just a thought – going immobile

Right after I graduated from fashion school, I was applying for jobs and doing the occasional freelance gig.  One gig I applied for, I emailed them some examples of my work and they asked me for my phone number.  I sent it to them but the only contact info I had for them was the email address.  I had only a land line at that point, and I lost the job just because they didn’t want to leave a message on my voicemail.

Upon learning this, I promptly signed up for a cell phone plan – a three year contract – determined to never lose a job because I couldn’t be contacted.  I didn’t shop around, though it probably doesn’t matter – Canadian telcos are notoriously expensive and nobody seems to love their provider.  I ended up never using the phone to much effect, and basically was counting the days until my contract expired by the end of the first year.

Looking back, the fact that this gig didn’t give out their phone number should have been a red flag in the first place – it seems so silly that I would make such a long commitment on such a small event but as a recent grad I guess I was feeling the stress of how I would make a living and felt I would try anything if it would help.

Of course I did eventually enjoy using the mobile phone – especially when I travelled – texting friends, you know, the usual.  Now that I evaluate every business expense more carefully to see if I get value from it, I didn’t feel that the cell phone was really pulling its worth relative to the cost.  So a couple months ago, when the contract expired, I cancelled the service and went immobile.

Going without mobility can seem a little bit rebellious – and to be honest when I did it I wasn’t sure if I could go back to just having a landline.  Now that I have done it, I am so pleased with how it works out.  I can count the times I have missed having a cell phone over the past three months on my thumbs.  How to go immobile and why?  Here are some advantages –

  • It is cheaper. Especially if you, like me, have a lot of long-distance clients, friends and family, long distance plans for home phones are still much more reasonable than cell phone plans, at least in Canada.
  • It helps to keep your work and your life more clearly separated. For someone like me who lives and breathes work, I know the ability to check my email from anywhere and overtweet would be a terrible temptation.  This way, when I am in the studio, I am working, and when I am not, I am not.
  • It keeps you in the moment. In meetings and social situations it allows you to completely focus on the people you are with.  This is something which won’t always be noticed but when it is it is always appreciated. You will also be more aware of your surroundings – making you a safer pedestrian, a better driver, and allowing you to experience your life more fully.

Maybe I’ve almost convinced you – the truth is that immobility is sometimes an inconvenience.  Some tips I would like to share from the cell-less experience –

  • It takes confidence. The cell is the new social security blanket – if you’re not sure what to say or you don’t know anyone, you can look busy by pressing buttons on your phone.  Without it, you can carry around a paperback or a notebook, or maybe a camera – or for the gutsiest, train yourself to be comfortable being seen doing nothing, all alone.  I think it makes you more observant and encourages you to be more outgoing.
  • You have to follow through on your plans. If you’re going to meet someone, you should be there, on time, because you can’t make any calls saying “stuck in traffic” or, “have to cancel” within a few hours of the appointment.  You will occasionally find yourself unable to find people or places – you have to search for yourself to find the right door.  I guess it encourages you to be more resourceful and to give yourself more time.  I still occasionally come home to amusing voicemails after meetings from people telling me they will be a few minutes late.
  • Be committed to it. Don’t be one of those people always asking to borrow someone’s phone.  Its on a par with those so-called non-smokers who always ask for cigarettes.  Its okay every once in a while but it should only be for a good reason.  I think it encourages you to really evaluate what calls are necessary – and if we are to be really honest, most of them are not.

Mobiles – are you a user, an addict, a lover or a hater?  Would you ever go without, why or why not?

invitation – fly a kite with Yoshinori Niwa

Photographer and artist Siya Chen let me know about this free series of kite-making workshop events which are also part of a larger art project.  I’m planning on attending the July 9th event.  You can see all the details at the Gendai Gallery website.

Siya says –

Bring your refuse household material, such as plastic/paper shopping bags, yesterday’s newspaper, old ragged clothing, and Yoshinori will show you how to make a awesome kite with your personal touch Yoshinori has done this performance art project all around the world since 2006, so he knows how to make a awesome kite that fly !!
After we make lots kites, we will fly them together too!

