Cameron Lizotte is certainly not the only Sudburian to be keeping busy these days, in part, producing masks in helping folks stay safe in the midst of a pandemic. He simply comes at it from a somewhat unique background.
A former OHL tough guy, drafted in the second round in 2013 by the Peterborough Petes, Lizotte would take a rather distinctive tangential pathway once his 200+ game junior career would come to an end.
With a keen love of fashion and countless aspects associated with it, the 6'2" bruiser would follow his dream in launching Atelier Coin (www.ateliercoin.com). "I started sewing in a grade 11 high school class and fell in love with it," said Lizotte.
"I was an enforcer and it was tough, a tough lifestyle. The creation of clothing gave me a way out, it gives me peace. I get inspired by the fabrics."
Putting aside sweaters and jackets, at the moment, Lizotte has immersed himself in the fabrication of face masks. Still, he is hesitant to refer to himself as a "fashion designer".
"The title is kind of broad," he said. "There are a lot of people who are fashion designers who do not know how to sew or make clothes. They just sketch. I like to call myself a couture designer. I do everything: buy the fabric, sew everything, put the zippers in."
"I really take pride in that."
More specifically, his current focus lies in developing comfortable, reusable and stylish masks, in various sizes, that are washer and dryer friendly. It really is a matter of adjusting to the times, given the current marketplace.
"With everything shut down, people don't need to wear nice clothes - I mean, where are you going to go?" he said. "I don't blame people. I'm in my sweats every day, and I'm happy."
While this particular niche of clothing was not necessarily an area of expertise for Lizotte even six months ago, recent demand have helped the 22 year old fine-tune his trade. "I'm still learning, but I think it's the craft of it that is my true love and passion."
"People have different sized noses and faces, so it's a great thing that people have been able to communciate with me, so that I can work to their needs. It's been great getting feedback. I've edited my pattern slightly, changed a bit over time."
And as is the case with clothing, in general, folks do have a tendency to want to personalize their look, something that fits nicely for the young man who avoids mass production (though he has acknowledged taking an order or two from some small local business, looking to customize their masks for their employees, perhaps integrating a company logo).
"This started with my mom needing a mask, it was just a safety thing," said Lizotte. "After making a few, I thought I would promote it and it turns out that a lot of people like to have a stylish version of a mask."
"It's all locally made, so the money stays in the community."
The very same community where Cameron Lizotte pursued his hockey dreams - until they gave way to a greater passion.