I find it remarkable, witnessing someone follow their dreams, especially when it is a woman focused on empowering other women. Only recently was I put on to Silvina Antunes’ work but from the moment I saw it, I was moved. Each colour and piece contribute to the brand’s mission.
Who doesn’t remember, watching their grandmother knitting, crocheting, cross stitching or sewing? The classic wool socks grandma gives you for Christmas, the scarfs and the beanies all cherished as more than just clothing. Silvina has taken something traditional, symbolic, even nostalgic and reinterpreted it. Adapting this technique and material to a modern world. A world where clothing is not only used to cover our body, but as a form of self-representation that communicates beyond words—or more accurately, before words are even exchanged.
Fast fashion makes up a very large part of clothing sales. Most people are not aware of what fast fashion is and fuel it unknowingly. It is a multibillion-dollar industry where ephemeral pieces of clothing are made by the thousands only to be used, forgotten and thrown to the side for the next best thing. Can you think of any brands that somehow always have the latest trend you were just put on to? Chances are they are one of many fast fashion retailers. *Cough, cough* Zara… whoops!
Rather than having clothes made specially for us, we need to conform to our clothing. Having grown so accustomed to this industry’s flaws, it is refreshing to discover brands like Mudança (Portuguese for “change”) that wants to do as it’s name implies. They create fully custom pieces by hand that resonate specifically with you. We are no longer just a client, we are now part of the creative process with the ability to modify each piece according to our preference of fit, colour, pattern and style. It is now a wearable reflection of ourselves. Silvina takes care of everything herself; contacting clients, managing orders, marketing and production.
Her interest in fashion is nearly as old as her memories of grandmas knitting. Since she was a child, Silvina has been fascinated by compelling styles and vivid colors. This stuck with her and years later when she was 12 Silvina learned how to knit from a friend. Five years later, she mastered the art of crochet by watching YouTube videos. This hobby even became a method of relieving stress—particularly during Silvina’s teenage years through to university in 2017. These formative years are when Silvina dedicated the most time most to her art. She studied new techniques and started to produce clothing pieces, creating the brand Mudança in 2018.
After years of volunteer work, her time was becoming limited so she chose to incorporate a giving back into the brand. What began as a hobby would now generate funds for Toronto organizations dedicated to helping women prosper by donating 20% of the proceeds from each purchase. Once again tying back to the brand’s ethos; to make a difference in how people feel.
To Silvina, everything that surrounds her is a source of inspiration—be it the colours of the seasons, street art covering the walls of Toronto, haute couture and even the independent fashion community. Seeing other designers and small businesses thrive, along with the support of family and friends, continue to give her the strength to chase her dream.
Ideas quickly move from her mind to the yarn but the execution takes time. Every piece demands alevel of trial and error—made possible by crochets forgiving nature. Managing her own business has been a learning process, of recognizing the value of her work and prioritizing what makes the most sense to the path she wants to take the brand on. Most recently, she collaborated with another local brand, Huri Movement to create the cultural upcycle collection. The pieces reflect both brand’s missions towards sustainable fashion with a whole lot of colour; featuring traditional Ghanian prints and Mudança’s signature crochet. Her vision for the future involves collaborating with more of Toronto’s talented artists and to continue supporting local stores, without ever forgetting what started all of this—the creation of an inclusive and supportive brand.