THE LIST: Box House Apparel’s Leigh Bequette gives his must-have list

You could say Leigh Bequette has always been a hands-on kind of guy. He started selling homemade wax to fellow skateboarders at the age of 13 and has always relied on construction gigs to pay bills — including tuition for Richard Robinson Academy of Fashion Design, where he learned how to make patterns, sew cocktail dresses, and talk to girls about clothes. In June 2009, he set up his own studio, and after many brainstorming sessions with his large team of partners and pals, he launched Box House Apparel this fall. Truly a team player, Bequette loves tapping his talent pool — his photographer works for product, and his grandmother makes the crocheted beanies — almost as much as he loves tearing apart clothing to create edgy, artistic mash-ups that inspire Ottawa DJs, snowboarders, and fashion fiends.

It’s usually just one cup a day, and I’m not too particular about where it comes from, but it’s definitely a necessary part of my daily routine.

Friends and family
There’s no way I could do this without them. It starts with basic funding (Grandma and Grandpa are always there to bail me out), but they also give you the honest, straight-up opinions that are so important.

I can’t work without music. It’s a must-have. Electro, house, hip hop — anything to provide an upbeat environment. Major Lazer, Crystal Castles, Calvin Harris, and La Roux are favourites.

Drinks with friends
I’ve never really been a heavy drinker, but I enjoy the socializing aspect. We’ll head out to Babylon, Zaphods, Ritual, or Lobby dressed in Box House Apparel and talk it up. I like meeting people.

Downtime with my girlfriend
Around 5 p.m. on Sunday, I put down my scissors and take some downtime. We usually relax at her place — far away from my studio. Lately we’ve been renting TV episodes. Right now we’re enjoying How I Met Your Mother.

I have two pairs. Together they cost over $350. One pair is for lightweight cotton, the other for denim and bathing-suit fabrics.

Giroux Sewing
Centre in Cornwall. It’s my source for most fabric (they give me great bulk prices), thread, and zippers. Their supply of vinyl and bathing-suit materials is great.

Organik Graphyx
They’re a big part of my life now. I spend a lot of my time there — usually on my way home from my day job and before I start sewing for the night — because I want to see how things are getting done on my pieces. Plus silk screening is a new, fun, and exciting aspect of the business for me.

My day job
I work 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. with FCi Communications, installing security systems in cars and homes. It’s another outlet for me. Sometimes when you think about something all the time, you get stuck in a rut, and my day job helps me start fresh every time I sit down to sew.

Peanut butter
If I get home and I’m hungry, I’m probably not going to eat something big — but I’ve got to have my peanut butter. I’m always walking around with spoonfuls of peanut butter. My girlfriend and parents always tease me about it.

Gear up with Box House Apparel, available at Organik Graphyx and through

Photograph of Bequette by Rémi Thériault