The best part yet, all the kites made by you will be exhibited as part of the exhibition i am coordinating, The Arts of Togetherness, curated by Milena Placentile, featuring artists Yoshinori Niwa and Sandee Moore!

a week’s worth – 25-06-09

A Week’s Worth, documents what I did all week – a little peek into the life of a fashion illustrator and blogger.

On Monday evening I went to the new Toronto offices of Dermalogica for an educational event for bloggers.  I met some lovely new blog friends including (in no particular order), Janine of beautygeeks, Katherine of I Heart Beauty, Casie Stewart, Monica of Beauty Parler, and the girls of Toronto Styles.
bloggers at Dermalogica

My skin has had issues ever since a stressful period of time in May, so I certainly could use all the education I can get – and the samples help too.  Dermalogica also puts on free education events for consumers as well – you can get more info on their facebook page.  The process was fun, we all washed our faces and tried out products together.
me at Dermalogica

These days after work, I have been going down to Cherry Beach a lot just to get the cool wind off the lake.  Toronto is on a lake, but you can go months in the city without seeing it.  Right now all the trees are sending off these fluffy little seeds so it looks like it is snowing.  I like Cherry Beach because it is kind of rough and not fancy.  Lots of kids, dogs, bikes, and often hippies with drums.
me at Cherry Beach

Wednesday evening I showed up very early to the FASHION House party – it was so early that besides me, it was just the lovely ladies of ASC PR and a few fashion designers, some still setting up their mood boards.  I didn’t stay long because I wasn’t feeling dressed up enough.
early at Fashion House

FASHION House is a condominium where they commissioned fashion designers to create the interiors for each floor’s common areas – the halls.  A very cool project and it was interesting to see each designer’s take on it and ask them a bit about it.  I especially admired the collaged fashion illustration by Andy The Anh.  He used wallpaper, wood, wire and crystal as textures and rendered his concept as a glamourous dress.  It will be interesting to see how the developers take the concepts and execute them.
collage by Andy The Anh

A Week’s Worth comes to you early this week because I am headed out of the city for a few days.  Toronto is very hot and stinky right now so it seems like a great time to head up north.  Will be back next week!

How was your week?

client karma – Ainsley Kerr

Ainsley Kerr

I first met Ainsley Kerr at Susie Love‘s jewelry making party and was instantly enchanted by her vivacity.  Suddenly it seemed like I saw her everywhere – Cartier, [FAT], always dressed in pretty dresses by Canadian designers.  I was thrilled when she asked me to draw her for her calling cards.  She asked for a glamourous look and we chose a gorgeous deep-purple Nada gown for the illustration.

I asked Ainsley a few questions about her life and her style and she answered in a characteristically generous fashion.

You were recently described in NOW Magazine as a “bonafide socialite”. How does that make you feel? Do you identify as a socialite?

The one thing that bothers me about the word, socialite, is that most people think that socialites are wealthy men and women who have nothing better to do then than sit around and attend events. This is quite the contrary! Most socialites I know (Toronto or elsewhere) are some of the busiest people I know! Like many of my girlfriends, my adult life has always been filled with work, fundraising and volunteering, and I expect it always will be. We need to learn that rather than to dispose of the word we need adjust to the fact that it’s growing and changing and there is not just one definition for it. I identify with my definition of a socialite; however, I am aware that I may not fit in within everyone’s definition of one. While I have been blessed by coming from a fortunate background during the day I plan luxury destination weddings, sit on two boards and help plan and promote several fundraisers that I’m passionate about in the city.

Who are your heroes and role models?

My biggest role models would have to be my family. I definitely lucked out to be surrounded by such smart, empowering, creative, passionate and loving people.

My parents have always been there for my sister and myself and have provided us with the best that life could offer and instilled strong family traditions. We travelled extensively as a family from an early age, and were exposed to many different cultures and traditions – this probably has been the best education. When I was quite young we were transferred to Tokyo, Japan for several years. Even though I was extremely young, I could not wait to visit Harajaku – which was filled with avante garde stores and where people were very fashionably dressed.

