What started out as a side hustle in founder Rachel Mielke’s Regina kitchen has become a Canadian success story. In 2007, Mielke launched her brand Hillberg & Berk, a jewellery collection known for accessible jewellery that comes with a side of empowerment. “We use our brand as a catalyst for storytelling to be able to highlight issues that women have in Canada,” she says of her many charitable partnerships that include Dress for Success Vancouver and Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre Foundation. “I think that’s what’s really resonated with women.”
Mielke’s big business break came in 2008 when she appeared on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and scored an investment from fellow Saskatchewanian W. Brett Wilson, who remains involved in the business some 11 years later. Since then, Hillberg & Berk has gained a loyal following that includes the Queen, who has two custom-made pieces in rotation, and the Canadian Olympic team, who sported red sparkle earrings at the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2011, popular demand led Mielke to open her first Hillberg & Berk store, expanding beyond her wholesale and a by-appointment client showroom. “We had so many people coming into our little showroom that we couldn’t get any work done,” she says. Mielke has since opened stores in Alberta, British Columbia and now Manitoba, where Hillberg & Berk’s new Winnipeg location is the brand’s largest to date.
Hillberg & Berk, Polo Park Mall, 1485 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, 204-219-2823, hillbergandberk.com.
Canadian fashion industry pioneer Milli Gould has died at the age of 86. Hailing from Hamilton, she was internationally renowned for her namesake women’s-wear boutique Milli, which brought designers such as Erdem, Lanvin and Rochas to her locations in Hamilton and Toronto. Gould operated her boutique since 1964 and was a mentor to many over the years. Some of her contributions to the Canadian fashion landscape, including pieces from her line Milli, are on display at the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s exhibition Milli: A Celebration of Style until Feb. 9, 2020.
Montreal-based eyewear brand BonLook has launched its debut frame collection designed and manufactured completely in Canada. Made in Canada was produced with the help of Fellow Earthlings, a handmade eyewear company founded and based in Prince Edward Island. The new collection includes four designs, two for men and two for women, and are named Arctic, Boreal, Flora and Fauna in honour of Canada’s rich natural heritage. The frames are each available in shades of blue, orange, green and tortoise inspired by the colours of P.E.I. For more information, visit bonlook.com.
E-commerce platform Etsy has launched a special partnership with Mitsou Gélinas, the Quebec singer, actor and entrepreneur who now runs the lifestyle blog mitsou.com. The Mitsou x Etsy collaboration features six Quebec-based Etsy sellers who all created a line of products co-designed by Gélinas. The selection focuses on cozy home items designed with festive holiday entertaining in mind. Inspired by Gélinas’s elegant personal style, find items such as candles, ceramics and serving dishes in a classic palette of grey, cream and black. Mitsou x Etsy is available on Etsy until Dec. 31 or while quantities last.
Vancouver-based fashion company Brunette the Label has partnered with Juicy Couture on a limited-edition collaboration. The 10-piece collection of stylish sweatshirts and sweatpants pairs Brunette’s most popular styles, such as its brunette, blonde and redhead motifs, with Juicy Couture’s signature font and styles such as a pink velour tracksuit. Beginning Nov. 4, the collection will be available online at brunettethelabel.com and juicycouture.com as well as in store at Juicy Couture’s New York City location and at more than 100 of Brunette the Label’s stores across Canada.