invitation – Art of Fashion


Art of Fashion is presenting Iconic Power, a fashion design competition/exhibition with free admission that happens at the same time as Nuit Blanche.  The entries are usually avant garde and exciting, and often from under-the-radar designers and fashion students, so it is definitely worth dropping by.
Art of Fashion Iconic Power

Among the contestants is Final Fashion sponsor Pink Lady.  Looking forward to seeing what Christy and Heather have designed.

a word from… September 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!

Sian from Fresh Collective says…

We’ve put our own twist on menswear for fall with this adorable pinstripe babydoll dress. With a full skirt and empire waist, there’s hardly anything “manly” about it and that’s why we love it! The subtle grey pinstripe pattern is perfect for the office when worn with a blazer and tight,s and then layer on some chunky necklaces and toss on a pair of sky-high heels and you’re ready for a night on the town! And for those of you who love plaids and tweeds, we’ve got them as well! Be sure to stop by Fresh Collective to see more fabulous fall merchandise from Fresh Baked Goods.

pinstripe baby doll

Michelle from Shopgirls says…

Shopgirls‘ Signature Yoga Jeans – same amazing fit, new look! Only 300 pairs produced exclusively for Shopgirls. With traditional gold stitching and the Shopgirls asterisk embroidered on the back pocket, these are the hottest new addition to the Yoga Jean collection. $110.

Signature Yoga Jean image

Crystal from Fashion Crimes says…

The artist featured in Fashion Crimes’ window during Nuit Blanche/“Out of Sight” on the night of Oct. 3, is Kathryn Walter, her exhibit is as follows:

Kathryn Walter – a tribute to the garment workers and independent designers that Queen West has been defined by, Walter’s performance centers on a sewing machine she has designed to power a film projector. Working from a store window, she will sew felt “remnants” or scraps. The faster she sews, the clearer the film projection behind her will be. The notion of remnants and the image of the Victorian-looking industrial buildings in the projection suggest an era of fine craft and hard work by individuals predating imported, mass-produced clothing.


invitation – David Livingstone at the BATA Shoe Museum


DavidVeteran fashion reporter David Livingstone is speaking this Wednesday at The Bata Shoe Museum.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to go, but if you can, you should – Livingstone is a candid character with a distinctive, stream-of-consciousness speaking style.  Especially if you are a student, admission is very reasonable.


Join renowned Canadian fashion journalist David Livingstone, fashion writer for the Toronto Star, Elle, Fashion and Zoomer as he discusses his experiences in the fashion industry.

Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor St. West.
Wednesday Sept 30, 2009
Doors open at 7pm (with refreshments)
Lecture starts at 7:30

General admission $14, students $6.

event – Ford Supermodels live

Anita and I went to see the “Ford Models Super Model of the World Canada Finale” – quite a mouthful, and we were not really sure what to expect.  When I got there, we discovered it was a live television show taping.  Live TV in person is both tense and boring in a strange way, I haven’t ever been in the audience of a live TV show before so it was an interesting experience.

Dina Pugliese hosts
Charismatic Dina Pugliese was the host of the show.  She seemed remarkably comfortable and easy-going in front of a crowd, wearing a tight dress and tight shoes.  There was also a live performance by Lights upstairs, which I couldn’t really see – but the music was nice.

models being judges in jeans
The models walked in three vignettes wearing clothes from Diesel, hair by Redken and makeup by Maybelline.  This show was less like a reality show than it was a big commercial for the sponsors – but I guess its working because I remember all of the sponsor’s names.

Brad Koenig walks
Super-male model and Lagerfeld favourite Brad Koenig was in the show, so I took this terrible picture of him.  He is an extremely handsome man.

baby only slightly younger than models
This baby was definitely the cutest person in the front row… and only slightly younger than the models.

models wait to find out who won
The models were certainly very lovely and very very young (the girl on the left is only 13 years old) – considering that they were selected from many models across Canada, I was surprised not to see some more diversity in the finalists.  Not only were they all white, they all pretty much had the same interests, favourite foods, taste in music, and on the runway it was difficult to identify them from one another, especially the twins.  The judges said they were looking for personality – something I had a hard time picking out from the runway show alone.

the winning model
The winner is a stunning girl nonetheless, wishing her the best at the world finals.

what I wear – Butikofer samples


me in Butikofer top

After a stage of acquiring nothing but black, my renewed exploration of colour continues with this sweet Fall 2008 Butikofer top in vibrant pink cotton with grosgrain.

