what I wear – the attractive dress

Even though I am not a designer, sometimes I am seized with a desire to make a dress. Even if I have better things to do, I’ll find myself feverishly drafting, cutting and sewing to make my idea in the cloth. This is one of those dresses. I shamelessly imitated the bodice of the Butikofer dress I love, but redesigned the skirt to suit some oatmeal crinkle cotton I had on hand, left over from my grad collection.

Once I put it on, I don’t want to take it off.  It doesn’t even come across in pictures just how pretty this dress makes me look and feel. I get an unprecedented amount of compliments and attention in this dress, it is like it is made out of some sort of magic sense of attraction or something.

The maxi trend suits me just fine – it shows off the body parts I love (my shoulders, back, waist and arms), hides what I don’t love as much (my legs and ankles), and just manages to seem so effortless and dressed up at the same time.  I’m planning on making a couple more long skirts and dresses next time the inspiration grips me.  There really is nothing like imagining something and making it real.

a word from… July 10 Sponsors


A word from… is a monthly news post contributed by the incredible sponsors who support Final Fashion. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please get in touch.

Lisa from rock-it promotions says…

We’re expressing our personal style with original pieces from Made You Look Accessories. Buying unique, locally made pieces satisfies our fashion cravings.

Here are a few of our current favourites:

Tiny Tie necklaces ($30) by Tweek, are reclaimed, up-cycled and reconstructed onto a nickel chain to create this one-of-a-kind necklace. Totally cute and a great conversation piece for any summer soiree.

Syn Accessories has charming and affordable earrings ($12 to $30) in the shape of cassette tapes, ladders and meat cleavers. Great for a hostess gift in place of a bottle of wine.

The lovely Boho Collection by Nicole Kagan features some stunning statement necklaces, like the Scribble Bib ($185) necklace show below. This is an investment piece that you won’t regret.

Made You Look (1273 and 1338 Queen Street West) is a collaborative of more than 100 Toronto-area, self employed jewelry designers. Each designer has a unique take on accessories. There are 20 on-site designers manufacturing beautiful things in the store, so go for a visit and make sure you have some time to spend browsing.

For more about Made You Look, visit their website.

Vanessa from 18Karat says…

This year has been a lot about building on some of the new ideas and concepts began the year before. Blending our retail space into a gallery space that promotes local artists has certainly numbered as one of our successes.  Not only are we providing a space where young artists can take their first shot at showing their work to the public, we are also actively promoting to the public our belief that jewellery can be art, not just an accessory. Like every other creative community in the city, the jewellery arts are thriving and we can’t help but be passionate and excited about it.

As the Emerge 2010 group show featuring recent graduates from George Brown’s Jewellery Arts program wraps up, our first ever juried art show begins August 9 – 21st. Envy seeks to use what is coveted to explore the complex and vast means in which we express our insatiable desires. Please join us at 275 Dundas Street West on August 9th from 5 – 7pm as we host an opening reception for all the artists involved in the show, at 18Karat.

Paige from Bicyclette says…

The past few weeks have been a blur of activity in the Bicyclette studio as the final arrangements are made to launch the online store. One of the most exciting things for me is putting together the photo shoots: gathering inspiration, styling the looks, working with hair and makeup, and collaborating with a team of talented individuals to bring the vision to life. For the most recent shoot, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and took to the streets, bicycle in tow, of course. I thought I would share a sneak peek of one of my favourite look book shots from the day.

click click – 27-07-10

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

I checked out the Douglas Coupland collaboration at the Roots flagship on Bloor. I really dig how Coupland (whose books I have not read yet) chose the alternate, unusual iconography for Canada – that of a technological nation, “indoorsy”, the country of Marshall McLuhan, Expo ’67, vast open spaces spanned by wires. When I saw the initial ads, with models in cheesy poses, I wasn’t convinced, but when I saw the artwork above in the store, I wished that these images had been used for promotion, they’re so striking. Above is “Brilliant Information Overload Pop” by Douglas Coupland.

