The Erin Templeton Storefront/Studio in Chinatown houses a collection of everything that make Erin’s designs her own. We sat down with her to talk about her one of a kind, new and recycled leather bags, her studio on site and much more.
What’s the story behind how Erin Templeton got started?
I was going to school for shoe making in London, England in 1999-2001. I made cuffs out of the leather I found in the scrap bin at school, and sold them on Portobello road with my friend for beer money! Then I went to Australia, doing a bit of school as well, making hats from vintage leather pants, and then came home in 2002, establishing my line here, in a little studio on Shanghai Alley. The Modernize Tailors (Chinatown legends), took me under their wing, under the stipulation that I work hard. I was very lucky to work with them, they taught me to fix my machines and scolded me if I wasn’t there enough. It is an honor to plug away in the space they worked in for 43 years, it’s a wonderful feeling to earn the respect of such hard working, amazing people. If I get to do what I love for as long as they have, I will be happy.
How would you describe a typical Erin Templeton’s customer?
I think my customers like practical and simple things, not trendy, but confident and casual. I really like having the shop so I can meet them all, they are all different.
What’s the most unique thing about Erin Templeton?
Me or the brand? I guess it’s the no hardware, or maybe the recycled leather? I feel like when I got started I was one of the only people doing the recycled leather bags, but I don’t know if that’s what makes me unique anymore. If its me, its my laugh, except my sister has the same one, so maybe not.
What’s the best thing about living in Vancouver?
My friends, family, and the seawall, third beach so, ideally friends and family in Stanley park?
What can we expect from you in the next five years?
I don’t know, honestly my life five years ago seems like a world away, the store was only open a year, then, I would have said, still being open! Balancing work and life, I’d like to get better at that. Take time to enjoy everything I’ve done, not compare myself to others? And then there’s part of me wants to say something totally out of left field, a life that has nothing to do with fashion, one that I could never imagine.
Where do you see the fashion & beauty industry going?
I guess it just moves around and around. I mean things are trendy still in fashion, but, like in music, now there are so many choices, and sub cultures and information, so people can find their own preferences, not follow the harsh rules of trends. I don’t care really what everybody else is doing, as far as where they are waxing themselves and who they are wearing. My hope is that the dependence on cheap foreign labour is squashed, and people take responsibility for how much it costs to produce a shirt or a bag in their own country, then they will be more likely to pick and choose more thoughtfully.
On your lunch break, where do you go?
Sun Yat Sen Garden, when possible! Kam Gok Yuen, best BBQ in Chinatown, CASH ONLY.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.” ― Oscar Wilde
I have it in my medicine cabinet, it’s a good reminder.
Photography by: Matthew Chen Photography
511 Carrall Street
(On the corner of Pender and Carrall St., Vancouver, BC)
Wed – Sat 11-6pm
or by appointment.