invitation – Passion For Fashion Orientation 2010

This is a heads up for all the fresh, up and coming fashion entrepreneurs in Toronto – TFI and YES are once again combining forces to offer up a FREE program of seminars and a business plan competition where you could win $1000 cash and a priceless mentorship opportunity.

Here’s the info:

JUNE 15 & 17, 2010

Are you…
Interested in fashion design?
Looking to be your own boss?
Between the ages of 16 and 29?


Youth Employment Services (YES) has teamed up with Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) to create this amazing opportunity for youth to learn about entrepreneurship and fashion design. Sign up for one of these FREE information sessions to learn more. Targeted to youth aged 16 – 29 living in the Province of Ontario, who are not professional fashion designers, A Passion For Fashion participants will receive workshops on starting a business, fashion design and marketing, one-on-one mentorship and a chance to enter the Fashionista’s Den Competition where one lucky youth will win $1,000 cash, a one-year TFI Outreach membership and 50 hours of business advisory and fashion mentorship.

Now in its second year, this exciting program gives young fashion designers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to explore the world of entrepreneurship in the fashion industry, for free!

Interested? Visit for eligibility, program information and additional orientation dates and locations in the GTA. To register for the June 15th and 17th sessions, contact Toronto Fashion Incubator at or call 416-971-7117 ext. 21.

Want to learn more?  One of last year’s participants, Kevin Naulls, wrote a post about his experience with the program.

fashion illustrated – artist in residence at OZ

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Evan Biddell in his versatile shared gallery space, OZ Studios. It was fun to sit and draw among comings and goings of friendly people, sketching is usually so solitary it was neat to feel like I had co-workers and collaborators.

Plus, Evan’s clothing is so inspiring to draw.  He loves comic book heroines and I love to draw fashion figures, and the project we are working on sort of meets halfway between.  Looking forward to showing it to you when its done, but until then here is some other stuff I illustrated yesterday.

Thanks so much Evan!  I hope we can do it again sometime this summer.

things I love thursday – 27-05-10

Eastern Phoebe by clucxkow on Flickr

How about a little interlude of gratitude… I had the most amazing May Two Four weekend and it inspired me to compile a new list of lovely things I love (a la Gala).

  • Wearing summer dresses and sandals, every day.
  • Birds! Phoebes (like the one above), robins, wild turkeys, bluebirds, all of them.
  • Flowers! Especially sweet smelling apple blossoms and lilac trees on old farmsteads, and little strawberry blossoms in the sand.
  • My mom and dad, who make being easygoing seem so effortless.
  • Puns! I saw SATC2 last night and laughed out loud – see writer/director Michael Patrick King on The Daily Show to see why.
  • Amazing, supportive, encouraging clients who keep me in business and give me challenges that make me grow. Words cannot express my gratitude.
  • My long-suffering, tiny, ancient window AC unit, for making working in my studio tolerable.
  • Ray, who shows me how to be on my own trip.
  • Hot Tim Hortons coffee in the morning and cold beer in the afternoon.
  • Doonesbury cartoons by Garry Trudeau, who taught me everything I know about modern American politics.
  • The “At Issue” panel on CBC TV’s The National – best 10 minute brief on Canadian politics every week, from a panel of intelligent pundits that actually respect and enjoy each other.
  • Rage Against the Machine, and Leonard Cohen as sung by Jennifer Warne, contrasting on the top of my iTunes.
  • Saving money and dreaming up the most meaningful ways I can use it.
  • Playing like children with dear childhood friends, just frolicking in the sun for the fun of it.

What are you loving lately?

Trash Fusion at Ecofest Barrie

So, in between many other things (Where is this week going? Ack!), I have been diligently diving into recycling boxes and picking up trash on the street, plus picking up donations from generous readers. And… washing each item, cutting them into hundreds of paillettes, punching holes in each paillette, and stitching each paillette one by one on to my entry for the Trash Fusion design contest. Curious?  You can see some previous updates here and here.

The main event, a fashion show, is happening in Barrie, a town on a lake north of Toronto.  My brother lives there, so I think it is a neat opportunity to show my family (and my 2 year old niece) some fashion.  I’ve decided to model my own dress to keep the logistics simple. I am getting a hair cut from Greg May Hair just for the occasion, my first haircut since I resolved to grow my hair long. I plan on enjoying the modeling experience, it might be the last time I ever do it.

If you are in Barrie on June 12, you can come and see me walk the runway – a rare event. Check out the Ecofest Barrie site for more info.

a word from… May 10 sponsors


A word from… is a monthly news post contributed by the sponsors who support Final Fashion. All of these sponsors are intrepid entrepreneurs with a lot of personality, and I encourage you to check out what they are doing and making. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please get in touch!