  • Chanel to quit Sears in dispute over dollar – I’ve been following this story for a few months now – its worth scrolling down to the “related information” section at the bottom of the article for the background. Its interesting to watch these big companies throw their weight around. Unlike Chanel, most vendors aren’t gutsy enough to call Sears’ bluff.
  • Stephen Fry: What I wish I’d known when I was 18 – A wonderful interview with a wise and witty man about being social, whether online or in real life. Hat tip @bindinglogic.
  • Artisanal Pencil Sharpening – nice to see someone is reviving the art of service in the face of DIY culture.
  • KNOTpr – a day in the life – Tatiana expands on a question I asked her once, sharing the minute details of a day in the life of an up and coming PR star.
  • How Supermodels are like Toxic Assets – this article is fascinating, comparing the injustices of fashion to the social influences on financial markets. A must read for anyone pursuing a career in a “winner-take-all” market.  Hat Tip Jezebel.
  • My Vintage Vogue – terrific collection of old fashion magazine scans.
  • FASHION Magazine wants you to vlog – seems a bit redundant to make a video for a chance to win a video camera, but this might be a terrific opportunity for an up and coming Canadian fashion blogger.

Karmarama for linkies and commenties…

  • Echo Bella“Passion for all things beautiful…fashion, jewelry, food, decor, photography and people I love.”
  • Boys and Heels“Frugal Fashion Week’s official blog”
  • tweek“I am addicted to making – one of a kind things, quirky things, slightly out there things.”
  • Handsome&Lace“Creating beauty from preserved materials…a McGyver of accessories if you will.”
  • Simone Richmond“jewellery inspired by shapes and patterns found in lace and textiles”
  • HéBé’s Blog“So deal with it or just look at the pictures if you are completely desperate.”
  • Communicando Moda“Especialista em Moda”

fashion blog karma – Calgary Fashion

When fashion blogging was young, I started to keep an eye on the other Canadian fashion bloggers out there, and I found that Kimberley Jev in Calgary was doing the same thing. Her site, Calgary Fashion, is a lively, city-specific fashion blog which Kim successfully turned into a full-time gig. I first met her when she came to Toronto to cover fashion week here a few seasons ago, and this summer she showed up in Toronto again and decided to stay. We’re lucky to have her! She’s a bright, passionate  blogger with an entrepreneurial streak, and she knows how to have fun, so naturally we’ve hit it off. I asked her a few questions about her fashion blogging experiences and what Hogtown should know about fashion in Cowtown.

You’re the founder of Calgary Fashion, which is really the premier, go-to site for fashion news in that city. Can you describe a bit about the genesis of the site? Why you think it is so remarkably successful in a very narrow niche?

In my first year of Journalism school, we had to pick beats to keep track of and report on. I chose the fashion beat. A challenge at first, I was very adamant there was more to the fashion scene in Calgary than the little tid bits on malls and salons, so with my camera in hand I set out in search of designers and fashion shows in the city. September 2007 was when the blog was created and the Downtown Association of Calgary held a fashion week, there was very little reporting on the event as you would find in other cities online, this sort of sparked everything. My interest in photography was blossoming and there was an obvious lack of fashion reporting through the web with reports on shows, so I made it my business to be everywhere fashion was in Calgary, this is how it all began.

The site is successful because there really isn’t anything like it in Calgary. The aim with the site is to inspire and mainly promote. It’s online to show there are people just as enthusiastic about fashion as any New Yorker or Londoner would be. It’s online for the kid living in the suburbs just dreaming of fashion school and not knowing where to turn, it’s showing that it’s okay to come from Calgary and love fashion, it really is okay!

Calgary Fashion works because every thing that happens with the website is local, the photographers are local, the writers are local, the designers are local, 90% of it is local coverage and reporting. It’s showing Calgary that fashion really can exist anywhere, you don’t have to be based in Paris to experience it. This is why I think it works, there are several people making a difference and it’s specific to Calgary even when we are at shows in other cities, we’re bringing it to Calgary for Calgary.

