just a thought – making the most of fashion school


Today I forgot it was frosh week (I thought that was supposed to happen after Labour Day?) and found myself going to the library and the mall surrounded by throngs of students.  It reminded me a bit of my first few overwhelming days at fashion school.  So, here are some comments from my experience as a fashion student.

  1. Use the Library. Its a tremendous resource that your tuition dollars pay for.  Getting familiar with the library is an incredible joy.  You can watch DVDs, leaf through magazines from the past fifty years on hundreds of different subjects, learn to search the stacks intuitively.  It helps you with your grades – but better than that, it helps you be a better writer and a better designer, an inspired and curious human being.
  2. Read your assignments. Most of school is just about checking if you’ve paid attention.  So pay attention.  Listen.
  3. Go to your classes. It cuts down the amount of time you need to study and makes exam time much less stressful.
  4. Don’t stress about grades. If you’re doing the first three things, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
  5. Experience is more important than school. The best reason to skip a class is attending or working a fashion event.
  6. Use a planner. Don’t be like I was.  I actually forgot a mid-term once.
  7. Don’t stress about how you dress or how you design in the beginning. Fashion students can get away with outrageous ideas and bad taste, and bad choices in fabrics and design details, ridiculous haircuts and outfits, or complete lack of clue, especially in first year.  Experimentation and practice leads to more confident, better constructed, more deliberate designs.  No one starts out as a fashion rockstar, except YSL types.
  8. Get up early in the morning. This was my secret strategy in fashion school where I never did a single all-nighter and submitted every project.  Get to school at 6am.  Ok, lets be real, before 8am. Early in the morning, the lab is empty, no lineups for machines, empty tables.  Get your homework done before class instead of after.
  9. Choose your designs, fabric and techniques to fit within your means and time available. Unfortunately the best way to really learn this is by doing the exact opposite at least once.
  10. Appreciate. Going to fashion school is a tremendous privilege.  You can do things there that aren’t possible anywhere else, make amazing friends, learn new skills.  Enjoy it and be thankful!

Are you a former fashion student?  What are your tips for making the most of your fashion school years?

invitation – IFB Dress Up Soireé


For all of you who asked, I will not be attending New York Fashion Week this time around, more’s the pity.  If I was, the most anticipated event would be this, the ultimate fashion blogger meet-up.  Love all of the panelists, a great variety of viewpoints should make for a fascinating conversation.


IFB Dress Up Soireé
Monday, September 14th
Broadway East • 171 E Broadway, NY, NY
7:30 pm • RSVP by September 8th to Jennine@heartIFB.com

Event details…
We’ll be hosting a panel discussion before the party at the same location, so if you can make it to both, awesome! We have a great lineup for the whole evening!

Blogger Panel Discussion: Evolving Influence- 7:30pm

For IFB’s second NYFW event, we’re going to have a panel discussion about the world of online fashion and where it’s heading. From issues around quality, democratization, and influence we’ll have some of today’s most interesting and stylish authorities in online fashion, visit IFB for more information.

career karma – Jen Tse


Jen TseI was introduced to Jen Tse by Gail McInnes when I was looking for stylists to invite to the sponsored brunch at La Perlerie.  Jen is an intrepid young stylist who discovered her path by chance and has already developed an impressive portfolio of work.  I recently met her out of context (at a non-fashion event) and had a great conversation on the ups and downs of being up and coming in Toronto’s tiny fashion scene.  I asked her a few more questions for this post.

As a stylist, do you aim to be versatile or do you specialize? Do you have a signature style?

Well, I veer towards either styling minimalistic leather dirty rock and roll or girlish quirky prettiness with sweet ruffles bows, and checks but since I do work in a Canadian context I have to be versatile and adapt to whatever the clientele wants in a project.

What stylists or other fashion professionals do you admire either for their career or their body of work?

I really admire Ana Steiner‘s and Christopher Niquet‘s work- both have a simplistic raw aesthetic; it’s youthful and deliciously fun. I love the madcap insanity of Marc Jacobs right now, Gareth’s Pugh’s men line and Missoni is always lovely. Oh, I adore Miu Miu.

