all that clicks

Here’s some of what I’ve clicked on recently that piqued my interest and may pique yours…

Montreal has a street style blog! I’m not aware of any other Montreal-based fashion blogs (yet) so it sure is nice to have some Quebecois content in the sidebar.

Meanwhile in Toronto the foodie in me is quite taken with Hungry in Hogtown, what with all the molecular gastronomy on display through wide-angle lenses.

Drastic Measures in Singapore tells tales of fashion freelancing and designing her own “Dotted Line”.

I’m not the only one in the blogosphere fascinated with the battle to define authenticity in fashion. Deeply Superficial does it much more academically than I can.

Someone has finally compiled a top 50 fashion blog list – and I’m not on it, (actually I didn’t see any Canadian blogs) but it is still interesting to look at.

Design*Sponge has lots of pretty design-things to look at, and F&ART has lots of fashiony art-things to look at.

Sonja snoops and scoops at… this time she explores the air-kissing world of Fashion Frenemies as she gives us the wrapup of what the fashion people were up to in Toronto this April.

For practicing illustrators, Lol B has pointed me to Pose Maniacs, an awesome resource of skinless people in positions that you can spin to any angle you please. Great for studying – perhaps I’ll post some of mine later.

fashion school confidential

Today I walked over to Slice and handed in my Project Runway application. Speculation suggests that the show will be shot at my alma mater. Project Runway is pretty much fashion-school-on-speed. If I actually make it on the show it would be a surreal flashback experience. My first year Design & Colour Theory teacher John Freeman is quoted in the article – I think he’d be so perfect as our Tim Gunn!

Speaking of good old Ryerson School of Fashion, there is yet another disgruntled-fashion-student blog. It’s all there – the end-of-year judging fiasco, ragging on the program director, complaining about running out of thread. If there is one thing fashion students are great at, it is dramatic whining.

Still, there are things worth ranting about at fashion school. Long ago, I posted about the sadly misshapen state of Ryerson’s blocks and it seems that people are still struggling with them. Still.

the most stylish?

The Globe and Mail asks… Are You the most Stylish Canadian? Which is cute, and kind of confusing. I would rather nominate someone else – I know perfectly well I am not the most stylish Canadian. I think the girls at should submit their pictures – they’re not only incredibly stylish, they know how to pose. I’m obviously biased towards bloggers but I think my newly discovered Canadian fashion blogger do this don’t could be a contender too.


Confusing how? Where to start. First of all comes the difficult task of explaining to Canadians what “stylish” means. You may have noticed that I get all fascinated with the fluctuating definitions of fashion words, but after reading the judge’s conversation I am beyond confused (click on Ask the Judges). Actually, that is usually the way I feel after reading the Globe’s style section… especially anything by Leah McLaren whose column seems to cover style in a way that I can’t relate to at all.

The most mystifying part of the contest is the Test Your Style Savvy. I love internet tests as much as the next blogger, but this test failed to evaluate my style savviness in any understandable way.

Various pictures of style icons are juxtaposed beside a “hit or miss” poll. Is anyone in their right mind voting Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, or Diana Princess of Wales as unstylish? The sole Canadian content is Pierre Elliot Trudeau (23% voted his style as a miss). According to Globe Pollsters, the most unstylish style icons are Oscar Wilde at 44% miss, the Duke of Windsor at 36% miss, and Coco Chanel at 37% miss (huh?).

Why are all of these people dead and only one of them Canadian? The poll lead me right back to the beginning without giving me any indication of my relative Style Savvy. It’s nice to see a newspaper trying for interactivity, but I have to rate this poll a miss.

Whether the search for the most stylish Canadian is successful remains to be seen. Who would you nominate?

original thoughts

One thing I’ve noticed when debating fashion (which we love to do), is how often the point of contention turns on whether a collection is original, or unoriginal. Fashion is a funny place to look for authenticity yet we value it highly all the same.

As someone who has read almost all the fashion books in the library, I get confused when I see the word “original” tossed upon things that are not particularly novel. What is original?

Original has so many different connotations in fashion.
Christian Dior's New Look 1947
Original as in Couture Original. Paris Original used to be a very common term back when the world’s creative design came from Paris only and everything else was a blatent copy and advertised as such. Yet the ideas of the oh-so-novel “New Look” themselves aren’t particularly original – corsets, this is new? It was a Second Empire revival, which was a revival of the Baroque… and so on. So “Original” in this sense seems mostly a marketing thing – which is what couture is supposed to be about.

By the way when you google Couture Original the top spot is Juicy Couture. It’s no wonder these words are so alarmingly misunderstood.

Then there is Original as in…

The Original?

Original in the sense that a garment truly is a novel idea – in this case, an indigo-dyed denim 5 pocket jean with rivets attached for strength. Now how novel was it truly – who knows, but Levi Strauss was a savvy marketer and is now forever remembered as the originator of all the denim we wear today.

I like to think of this type of original also being archetypal – a basic piece of clothing from which variations are made to adapt to current fashion, yet the original remains a timeless classic in the true sense.

Then there is Original in the legal sense – in fashion the word original is also a legal word. Counterfeit Chic can tell you more than I can.

Then there is original in the artistic sense. Fashion designer as artist may consider their work to be an expression from their soul and therefore as unique as a fingerprint.

At the brunch we touched on the topic of addiction to novelty, and it makes sense that among the fashionable the word original can be so loaded with meaning. The problem is that is has been overused to the point of meaninglessness.

