It is just stupidly hot in Toronto. It is 35 Celsius (95 F) and huuummmid. Yuck. I have gotten busier too and so often find myself trekking across hot pavement. Dressing in the loosest cotton thingies I can find. My brain feels like it has evaporated.

What am I busy doing? Lots of odd stuff… all apparel industry related. Its nice to finally get a little momentum going although these are still early days.

I found another article on Canadian Project Runway. Paul Hardy, (a Canadian Designer) points out that “we are a passive nation and very non-confrontational”, at odds with the, well, confrontational aspect of reality television. Hardy also points out that our industry is small and suggests that we “have a hard enough time trying to find designers that qualify for Fashion Week”. That dour Canadianism – what’s not to love?

Also, I got totally engrossed in this blog on Self Publishing for some reason. I don’t even have anything to publish. I should work on that. Fashion comic book maybe?

Look – verbal croquis has finished her Gen Art dress and it is incredible!

Yesterday I was talking about drawing shoes… well take a look inside footwear design and development. It gives me the idea of drawing fashion in a more architectural, industrial way. Lucky for me my studio-mate has a mechanical drawing table! I bet you can’t wait to see all of the perspective studies I’m going to do.


Have you seen the show yet? Finally, a video blog that is actually fun to watch. I love how Ze’s created a little mini-subculture somehow. Duckies!

trying to draw

Ahhh… now I get to demonstrate just how backwards I am when it comes to observation and technique with a pencil. But I said I was going to share my scratchings every few days, so here’s some hand studies I did today. All I can say is that I better step up before I bore everyone to death with this stuff.

Hands. I’ve numbered these illustrations so it’s painfully obvious how rusty I was starting out.


These next ones turned out okay. I was ripping up old W magazines to find hand pictures. There are hardly any interesting hands in these magazines! Often they are limply draped across a handbag or just limp. I like hands that are interacting with things. That kind is more difficult to draw. When I draw my fashion drawings, I want it to look like the hands are manipulating the clothing, or placed naturally on the body. Unfortunately the artificial postures of fashion magazines offer little to observe.

Okay, that was okay for today but in the future I’d like to be a bit more ambitious.

  • I need to buy some coloured paper, and some quality chalk and conte, and just get dirtier.
  • Pay more attention to anatomy. Get a book on it.
  • Practice drawing shoes, all sorts of shoes.
  • Develop my analog colouring techniques. I want to play with coloured pencils again.
  • Draw an interior of a room that doesn’t look like a tunnel and figures in it that don’t look like they’re floating.
  • Scribble insanely so I’ll stop being so uptight and representational.

Often I bat around the idea of producing the “fashion comic book” but I’ve been dissatisfied with my lame attempts at it to date. If I’m ever going to make that idea reality I will need to produce figures interacting with an environment in a dynamic way. I know I can do it. I just have to get the momentum going. It was oddly difficult to get myself to sit down and draw today but once I did it I enjoyed it. With a little discipline hopefully it will become more entertaining and rewarding.

What do you think? Does my process towards greater versatility with illustration interest you or bore you?

styles vs. seasons

Every once in a while a theory seizes me. A while ago one started to swirl around in my brain when I posted a question about enduring styles.

The suggestions from my readers had some things in common. It seems that persistent styles are often…

  1. based on menswear
  2. developed from sport-specific clothing
  3. adapted from military uniforms
  4. are not necessarily attractive
  5. are always comfortable
  6. are always functional

The other thing I realized is that even “basic” styles are not “trendless”. In fact, looking at these styles made me realize that “trends” don’t necessarily live and die in a single season. A trend can also last for decades. While some trends die quickly and are only worth a quick buck to the fast fashion types, long-term trends have the ability to build successful businesses on a single style number.

That’s really interesting to me. It seems like so many companies struggle to produce collections on a seasonal basis, spending huge amounts on design and development for a vast array of styles only to do it all over again in another six months. Yet when I analyze successful companies, they tend to carry over a couple successful styles season after season, and rather than introducing new styles seasonally, they develop new styles as their success affords.

Why not intentionally build a company based on the idea of creating a single style? Not just any style – a hit style. A style that embodies the essence of a long-term trend. This isn’t a new idea, I know. But this was never discussed in my fashion design education.

I’ve ranted before about how the seasonal model doesn’t serve new labels well. The great thing about the single-style-number model is that it is non-seasonal and financially attainable.