What are your favourite blogs, websites and magazines?

I regularly read the New York Times, style.com, evilmonito.com, facehunter and a whole slew of blogs about food. As for fashion magazines, I like i-D, Numero, British and Italian Vogue, Purple and Self Service magazine.

Are there any words of experience you would like to pass on to aspiring stylists?

Just keep on working at it and do as much research as possible. Assisting is really important and it is the relationships you form with the people around you that matters the most.

Describe your proudest career moment.

I can’t pin one down but I guess it would be having certain people whose work I respect tell me that they like what I’m doing and also, seeing the gradual payoffs of the hard work. It’s always nice to hear that a certain image looks awesome!

portfolio – Fashion Illustration School

My first ever book publishing project finally came in the mail this week.  It is Fashion Illustration School by Acadamy of Art University professor Carol Nunnelly.
fashion illustration school

My contribution is nothing grand or glamourous – I did the examples of technical illustrations and a few examples of step-by-step fabric rendering.
coat illustrations

click click – 25-08-09

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

Toronto-centric stuff

Kudos and karma for friends of Final Fashion

  • Cake or DeathWe are the answer. Cake or Death is the hottest custom cake-art service in the GTA, with custom cakes to die for, there really is no question, only the answer.
  • The Silk WormI find nothing more satisfying then being complimented on a piece of clothing, and being able to reply ‘I made it myself…..’

a question – have you met?

Hi everyone.  I was just wondering, have you ever met someone either on the internet or real life because of Final Fashion? I am grateful to have so many chances to connect with many of you, I wonder if it has also helped you find other choice or chance connections as well.  Have you attended an event I posted an invitation for? Contacted someone I interviewed?  So curious.

If you have, please feel free to comment or email.  Thanks.

a word from… August 09 sponsors


A word from… is a monthly news post contributed by the sponsors who support Final Fashion.  All of my sponsors are intrepid entrepreneurs with a lot of personality, and I encourage you to check out what they are doing and making.  Just click on their badges in the far right sidebar to get it straight from the source.  If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please get in touch!

Laura-Jean of Fresh Collective says…

We’re making space for the fabulous fall merchandise that’s arriving each day, so don’t miss the last weeks of our super sale section! We’ve devoted a huge space at the back of our shop to deeply discounted items: designers’ samples, past seasons’ merchandise, and other special deals. Hunt through for the 10$ specials, and go home with a pile of stuff for just a small chunk of change.

fresh collective sale section

illustration by christy litsterChristy from Pink Lady says…

The Pink Lady team has been established to offer various fashion related services to aid in the initial stages of production. These services include, but are not limited to, design, illustration, patternmaking, and grading.

The Pink Lady team includes Lori Moore – Production Patternmaker and Grader, Heather Hobbs – Sample Pattermaker and Grader, and Christy Litster – Fashion Designer and Illustrator. Our team of experts cater to the individual company regardless of size or focus. For more details on our services or pricing please visit our website at www.pinkladyfashion.ca or email us at info@pinkladyfashion.ca.

Jamil from Juma says…

here is a new photo that we launched on our site… this is from our new fall campaign.

i hope u like!


events – The Style Box opens up

My good friend Gail Mcinnes and her bestie Amanda Brugel launched their new venture, The Style Box, last week with a very intimate fashion show event and cocktail.  It was also the inaugural event for brand-new (and internet savvy) PR outfit Knot PR.  Of course all of these ladies are total pros with tons of experience, so for a first event it was impressive and assured.

The Style Box‘s mandate is to bring together entertainment and fashion folks in Toronto to create a more mutually supportive scene.  Buzz is the bottom line – and if a front row full of assorted media and accessorized muses is any indication, the Box delivers.

Here are a few of my “arty” (ok, unprofessional) photos… for some really stellar shots (including ones of me) check out the ones Raymund Galsim took for knot PR and the ones Paul Baik took for I want – I got.

