wearing – exchange is good

It was a rare bright day in London, but cold… so I thought I’d do some outfit pics, but inside by the radiator.

At the beginning of the year I resolved to shop more, so in the throes of sale season, I did. Except I choked. I bought this beautiful blue duffle coat, something I’ve coveted for a long time, except for two things which gave me a brutal case of cognitive dissonance. One, it didn’t fit. Two, it was full price. Boxing day fails. So I returned it to the vintage store for a significant amount of store credit (they call it voucher here) which I then had to buy off over the rest of January.

I went back to the shop and tried to be very systematic about how I went through it, just like I do when thrifting. Picking out only the things that seemed really good and eliminating them over the least little objection. This angora sweater, with a nice Nordstrom label, instantly popped off the hanger. It is so soft, it has shorter sleeves which I think suit me well, and it fits. Of course, not on sale. This is what I would consider a date sweater. Its very touchable and it falls coyly off the shoulder.

Next pick in my quest for shopping redemption was a high-quality cotton button-down with a distinctive check. The label says the fabric is Japanese cotton – not sure if that’s referring to the textile design or origin – regardless of where it came from it feels substantial and looks terrific. I think this is a shirt for a small boy, the sleeves are short, but they look all right rolled up, which is a signature style for me. Of course, this was not on sale either.

Third, a bit of a departure for me, as I don’t have the most girlish sense of style – dainty heels and in a colour, too.  I’m always looking out for this type of sandal – even though I don’t possess the most ideal ankles, I tend to go for ankle straps anyways, because I like how they keep my shoes on my feet. These won’t get any wear until spring but still seemed totally worth it. And they were NOT on sale.

Am I an ace shopper? Hardly. But I’m glad I was able to mitigate my initial failure with three items that I’m confident will be included, guiltlessly, into my regular rotation. And if I ever see the perfect duffle coat, I swear I will grab it, on sale or not.

attending – launch of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration

Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration features artistic renderings of fashion and jewelry design, and interviews with designers united by ethical and environmental concerns. The beautiful illustration on the right is by Joana Faria and features earrings by Emmaware. There is a tremendous variety of up and coming fashion illustrators featured in the book.

Developing a social life in a new city is a gradual process. I’m just in the early stages of finding opportunities to attend events and I’m very grateful to all the new friends who have been so welcoming. Among them, Courtney Blackman of Forward PR, introduced via the lovely Kimberly Lyn, who encouraged me to come and check out the launch of this book.

The party itself was a total hoot. Everyone I spoke to was friendly, enthusiastic and smart. Amelia is clearly a powerhouse networker who draws talent together to create what really is – as it was put in almost every conversation – a labour of love.

The other thing that was quite remarkable to me – coming from Toronto, a city with just a handful of fashion illustrators – was being at a party where it seemed like the majority of attendees were fashion illustrators. There was too much festivity to talk shop though – fashion illustrators are fun, if I do say so myself.

click click – 26-01-11

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

Scan via Ivanhoe Books. Now this is a really gnarly journal. I’ve been reading Ossie Clark’s diaries, such a candid and raw memoir of a fashion career, so unusual for a designer. No polishing the legend, it is refreshing to follow the rise and fall of a remarkable, complicated man.

