With the recent influx of international chains and department stores across Canada, buying Canadian fashion may seem expensive or inconvenient by comparison. But given the longevity and look of locally designed and made pieces, that extra effort and money can be well worth the investment. Here, four insiders celebrate Canada Day by sharing their tips on how to wear Canadian without breaking the bank.
Sarah Danniels, stylist
“One of my favourite brands out there – Oak + Fort – just happens to be Canadian, and local to Vancouver. They do amazing minimalist fashion at an affordable price point and really are one of my staple go-to brands for both myself and my clients. For quality denim, Vancouver has both Dish Jeans, the sister brand of performance men’s denim brand DU/ER, and Dutil Denim, a lovely boutique in Gastown that hosts their own private brand as well. A couple other of my favourite local Canadian-fashion boutiques are Hey Jude and Nouvelle Nouvelle. For bags I love Ora Leather Goods. They are all made by hand and just timeless. I’m expecting my first babe this summer, so I’ve really come to realize how many amazing children’s clothing brands Canada has: Red Fish Kids, Parade Organics and Mini Mioche to name a few.”
Katrina Olson-Mottahed, director and co-founder of the Canadian International Fashion Film Festival
“Supporting Canadian fashion is a passion of mine, and UNTTLD was love at first sight for me. The design is impeccable, the fit perfect and so flattering to the female silhouette. I love all of the jewellery Dean Davidson creates, especially the yellow gold with coloured stones. There are so many great statement pieces and cocktail rings I am coveting right now. Marie Saint Pierre is an iconic Canadian designer who recently won CAFA Designer of the Year, and I wish I could buy all the pieces she creates. I also own five Sentaler coats. They sustain me in style through our nine months of winter in Calgary. The quality of the alpaca wool they are made from is amazing – so, so warm – and I adore the styles of the design.”
Alon Freeman, wardrobe stylist, writer and creative director
“The Store mines the Canadian commercial landscape past and present – skate-wear ethos with local flavour, sentiment and humour. SP Badu is gender-neutral clothing created by Spencer Badu who keeps a low profile – a welcome rarity in the age of designer as ever present face of a brand – and lets his inventive, effortless cool-kid aesthetic set off the people with presence who wear his clothes. Wil Studios mixes utility with street-wear sheen and crackle for a clever homegrown take on the Swedish minimalism that Canadian men love. Thomas Balint is a men’s-wear designer who’s been quietly turning out carefully cut pieces season after season that balance clean and direct with a lush European romanticism. Beyond trend. Andrew Coimbra is a Toronto legend, whose designs are equal parts wit and intellect delivered with graphic punch. Finally, Sidney’s, where shop owner and founder Sydney Mamane offers his modern tailored ethic in every category from casual denim and shirts to sublime custom suiting.”
Odessa Paloma Parker, contributing fashion editor at The Globe and Mail
“Keep your eyes peeled in your city for local craft and design events that showcase independent brands. It’s a great way to learn about what’s happening in Canadian design. I would recommend checking out Toronto’s Shopgirls for their assortment of Canadian design, including items for the home. Victoire, which has shops in Toronto and Ottawa, and e-commerce, has a big selection of local designers. Simons is very supportive of Canadian design, too, and has stores across the country. Poppy Barley from Edmonton has a wonderful range of footwear that’s stylish and very affordable. Opelle’s bags are the kind of pieces you’ll have forever because of their timeless appeal and excellent construction.”
From June 28 to Oct. 21, catch Michael Jackson: On the Wall at London’s National Portrait Gallery. Supported by Hugo Boss, the exhibition features work from private and public collections by more than 40 artists. For more information, visit npg.org.uk.
Uniqlo is launching a special Kaws x Sesame Street UT collection on June 29. Designed for fans of all ages, the T-shirts feature contemporary artist Kaws’s take on characters such as Big Bird, Elmo and the Cookie Monster. For more information, visit uniqlo.com/ca.
On July 5 between noon and 8 pm, lifestyle PR firm Lucid Communications is hosting a shopping event at jeweller Erin Tracy’s Toronto studio (1179 King St. W., Suite 018). Twenty per cent of proceeds from brands like Province Apothecary, DaLish Cosmetics and Stray & Wander will go to Second Harvest, a non-profit that delivers meals to Toronto’s hungry.
Toronto dress rental company The Fitzroy has recently expanded its offerings. Along with dresses, gowns and jumpsuits, clients can now rent fascinators and handbags for their special occasions. They’ll also be introducing jacket rentals this fall. For more information, visit fitzroyrentals.com.
Two Toronto entrepreneurs, Amber Joliat, creator of MISFITSTUDIO, and Christina Remenyi, founder and designer of Fortnight Lingerie, have teamed up for their first apparel collaboration. MISFITSTUDIO x FORTNIGHT is a collection of black velvet dance wear available in bodysuits, longline bras and high-waist bottoms. For more information, visit fortnightlingerie.com.
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