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Holy Smokers!! 15 Years!

by Lynn Bebee on March 28, 2023

This year marks the 15th Anniversary for Blackbird Studios.  We've come along way and we are excited to celebrate this milestone!

For the past 15 years, Blackbird Studios thrived on James Street North. We started out in the Sonic Unyon Building, making uniforms for Roller Girls worldwide (Japan, Australia, USA and Canada).  


For the first couple of years, we spent our time designing, sampling, figuring out the brand.  We focused on textile prints of the curious and quirky and starting screen printing our fabrics.  

Blackbird Studios first event was the "The Hanky Panky Panty Party" Fashion Show.  It was to help fund our first collection.  We designed underwear and t's with hand-printed fabrics.  We were both in bands, so we were on the bill too!  Lorrainas and the Poisoned Aeros.  Ridiculous!  What were we thinking??



We were always one for Rock and Roll Shows.  The Orphans (a seriously great garage rock band) played on many of the Blackbird stages, backing the runway with live music.  Guest musicians were often featured and the shows were always sold out!  We even collaborated with Tish and Snooky, founders of Manic Panic and brought their band to Hamilton from NYC.  Bonkers!!



Before long, we opened our first shop on James, 161 James Street North. We worked in the back of the store and sold our clothing up front.  But as production increased we decided to move our production to the Cotton Factory and the shop moved to 123 James Street North.   This expansion was largely due to winning the First Ontario Awards 1.  The winnings fueled this initiative and we opened up a small run factory.  

Thanks to our customers, we had a great go on James Street.   We released 6 collections a year, collaborated with local photographers, models and make up artists.  We staged the Supercrawl Fashion Zone, sat on the Board for Glamour in the Hammer, presented at the AGH Annual Gala(s) and continued to participate in fundraising and private events. 

Then Covid struck!  Like so many small businesses, we shifted into survival mode!  We were fortunate enough to have just launched our website before we had to shut down. To our delight, the online orders started to pour in.  We had a chance. 


It was also at this time that Cadillac Fairview contacted us to discuss the possibility of a pop up at Limeridge Mall.  We really needed to explore this as James Street was suffering from homelessness and store closures.  We had a chance.  

We've managed to extend our stay at the mall and now have a permanent location.  So glad we can stay.  It's been so fun, challanging and nice to be so accessible to our customers.  

After 15 years, there is an abundance of stories and friendships that have blossomed over the years.  Thank you!!  Thank you for the posts, the shares, the wears, the snaps, the encouragement.  You have helped us shine!! 

To many more years!








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