I picked it out this morning after helping Adrienne set up her booth for The Clothing Show.  Since she’s on Baby Hiatus right now, its safe to say the merchandise is limited edition and since she’s moving house soon, the clothes are priced to move too.  I’ll be giving her a hand tomorrow (Saturday) from 12-4, if you’re at the show please drop by booth #516 and say hi.

Butikofer at The Clothing Show

click click – 24-09-09

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

Toronto-centric stuff

Karma for commenters and linkers – bisous!

  • Michelle Messina“Spiritual connection with image, sound and the unknown…mm”
  • Allison Buchan-Terrell“I am currently mastering journalism at Ryerson University. This is me sorting out my thoughts and documenting my final project.”
  • The Dancing Diva Addicted to RetailRandom thoughts of a young african american female, living the college life and finding herself through growth and experience.”

client karma – PunkMedics

BadurBadur Ramji is an internet friend and his vegan skincare company, PunkMedics, is a sponsor of the site.  Though we hang out online on Twitter and exchange emails, I still felt like I didn’t know very much about him, and wanted to learn more about Badur and what he does.  I asked him a few questions about entrepreneurship and developing vegan skincare, and he generously answered in candid detail.  He also mentions some other gutsy entrepreneurs worth checking out.

What inspired you to create PunkMedics?

I’ve always been a frustrated artist. I can’t draw and I can’t paint. Even after my years at Ryerson in Fashion Communication I still never properly learnt how to communicate my design ideas onto paper. What I did learn from Ryerson, and what I believe was more powerful to me then learning how to draw, was learning how to look. I learnt how to see a niche audience, learn how to solve their problem and how to grow a business around them. I knew upon graduation I was an entrepreneur and didn’t want to work for someone else. So I took the leap and started my first business in web design and online marketing. We were developing proprietary systems for the then burgeoning online analytics industry and I found that I was good at  being a creative liaise between marketers and developers. All of this is old hat now-a-days but in the early dot-com era these skill sets were innovative and valuable.

I learnt a lot from those days. The most important thing I learnt was I hated the corporate environment, and though I could be successful in it that wasn’t the role I wanted to play. I got tired of selling hope. I wanted to  get back to my design roots and develop products and things that were tangible. I wanted to develop a self sustaining business that took ideas and made them into tangible products.

PunkMedics started as an accident. In its first iteration we were a supply company for the body modification industry. We grew quickly and developed a decent market share but that market is now saturated and conscious more about price points then quality. We then moved into the new and growing niche of after care products for that industry. We researched about the skin and it’s needs and wants, what happens when you tattoo or pierce that skin and how it affects the natural equilibrium. We developed a few care products that are the basis of what PunkMedics eventually grew into.

Because I’m a minimalist at heart and always look for simple solutions to complex problems I continued researching ingredients to improve our initial formulations and learnt what actually made them effective and how I could make them simpler and more natural. I’ve always believed the less you put into the body the better. The advantages to this concept of simplicity is that the formulations themselves are more stable and easier to produce in-house on a large scale basis.

From years of researching ingredients and dissecting formulations I eventually realized that people love simple, clean, and effective products and that adding the same principles to package design could be a powerful combination. I was already developing products for an audience that looks at our after care line as a quality product so I decided that doing a full line of skincare products for the same audience would be a natural progression. PunkMedics was born from those early principles of natural ingredients, quality manufacturing, and a product brand that speaks to it’s audience.

My market is my friends and their friends. My products are solutions to skincare problems that my friends have had for years. Everything from irritated piercings and dry tattoos to facial cleansers and lip balms that
don’t irritate or dry the skin.

