Written for Little Burgundy Magazine, orginally published in October 2010. Magazine can be found at Little Burgundy Shoes.
In 2002, Mary-Eve Ruel never imagined that she would someday be the owner and designer of jewelry and accessories label Uranium. Initially intimidated by Montreal, the self-proclaimed ‘shy’ twenty-six year old’s creations now reflect the different personalities and lifestyles she observes in our cosmopolitan city of sin, both past, present and future.
It is Montreal’s eclectic leanings that contribute to Uranium’s unusual approach to fashion. Lucie, Luv machine, Stella and Hayden, are four mythical characters who compose the company’s various fashion lines, each wearing metals and leaving their finger prints on all products. Each character represents specific values such as inner beauty, strength, love and creation, which are reflected in unlikely objects such as airplanes, anchors, feathers and daggers. Uranium hopes their attitudes will empower its customers. Ruel explains: “It’s like back in the day, when people were traveling with crystals around their necks. I wanted to replace the religious view of these crystals with pure spirituality. The attributes that my characters have push a different set of values.”
Created in Quebec City, in 1998, Uranium began by producing wooden jewelry based on the urban lifestyle and music that the company lived by: skateboarding, punk and rockabilly. As the company grew older, it began experimenting with different materials and looks. In 2006, Uranium relocated to Montreal and in 2008, Ruel took over as head honcho. Last year, the company began collaborating with design consultants 123Klan, as an initiative to get involved with artists from mediums outside the realm of fashion. 2010 sees Uranium working with local band We Are Wolves. The secret to Uranium’s success, Ruel confesses, is being surrounded by good people and feeling passionate about everything she commits to. “We want to help everybody, maybe that’s why so many people are helping us…it’s sort of a win-win theory.”
Uranium’s love for the future fits with this issue of Little Burgundy. This season’s collection is inspired by seventies retro-futurism, the DeLorean, Nintendo’s power glove and most tellingly, a Barbie video game Ruel used to play on her Commodore 64, where she learned the lesson: “No outfit, no date.” Today’s message, Ruel reckons: “Bad attitude, no date.” Where she sees Uranium in twenty years? Continuing to be completely Canadian-produced, but have it known on an increasingly international market, keeping both the online and retail stores equally important. Most importantly, Ruel hope to continue to translate the passion of her products, however eccentric, to the customer.