The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Thanks to her mother, fashion has always been a big part of Anneke Forbes’ life, even leading her to pursue a career in the industry.

But it was her father’s background as a dairy farmer that inspired her to go into business for herself, where she now produces the same kind of “heirloom” clothing her mother passed on to her.

When Forbes was 10, her mother taught her how to sew.

“I would use, just like, patterns you could purchase from the store, and I would make whatever I wanted out of it,” says Forbes. “I came to realize that oftentimes the patterns didn’t fit in the way that I wanted them to, and that was sort of the missing part for me.”

An heirloom jacket from her mother pushed her to find that missing part.

“She made this stunning wool coat and skirt set... it was an ivory wool with a grey check, and the inside was bright red satin lining, and she had hand-embroidered all of the lining seams, and she had also bound buttonholes down the whole front.”

The jacket survived two generations, which is what made it so special to Forbes.

“I wanted to create clothing that people were like: ‘I love this, and I love it so much that I want to wear it all of the time, and even when I pass away I still want someone else to be wearing it.’”

Newly motivated, she went to fashion school, but did not start designing right away.

Instead, her first exposure to the industry began through modeling with Elite Model Management.

“I really fell in love with that whole glamorous side of the industry, and that sort of connecting with my sewing background gave me the taste, as well as the skill, to deliver to people what they wanted in terms of custom design.”

“I just wanted to create clothing that people were like: ‘I love this, and I love it so much that I want to wear it all of the time, and even when I pass away I still want someone else to be wearing it.’” – Anneke Forbes

Eventually, her passion for modeling faded out, and her focus turned to business — an interest inspired by her father’s dairy farm.

“[He] was home all the time, so I was really inspired by the flexibility and time that he had,” says Forbes.

After seeing the entrepreneurial lifestyle her father achieved, she created a denim tailoring company called LoveMeBlue.

“I got to a point where I was like: ‘This is not what I went to school for, it’s not what I’m passionate about [and] it’s not anything related to my mother’s heirloom quality coat,’says Forbes. “So, that’s when I switched into designing this collection of outerwear.”

She ended up having to completely remake the first jacket of her collection.

“I went one, two, three stitches too far on my top stitch, and I was like okay it’s cool, I will just order some new blue skins and replace that piece — it’s all good,” says Forbes. “So I did so, [I] put the piece in, and I look at it and I’m like, that piece is a different colour.”

“When you order leather skin, depending on their dye lot, they can be a completely different shade of that colour,” Forbes explains.

4BODYAnneke Forbes stands by the outerwear she herself designs and creates. Photo by Shannon Oxley.

The result was a sky blue motorcycle jacket, which ended up being purchased by customer Mikki Sutherland.

 “She was taking custom orders, she had some samples there,” says Sutherland. “I had seen her work, and I tried on one of her leather jackets, and I knew it had to be mine.”

Forbes’ outerwear collection is completely based around her determination of creating heirloom-quality clothing.

“I would rather just have people wear really truly beautiful clothing more often,” says Forbes. “Heirloom [clothing] is just like the extreme version of that.”

Forbes does not let anything affect the production schedule.

“I check every single thing,” Forbes explains. “So, [if] a box of buttons comes in, [it] doesn’t matter if there is 500 or 5000, I have to count them.”

This attention to detail is evident in all of her custom-made clothes.

“She really gives something special to the market,” says Martina Carello, Forbes’ fit consultant. “It’s kind of going back to a time and a period where tailoring and quality-made clothing was a craft, and she kind of brings that back. It’s not a common thing to find.”

This has always been the goal for Forbes.

“I feel like as long as I’m doing this, I am getting what I need,” Forbes says. “I’m not interested in being a millionaire — I just want to do what I love, and as long as I’m doing what I love, I’m happy.”

Shannon Oxley | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Editor: Alec Warkentin | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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