Lets talk a little bit about blog burnout. How do you deal?

Blogging when it’s a full time gig gets pretty serious, somedays I don’t even want to look at Calgary Fashion…but that is impossible.

My days are made up of phone calls from the early morning to the evening, meeting with various members of the fashion industry, publicists, promoters, consulting, answering e-mails, keeping up to speed of fashion locally and internationally, editing and making sure content is up to par as well as making sure i’m on top of things for weekly meetings with the editorial team…week after week, it really does take a toll. I usually just leave things for a bit, this is the really wonderful thing about niche blogging as well as saying what goes and what doesn’t, we don’t really have a set schedule for blogging. We go with the flow. So when I feel a burnout coming, we slow down on posting, we slow down on trying to be everywhere all the time, this usually coincides with down times in fashion events in the city as well.

To get away from things, I drive, far away and when I can’t drive I fly. I’m a hula hooper and a big music fan so I hoop, catch shows and generally try to see as much as possible outside fashion.

If you can’t drive or fly or don’t like dancing or hooping, it also helps to offer your services to something of a total different category from fashion or blogging even, doing work for something else really helps you take your mind off things and teaches you about how to do other things as well. Basically intern or volunteer your time to something else. You’ll be surprised to see how the things you learn come back to you and your blog.

You’ve recently moved from Calgary to Toronto. Will you continue to oversee Calgary Fashion? Would you consider starting another city-specific fashion blog or are you after something completely different?

Ha! No way! A lot of work has gone into Calgary Fashion, creating another city specific blog would be way too much work to be honest. I’m really happy with the site, Calgary Fashion is my baby and as mother of the blog I can’t really throw that responsibility of nurturing it out the window. It has so much growing to do, it hasn’t even scratched the surface of it’s full potential, i’m quite positive on that.

There are already so many other blogs that do the job just fine for other cities especially Toronto. There is no lack of fashion news in this city. I’m not here to step on any ones toes or to claim we know more about it than what the bloggers and fashion journalists here already know.

The aim with the move is to be able to bring fashion event coverage from other fashion weeks really, this has been the goal from the very beginning. I want to see more coverage on Toronto Fashion Week and Montreal Fashion Week and then who knows other weeks from different parts of the world all on the Calgary Fashion site.

To me, this is the next fun and logical step. However, you just never know really, tomorrow I could shut everything down and become a full time hula hooper, watch the space I guess, see what happens!

Do you have any advice for all the city-specific fashion bloggers out there?

Really pay attention to the flow of fashion in your city, if it’s not happening, it’s not happening, don’t beat yourself up about it. There is a time for everything. Embrace the slow times, use it to go over your content, edit, edit, edit, it’s never enough, especially on a blog or if you are publishing through the blog format. Refine, look over it, throw out what didn’t work, embrace what did work and keep it moving.

It’s also okay to just stop and not worry about things. You will come across some really bizarre demands from people in your city and the industry,stay strong, you won’t be able to please everyone. Do your best for yourself as well as your team, that is if you have a team. Remember the blog itself is a separate entity from who you are, unless your blog is centered around you as a personality but for those that aren’t, you are not your blog, so live a little.

Stay focused on your blog mission. Never forget a blog gives you the freedom to do and post whatever you want, so don’t worry too much about what other blogs are doing, do what feels right for you and your blog and your readership as well, most important.

What fashion designers from Calgary should the rest of the country and the world know about?

Haithem Elkadiki is an established Calgary designer whom I think more people need to know about, he is a very talented menswear designer with clients all over the world. Two up and coming designers I am also a fan of are Caitlin Power and Nonie Rahal of House Of Nonie whom I believe constantly exceed expectations and although very young on the scene compared to other established designers in Calgary, possess a much necessary understanding of what it means to be a fashion designer, paying attention not only to the quality and craftsmanship of their designs but also to the tenets of the business of fashion.

competition – Prada Swing Manga contest

I discovered the Prada Swing Manga contest via I want – I got.

