What is Ark Works? Our products reflect our effort to try and come up with vintage and retro inspired products, with a bit of a modern update. Lately we have the goal of using recycled materials wherever they can be substituted. Why waste new resources when there are still lots of resources still kicking around for re-using. Another benefit- a lot of the stuff has been nicely worn in for you already.
There are lots of old and heinously designed leather jackets kicking around from back when looking like a pimp was de-rigeur. We have found where all those guys have buried their jackets, and dug them out of the proverbial graveyard, chopped them up, repurposed them, and turned them into products that we hope are a lot more easy on the eye.
So, we do hope you enjoy our products as much as we enjoyed creating them.
Calgary, Canada’s First Men’s Wear Store
Ark History. Ark Works began back in the dark ages, somewhere around 1995. It’s founder, appropriately named Noah’s first foray into the clothing business was buying and selling second-hand/vintage clothing while he was still a poverty stricken university student. Ark’s first products were clothes made from second hand fabric as well as re-worked vintage clothing. One of the first products produced was a pair of classic Adidas track pants cut down and resown into a long skirt. Ouch! But, it was a big hit in the late 90’s!
Ark Aesthetic. We are inspired by the past and look towards previous decades for our inspiration. Mind you, these days, who doesn’t? When we first began we leaned towards the 70’s. Then things shifted forward more to the 80’s. And now we seem to be heading even further back for inspiration to a time when men still waxed their moustaches and everyone wore suspenders and high waisted pants -a cross between a lumber jack and a barber, with a bit of rocknroll thrown in for good measure. Oh what crazy times we live in. Anyway, we try to get ideas and inspiration from all that was cool in the past and then put a bit of a twist on it, to give it a unique flavor, and hopefully some current relevance.
And another from the archives…
We hope your loving these old school photos as much as we do. Previous to the men’s wear store Chas Benjamin owned a small Cigar shop inside the Driad Hotel in Wetaskawin, Alberta. He is the well dressed fellow on the right with the dog on the leash. So not only could he sport a cowboy hat, but he was pretty dapper as well.
Suited up for the first ever Calgary Stampede
The Ark story has come a long way. But because we continue to draw inspiration from the old, let’s take a moment to reflect back on how it all began in the days of yore. The year was 1912 and the first ever Calgary Stampede. Although not many people are able to pull of furry sheep pelt chaps, these gentlemen cowboys certainly could rock them! The gentleman on the far right is Chas Benjamin and the great grandfather of Ark’s founder. His story actually begins when he used to drive a wagon around the prairies selling clothing and dry goods to all the settlers and natives across western Canada. When he eventually settled down and opened up his men’s wear store in Calgary about 15-20 years later he was often visited by various members of the First Nations, who would come into his shop while visiting town for the Stampede. They would hang out in the back and speak to each other sometimes in Cree, which he spoke a bit of and they would most likely all laugh at his crazy outfit!