Michelle from rock-it promotions says…

The average person walks 3,000 to 5,000 steps a day, and ladies that is a lot of foot work in our heels! Beginning Thursday, May 27, Che Bella Spa (10 Castle Knock Road, Toronto) will transform into Red Door every Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 7 and 11 p.m. to exclusively offer blissful evening foot massages for your tired tootsies. The 45-minute treatment includes a hot foot soak and a tranquilizing therapeutic massage of the feet and legs, and retails for $55 per person, $100 per couple and $185 for a group of four.

It’s a perfect setting for bridal showers, a night out with friends or a romantic date night, and with its recent renovations Red Door clients will experience a beach-inspired serenity in the classic Victorian space.  Looking for a relaxing night out? Book your appointment today at or (416) 485-1225.

Nina from the Toronto Fashion Incubator says…


Are you starting or dissolving a fashion business with a friend, investor or relative?  Are you looking for an investor and want to know how to protect your share of the business?  Have you been approached by a company to do some freelance work for them? LEARN about your rights and responsibilities BEFORE signing on the dotted line!

Sabrina Fiorellino from Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP will be at the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) for one night only to answer your questions about entering into business agreements and partnerships. Learn about potential issues before they happen or what you can do now to solve an immediate situation.

This seminar will not repeat so don’t miss out! Space is limited. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW online at

Date: Thursday, June 10th, 2010
Time: 5:30pm Doors open for Coffee & Networking 6:00pm Seminar Presentation with Q&A
Location: Toronto Fashion Incubator 285 Manitoba Drive, Pod 3, Exhibition Place, Toronto

Vanessa from 18karat says…

Spring time brings new jewellery items lovingly created by local artists into 18karat. All are characterized by vivid colours and textures, perfect for updating your wardrobe for the warm and sunny months ahead. Inna Gorshtein from Ingo Jewelry has really begun to push her wire-work and has started to incorporate some very unusual gems into her collection. Pepe Fernandez from Splendor Jewellery is continuing to blend ancient Mokume techniques with textured silver – treating silver wire as if it were cotton thread. Darlene Martin from Bijouxbead has continued to create pieces that are unique stories in and of themselves – this collection focuses on beautifully cool blues and silvers. These talented artists only make up a portion of the locally produced work currently available at 18Karat, so make sure to drop by and view them for yourself.

Darlene of Bijouxbead says…

I recently had the good fortune of attending a one week amazing marketing course at Queen’s Executive Development Centre.  This was a full scholarship awarded to me after being featured on the CBC’s entrepreneurial program Fortune Hunters.  I was one of ten people in the course, and the only one with her own business.  To say I was intimidated  was an understatement, and it took me over a year to commit to going.

Once I was able to get past the language I was completely unfamiliar with, like CRM, value propositions, market segmentation and brand positioning, I started to realize that marketing was really common sense, but with a very important caveat;  that in order for a business to really be successful, you need a strategic plan backed up by metrics.  Once I understood this, my mind started racing so incredibly fast that I really couldn’t help myself.  I know the people around me saw it too.
One Day Only! One Fifty For ALL! On May 26th only – You can purchase any ticket package to the Julian Roberts Subtraction Cutting Tour event just for $150.00 CAD

Ticket Packages

Ticket Option # 2 – Lecture & Reception – On Sale Now! – $150.00CAD (Reg. Price $250.00 CAD.)
Ticket Option # 3 – Lecture & Reception & Masterclass On Sale Now! – $150.00CAD (Reg. Price $350.00 CAD.)Where: Ryerson University Campus.
When: Monday June 14th & Tuesday 15th, 2010.
Tickets can only be purchased on May 26th, 9:00am to 9:00pm EST at

click click – 21-05-10

Welcome to click click, the sporadic roundup of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

This is a photo by Kyoichi Tsuzuki, and here is an oldie but goodie – interview with the man who photographed of some of fashion’s “happy victims” in their home environments in Japan.

Tipping my hat to incoming linkers and commenters – thank you all so much for your abundant support.

  • Intern blog“A fashion magazine intern trying to become a fashion journalist.”
  • For Fashion’s Sake includes Final Fashion among some other stellar Canadian fashion blogs, thanks!
  • Star Costumes – made my day with some kind words, including me in the top 25 fashion blogs on the internet.  Thanks so much!
  • The Compendium Daily – Toronto’s pink-corseted princess, Ainsley Kerr, is a fan of Final Fashion, aw.
  • The Wholestyle Network – the latest from blog-reader extraordinaire, Ellie Di, a compilation of her favourite online content in one handy website.
  • Ayalah Hutchins – another Toronto based fashion illustrator with a blog – ! I feel… not so alone anymore.  She’s even drawn me – and made me look cute, too.
  • Yes and Yes – one of the most uplifting blogs ever just got an even more uplifting makeover, and kindly included me on the blogroll.  Made my day – and if you want to make yours, visit Yes and Yes.

fashion illustrated – Line Knitwear holiday lookbook shoot

Any chance to be able to draw a model from life is so tempting… if there is anything I find inspiring it is beautiful girls wearing gorgeous clothing.  Lucky for me, yesterday I was invited by publicist Ashley MacIntyre to come and hang out at the LINE Knitwear Holiday lookbook shoot, shot by Miguel Jacob and styled by Juliana Schiavinatto.

