annual renewal

sun trees snow

At the end of 2012, I spent 10 days at my parent’s place in Eastern Ontario, offline, off the grid, and out of cell phone range. This is what it looked like outside. I stayed inside mostly, experiencing something like a physical collapse and a brainwipe. I read a 600 page book by Jeremy Rifkin, a history of notable Americans who lived in Paris, and a half a dozen back issues of The New Yorker. Rolled in the snow with my niece and nephew. Played Scrabble with Mom and Dad. I slept a lot.

On January 1st, I moved into a new apartment and a new studio in Toronto, where I’ll be living at least a year. Since then, I have been unpacking what remains of the old studio, installing, furniture shopping, email deficit spending, etcetera. Once it’s done, I’ll lift the curtain.

I always love New Year’s… this one is newer than usual.

Danielle Meder by Stella Zheng


My mind-cleaning left me with a ton of new ideas, and I’m really excited to collect a best of 2012 once I have everything organized. This studio is going to be a launch pad. In the meantime, check out this wonderful photo of me by Stella Zheng, who also interviewed me about live sketching. This photo was taken during the Fashion Fringe show at London Fashion Week on September 18, 2012. I’m going back to New York for fashion week in February… hopefully this scene will be repeated.

To every visitor, thank you sincerely for your readership, interest, participation and support. Wishing you a beautiful annual renewal of your own!

return of the click

I am back. I was away for a while, visiting family and finishing a big project. I missed blogging and still have much to post about so thanks for your patience. To ease me in, here is another collection of links.

Henna at Canadian Beauty has gifts to give! Tell her your favourite product of 2007 and you may be getting a package in the mail.

I rarely post PR email pitches but every once in a while something interesting comes in.

A Stupid Bag – why did I not think of that? The frenzy for those bags was one of 2007’s most ephemeral trends. The moment these bags have value is about as short as the life of a plastic bag, though they are not (they say) plastic bags. The contradictory smart alec reaction will be irrelevant that much faster. I liked the idea but I was bored with it in exactly three seconds. I have owned the cloth bags I carry groceries in for 5 years, and I did not pay for any of them. Who cares what they say on them.

Friend and client Adrienne Butikofer designs some cute clothes here in Toronto and just launched her online Boutique. The Caninja balaclava and the skinny sweats are both worth wearing frequently, speaking of value. Enter “freeship” at checkout before Dec. 12 for free shipping.


While I am uncharacteristically product posting I’ll mention The North Face is doing prints now like everyone else. The wintery patterns are appealing. They remind me of hunting camoflage. The Urban Hick Trend. I kind of like it I will admit.

On the other blogs I’ve been posting about a fashion club for teens and my December cooking, eating and drinking.

Matthieu Missain is making these incredible customized shoes here in Toronto. I saw them in person at The Rage and they are flawlessly executed and an incredible vehicle for images, Susie Bubble agrees.

Gorgeous, Kylie Minogue opens her closet for posterity.

Philip Starck expounds and explodes, speaking about the mundanity and transcendence of great design at TED.

Highwaisted Jeanius

jeaniusEarnest Sewn asks, “Are you a Jean-ius?”

To which I answer, yes, I am a jeanius.

They also want me to show how I would wear the high-waisted jean, so I drew this picture. To me, the new high waisted jean really is best worn as part of the venerated “Canadian Tuxedo” look. To emphasize the redundancy of this classic hoser-ista style, I added superfluous suspenders. I considered including the traditional plaid flannel shirt, but I decided that would look too ubiquitous.

See the full size image here.

You may want to vote for my entry here. For extra support, sign up for the social networking thing and your vote will count tenfold.

If you do vote for me, I could win 3 pairs of these high waisted jeans, and I would wear them a lot. Thanks!

week of style redux


Full of hope I went to the Toronto Week of Style. It was neither as incredible as promised nor was it bad enough to be really remarkable – which says more about Toronto’s sense of style than any of us ever really want you to know.

There were still some things worth remarking upon though. The hair by Earth Studios looked fabulous. Some of the clothing was very nice and wearable. Bambumoda evoked Queen Street kids, little India on Gerrard, and the strip clubs on Yonge all at the same time which certainly gives a taste of what is really on the streets in Toronto. Some local designers including fellow bloglander Irene Stickney made a strong case for Toronto’s fresh talent at the Fashion Fringe.

Sitting in the front row felt a bit weird but it was fun. I had the pleasure of hanging out with friends and also meeting some new bloggers.

