Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 21 - Interview with Designer Sasha Schaepe of Re-Wild Kids

Re-Wild Kids - Showing on Saturday October 24th

Description -

Re-Wild Kids is a locally based, hand-made, sustainable, gender-fluid children’s lifestyle brand. We create made-to-order products and offer custom fit services. This company advocates conscious social movements such as ‘Rewilding’ and ‘Unschooling’ and is a response to our current global climate crisis. Our mission is to provide the youth with ethically responsible clothing that will facilitate their mindful lifestyle and inspire the growth of a nature-loving child. 

'Rewilding' and 'Unschooling'? - These movements highlight the empowerment of a young generation, their self-directed education and development of the body, mind, and spirit within the natural world. The absence of direct and respectful contact with our environment is dulling our health, capacity for empathy, and interest in nature, which proves to be taking a grave toll on our well-being and that of our environment. These movements are aimed as a process of re-connecting and harnessing the natural relationships in our ecosystem and ourselves.

Zero-waste, up-cycling, and organic dying techniques are incorporated in Re-Wild Kids' designs. The clothing includes elements of practicality, reversibility, and adjustability, which encourage the most use out of the clothing and allow the pieces to grow as the child grows. Our fabrics are carefully chosen to meet the standards of sustainability, such as -> organic, bio-based, compostable fibers, and recycled polyester made from ocean-bound plastic bottles. We include nature and educational-inspired artistic details through embroidery and screen/block printing. Our pieces include a pallet of playful colors and silhouettes fit for any gender.

VFW Bio -

Sasha Schaepe is a multi-disciplinary artist. She is a recent graduate from Kwantlen Polytechnic University the Wilson School of Design with a degree in fashion design and technology. Sasha grew up in the woods of B.C. hiking her hometown mountains of the Chilliwack-Fraser Valley. She realized a deep sense of connection to nature from a young age and continues to develop this bond. As a result, Sasha has become an entrepreneur of Re-Wild Kids, a children’s sustainable, gender-fluid lifestyle brand.

Sasha is equally a costume design freelancer and has worked on projects ranging from film, theatre, dance, to art installations. From as early as she can remember, music has been a cherished part of her life, and continues to grow as a harpist and musical composer. In recent years, she has harnessed a strong interest and practice for embodied performance/acting. Sasha has experience as a professional in all these realms, working on behind-the-curtain productions and on-stage performances. She aspires to further immerse herself in the vast world of the arts while integrating sustainable practices.

Interview -

Please share with readers a bit of your journey to fashion. Was it a dream from a young girl? Where did you study fashion, or if self-taught, how did you gain your design skills?

The day I touched my first needle and thread as a child I knew I wanted to pursue fashion design. I feel grateful to have known my path so clearly from such a young age, but it was a bittersweet relationship, and needed lots of growth to harness the sweetness. I found myself caught in between a true love of art, style, the craft of dress making, and the disturbing image and stigma of the fashion industry.

I did not resonate with the culture of trends and the idea of being told what’s hot and what’s not. I felt deeply upset as a young girl that no mall presented clothes I felt reflected my authenticity. This led me to pursue fashion as my post-secondary study at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the Wilson School of Design and Technology. I felt the fashion designer inside me wake up. I noticed how my essence and life-experience was being turned into textile artifacts. How I see the world is informing my designs, which is ever-changing.

During my studies I also got to explore the hard truths about the cycle of injustices fashion has on labourers, consumers, and the environment. I felt torn and disappointed. I also felt more certainty around what it was I did not want to contribute to, It helped me to write my values, and allowed me to become my own example of what I wished to see exist in the world.

What led you to choose to design sustainable gender neutral clothing for children?

One day, I was on the search for a thesis for my 5th and final year in fashion design school. I came across a certain statistic while looking through ‘Outdoor Magazine’ in the school library; “The average North American child spends up to 7-10 minutes a day outside and 7-10 hours a day in front of a screen.”