It was a welcome chance to check out the LINE in person (silly me, I missed the much-praised debut runway show) – so chic and so soft.  The designers, John and Jennifer were there and kindly answered my questions, describing some of their favourite runway pieces from the Fall 2010 show.

The vibe was really sweet – Miguel was playing his favourite songs, and the model Marina Jamieson is beautiful and goofy, the pace was quick and light.  Thanks to everyone for letting me sit in and sketch a few loks.

just a thought – total disclosure

Lets talk about disclosure.  The FTC has been laying down the law, at least on American bloggers and publicists, and everyone, American or not, has been watching and waiting to see what this sort of legislation means for us.  As small “examples” are made, it seems like fashion blogging and PR will be the ones testing the new laws.  Because of all the niches and industries out there, surely fashion is the one where consumer objectivity is a matter of public health and safety. Okay, I’m being sarcastic. But here we are.

When I first heard about the FTC stuff, I didn’t think much of it. Like many fashion bloggers, I’ve been trying to raise the level of disclosure on my site for a long time – not for any legal reason, but just because its the right thing to do by my visitors. I hate legalese on my website – I don’t feel like its my job to tell people to obey the law, that should be implied. In posts where I was invited to an event, I’ll tell which PR company invited me, and in posts where I feature an item that is a gift, I try to word it in a way where its clear that the item was gifted.  But I know because I try to be creative with how I do it, sometimes it is not so clear.  Its been a process of trying to figure out a way to do it that suits the site.  Well, how about a total confessional?


Total disclosure time. Here’s the thing about almost every item I feature on my site in the what I wear category: they’re almost ALL gifted.  Until the day that I am making money like gangbusters (full disclosure: not even close), I essentially have no disposable income.  What little disposable income I have I put back into the business – computer stuff, office furniture, art supplies, etc.  Clothing – as much as I love it – is not a priority.  Most of the clothing that I post pictures of comes from the following sources:

  • gifted by PR
  • hand-me-down from a friend
  • thrift stores
  • trades for services in kind with other artists and designers
  • and very occasionally… a special item that I have saved for.

It is thanks to the generosity of so many designers and publicists that I even have an outfit photo feature on the blog.  I have never enjoyed shopping as a pastime, so I don’t blog about shopping. Still, I love clothes. I held out on the outfit posts for a long time – I wasn’t sure if it was for me. After much consideration, I’ve decided to just go for it – and as far as I am concerned it is a win-win.  I get cool clothes that I like (I don’t accept gifts of clothes I don’t like – why would I?) and the designers and brands who kindly indulge my tastes get coverage on my blog that would otherwise be unavailable.  Beyond that, readers seem to like it (outfit posts often get more than their share of comments) and I’ve managed to avoid the rat race that puts so many outfit bloggers in credit card debt.


Like a lot of fashion bloggers, I want to develop a blog that is a profitable use of my time.  The blog serves as a calling card for my services as a fashion illustrator, it occasionally allows me the perks of being considered a member of the media, and for the past year I’ve experimented with a sponsorship program.  Sponsors get their own very clearly defined news post once a month, as well as placement of a custom-illustrated badge in the sidebar.  To say that I am biased towards my sponsors should be obvious – any business that is supportive of my business fills me with all sorts of warm, friendly, un-objective feelings.

For a blogger, unlike a masthead, there is no distinct separation between editorial and sponsorship departments, because I do both jobs.  It is in my best interest to be selective of my sponsors to maintain my credibility.  For bloggers, credibility isn’t implied by a history of industry conventions, credibility is earned by demonstrating it on an ongoing basis.  The rules for this are still being discovered, but the lines are easily marked by the instant feedback inherent in blogging.  If I step even slightly outside of what my readers are comfortable with, they let me know – either by unsubscribing or by contacting me.

Overall, I think sponsorship helps me improve as a fashion blogger.  I now feel an obligation to post consistently at a certain level, to constantly strive to increase the reach of the blog.  Now that I have a modest level of income from the blog, I feel justified spending more time on the blog rather than always pursuing freelance work.  I think the result is better for readers and visitors, as well as being better for the blogger and the sponsors.  Win – win – win.

