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Is it a blanket? Is it a cape? No wait, it's a Snowskirt! This is the kind of idea that could only have been conceived in Montreal, where the nights are long and cold, and the fight to look good in winter is a long and strenuous battle. FantasyWorldHeroes have embraced the power of needle and thread to bring us a solution to those winter chills, letting us feel feminine and look gorgeous even during the toughest months of the year. We couldn't resist delving into a mine of such genius.

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The Snowskirt seems like the obvious starting point, so can you tell us how it works and how you came up with this fantastic idea?

Sure, it all started about ten years ago now, with weekly sewing parties. We'd just drink red wine and come up with quirky clothes. The challenge was always to create original pieces from no patterns -- it was crazy fun! During one of these sessions, Stephanie told me about an idea she'd had forever about a great new invention -- the Snowskirt -- an outerwear skirt that you could layer over your clothes that was warm like snowpants but stylish enough to actually wear out of the house. With that mission in place, we set about creating a prototype. Well, two prototypes so we could both have one! We started wearing our snowskirts around and soon, everyone we knew wanted one, and people we didn't know were stopping us on the street. We knew we'd hit on something so we started making them, slowly, model by model. Every year demand went up and every year we added a little something, came up with new styles, and refined our pattern a little more. It was a gradual build since we all have other jobs, but now we sell on Etsy and at boutiques (General 54 on St-Viateur in Montreal, Gallery Distill in Toronto, and Workshop in Ottawa).

You seem to have taken inspiration from the cold climates here, but how else do you think Montreal influences you?

Absolutely we were influenced by Montreal's cold winter climate. The snowskirt sprung from necessity. That said, being Montrealers and knowing how Montrealers covet fashion, we also knew the snowskirt had to have style. It had to be a perfect mix of form meets function. Inspired by this city's denial to give up fashion despite sub-zero temperatures six months of the year, we set out to create a warm AND stylish winter accessory Montrealers could rock.

Do you have any plans to make any other winter creations?

Yes! We'd love to make capes and muffs for winter. And actually, we are dreaming up sexy flattering snowpants that come off with just one zip. Also, we'd love to jump into spring with some rainskirts -- pretty waterproof skirts you could even bike in!

Your collective, FantasyWorldHeroes, has a great name, who came up with it? And what is the dynamic like within the group?

Our name, FantasyWorldHeroes, popped into my head one day as a name for a band or a story (I'm actually a screenwriter by day) and it just kind of stuck. It seemed to fit because we thought of ourselves as fashion-inventors more than designers. Our ideas are all about making extremely practical to wear, yet totally whimsical to look at, fashion. We are a collective of three. Steph and I are the dreamers and designers but it's Duncan, our third partner and a total sewing master, who's responsible for how beautifully made the snowskirts are and how well they fit. He took our crazy scrappy pattern and turned it into perfection.

For someone looking to start sewing their own creations what advice would you give?

I'd say if you have an idea or are inspired to create, well, just do it! Sounds cliched I guess, but you will never know what's possible if you don't try. And besides, creating is fun - even the stuff that doesn't work out. Also, finding a like-minded partner can be a great way to keep you inspired and make you stick with it.

Aside from fashion, what else are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about writing, reading, movies, coming up with fake TV show ideas with my friends, and of course, fashion. Stephanie is an amazing baker. She makes so many cakes for people's birthdays she had to develop a fool-proof system for bungee-ing cakes to her bike to transport them.

What is your idea of a perfect winter evening?

My perfect winter evening would be taking a walk through the neighbourhood in one of my many snowskirts (I have, like ten!) to some cozy spot for a glass of wine, followed by dinner cooked by my boyfriend who's incredibly good in the kitchen, followed by watching an old movie on our video projector with friends. Another perfect winter evening is going to a show or a party when it's minus 40 (of course in a snowskirt again) and finding a room jam-packed with people similarly determined to not the cold bring them down! Gotta love Montrealers!

If you could get on a plane and go anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?

Can it be two places? First I'd like to go somewhere like Fiji to warm up and look at green and flowers. Then I'd head to Paris (with a jaunt to London) to visit friends and be surrounded by art and beautiful things.

Visit www.sugaronmytongue.net for fashion, life, Montreal, London and everything in between.

Take a look at the FantasyWorldHeroes shop on Etsy for more information and how to get hold of your very own Snowskirt.

Image credits: All images from FantasyWorldHeroes

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