The heavy weight of the term means that it is often used to dismiss other meaningful aspects of good design which improve upon the existing knowledge, rather than merely claiming novelty. I don’t understand why “derivative” is a slur in fashion when it should be a tribute.

Personally, I am not interested in originality in fashion. To my thinking the success of a given fashion has more to do with timing than novelty. What do you think?

TFBB six


Fashion bloggers were treated very well at Brassaii, and we weren’t just sitting pretty – there was some Very Serious Fashion ConversationTM between complimentary mimosas.

Yesterdays cast of characters –

Anita of I Want – I Got

Carolyn, who writes the Toronto Fashion Incubator Diary

Eden of Bargainista

Terrific fashion blog readers Andrai and Kasia

Sonja of

Adrian of Fashion Verbatim

Many thanks to Eden for taking care of the reservations. Brassaii was spacious, sunny, and the food was very tasty. Conversation ran the gamut…

Geeky stuff. Cool apps to sift through the internet like Google Alerts and The joys of hacking templates, breaking tables, and dangling tags, for crying out loud. How to do it, or how to get someone else to do it?

The peculiar Public Relations power of blogs – how to deal with getting pitched, when to post a pitch and when to delete it? Kathleen’s idea to make a policy post is a great one – when you get a solicitation, just send them the link. If you’re really curious about how fashion blogging is rocking the Fashion PR industry, then try reading PR Couture. PR is Canadian fashion’s greatest handicap – read Nathalie Atkinson’s article. How can we as fashion bloggers use our influence to create awareness of Canadian fashion?

The scuttlebutt. Ultimate Platinum and candid commentary – who knew so many people were so passionate about Canadian fashion! Finally a controversy to call our own, eh? Project Runway Canada – who is applying, who are the judges, what intern is sifting through the applications, and what does a kickass application look like?

The trends. The trend for not shopping – will it grow or remain a niche? The conditioning of fast fashion – can we break our addiction to novelty? How is it possible to be so fascinated and so bored at the same time? Paleo-youth – what happens when youth style is so slavishly retro? Do today’s kids have their own identity or is it just a postmodern pastiche of an older generation’s idea of youth?

The designers. How Prada directs the destiny of fashion trends even while mocking them. By dressing the elite in ugly clothing, Muiccia succeeds in making the ridiculous fashionable by ridiculing the fashionable. ( I never “got” Prada, but now thanks to Adrian I understand her genius and I am in awe.)

So that’s the flavour of TFBB – see how the awesomeness is non-stop?

fashion playlist

I like collecting songs about the fashion industry, but still my list is not quite long enough for a proper playlist, which to my mind should be 12-18 songs. If you have any to add, let me know!

David Bowie – Fashion well, obviously

Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy the perfect early 90s supermodel song

The Kinks – A Dedicated Follower of Fashion I haven’t heard this one yet (iTunes doesn’t have it grrr) but found it via Fops and Dandies a new favourite fashion blog.

Leonard Cohen – First we take Manhattan the best cynical fashion industry song. (Actually most of them are cynical, sarcastic, or almost parodies, aren’t they?) I like the version sung by Jennifer Warne.

Joel Plaskett Emergency – Fashionable People heard this one on Jian Ghomeshi’s new CBC show Q. It has a line I love – fashionable people, doing questionable things.

I think to qualify the song either has to have the word “Fashion” in it or directly reference the fashion industry somehow. Does anyone have any additions to the playlist?

new machine

juki serger

Yep she’s a beaut’ my new Juki serger! What a sweet machine.

Hm, now all I need is something to serge – no time to draft a pattern! Let’s cut it freehand like Julian Roberts. Do you know how this will turn out? Because I don’t.

Some of you may recall my previous foray in freehand cutting.

freehand cut t-shirt pattern

The final result.

freehand cut t-shirt

This t-shirt actually formed its own pocket. A modified version of this concept without the droopy bit on the other side could look quite clever and be useful too. Hm.


I’m a bit stiff on the illustration thing these days. Perhaps far too many illustrator technicals?

At the library I picked up 9HEADS to help me get back into it. It seemed like a pretty comprehensive book, but didn’t give me anything really new. I’d recommend it for covering all the basics, but if you’ve already got Stipelman, it’s the same stuff. I was disappointed that 9HEADS contains virtually nothing about rendering with different media, illustration tools or even different styles. The technical library is pretty extensive. There is a brief quartet of interviews with fashion professionals about illustration which are interesting.

I’ve jumped back into The Fashion Spot’s Project Runway Game for practice.

This week’s challenge is to design an outfit for a garden party, with a limited palette of colours.


This is my entry. It’s a soft tunic long sleeved dress made of linen. It is simply pulled over the head and belted at the waist with a grosgrain belt. There are practical pockets big enough for pruning scissors or a paperback book. It is worn over a simple chemise with a lace detailing. The sunhat is braided straw with a matching grosgrain ribbon.

The rationale is the outfit should protect from the sun and still feel cool. It should look good rumpled and is meant to be effortlessly casual and with a bit of imperfection and a touch of lingerie for romance. To be worn with sleeves rolled up, dirt under the fingernails, with comfortable carelessness.

The model is Bette Franke.

Feels nice to draw again. What a nice day in Toronto today. Spring is here!

a labour of hate

Let’s All Hate Toronto is opening on Friday. It looks a bit silly but may be amusing.

In any case, I perceive a need for (CN tower) HATE TORONTO t-shirts.

I Hate Toronto T-Shirt
I googled around looking for these and I can’t believe no one has done them yet. It seems that if so many people hate Toronto it’s a potentially huge untapped market.

Any takers?