This idea dovetails nicely with my idea for branding Canadian Fashion. Stay tuned.

links policy

You may have noticed that I’ve edited my links list a little. If you’re concerned that your link is gone I want to assure you that it’s not a personal matter. I’ve decided that I don’t want to link labels and designers’ websites (unless they publish an outstanding blog). If you do something interesting just let me know and if it’s strikes my fancy I’ll post it and link your site.

The idea is that the links on my sidebar also reflect the content that I myself check regularly. So static websites without regularly updated content, or more obvious commercial endeavors don’t fit with my vision for the blog. I’m not interested in commercializing the blog except in regards to my own services. Even then, I want it to be indirect.

Also, if you’ve stopped updating your blog in a while or only post sporadically I’ve edited those links too. I am still subscribed to your feed so if you do start blogging regularly again, I will relink.

I think a tightly edited links list that reflects my current reading tastes as a service to my readers. I read many, many more blogs than are listed here, but I find in my own browsing habits I appreciate a tightly edited, updated list to an exhaustive, unedited list. If you want to see a more complete (but not totally complete) list of my reads, check out my Bloglines feeds.


It’s been ages since I’ve last drawn for fun. I am going through a period where I do draw a lot; but always for work, and often just lots of flats.

I’m always going on about how I wish I was more versatile as an illustrator, and would like to expand my narrow range. I can be very “finished” when I draw, so I’m also trying to think less and draw spontaneously. But even when I’m just doodling, it’s still always figures and clothes. I’m pretty one-note.


I want to do a bunch of fashion drawing sessions, possibly with other people who need the practice. I need pretty girls and guys to draw. If I’m ever going to take my illustration to the next level I need to observe real life.

I also want to learn how to draw other things: proper perspective, buildings and rooms. Now that I have access to a camera I should be taking more pictures of things to use as reference. Hands and feet in certain angles and positions. Non-human things, like motorcycles and dogs and stuff.

It’s all very well and good to talk about it though, so I’m going to try to show some artistic development here on the blog. If I force myself to show something interesting visually more often perhaps we shall see some actual improvement. Say at least once every four posts.

So all of you will be able to witness how someone can go about learning to draw, too. My style has improved vastly over the past few years and continues to develop. It’s odd because evolving style is only partly intentional, it’s mostly instinctive and indescribable and hard to control. This is why I want to develop greater versatility.

Lately I’m getting busier so posts well be less frequent. But wait for it… I’m on the verge of cracking the Canadian fashion nut… !

click synchronicity

Who else is feeling change in the air? Miss Twiss noticed the odd coincidence that many bloggers have been posting about that “now for something completely different” sort of feeling.

Tricia from Bits & Bobbins has moved from livejournal to wordpress, now we can comment! And she has an adorable new hair-do, too. Tricia is a fellow recent graduate making that transition to “the fashion industry”.
Other stuff…

The Vivienne Westwood biography An Unfashionable Life was a hoot. Westwood is a designer’s designer… an incompetent businesswoman, a self-taught sewist, an uncompromising, difficult woman. Westwood’s great contribution to fashion (and it is great) is as a relentless innovator who pushed barriers aside. She went against the prevailing trend every season. She was determined to do her life’s work even in the most adverse conditions.

Verdict? I love the clothes. I would hate to be her employee, but I would be honoured to interview her.

As for punk, I love the look, hate the music. Full credit to Westwood and McLaren for pioneering the concept of the guerilla store. In that early stage, instead of creating seasonally, Vivienne would customize and create in an ongoing fashion for as long as that particular storefront was in business, usually 2-3 years. They truly made their stores into events and destinations, the descriptions of the interiors are fascinating.

I’m also enjoying The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. It seems that city development has not significantly improved since the 1960s. Now I am constantly examining street life for its inherent quality, instead of just scanning what people are wearing. I like it when a book will offer a new way to look at the world.

Thanks all for the excellent comments on long-wearing style on my last post… giving me ideas… are you thinking what I’m thinking? There’s so much synchronicity out there I wonder…


Every once in a while I realize that I’ve changed. Then I look at my website and I realize that my online prescence needs to catch up.

I’ve been doodling behind the scenes trying to come up with a new concept for my header and the about me page. As it is the site is a clean slate – for most of the summer I’ve been hesitant to assert who I am and where I’m going and the minimal page reflected that.