As for my adoration towards fashion, this came to my sister and me at a very early age from my mother who has always enjoyed a great sense of style. In fact, some of my favorite outfits are vintage pieces that have belonged to my mother. Two in particular that stand out are a vintage skinny Hermes belt from the 1970’s in a style that has been discontinued and a bright blue polka dot Guy Laroche dress from the 1980’s.

My father has installed in both my sister and myself the importance of hard work, creating your own identity and being proud of where you come from. We are lucky to be a multi-national family (my mother is from South Africa) and still have strong roots in Toronto (my paternal grandmother grew up across the street from where my parents live now and my paternal grandfather only grew up a couple blocks away).

Congratulations on being included in the Toronto Star’s best dressed list! You are often seen at fashionable events wearing stunning dresses by Canadian designers. Who are some of your favourite designers?

Thank you! It was a huge honour to be asked and I was thrilled to be included in the article alongside such uniquely fashionable Torontonians. I embrace my femininity and enjoy taking my time to get dressed for any event.

My first loves in Canadian fashion are the designers of Mercy. For my graduation from high school we had to wear a white dress. I fell in love with a dress at Holt Renfrew that they had on display and unfortunately it had already been sold. I was thrilled when they agreed to make the dress from scratch for me. I wore it recently to a Wear White for Windfall fundraiser, and nearly a decade later it is still just as stunning and unique. My close second love would have to be Joeffer Caoc. I own a draped taffeta ballskirt that Joeffer debuted in his first collection (when he was still Misura) in L’Oreal Fashion Week, which skyrocketed him to the Canadian fame that he has now. So as you can see my love for Canadian designers has been something that I have been nurturing for a while.

Other favourite designers that frequent my wardrobe right now are: Nada, Magpie and Carlie Wong.

For designers who would like to dress you, can you describe what you look for in a dress or gown?

I have always felt more comfortable in a dress than I do in jeans and a tee shirt; this probably explains why I have more of a classic look. I love statement pieces and enjoy changing my look and formalizing or deformalizing my outfit by using jewellery and accessories. I am a visual person so I need to see a dress on a mannequin or model before I can visualize how it might fall on my body. I definitely have a curvaceous figure so a designer who has made room for a hips and a bum is in my good books!

I am certainly open to suggestions as to what a designer thinks would look good on me as understand that every designer is an artist and that most view the body as a canvas to display their work.

invitation – 360Fashion Meetup in NYC

How I wish I could go to this.  If you are in New York City please go and report back to me –

360Fashion would like to meet up with you in New York on July 1st to talk for a discussion of fashion and online media on July 1st, 2009.

RSVP HERE or ON FACEBOOK any questions please EMAIL US


360Fashion is launching their iPhone application, a platform for the fashion industry to enter the iPhone space, and would like to meet fellow bloggers who may be interested in having their blogs visible in the iPhone or creating a unique iPhone magazine.


360Fashion has opened their China office and will be talking about the fashion industry opportunities there at this time. If you are interested in China and learning about the fashion industry there, we will be happy to tell about the market.


360Fashion members Lisa von Weise and Regina Harris (stylist for vogue, makeup artist for vogue) are available for question and answer sessions. Come talk to the professionals who are making the fashion trends and fashion shoots in top magazines.

We would love to get together with other fashion bloggers and talk about the upcoming trends, new designer brands, and have a dialog of high-fashion vs consumerism.


Meet the 360Fashion members who are designers: Angel Chang, Chesley Mclaren, Maryszka Osaki, and Lu 12.28 (top Chinese young designer) and learn about their unique high quality fashion brands.

vote – holts contemporary correspondent search

As mentioned in the press release announcing the Fashion Blogger Windows at Holt Renfrew:

    At Holt Renfrew's flagship location in Toronto, two of the
blogger-inspired windows will be equipped with a 24-hour interactive touch
screen for the public to cast votes to help select Holts Contemporary
Correspondent. The two Toronto finalists will be competing in a series of
fashion-related challenges being held over six weeks. Votes can also be cast
through Holt Renfrew's Facebook page and the winner will be determined based
on total number of public votes.

