When Claire Theaker-Brown started Unbelts in 2014, she never knew that one day her products would be worn at the Oscars.
Her friend who lives and works in Los Angeles as a television production assistant reached out and asked Theaker-Brown if Unbelts had any products that would match her gown — and hold her equipment — for the 94th Academy Awards. Theaker-Brown happily sent her samples until she found the perfect fit.
“This was such a happy accident,” says Theaker-Brown. “We can say forever that we were on the red carpet. And, I’m happy that we can look glamorous, but I’m even happier that we can solve real problems.”
Theaker-Brown founded Unbelts in Shanghai, where she lived for a few years until 2014. She found it difficult to find a pair of pants that fit properly there, and it was just as difficult finding a high quality yet stylish belt. So, with the help of seamstresses who lived on her block, she designed and made her own.
Unbelts has two studios, one in Shanghai and one in Edmonton, but all Unbelts products will be Canadian made by the end of 2022. The business is also one of the first apparel businesses in Western Canada to have B Corp designation, which recognizes businesses that meet high standards of transparency and accountability, and creates positive social and environmental benefits.
Unbelts offers a few styles of belts, but Theaker-Brown says the top selling style is the Intrepid, which is extremely flexible and has silicone backing to prevent slipping and sliding.
“At the beginning, my focus was really on creating a flat belt that wouldn’t add bulk under T-shirts,” she says. “But now, our main selling feature is that the belts are so darn comfortable. I’m proud of that.”
Shop Unbelts at unbelts.ca or 9909 72 Ave NW, Edmonton
This article appears in the May 2022 issue of Edify
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