Other Stuff

The last topic to cover is advertising and affiliate programs.  I do have Adsense on some of my most frequently Googled posts in the archives.  I also have affiliate programs with and, for when I happen to mention a book or a certain product.  Things I don’t do – I never accept offers for paid links or paid posts outside of my sponsorship program, ever.  That stuff is just lame.

Public Relations vs. Fashion Bloggers

After the FTC made an example of Ann Taylor, I got a peculiar email from a prominent PR firm, with a kind but unintentionally condescending tone, notifying me about the FTC rules and asking me to do some sort of disclosure about my relationship with them.  Naturally the siggy at the bottom of the email was a big chunk of legalese demanding total secrecy.  If I was a publicist, I would be a bit alarmed by the Ann Taylor story too – before I read about that, I thought it would be the bloggers getting disciplined, not the companies offering the gifts, even insignificant gifts.

So there is a bit of a shift happening now in the balance of power between fashion publicists and fashion bloggers.  Publicists are now faced with the unenviable challenge of figuring out which fashion bloggers are worth working with.  Now that bloggers are overwhelming fashion events and dishing out abundant but uneven coverage, publicists are going to be looking to cull fashion bloggers from their lists – and by legal necessity, one of the factors considered will be policies towards disclosure.  Just one more reason to be up front about where your stuff is coming from, especially if having good relationships with PR is important to you.

Celebrities and Fashion Media

As an aside to the topic, I find the enforcement of FTC rules to be incredibly condescending and arbitrary, both towards bloggers and to consumers.  Though the legislation also addresses other media and celebrities, there are no industry standard policies towards gifting that I can see clear evidence of.  While Robin Givhan expresses concern over “what rules bloggers are playing by”, from a media consumer’s point of view the tacit rules that individual magazines, newspapers, and television play by are no more clearly stated – personally I’m curious what much more rigorous disclosure from all types of media would look like.

Lack of disclosure is most outrageous when it comes to celebrities – who unlike bloggers and media types, can clearly afford to purchase whatever their hearts desire.  Imagine if legislation demanded that every celebrity on the red carpet carry a placard clearly stating which parts of their outfit were gifted, loaned or bought.  If disclosure is important, surely we need to know that the relationships between celebrities and the companies they endorse is often much more complicated than a red carpet paparazzi photo reveals – and considering that the influence of these photos is so vast compared to the reach of an insignificant fashion blogger, it is a mystery to me why the strong arm of the law would be trying to grasp at such tiny straws.


Disclosure is a complicated issue, and it really does revolve entirely around you as a consumer of fashion and media.  How do you feel about companies gifting people of influence, no matter how large or small their influence must be?  When do you feel that fashion bloggers or other personalities and media need to disclose?

designer discount for the Subtraction Cutting Tour

Heads up, fashion designer all-stars!  There is a special discount just for you to the Julian Roberts Subtraction Cutting Tour, for just a week only, CLICK HERE for more info.

What is this and why am I recommending it so wholeheartedly?  Check out this post for more enthusiasm and explanation.

Trash Fusion paillette dress in progress

When it comes to fashion design projects, like this one for the Trash Fusion contest in Barrie, I tend to resist beginning them.  The usual ennui – fear of how long it will take, fear that my idea which looks so great in my head will end up looking ridiculous once executed.  Then, once I get started, and I get into it, the project becomes more about delight – delight with discovery, excitement to see how it will turn out.  Until the end of the project, when usually it begins to feel like an obligation, a job I must see through to the end if only to make all of the hours I’ve already put in worthwhile.

The little a-line dress, sewn from some leftover, slightly stained muslin, a cheap acetate lining, and of course an invisible zipper and one of the 1000 “Final Fashion” labels I had woven up for my grad collection in 2006 (of which I have used about 20 so far).  I didn’t have to go shopping for any of these things, everything was in my stash, so hopefully they won’t disqualify my entry as being composed of “trash”.  I drafted the pattern from scratch, cut and sewed it in just a few hours.  It is just a canvas for the really tricky bit…

Applying, one by one, by hand, small plastic paillettes.  The paillettes are made from a variety of objects that my scissors and hole punch can snip and punch, again, one by one.  Above you can see food containers, old library cards, student cards, and metrocards, pieces of red plastic beer cups, and so on.  I’m not applying these in any particular order or colour palette, letting the pattern create itself of its own accord  – however to realize my vision, I have to cover the entire dress, front and back, with these little bits of things.  So, I am on a mission.

If you would like to donate your pieces of useless plastic, please get in touch!  I am truly excited with how this project is turning out – the pictures don’t do the texture of the paillettes justice – in person they move and make noise, and from far away look dynamic and pixelated, completely unlike trash, and up close they display little pictures and brand names, small treasures of found objects.