Beginning today (June 24), the correspondent hopefuls will be competing in some type of fashion challenge and we will get to vote on our favourites by signing up for the Holt Renfrew facebook group.  I am very curious what the challenges may be and who the finalists are.

click click – 23-06-09

Welcome to Click Click, the regular roundup of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Toronto-centric stuff…

Fashion blog karma for incoming linkers and commenters… thanks so much!

just a thought – cracking cliques

It is the eternal lament of the talented-but-socially-insecure – success rarely seems to have much to do with what you do – success is more about who you know.  It seems like the avenues of media and money are controlled by a cabal of “insiders” who are intent on supporting eachother and keeping new people – people like you – on the outside.  Sure, there is some truth to that statement, but as I have had the opportunity to see things from both sides, I’m beginning to feel that the clique complaint is used far too often as an excuse by the unsuccessful.  My experience is that cliques are rarely as tightly guarded as they seem.

  • True: Success is who you know.

Or even more likely, who knows about you.  You can be the world’s greatest artist, but if no one has ever heard of you, you’re not likely to make a living of it.  Successful people are surrounded by a supportive network of people in their industry, clients and patrons, and media.  So what if you’re not?

Crack it. You may not be the world’s greatest schmoozer, but the good news is you don’t have to be (I’m certainly not).  You just have to be confident and outgoing enough to be able to approach people beyond your immediate circle – especially the right people!  If you make a good impression on someone who is already well connected, you are instantly once removed from an incredibly valuable network.  If you are able to bring that confidence to everyone you meet, your goodwill and connections will multiply every time you meet someone new.  Sure, not everyone is going to like you right away – it takes time to find the people you click with, and develop trust and friendship with those people – but if you never make a move, you’ll be limited to the people you already know and you will limit your success as well.  Why would you want to do that?

  • False: Successful people are jerks who don’t want to help you.  They want to keep all the success for themselves.

Most successful people got to be that way by having others help them.  Sure there are some jerks out there who have let it get to their head, but in my experience many successful people want to pay it forward and help others who are in the position they once were.  Success isn’t a limited resource that diminishes if you share it, and there are plenty of kind, accomplished people out there who get that.

Crack it. Attitude is everything when you are trying to get to know busy, powerful people.  They have a lot of demands on their time – and they have a lot of demands from people.  One of the best ways to win their respect is to demand nothing from them – simply treat them as you would any other human – you know, friendly and casual.  Even better, offer to help them.

  • False: Cliques are tight little crews who only help eachother and try to keep everyone else down.

The thing that makes cliques different than clubs is that there is no such thing as official membership, and there are no written rules.  Wikipedia says:

A clique is an exclusive group of people who share interests, views, purposes, or patterns of behavior. Membership in a clique is often, but not necessarily, exclusive, and qualifications for membership may be social or essential to the nature of the clique.

The word “clique” is often used perjoritavely and the association with high school social dynamics is pretty strong, but the definition itself is neither a positive or a negative one.  Cliques form naturally around any shared interest or purpose.  Of course people who know eachother want to support the people they know – so get to know the people you want to know!

Crack it. Here’s the thing: cracking a clique is just as simple as supporting the members of that clique, sharing their views or behaviors.  In Toronto’s fashion scene there are many groups that could be characterized as cliques – but there is a surprising amount of overlap and porousness to them.  From the outside they can seem quite impenetrable, but in my experience many (not all) of the individuals involved are very open and curious about new ideas and people.  They are often enthusiastic to introduce new friends to their friends.

Now of course not all cliques are as easy to crack and not everyone is curious.  Not all cliques are worth belonging to either – and sometimes apparent membership of one can void your acceptance to others.  Pick your “cliques” according to your own beliefs and passions.  Consider that most cliques are nothing more than a loose collection of people who share something in common – it is really a lot like picking your friends.

What I am trying to express in this post is instead of avoiding cliques, to approach them.  Be careful not to apply assumptions to the character of a clique before you make the effort to introduce yourself to the individuals involved.  There are some genuine benefits to belonging to a group of like-minded friends and associates – I recommend it.