Gail at The Style Box event
Getting a big welcome smile from Gail… she looks so saucy in her Fashion Crimes dress.

The Style Box founders introduce the show
Gail and Amanda informally (and a little giddily) introduce the fashion show.

model in Brazen Hussy dress at The Style Box show
A model strikes a contrived pose in a Brazen Hussy sequinned number.

The Style Box cupcakes by Cake or Death
Little black and white cupcakes by Cake or Death.  Beware the black ones if you’re smiling for the photographers later!

Anita being interviewed
Anita of I want – I got in a yellow Starkers! corset does a television interview.

fashion blog karma – UrbaneBloc


gloria of urbane blocGloria is another fashion blog friend discovered over brunch back in the day.  Her blog, UrbaneBloc covers fashion, shopping and gadgets, music and design… you know, things she likes! It is both personal and polished which is an admirable combination in a fashion blog.

She also has a quirky sense of humour and a soft voice which combined is instantly endearing.  I asked her a few questions about what she likes and how she blogs.

UrbaneBloc is one of the sites I like to click through from my RSS feed for because the look is so distinctive. How did you arrive at the design for the site, including the gorgeous logo and the style of captions-on-photos?

Thank you so much – it means so much coming from a talented fashion illustrator such as yourself! I think it took a lot of trial and error to get to this point – it’s a mash up of aesthetic styles I like. The captions are always a product of toying with effects, and sometimes beautiful fluke.

For the urbanebloc logo, I knew I wanted something simple and universal (meaning it would appeal to anyone and everyone, and could apply to all aspects of fashion and culture coverage).

The design of the site was just something that evolved over time. Be on the look out for the next version within the next little while!

You teamed up with Chris from Mindzai.com two years in a row to curate The Peek, an exhibition of contemporary local artists and designers. How did the idea for the Peek come about, and how do you and Chris pick the artists for The Peek?

THE PEEK is an event that originally started out as a Mindzai.com event – Chris is one of my best friends so I wanted to contribute. It grew into something much more, a collaborative effort. Instead of showcasing visual and graphic artists, we brought in a fusion of fashion, music, photography, and visual arts. It was a really unique blend of people that we knew from the Toronto community. We reached out to artists that represented the most incredible emerging talent, many of whom we had admired in the past.

Besides fashion UrbaneBloc also covers techy stuff, music and urban culture. So I have to ask, how do you define “urban culture”?

I have a fascination with city-slicker lifestyle – much of which stemmed from the fact that I’m an uptown dweller. I love the culture that’s housed in the epicenter (sorry, geek word) of a city. I love to play downtown – the trendiest, most sophisticated, and downright most interesting folk congregate and create this urban culture. It’s not necessarily the most popular trends that dictate this culture. But that’s my take.

What are your favourite blogs, websites and magazines?

I’m a fan of Toronto fashion blogs. Yulanda from Little Thoughts is great, Final Fashion (love the illustration style), I check in with lookbook.nu sometimes. The standard FashionToast is always great, because you wonder how she gets her photos to look the way she does (and it’s something that’s coming for urbanebloc.com). I love lookbooks that are created by online retailers, like Shopbop.com, RevolveClothing.com, and ModCloth.com (dream job – being a stylist for a plethora of branded beauties). Magazine favourites include the general FASHION Mag, but I definitely dig the more independent ones like MetroPop, and The Block has some nifty looks. Lula is a magazine that’s pretty hard to obtain sometimes – but it’s filled with pages upon pages of beautiful imagery.

What have you learned from the process of developing UrbaneBloc for the past two years?

So much that I don’t know if I could confine it to anything remotely succinct in description! I learned that blogging is a huge undertaking – it’s about being connected online and offline. I learned that you only get out of it as much as you put into it. In this case, I’ve put a lot of my life into it and I’ve seen an abundance of positive response and results – much of which has been a reflection of my fantastic friends and readers.

I’m definitely happy on the path that I’m on. All the other perks are just icing on the delectable cupcake.