Charlotte Reid is a fashion designer and entrepreneur that is the creative mind behind Charlottestreet, a unique recycled apparel and accessory fashion design brand based in St. John’s, NL. She carefully curates each preloved piece to incorporate colourful hues and patterns and then deconstructs them to create playful yet practical pieces to keep us warm & cool looking here in St. John’s and around the world!
Charlotte honed her skills as a designer while studying costuming at Dalhousie. Since graduation she has worked in costuming for theatre and film across the country. When she decided to open up her own shop, she found that sourcing local fabrics could be a challenge and thus quickly became a pioneer in upcycling sweaters to create her one of a kind clothing and accessories.
Charlotte’s designs include: dresses, skirts, scarves, sweaters, accessories and her wildly popular wristies. Charlottestreet works are approved by the Craft Council of NL’s standards committee and by NL Crafts of Character for the quality of the design.
Charlotte believes in slow-fashion, and the Charlottestreet business model is about making stylish, quality clothing that people will have in their wardrobes as statement pieces for years to come.
Who is Charlotte Reid and what do you do?
Creator of Charlottestreet and Costume Designer for film/ TV/theatre; music lover and hula hoop enthusiast.
Did you always know you would become a Fashion Designer or did you dream of a different career path as a child?
I was always interested in fashion and was also encouraged to pursue a career in the arts, so it was pretty natural.
What is the story of your career so far? When did it start and how has it progressed?
Before I moved home, I worked full time as a costumer in film/tv and supporting industries. To be honest I moved back home to start my business and get away from that, but I quickly got sucked into the industry here.
Over the years, I’ve kept Charlottestreet going during the off seasons, and I do often take inspiration from the costumes I’m involved with. These days, I’m much more choosy about the extra projects I take on so I can focus more on my business and take it to new levels.
What are some interesting things you are working on or are involved with now?
Right now I’m working on an educational product with the Rooms for the NLESD. And I usually have my hand in a few film projects. The Missus Downstairs season 3 is coming up!
Tell us something we don’t know about you!
One of my first businesses was “Diva Doggies”, a line of fru fru (but practical) dog coats. It was around 1999-2000 in Halifax, inspired by my peek-a-pom, Buddy. I was a bit ahead of my time and mostly people mocked me.
What is your favorite thing to do in your downtime?
Spend time with friends & family, garden, and dance like nobody’s looking.
For consumers considering how to make a positive global impact, highlighting sustainable concepts and trends that exist in the fashion industry is so important. Charlottestreet uses upcycling, which is a process in which old products or waste materials are transformed into new products with better quality. Can you tell us about the process you use to source and create amazing upcycled fashion?
I’m always on the hunt for materials at thrift shops and flea markets. I look for good quality knits which are getting harder to find with the rise of fast fashion in the last couple decades. Not impossible, I just need to dig deeper.
I try to use knits that are otherwise unwearable. I love a shrunken sweater!
A lot of the accessories in my collection have stood the test of time, so I just keep producing them in the colors of the season! I add a few new designs or a twist on an old faithful every year.
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s been pretty comfy and laid back. However, post pandemic, I’m getting back into dressing up for fun and playing with vintage styling. I'm slowly shedding the sweats.
You are on a deserted island, what 3 items do you have?
Presuming this is a survival situation and not a leisurely vacation, I would have paracord, a cooking vessel to boil water, and a good knife.
What’s the next place on your travel bucket list?
Actually, I’m looking forward to exploring parts of the Island I’ve not had the chance to explore yet this summer!
Why do you choose to call Newfoundland home?
Family and friends to start. However, I love St. John’s because we get to mingle and collaborate with so many different disciplines. I find this inspiring. I didn’t appreciate how great it is here until I spent time away and came back.
Of course there are some things that bug me (and everyone else) about this town - like the weather! The weather does inspire me though to create these warm and fuzzy fashions.
What's the most rewarding part of your career path?
Probably my customers. When people “get me” and get excited about my creations, I feel motivated to keep going forward.
Your career path is truly inspiring. What advice might you have for anyone that might be interested in pursuing a career in Fashion Design?
When it comes to learning a new craft or skill, practice makes perfect! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that is how we learn.
Half the battle is getting your work out there. Many creators, myself included, wish we could just create all day long and not deal with the selling part!
For the past year you have been a part of the mentor/apprenticeship program for "Crafts at Risk" through Heritage NL. Can you tell us more about what that encompassed?
I worked with Erica Dawe @ericajanedesign for a year exploring traditional millinery techniques and materials. We’re planning to continue the journey, so keep an eye out for that!
Newfoundland has a vibrant arts community; from musicians and songwriters, to dancers and painters, authors and actors, and every form of craft in between. Johnny Ruth tries to show continued support by carrying numerous pieces and forms of art designed and/or manufactured by both local and Canadian artists, and has monthly live Artist Showcases in our shop window. How important do you think it is for the community to support local arts and local businesses that support the arts?
We’re very blessed to have such a high percentage of working artists living in our city, and that’s one of the things that makes St. John’s special.
We wouldn't have such a vibrant scene if it wasn't for community support in a province where the arts is publicly underfunded.
What’s your favorite thing about Johnny Ruth?
I love that JR supports local and supports community. And of course the selection in the shop is always amazing!
How do you see the NL fashion industry evolving in the future, and how do you hope to contribute to this evolution?
I’ve been watching other local designers come up and see success over the last decade or so here, which is really exciting! I think we have our own fashion revolution happening here in Newfoundland. Right now upcycled fashion is definitely having a moment, so that can only mean good things for my brand and helping to put us on the map!
To find out more about the “Crafts at Risk” program visit: https://heritagenl.ca/programs/craft-at-risk/.
If you'd like to see an exhibit of the work Charlotte did as part of this program and learn her process, come see her live at Johnny Ruth and take part in a silent auction with proceeds going to The Gathering Place. Mark your calendar to drop in for a visit on May 6th from 12-4pm!