Now I’m feeling that it is time for finalfashion.ca to be more obvious about who I am and what I do. The about me page in particular is always kind of an awkward page to write – what are the most critical bits of my bio and how much is TMI? I want it to be the opposite of anything cover-letter/resumeish.

I want it to be apparent from the page that I am talent-for-hire and somehow describe all of the various things I do or that I can do. I just put up my business card graphic and a brief description, though for the time being it’s a little bit bandaid. There’s so much to include it’s hard to select imagery, especially since overloaded collages aren’t really my thing.

Then I was googling away the other day and I realized that I have not been too pro-active on the search-engine optimization front, either. So it’s time to get more focused.

This weekend I’m going up to the country. I’m taking An Unfashionable Life and Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities with me so I’m planning on really enjoying my time off. I’ll also do some sketching of ideas for finalfashion.ca… I guess major template changes will have to wait for now.

Have a terrific weekend =)

a toast to my contributing editors

I would like to applaud my commenters for some of the amazing discussion that’s been happening around here lately.
Cheers everyone!

Just to feature some gems from this thread

Andrea, makes a keen point on the subject of trend services:

It might seem crazy, but designers have the emotional voodoo sense for what’s next. Maybe it’s not that crazy, it’s just that they’re ahead of the times. As for need of this service? It really depends on who you’re talking to. Don’t forget buyers make their choices on more analytical than emotional.

Lol B (whose new blog I eagerly anticipate) is more cynical about trends…

I wish that change in the fashion industry came through innovation, through development of skills and technology. Changing silhouettes, colours and fabrication season after season is not revolutionary it’s just a successful business model that works on the principal of feeding off peoples insecurities and fulfilling their lust for consumerism.

I think she’s right on about why fashion changes: what people buy reflects their fears and hopes. Also, our lives change and so do social norms and that affects how we dress. Economic and technological changes have a significant effect too. I don’t think it’s much use rallying to stop the wheel of fashion – why and how we adorn ourselves is not understood well enough to control. Even people’s postures are affected by changes in trends.

This brings up the idea of seasonless fashion… something I want to think about further.

Can you name an item of clothing or footwear that is virtually always in style, for multiple decades at least? Be as specific as possible. Non-commenters, feel free to speak up.

Lol B also brought in a great article about Agnes b.

There are also lots of terrific comments on the case for the fashion non-capital post.

Thank you to everyone who comments and reads and links to final fashion. I really appreciate it.

fast forward to 2008

Premiere Vision came to New York! Thanks to the intrepid bloggers who leaked a peek to the rest of us outsiders so now any schmo can know what’s coming up for Autumn 2007/Winter 2008…

Julie from Almost Girl gives us a look at the trend seminar. She also did an interview with the associate fashion director of Premiere Vision. Bourgeois streetwear, eh? Am I the only one who can’t decide whether trend forecasting is a fascinating social science, an industry conspiracy, or flaky voodoo?

The rhetoric used to describe the forecast was one of opposition with offensive resistance squaring off against enveloping roundness for a mood that left no room for the indecisive. Offensive resistance will show us honed volume, slim cuts, and biting visuals that will be rendered in twills, denims, and synthetics with technical sophistication and particular emphasis on shine. Enveloping roundness reflects a desire for discretion and inner well being that will manifests itself with cozy materials, bubble fabrics, and volume with multilayering in thinner fabrics.

Like Julie I also feel that these things seem to reflect what we intuitively feel. I’m sure that she and I being the culture vultures that we are, feed on the same carcass of information that the Premiere Vision people do. I find the idea of using trend information a little bit stultifying – doesn’t it suck the spontenaity out of gathering your own inspiration to create?

I wonder if there will be any implications from disseminating this stuff on the internet? Will fast fashion respond and start premiering 2007 looks in 2006? Will we become tired of 2008 before it even gets here and start demanding 2009 now instead of later? Will people stop having to pay thousands of dollars for the secrets of the future?

Are trend forecasters ever wrong? It doesn’t seem to have much in common with the weather forecast as it is not predicting so much as predictating. Luckily most trend literature is vague enough to allow almost any design notion to be justified. As a design student I objected to the curricular necessity to lie about following trends in my written research, when the truth was I never used them as inspiration. Oh yeah, I’m such an iconoclast. Yet I must admit I am fascinated by the idea that sniffing out emerging trends is actually a job. I would love to illustrate for a trend forecast book someday – they often use fashion illustrators.

What do you think of trend forecasting? Do you use it? Is it necessary?