about us

 

Our Passion  Our products reflect our passion for vintage products and their quality of material and craftsmanship. They also reflect our commitment to reusing quaility, sustainable materials. Our company started out as one which bought and sold vintage clothing exclusively and then evolved into the company we are today, which still retains its vintage inspired roots, but has combined it with a desire to reuse and repurpose.  Our goal is to use recycled/upcycled materials whenever possible. Our question: Why waste precious new resources when there are literally mountains of “waste" resources available for re-use. 

Currently we are focused on producing mainly bags, and leather jackets, from repurposed leather. One of the benefits to this is that no animals are harmed in the repurposing of this leather! There are lots of old and heinously designed leather jackets kicking around just waiting for a new life. And often these jackets are made from an even better grade of leather than can be found on todays fast fashion leather jackets.

The environmental benefits speak for themselves. The process of tanning, processing and dying leather is an incredibly polluting one, pouring thousands of tons of harsh chemicals into water systems annually.  Through repurposing we are helping others to help the environment. By not buying a new bag, for example, we avoid both the killing of an animal, as well as the further pollution of our already ailing environment.  We often hear talk of "Vegan Leather" these days, and find the whole concept something of a misnomer. “Vegan" leather is nothing more than plastic/vinyl, whatever  you want to call it. It is a petroleum byproduct. This too is why we choose to use leather that has been recycled. And another great benefit to the leather we use is that it has already been nicely worn in and each piece that we make has its own unique character of seams and wear marks. 

So, we do hope you enjoy our products as much as we enjoyed creating them.

Our 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 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 reassembled into a long skirt, along with a matching, skin tight track top that had been chopped down from a looser, baggier fitting track jacket. Well…. it was cool at the time!  

Going further back… Noah’s great grandfather, Charles Benjamin, owned one of the first men’s clothing stores in Calgary, Canada. Previous to this he used to travel the prairies with his father trading with the First Nations. When he finally put down roots in Calgary, he often entertained the friends he had made on his journey’s in the back of his store during the early days of the Calgary Stampede in the early 1900’s. Apparently, he was able to get by in some of the First Nations languages, that he had picked up from his earlier travels. Our guess is this was probably an exaggeration, and perhaps he could communicate a few basic words poorly. However it is still fun to think about

 

Below are photos of some early days:

 

 
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. Not only could he sport a cowboy hat, but he was pretty dapper as well.

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. Not only could he sport a cowboy hat, but he was pretty dapper as well.

This is where it all began- Ark’s founder’s great grandfather’s menswear store. The clothing  business appears to run in the family blood. Calgary, Alberta, circa 1920.

This is where it all began- Ark’s founder’s great grandfather’s menswear store. The clothing  business appears to run in the family blood. Calgary, Alberta, circa 1920.

Charles Benjamin in full costume, probably a photo booth at the first combined Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, 1923. He is the guy on the far right.

Charles Benjamin in full costume, probably a photo booth at the first combined Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, 1923. He is the guy on the far right.