  • The Colour of Beauty – this short NFB documentary follows one of my all-time-favourite Toronto models, Renee Thompson, as she navigates the go-sees of New York. This girl the definition of fierce, she’s got a sense of rhythm that few models can match. Not surprising that she’s the subject of this hit pop song.
  • Behind the Tweets: learning from the best of the fashion Twitterati – BoF interviews three of New York’s most prominent PR tweeters. BONUS: Susie Bubble talks “queen bee” blogging and cash.
  • Into the Gloss: Amy Astley – a refreshing, conversational account of working one’s way up to the EIC position in fashion magazines. Best: “They want to talk about business—their business, your business—oh, I learned a lot… I was always really fascinated. And it’s helped me tremendously because my job now is not just a creative job, or a visual job, it’s a business job.” THIS. When it comes down to it, ALL fashion jobs are ALSO business jobs, and you can’t be competitive with creativity alone. Hat tip @sarahlyndsay.
  • Is Pink Necessary? – a book review that makes me want to read the book – I admire any author who hesitates to draw conclusions – all about the prevalence of Princess products and culture for little girls.
  • Tumblr is Sending 20+ Bloggers to New York Fashion Week – perhaps even more interesting than the press release is the bitter discussion its provoking, all about the nature of content creation versus curation, the pipelines that feed images from brand to blogger, and the eternal arbitrariness of sponsorship in fashion. BONUS: Not on Tumblr but still up for playing the popularity gambit to win a free trip to NYC? Refinery29 is on the Hunt for the Next Big Style Blogger.
  • How ‘it girl’ scaled the world of fashion – throwback to 2006 for a story that hints at the reasons why ‘it girls’ function in the fashion world. For those that work hard at “doing” something in fashion, nothing is quite as galling as seeing those that seem to float to the top just by “being”. The nature of fashion celebrates unfairness. Think about it.
  • Hate Yourself Pretty – some (hopefully) obsolete beauty advice that is incredibly violent and masochistic. Via Worn Journal.

drawing – Berlin Fashion Week January 21

I sketched every show I attended at Berlin Fashion Week – here are the results from January 21. I also posted a daily diary of my itinerary and fashion discoveries at FLARE.com – read for the down low on being a niche blogger at a foreign fashion week.

Michael Sontag

Esther Perbandt

a word from… January 2011 Sponsors


A word from… is a monthly news post contributed by the kind sponsors who support Final Fashion.

Michelle from rock-it promotions says…

Want a ‘Perfect 10’ bum in 2011? Then you should check out Reebok’s EasyTone Apparel, a brand new collection of stylish tops and bottoms made with unique ResisTonebands that create resistance with every move to help tone and strengthen muscles, and encourage better posture and body alignment.

EasyTone bottoms, which include pants, capri pants and shorts, are designed to help tone the hamstring, quadriceps and butt muscles with every step. Neat! The EasyTone upper body apparel, which includes long bra styles, short-sleeved and sleeveless shirts, are designed to promote greater postural alignment.

Available at Sport Chek retail locations across Canada. For more information, visit Reebok at www.reebok.com.

Darlene of Darlene Martin (formerly Bijouxbead) says…

It has been a very busy 9 months, preparing a brand new label with a premiere collection hasn’t been without its shortcomings.  From conception to launch as been a much longer process than anticipated, but we are hoping it will be worth the wait.  Here is a sneak peak from our campaign for our new label DARLENE MARTIN, and the premier “Shine Collection”, a thoughtful line of necklaces, bracelets and earrings, featuring Swarovski Elements, Semi-precious stones, Czech glass, Japanese cylinder beads, and elegant sterling silver claps from Israel.  Launch date?  Well, we are hoping soon.  We are just putting the finishing touches on our look book, and will take it from there.

blogging – contributing Berlin coverage to FLARE.com

While sketching my heart out in Berlin, I also had the opportunity to contribute a series of daily diary posts to FLARE.com, the website of FLARE Magazine, one of Canada’s most respected fashion publications. It was a thrill to have my first professional writing assignment. As I am neither an insider or a journalist, I chose to put together a very candid take on attending a foreign fashion week as a niche blogger, and I’m pleased that it has been well received. Check it out, and while you’re on FLARE.com, take a look at all the other terrific content too – in particular EIC Lisa Tant’s blog is a must read for insights from inside the glossy business.

A Canadian fashion blogger takes us along on her Berlin adventures:

drawing – Berlin Fashion Week January 20

I sketched at every show I went to at Berlin Fashion Week. Here are the results from January 20.

Want to know what it was really like being a blogger at BFW, and what went down in between the shows? I blogged the whole thing, events and non-events alike, at FLARE.com.