In that instant, I dove into a frenzy of research regarding the effect’s technology is having on the youth, environment-based and self-directed education called ‘unschooling’, children and gender binary autonomy, and the ‘rewilding’ movement. I chose these themes to understand the world through the eyes our young generation, the unique vulnerabilities they face, and the healthy decisions they have the capacity to make.

‘Re-Wild Kids’ was my response to everything I had uncovered. I found a driving force strong enough to lead me into my journey as an entrepreneur of this brand. My mission is to provide the youth with ethically responsible products that will embrace their mindful lifestyles and inspire the growth of a nature-loving child. 

Your label is a sustainable brand incorporating zero-waste, up-cycling, and organic dying techniques into your brand. Why is that important to you? What challenges does it create?

On average, 60 billion square meters, out of the 400 billion square meters of fabric that are produced a year, is wasted when garments are produced. 39 million tons of post-consumer garments are thrown into the landfill each year, when 95% of them can be reused.

Zero-waste design re-frames excess as opportunity. I believe ‘zero-waste’ asks us to engage our creativity and imagine what other life is possible in this object. How can this be transformed and used again instead of being thrown into the ever-growing pile of garbage? As a fashion designer, I am working with valuable resources all the time, and I take it as my personal responsibility to treat them with respect. I wish to maintain this integrity in my work and to be in-touch with the process, all the way through.

As you can imagine, this would significantly slow things down, which is ultimately the goal! The challenge for me is to not get caught up in convenience. In a world where instant gratification is at your fingertips, taking the process into your own two hands can feel like such a burden. Sustainable gratification comes with time, and it takes time to harness sustainable practices. 

What are some of the unique sustainable fabrics that you use to create your garments?

This collection is created to be entirely compostable. The buttons are made from wood and all other notions, such as the metal rings and clips, can be cut out and used again.

Some fabrics include Lyocell twill and organic cotton stretch fleece. These are made from biobased compostable fibers where wood pulp is transformed into cellulose fibers. The manufacturing process of these materials use renewable energy, recycles water, and process chemicals at a recovery rate of 99%.

Hemp is known to be the most durable of all fibers. It requires no pesticides or herbicides, needs very little water to grow, and returns 60% of the nutrients to the soil. I work with hemp fleece fabric. The fleece is made from recycled polyester which is composed of ocean-bound plastic bottles.

Other fabrics include bamboo cotton jersey, cotton gauze, and organic cotton brushed twill. 

Readers would love to hear about your SS21 collection you'll be showing on the 25th. What was the inspiration? What can they expect to see? 

The foundational inspirations that make up Re-Wild Kids are the four elements, the four directions, the micro and the macro, and how we navigate ourselves among this beautiful eco-web. How do we orient ourselves in the environment; maps, compasses, the north star, the river’s flow, animal tracks...?

In this collection you’ll follow the footprints of animals you find on nature walks. You will discover how deep roots grow and how high the blossoms stretch of the flowers and veggies in your garden, and you’ll learn about the bees and butterflies that visit them. You’ll look up to our celestial sky and find our neighbouring planets. From above you’ll see our own planet, our lands and seas, and their names. If you look closely you may find squirrels and acorns scattered about. You may even witness the life cycle of a tadpole to a frog.

Now, what you will see beneath the stitches of the garment is a process conscious to my own eco-footprint. Elements include; organic home-dying with turmeric and lac, zero-waste techniques, adjustable and reversible designs, and artistic touches of embroidery and screen/block printing. 


In response to COVID restrictions, Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 21 will be offered as a FREE online event on October 24th and 25th. October 24th debut their latest collections on the runway via live stream video. Then on October 25th VFW will stream a series of International fashion films from a number of designers from all over the world. To view these shows, go to the Vancouver Fashion Week Live channel on Vancouver Fashion Week’s official website or to their official Instagram account - @vanfashionweek. These virtual events will bring incredible Canadian and International fashion and artistry into homes across the globe.