ankle magazine - sam and agathe

“when we arrive together and the studio is empty, we can talk for two hours… we have to stop talking to each other to start working.” sam occupies the space next to agathe, both part of a multi-disciplinary atelier located on jean-talon street – in the little italy of montreal.

heirloom-hats-lly-atelier-elisabeth-labelle-ankle-magazine.jpg

as they prepare for the day ahead, coffee is not to be neglected. “my coffee is in the middle of the day,” says agathe, who usually comes in at 1PM to leave around 11 at night. “and she doesn’t want anybody to make it for her,” adds sam. “yeah, I’m specific about how I take my coffee,” she replies with a smile. agathe, the jewelry maker behind lly atelier, is a night owl when sam is definitely more of a morning person. the hat maker, who launched her label heirloom hats last year, gets up around 7AM and is usually here by 10. “together, we must be here 12 hours per day,” says sam.

heirloom-hats-lly-atelier-elisabeth-labelle-ankle-magazine.jpg

if one is more productive by day and the other one by night, the neighbours designed their individual space with contrast – as if the sun and the moon were next to each other. the black wall belongs to agathe, which sam describes as “dark and mysterious like her line” (but funny too). self-proclaimed stubborn, she modified all of her counters to 40 inches high so she could work standing up at all times.

next to the window, various stones arranged like art objects can’t go unnoticed – evidence of her newfound love for geology. “I never had a true scientific curiosity, but it developed with time. discovering how things are shaped… I might go back to school in geology eventually.” in her office, you might hear one of the numerous podcasts she listens to on a daily basis or, if in a productive mode, hard core stuff like noise or industrial music. “then sam is like (screaming),” mimics agathe, laughing.

behind the dark wall, sam listens to ambient music, melodies to relax – a soothing feeling she also gets when sewing by hand. in the back, her bookcase is a treasure chest of vintage images and drawings. “my inspiration mainly comes from textures,” she says. a set of tools neatly placed on her desk demonstrate her rigorous work process, a hint of her part time job as a lab technician. “but if I wasn’t making hats, I wouldn’t be doing that full time. I would’ve ended up in another creative job for sure,” she says, smiling.

heirloom-hats-samantha-tara-mainville-elisabeth-labelle-ankle-magazine.jpg

sam smiles a lot, agathe can assure you. she describes her as bubbly, happy, funny and also very entertaining. it was sam that got the idea of a sack race across the studio in an enormous plastic bag. “agathe filmed me in slow motion,” she adds, both girls laughing uncontrollably. there was also the time they tried making leather wallets for their boyfriend. or the hours spent watching crime documentaries on youtube while working.

sam and agathe, although having distinct aesthetics and personalities, share the same creative space, love for accessories and amazing friendship. that's pretty fascinating.

photos by phil bernard
text by elisabeth labelle