There is something really odd about the Week of Style. The omission of sponsor credits or gift bags was strange for a set of events envisioned as a promotional channel. The Zoolander moves of the models were entertaining but distracting. There were memorably awkward moments with the executive producer of the week. It all took place in half-empty, beautiful, expensive venues.

Who is paying for this and what are they really hoping to accomplish? I do not understand. What is The Style Council of Canada – a google search reveals nothing. The media release descriptions are brief and opaque, besides a list of advisors from Pepsi, EDGE 102.1, CTV and Ralph Lauren

“Founded in 2005, the SCC endeavors to develop and advance the state of Canadian fashion design and the development of Canadian style as a branch of global art and culture.”

The Toronto Week of Style, (, taking place this May 23rd – 26th, 2007, was created to support the up and coming talent in the style industry, both locally and globally. It will do so by creating a promotional channel for all creators of lifestyle components (including but not limited to fashion, cosmetics, hair care, liquor, phones, and cars), with a secondary focus on providing marketers with a viable marketing channel to communicate directly with the cultural tastemakers that create and drive the trends that guide the mass consumer (being both the creators of style and those that partake in it).

Fashion Fringe had its particularly strange moments. I was not on the list. Security was gruff when they initially sent me to stand forlorn on the sidewalk, which felt a little unnecessary considering how empty the place was.

After Fashion Fringe was supposed to come the Art of Denim, which we expected to stay for, but we didn’t expect to get unceremoniously pushed onto the sidewalk between shows, so we scattered off into the Thursday night and left the Week of Style to go on without us.

I hope that the last couple shows of the week are redeeming but I will not be there to review it. I am done with the Week of Style.

The essence I am taking away is that it is dangerous to Believe the Hype. Declaring something doesn’t make it so, Global Capital of Style, the Style Council of Canada and the Week of Style had grand rhetoric but somehow lacked the substance to live up to the ambitious promises.
Contrast that event with the Toronto Fashion Bloggers Brunch tomorrow. When I started TFBB, I was pretty sure that no one would show up and I would be eating eggs and reading the Sunday paper by myself. My expectations could not have been lower, I had no idea if anything would happen at all. When a few people came I was surprised.

Of course everyone loves brunch, a leisurely late breakfast with coffee and conversation is always delightful. Then we discovered that bloggers are great talkers too and we wanted more. So the little brunch kept happening, and kept getting better and better. There is no hype, so the anticipation is genuine.

Tomorrow brings bloggers and print media writers together at the same table. Should generate some quality conversation, eh?

the authentic hometown shirt


I love pop music. Now that I’m well into my twenties I’ve come to the conclusion that Avril Lavigne was an awesome teenager with a couple good tunes – and I especially like the singles from her second album, which I discovered on iTunes last month.

Back in high school I did an Avril (whether it was before or after she started the trend I can’t really remember) by adopting a hometown shirt. I believe her notorious t-shirt was for a Napanee hardware store, mine is from someone’s basement and I trimmed it down a bit. It’s Ray‘s favourite shirt of mine, he likes it when I wear it. Maybe because he’s from the same town. Boys =)

Unfortunately the authentic polyester is beginning to wear for the worse and take on odd odors. This shirt is older than I am which just goes to show how long garment garbage can last. For Ray I have agreed to save the graphic to screen print onto a new (100% cotton) shirt, probably from American Apparel.


I think what made Avril’s shirt resonate with me as a trend was the authenticity of it. It is an accessible, inexpensive re-use of clothing created for humble purposes. Rather than hometown pride, it evokes the ironic humour that small town teenagers use as a way to tolerate their small town life, not always without affection. Her suburban clones who created a demand for identical Napanee hardware t-shirts didn’t quite get the point.

I’m all excited because tomorrow I’m having lunch with my current favourite small-town Ontario teenager, Isabel from Hipster Musings. Check out her blog, she makes being a teenager look much more awesome than I remember it. She’s a real punk, she wears an authentic old dad shirt.

a style icon for me

For a long, long time I have loved novels by Margaret Atwood. My very favourite Atwood books are Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace, and The Robber Bride.

Recently I have discovered that she is not just a favourite author. Listening to her candid conversation with Jian Gomeshi, and looking at her new website, I realized that as I grow older I want to become more like Margaret Atwood.

It does not really matter what she wears or what she looks like. I could never write like her, our areas of expertise are tangential, not identical. It is her sharp mind and tongue, confident identity, and that detached, observational bemusement with humans. It fills me with a joyful sense of what I want to become.