“Swing” in jazz jargon, means the passage from one chord to another. If this sound could be designed, it would have the flowing and lithe lines of the new Prada eyewear collection. This desire to make sound visual has led to the idea of beginning a new collaboration with comic book illustrators from around the world. Prada, which is famous for its multiple collaborations with international architects, designers, directors and photographers, will this time launch a “Manga Contest”. Participants will include the best-known comic book-design schools along with independent illustrators. This will be an actual contest in which participants will be asked to design a fantasy heroine. The only constraint is that the woman must wear Prada Swing sunglasses in the comic strip. The objective is to animate Prada Swing sunglasses whilst, above all, exploring the possibilities of how different creative worlds can intermingle without any set rules (such as those of fashion and comic book design). The contest will be open to submissions from the evening of July 14 to August 31. The winner’s heroines will become the protagonists of a Prada publication. All the information will be available on Prada.com

The terms and conditions state that the winner will forfeit full copyright to the artwork and character design, and there is an award of 5000 euros. Entries consist of a storyboard for the comic (I can’t find any further instruction regarding size or number of pages) and are due by August 31, 2010.

I’m considering entering this if I can find the time.

video – Subtraction Cutting Masterclass at Ryerson

Julian Roberts Subtraction Cutting Tour. June 15, 2010 from School of Fashion, Ryerson U on Vimeo.

For all of you who missed the Julian Roberts Subtraction Cutting Tour 2010, here is a little peek at the masterclass he taught at Ryerson School of Fashion in Toronto.

If you want to learn more about subtraction cutting, you can order Julian’s book from the Center for Pattern Design.

project – shoes for Frugal Fashion Week

I was invited to customize a pair of Brown’s shoes for the Frugal Fashion Week Gala at the Bata Shoe Museum on Friday.  The shoes I received were bright red patent, just like the Dr. Martens I customized with Ashley Rowe.  I wanted to try dripping instead of splattering and Ashley kindly indulged me in her studio.

She did a super-hot pair of boots which you just get a blurry peek of here.  Want to see Ashley’s and so many other customized Brown’s shoes? Best blog friend Anita is also doing a pair, among others. Buy a ticket to the gala on Friday here.

just a thought – poser

I went to the book launch for friend and fellow fashion school graduate, Caitlin Cronenberg.  Poser is a collection of nude photographs, full front view, from the knees up.  A few years ago, after we graduated from fashion school, Caitlin told me about the project she was working on and asked me to pose.  I didn’t think very hard about it – I said yes.  I guess I figured that if I was ever going to do it, I might as well do it while I’m young. I also used the opportunity to get Caitlin to photograph a school project which seemed to call for a nude body.

The night of the launch, I hadn’t revisited the photo and still wasn’t sure if I was ready to. After a few years since I had done it, it had fallen out of mind, and then suddenly stories about Caitlin’s book were in the blogs and all the newspapers, and it was a little bit nervous-making.  I dawdled on the RSVP. When I did show up, in a weirdly pensive mood, and bought my book and opened it up, I felt a sense of revelation. The picture of me and my body was not as strange to look at as I thought.

Caitlin says that the project makes more sense as a collection and it is true. She named the book “Poser“, but in fact, she didn’t pose us at all.  She clicked the shutter before the pose, which results in these candid, unintentional, revealing moments.  In me, I see a sense of trepidation, maybe a little bit of pride, as I try and “fix” my hair. I was not alone, there were many in the crowd who were captured by Caitlin, fellow fashion school students, people of all walks of life, many with higher profiles than me.

