1840 Journal

Meet the artisans, discover their expertise, and share their passion.

Creators

To do it all and to do it well.

For over a decade Catherine Cournoyer and Jinny Lévesque have been the two halves of Noujica, a Montreal company that makes unique artisanal objects from textiles and leather. “We make ethical accessories, clothes, and decorative objects that are designed and crafted in Quebec,” Catherine explains. When it comes to Noujica, responsible production is key even in the smallest details. 

With no less than three categories of products—clothing, bags, and decorative accessories—Noujica’s creations are limitless except for their production capacity. All conception and design happens in the Grover building in Montreal, as well as approximately 60% of their production. Some tasks like sewing are taken up by a social reintegration group. “The social and ecological mission is really pivotal to our company’s mandate. It’s a very organic model,” Catherine says.

The creators don’t cut corners when it comes to ensuring the quality and design of their products. Noujica ensures it uses ecological fabric by choosing fibres that are also ethically made. Recycled matter is also sometimes used, and the bags are made from vegetable-tanned leather. In other words, the leather is tanned in a traditional way through a process that isn’t toxic for the environment or the employees. Catherine draws all the designs that are then printed on fabrics thanks to an artisanal screenprinting process.

 

The duo works together on all aspects of the design. “It’s all about teamwork and that’s what we love,” Catherine tells us. 

The creators met when they were studying visual arts together. Catherine graduated in design while Jinny specialized in artisanal crafts and glasswork. Jinny takes care of the 3D aspect of projects, that is, the design and production of objects like the bags, while her partner covers what pertains to all things 2D, such as the development of fabrics and fabric designs. “Our strengths gel well together to make unique objects that have an artisanal touch,” Catherine explains.

While textile manufacturing is central to all creations at Noujica, the duo is heavily inspired by design. “Architecture, interior design, and object design often serve as main threads in collections,” Catherine tells us. Motivation isn’t lacking even after 10 years, but it’s time for the successful company to adopt a new rhythm. “Two collections per year is quite exhausting,” Catherine confides. “It’s a model based on the idea of fast fashion,” she says. “It’s hard to keep up when we’re a small business that makes our own fabrics.”

In keeping with their wonderful local and artisanal approach, the artists want to continue their work by proposing micro-collections or capsules. A new day is upon them, which they are seizing with all the joy that comes with creating responsibly.

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