Dawid Tomaszewski

Von Bardonitz – sketched this at a video shoot, and wow, did that jacket ever make me want it. Its so much easier to draw designs that provoke some kind of desire or curiousity. This designer is excellent.

At this point I had switched to a smoother paper stock, what a difference that made.

Isabell de Hillerin

For those who are curious, the figure on the right is about as much as I can manage to get down during a fashion show. The figure on the left is a bit more shaded and rendered, after the show. Each figure probably takes 10 minutes total including drying time.

The development of drawings over the course of a week is pretty apparent in these posts. Too bad for the designers who show early in the week before I really get warmed up.

drawing – Berlin Fashion Week January 19

I sketched at every show I went to at Berlin Fashion Week. Here are the results from January 19.

Want to know what it was really like being a blogger at BFW, and what happened in between the shows? I shared my story with FLARE.com – go check it out.

A.F. Vandevorst




Ricardo Ramos

drawing – sketching with Steffi

When I knew I was coming to Berlin, I really wanted to meet to one of my favourite fashion illustrators, Steffi Schuetze. We had a wonderful meal at her favourite restaurant, and in between eating delicious German food and drinking we did this drawing together and had a lot of fun talking shop. Thanks Steffi for a wonderful introduction to Berlin!

click click – 17-01-11

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

I had the chance to attend the RCA Work in Progress opening party thanks to Julian – which was so much fun – and I saw some awesome experiments in textile and clothing design. I really liked the one above which had a thrilling 3D effect which doesn’t quite come across in a snapshot.

  • Covering the Catwalk – an insider’s take on the fashion magazine editor as personality. Leanne Delap also discusses the (so so subtle) differences in styles and personalities between Canada’s big three fashion mags. Via Deeply Superficial.
  • the teXtile factory – I met Andrew Kenny (who is a friend of Kevin‘s) at the Royal College of Art work in progress exhibition. His project is a Project-Runwayish style mashup of interactive t-shirt design. You can vote for your favourite shirts, suggest themes, or even apply to be a judge.
  • WWD Wishes Fashion Were More Elitist – Amy Odell tears apart a Bridget Foley op-ed. I think the most frustrating implication as Odell tells it is the accusation that bloggers are the ones fawning over “bland actresses who wear bland clothes”. If you’ve spent any time in fashion blogland at all, you would have a hard time finding this credible. If you want to see pictures of Blake Lively wearing Chanel, pick up Vogue. I agree with the sentiment that a loss of elitism is a loss – but such hand-wringing seems naive. At this stage in the game the fashion establishment is frantically courting mass populism just to stay in business, while the upstarts are free to chase the under-rated and avant garde.
  • 5 Days of the Week – Luxirare tackles one of my favourite concepts – the capsule wardrobe. Via Nubby.
  • Six Items or Less – another riff on capsule wardrobes, refreshingly lacking any particular hypothesis. It will be interesting to see what the takeaway from this experiment will be. Via Timo.
  • Fear and Loathing and Fabulous in the Thesaurus – a scathing indictment of fashion’s most loathsome f-word. Via Timo.
  • Bio-Couture – interesting and slightly gross experiments with “growing” textiles and garments. Via Timo.
  • Artists and Photographers – 20 Best Pieces of Advice – a real kickstarter of an article, perfect for finding that sense of motivation you might need mid-January. Via Gala.

Photograph courtesy Lyndon Douglas/Barbican Art Gallery

I had the pleasure of attending the exhibition of 30 years of Japanese fashion at the Barbican with several sewing bloggers, thanks to Karen for taking the initiative! The exhibit was incredible – it was jaw-dropping to see the techno couture by Junya Watanabe in person, pictures really don’t do these masterpieces justice.

Without further ado, linkage and clickage for new friends, commenters and linkers.

  • Did You Make That?“I’d like this blog to tell a story – the story of what I sew and knit.”
  • Handmade Jane“Since taking a dressmaking course last year, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with sewing.”
  • Superficial Art“the superficial and the artistic attributes of the fashion industry.”
  • Good Clobber“a blog for men with an interest in affordable fashion and accessible design.”