At the party I briefly reconnected with a few fellow fashion school graduates. It was neat to find them still in the heat of pursuing what they want. Fashion school was tough, but living a life as a creative individual is incredibly competitive, demanding awesome amounts of determination and sacrifice.  Not only are some of my fellow graduates still living the dream, we’re also supportive of each other’s projects and ambitions. Which made me leave the party with a very real sense of gratitude.

what I wear – laced up Chucks

A few weeks ago, I was skipping town for the weekend and realized that besides my sandals, all of my footwear consisted of massive, heavy duty boots, which are impractical for hot summers like this one and also far too clunky to throw into a little bag when you need to get out of town.  Solution?  On the way to my destination, I stopped into a small town mall (in Peterborough) and bought these classic navy blue hi-tops.  Hard to believe, but these are my first ever pair of Converse All Stars in my life. As a teenager, I don’t remember them being as popular as Vans and Docs. They’re more of a Generation X thing, I think, I seem to recall my youngest aunt wearing them.

Back in the city, I suddenly started to notice them everywhere, and in particular I noticed that I liked to see them worn with a bit of flair – care and attention to the lacing seems like a subtle way of showing that style matters to you. I found this site, all about lacing up your Chuck Taylors, and had to try it out, going for the “straight across” lacing on my hi-tops. As a fashion student, I had a bit of a thing for lacing, but somehow that never translated to my boots.  Something about the white laces makes me want to play around.

Serendipity called, now that I had bought my first pair, I got an invitation from the PR for Converse in Toronto to come and check out the fall collection.  We had a little tour showing All-Stars for every taste. I particularly like the alt textile converse – wool, suede and corduroy (especially because I’ve been predicting the return of corduroy, not that I’d ever wear it), and the plaids. If you haven’t yet seen it, take a look at the Dr. Suess collaboration it is ridiculous and delightful.

Thanks so much to Converse for a generous gift – a pair of pale grey, low profile one-stars, which I laced up “triangle” fashion.

How do you lace up your Chucks?

new – paper doll PDF shop

For those who want to play with paper dolls, I have created a little paper doll PDF shop.  Check them out by clicking the thumbnails below.

A PDF is a high-resolution, printable file.  Unlike the JPGs you see online, these will print clearly with no pixellation.  These PDFs are in standard letter format and can be printed on any printer, on any type of paper you desire.  For just 3$ to 5$ per doll, download and print as many times as you like, cut out and play and display to your heart’s content.

A little bit about the thinking behind paper dolls in PDF format…

Over the last year, I’ve experimented with various ways of selling paper dolls, and despite a huge amount of enthusiasm and publicity for the book format, it simply was not as successful as the PDF format.  I think the non-precious nature of an image file makes it easier for people to do what they want to do with paper dolls – print them off multiple times, cut them out with scissors, modify them, wreck them without guilt, whatever.

Though print-on-demand books are easy, POD is also still a relatively new technology, expensive and sometimes unreliable. I’m often encouraged by friends to pursue printed products – like gift cards, fancy prints to hang on the wall, or whatever – the truth is that I’m not interested enough in being a wholesaler or retailer to deal with that side of the business, not that I’ve ever received enough demand to make it worth pursuing.  Inventory and trips to the post office… lets just say I can live without these things.  I like being a fashion illustrator/blogger, and I’d rather leave the physical-product-making and selling part of the business to those with the enthusiasm for it.  So, want to hook me up with your book-publishing, letter-press-printing, t-shirt-wholesaling, tchotchke-manufacturing friends? I’m into it – let’s do business.

I’ve decided to take a hint from iTunes, so you can pick and choose your favourite dolls.  Could someone rip me off?  It is conceivable that they could, and I’ve decided that’s a moral hazard worth the risk. Just having a PDF for personal use means you can make your own on-demand books, print the stuff on whatever you want, even modify the drawings on your own computer, but it does not give you any copyright over the image, so if you try and use it to make money without paying me, that’s illegal. I believe you are law abiding people with at least $5 and the ability to spend it.  Prove me right!

Paper dolls are something that I love to do, so I will, over time, be posting more dolls.  I am thinking about making multiple PDFs for sale at a discount if there is a demand for that. Feel free to make requests, send suggestions and ideas, I can’t guarantee that I’ll do them but I definitely appreciate and consider all your comments and contributions.  Thank you!