Now things are growing again. The parents of my target audience have taken notice and are loving the product line and asking for something that speaks to them. We’ve recently launched a more adult contemporary brand called Fuchsia Natural Skincare.

From your pictures it looks like you are creating your own factory – why is it important for you to manufacture in-house?

I’m a control freak. To understand my audience and my products I need to be a part of the entire product cycle. My friends wanted products with no scent, with quality ingredients, and little to no chemicals. Something made with value in an age that sees the youth as a commodity and deems them as a throw away and faddish society.

My issues with control and my audiences need for quality made in-house production the only solution to making a product with value. What started off as an in-house lab to test ideas, turned into a small production facility to make a small run of products, and now we make all our core products in-house. Having the equipment to make 1000s of bottles a day has also allowed us to expand our services to other companies looking for small contract manufacturing for their niche markets without any large outlay in
production costs and essentially no minimum orders.

I like working on formulations, love designing packaging, and get glee out of solving production issues or finding ways not to buy expensive production equipment. It’s taking the DIY craft paradigm and turning it into a small scale production business that can be done locally. We know everything going into our products. We’ve touched every label on each bottle, we even produce some of our labels in-house for small production contracts. In the end you have a line of products that are made locally and made with love, enthusiasm and care.

What are the challenges when it comes to creating skincare products for vegans – is it like baking where you have to find substitutions for certain ingredients?

As I mentioned before I’m a minimalist. I like simplistic formulations, I like making products that are effective with the least number of ingredients. I want to make products that are as natural as they can be
while still being safe. Making products vegan is actually very easy once you realize that most commercial skincare products are filler with a touch of active ingredients. They develop products that meet a certain claim at a specific price point. To keep price points down they add in animal derived ingredients to help things feel softer or lather faster or give you the sense of cleanliness.

We develop products to actually solve a skincare problem and challenge ourselves to meet that problem with the least number of ingredients. The simpler a formula is the easier it is to price it fairly and still be
competitive. What we’ve learnt from this minimalist approach to production is that most natural ingredients are vegetable derived and are just as effective as any chemical based or animal based equivalent. Why make something that’s not vegan if you don’t have to.

How do you test your products?

Every product we’ve developed to date has started as a solution to a skincare problem that a friend has faced. I develop a few formulations for that problem then give out test samples to a small close knit group of
friends and of course test everything on myself before handing out test samples. My friends believe in what I do but are honest about what they like or don’t like. From there we narrow down and tweak the formulations to the pre production version and then do broader testing with a larger audience of friends and current clients. Based on their feedback we finalize the product and develop a large batch which then goes out for safety testing to ensure stability.

What other entrepreneurs do you admire and get inspired by?

Because I have my hand in a multitude of areas of the business my interests are very broad. I read about marketing, about fashion and colour trends, about packaging design, about new skincare ingredients, about SEO and online marketing and of course about other small businesses. Because of that I have broad range of influences and companies that inspire me.

In Toronto I love that Sarah Campbell has managed to create a haven for new Ontario Based designers with The Rage in Kensington. I love Erika Shuhendler’s Cruelty free lingerie line Purrfect Pineapples. It’s fun and she’s a true local entrepreneur. I love what you blog about and how you’ve become a “connector” to like minded people in toronto. I love my friend Jana. She’s a no no-nonsense women who has shown the world you can be intelligent, successful and still have a unique identity and view on the world. I also love that she knits me presents all the time.

In Montreal I love Akumu Ink‘s T-shirt designs and attention to detail. I also love that Joey recently took the leap and quit his job to 100% pursue his passion.

