children to colour on.

Using washable markers, the dresses, button-up shirts, aprons, placemats, pencil cases and other products can be coloured, washed and then coloured again. The products range from a dress adorned with fluttering butterflies to a placemat that is blank except for the words “libre d’être créatif” (free to be creative).

Madeleine Bernatchez launched the handcrafted, clothing and accessories brand four years ago. With a background in set design for dance and theatre, the entrepreneurial mother of two began this project as a hobby. She didn’t intend on a career in clothing design and she still doesn’t think of herself as an illustrator, though she is indisputably crafty. “I’m not the best at drawing,” Bernatchez says. “I’m very slow. It doesn’t come naturally to me.”

She came upon the idea for Couleur-moi by serendipity, after her daughter June asked if she could colour in a design on a dress Bernatchez had made for her. After seeing how proud her daughter was to wear the dress, Bernatchez said she realized she was on to something.

“There was this glow about her, and when she wore it and people asked if she helped make it, I could see she was really proud,” she said. “That’s the best part, to see how proud the kids are after they have coloured the dresses (or accessories).”

Bernatchez now hires local artists and seamstresses to help with production, but she remains very involved in the day-to-day production. She cuts most of the patterns herself with her dressmaker’s shears and sews about a quarter of the products on her own machine. The patterns are silkscreened individually by hand in Montreal.

About half of the illustrations on her products are her own work, while the other half were commissioned from Montreal-area artists, who sign their work and receive royalties from the sale of the products decorated with their designs.

“It becomes a collaboration between the ‘real’ artists and the mini-artists,” Bernatchez said. “The children get to finish the artist’s drawing. It’s something they’re making together.”

Couleur-moi products range between $18 and $75 and are available at several boutiques listed on the company website as well as online (free shipping within Canada).

For more information, visit couleurmoi.ca.

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