The Femme Stories is a blog series celebrating the makers who inspire, empower their communities and continue to gift us with their creativity; these are their stories.

Patricia | La Pimbêche

I am a huge fan of the La Pimbêche. I first came across Patricia and her brand at the last OOAK we had before Covid. I was cruising through the aisles not really shopping, when I was completely drawn into this booth. They had these stunning one of a kind jean jackets and they were painted with colourful graphics. Ever since that moment I have been obsessed with the La Pimbêche message; empowerment.
patricia, designer and owner of la pimbeche, your one stop shop for feminist apparel


 What is La Pimbêche, for anyone who is new to your brand?

La Pimbêche started as my artist name and through the years it became the brand, but diving deeper, it’s really the subject that I am focusing my art around. It is self determination; self love and you are going to feel that in my art through the different mediums I use. No matter what medium, the constant is the subject that I always focus my energy on; it's empowerment and self confidence. Obviously through this, it's all about feminism for sure, but there's so many layers of feminism.Fighting for gender equality and fighting the social construct that is based on the patriarch to name a few. Ultimately La Pimbêche is the art and the message and through this I have been able to see my art travel. To allow the message and the value to transfer to one another and for that message to be spread. That is why La Pimbêche was the perfect word for me as an artist and my brand. 

What does Pimbêche mean in French and what inspired you to choose this artist name?

 I love this question and I get it a lot. So, La Pimbêche is an old French word used in Quebec, and I'm pretty sure it comes from France, but it is rooted Quebec culture. So, if you look in the dictionary, it will define a woman that is pretentious and arrogant, but what it actually is, in our language, is an old word used to criticize a woman, not a man. It's a word for a woman that is speaking loudly, standing up for themselves and who is independent. And at this time, it was an insult. It was a word used to oppress women, and to minimize their power, and to shut them down. For me, this word means so much in terms of the position of women and the history of women. How the patriarchy was so strong within the language. I took this name because I want to reclaim it. I want to reclaim this oppression. When I say our power, I am talking about my gender where I define myself as woman, but it can definitely be any person who defines themselves as a woman, non-binary, or any other gender. This word held so much power so it was perfect for me as an artist, and then my brand.

What did you do before starting La Pimbêche in 2018?

 My background is in marketing, advertising, branding and I did social media content strategy. My path was art school, and then grad school. For me, it was important to start my experience in the advertising and branding world, more in the corporate arena, to gain that kind of experience. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I knew I wanted something related to art, but I didn’t know how that would look, so 11 years ago, I started marketing in the fashion industry. This then shifted to the Telecom Industry which was a very hard moment in my life, because this industry was mainly men. It was my first interaction of working with mostly men and I felt a bit alone, sometimes in terms of the emotional fear, it was definitely very triggering at the time, but I gained a lot of experience in business and marketing. I did this for 8 or 9 years before I realized it was time to jump into being my own boss. I wanted to be able to be create and fulfill that part of me, so I switched careers and become an entrepreneur and an artist.

Your brand always makes bold statements and focuses on empowering people, was this always a staple in your art or did it become more important because of the political climate that rose up in 2018?

I think it's a mix of both. At the time I was working in a mostly male environment, so it really hit me how different the dynamic was between the genders. This is where I strongly experienced patriarchal situations in conversations and through actions. 2018 was an eye opening year for everyone, including myself and I definitely had my aw ha moment, where I thought we finally have recognized of a big problem that has been in our society and in the roots of our society for too much time. It's a problem that literally affects everyone and in all spheres of their life; home, work, school, relationships. I think we all started to question and challenge our own BS. I know personally I reflected on my own position and how I tackle feminism. How do I treat consent? I started to ask how can I contribute and do better in this world through my gift, through my calling, which is being an artist. I wanted to see how could I take this gift and be able to inspire this conversation for the highest good of society.

You also do a collection of upcycled Jean Jackets, what inspired you to start working with vintage and thrifted pieces?

 Yes, the collection of upcycle jean jackets is my baby. I love doing these. I started by collecting jackets while I travelled and I ordered some of them from the UK. I love the history and emotion that is carried with each jacket. Each distressed detail, mark or scuff is a part of its beautiful history and I feel it is also connected to the history of female evolution. I feel an energy in each jean jacket and this energy has been transmitted into the art piece that I put on it. I feel honoured by these pieces.

This year you started selling at Simons, being a Quebec owned fashion retailer how important was this milestone for you? 

This was such a massive surprise. Simons is a big retail store in Quebec and it's all across Canada, they also have a huge online store and when they actually emailed me it was a big moment for me. The fact that they found me through Instagram and were interested in my message and brand, that was a huge win. Obviously being carried in 15 stores and online was incredible, but the fact that a major player in the Fashion Industry wanted to be a part of this conversation, that they agreed with the values of my brand and wanted to support my mission, this was very thrilling. It's almost like, you know, when you find your ultimate purpose, the universe gives you the opportunity to strive for it, and to be visible and show up in the world and be found. The higher forces presented this to me and it was a big milestone andI am very grateful.

You also put your art work into oracle cards, which are empowering, educational and beautiful how did the idea for these products come about?

The oracle cards are something so magical and so strong. Last year, I wanted to do a product that was a tool for helping people to nourish, understand and tap into their inner fire, confidence and determination. I kept looking at my existing product line and just didn’t see how my idea to would translate to clothing. In my personal life I read tarot cards and it has helped me practice to self love. Then I was like, Hey Patricia, this is right in front of your face every day! You use oracle and tarot cards for your own practice, in order to be the best version of yourself and you're asking which product should you create to help people do the same thing.It was right in front of my face. The deck focuses on confidence, self determination and self love. So, it's not very spiritual, it's called Badass Manifestor and it's all about being a badass in your personal life and when it comes to making decisions. It doesn't matter if it's a good or a bad decision, this is not the point; the decision is the point. It’s about being aligned with yourself in that moment. Each day you pull a card, read aloud the affirmation. Maybe you have an intention, or problem in your life and the card you pull speaks to you. It’s not necessarily the words, it's also the visual, and the colours and the energy from each card. When it came to creating the oracle cards I used a lot of my own affirmations. I do a lot of journaling, it is a daily practice for me, so I started to collect all my affirmations that I was using myself these past few years. This oracle deck is very strong with energy, and it has been received so beautifully. I am really happy they are helping people become the best version and the most badass version of themselves. 

Lastly what are you currently reading?

I am reading two books right now. I am almost finished, The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein and I just starting Code Red by Lisa Lister.   

Whether you feel empowered in your life and want to see that reflected in your clothing or if you need that support of empowerment, La Pimbêche is a brand you must follow. Patricia is so conscious about the words she uses, it only makes sense that her graphics and art are the same way. Each piece has a clear intention and she wants that message of love to spread from herself to her clientele. She spreads this message of self determination, self love, empowerment through each piece of art, each product and she is creating a better world by pushing us to think outside the box that the patriarchy wants us to be in.

Check out all the La Pimbêche brand has to offer here & make sure to follow on Instagram.

Written by Carissa McCaig

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