In Cambridge I love my friends at Thrive Studios. They’ve leaped of the cliff and have made one of the best Tattoo and Piercing shops I’ve seen in a long time and have managed to make the art of body modification safe, comfortable and approachable for all ages of people. I only wish they were in Toronto!

event – Cashmere 09 fashion show

Cashmere 09 Collection

Today I saw the 2009 Cashmere bathroom tissue fashion collection presented on the runway.  I’d like to say it isn’t often that you see a dress made out of toilet paper – but with so many toilet paper dresses out there, it just isn’t true.  Considering how mature the toilet paper fashion industry is, I am glad to see that Canadian designers are still pushing the envelope and delivering new shapes and techniques for a fragile, if no longer unconventional, material.  And it is nice to see Kruger, who makes the Cashmere brand, supporting Canadian fashion as well as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Here are some of the more interesting dresses from the show – you can see the complete set of photos on my flickr if you’re interested.

Anastasia Lumonova
Anastasia Lomonova from Montreal made what must have been hundreds of little rolls (sort of like roses) for a dress with a spectacular shape.

Greta Constantine
That’s not a dress, Greta Constantine, but it sure is freaking cool.  No, the panties were not made of toilet paper.

Patrice Soku
Kudos to curator Peter Papapetrou for selecting some under-the-radar designers from outside of Toronto.  I have never heard of Patrice Soku, who did this dress with a peculiar pointed bodice.  I guess it is about protecting breasts from cancer?

Paul Hardy
Calgary designer Paul Hardy‘s designs always seem to me to have a “thrown-together-at-the-last-minute” look – of all the designs, his pantsuit looked the most haphazard and about-to-disintegrate.  Sometimes this signature style doesn’t work in Hardy’s favour, but in this case, visually his design stands apart from the rest in a way that is interesting.

Sunny Fong 2
Project Runway Canada winner Sunny Fong‘s design was the most fragile-looking – in a spectacularly precise way.  Those careful cutouts look like they are about the be torn by a heel at every step but his stunning model kept his design intact, and looked incredible.  The bodice overlay appeared to have been laminated, which is a technique I haven’t seen used before on a toilet paper dress.

Tavan and Mitto
I am not familiar with Tavan & Mitto, they created a truly wearable looking parka (if this had been inserted in a regular fashion show I might have guessed it was actually cashmere).  They were also the only designers who did not use the pink accents.

Farley Chatto
Farley Chatto, who has made a name for himself creating one-offs for corporations instead of collections, delivered the showstopper of the afternoon.  The level of execution on every detail of this complex dress is tremendous.

press release – Jessica Biffi at Explore Design

Explore Design 09

Explore Design 09, The Design Education Fair for Youth is coming up on October 14th and 15th.  There are a number of speakers from the fashion industry including Canadian fashion icon Linda Lundstrom, Leigh-Ann Waller from Fanshawe College, jewelery designer Wing-Ki Chan, and Project Runway Canada finalist (and my school chum) Jessica Biffi.  From the press release:

From Ryerson U to reality TV stardom to the runway, fashion designer Jessica Biffi illustrates that pursuing a creative education path leads to a successful future. The technical training Biffi received at Ryerson in the field of Fashion Design gave her a winning advantage during the second season of Project Runway Canada.  “I wish ED was around when I was deciding what to ‘be’.” Biffi says. “ED gives creative kids like I was that channel full of resources to lead them on their way to a creative future!” Now working under her own label, Jessica Biffi, the Canadian fashion scene is anxiously awaiting the debut of her Spring/Summer collection at Toronto’s LG Fashion Week later in October.

Biffi will chat with kids at ED on Oct. 14!

There are so many fascinating speakers including several graphic designers and artists.  To me, ED09 is not only a terrific event for youth but for anyone who is in the early stages of their creative career and interested in learning from their peers.  I hope to attend as well.

invitation – Vanity Fair portraits at the ROM

The Royal Ontario Museum is presenting an incredible collection of portraits from Vanity Fair magazine. Opening on September 26th, I am very much looking forward to visiting and viewing it.
Vanity Fair portraits

Vanity Fair Portraits was mounted to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the modern-era magazine and the 95th anniversary of the original magazine’s founding. The exhibition is divided into two parts, 1913-36, the magazine’s early period, and 1983 to the present. In addition to the portraits, the exhibition will include vintage and modern editions of Vanity Fair magazines.