MUSH! MUSH! AUTHENTIC CANADIAN PARKAS

My whole life I’ve lived in countries with proper winter i.e. below zero weather lasting over one month. Few things I’ve learned when it comes to coats:

  1. A coat should be made from lasting fabric and materials
  2. It has to be below your bum and longer
  3. Stay away from white, unless it’s a fancy coat
mush!mush! dressy parkas

mush!mush! Glamorous Dressy Parka comes with a wind-resistant outer shell to wear for the extra-cold days, or to keep snow or freezing rain off the wool.

Canada is the home of anoraks or more commonly known as parkas, and rightfully so. One of the most popular parkas today is Canada Goose, made in Canada and sold all around the world in high-end fashion retailers.  But, what if you want to look different from everyone else? I highly suggest MUSH!MUSH! custom-made parkas for women and children.

How adorable?!?! mush!mush! for kids

How adorable?!?! mush!mush! for kids

MUSH!MUSH! is a Canadian brand that designs and produces authentic Western Canadian Arctic parkas that date “back to the missionaries’ arrival in the region in the mid-1800s.” When you order a MUSH!MUSH! parka online, you will receive a custom-made, elegant, winter-appropriate and long-lasting coat that will leave everyone asking where did you get that from?

mush!mush! wool winter jackets are light enough for early spring with just a t-shirt underneath, fantastic for the fall with a long-sleeved shirt and perfect for most winter days along with a chunky sweater.

mush!mush! wool winter jackets are light enough for early spring with just a t-shirt underneath, fantastic for the fall with a long-sleeved shirt and perfect for most winter days along with a chunky sweater.

One of my favourite things about MUSH!MUSH! is that they are ethically produced and 100% made in Canada by women of Northwest Territories. Additionally, handcrafted and made-to-order fashion is better for our planet over the mass-produced stuff. When you compare cost-wise, a mass-produced Canada Goose will cost you around the same as a handcrafted, durable, and gracefully stylish Canadian MUSH!MUSH!  The brand also meets my three requirements for winter jackets.

mush!mush! traditional parkas fit close to the body for a flattering line with soft fur at the hood and cuffs to keep the wind out.

mush!mush traditional parkas fit close to the body for a flattering line with soft fur at the hood and cuffs to keep the wind out.

* All images from mush!mush web-site.

Advertisements

OFFAL GOODS bow ties

Bow ties are the it accessory I’ve been overhearing everyone talk about. Perfect for the holiday season, OFFAL GOODS bow ties are exactly what’s on everyone’s mind.

Offal Goods

Hand made, one at a time in Edmonton, Alberta, OFFAL GOODS are focused on:

detail, fit, and feel Offal Goods is a modern homage to the classic, tried, and true.

And that they deliver. The versatile and fun collection suits a tough guy as well as a hipster, a perfect gift for a dude, if you ask me.

All images from Offal Goods web-site.

DUY innovative fashion

DUY is a Montreal based label known for innovative, clean as well as sharp tailoring and design that translate into some of the most stunning luxurious ready-to-wear pieces. Duy Nguyen, the designer, was born in Vietnam and raised in Montreal where he is also headquartered.

Hello gorgeous! SS 2013, DUY

It’s simple to see why DUY is a world-class designer and label. Since its establishment in 2001, DUY has continuously evolved, delivered, maintained its key attributes, and shocked. His collections have been inspired by a wide and somewhat random selection of everything from seductiveness of the night to Daphne Guinness to youth and passion of the ocean. Personally, I’ve admired the recent incorporation of feminine and fluid patterns mixed with DUY’s traditional seductive and edgy cuts. The colour palette also seems to have gotten lighter and more diverse with the mix of pastels and brights.  

Stunningly strong silhouette inspired by Daphne Guinness. FW 2011, DUY

I would love to see more of DUY online, in magazines, and on the racks. The stunning and edgy ready-to-wear collections deserve to be flaunted by women and men in Canada and around the world. It would also be of great help to contemporary customers for DUY to become more involved in today’s influential social-media. Check out all of DUY collections since FW 2011 on the site.

From work to a party, can rock this anywhere.            SS 2012, DUY

“This time around, I pushed my boundaries by stepping outside my Femme Fatale comfort zone.” Duy Nguyen FW 2012, DUY

I can’t stop staring at this stunning outfit.          SS 2013, DUY

Flattering, elegant, sophisticated and unique.                  SS 2012, DUY

Images from www.duycollection.com.

PS – Montreal is a serious driving force of Canadian world-class fashion design. Montreal Fashion Week sure is one of my fav hidden gems.

JOHN FLUEVOG crème de la crème of shoes

JOHN FLUEVOG is known around the world, yet, so many are unaware of the brand’s existence and have no idea that it’s Canadian, based in the wonderful city of Vancouver. None the less, I kind of understand, because the brand has been around since the 1970’s and it’s a staple and a cult … of awesome. I’m convinced that I can be friends with anyone who wears and likes JOHN FLUEVOG shoes because only the crème de la crème wear them. True story.

What amazing detail! John Fluevog

I can proudly call myself a regular at the JOHN FLUEVOG Queen West boutique in Toronto. It’s a bit of a custom of mine to visit JOHN FLUEVOG boutiques in the cities that I visit not only because of the possibility of getting a new, unique pair of shoes but also because, somehow, the best, most fun and personable people work there. So it’s a great way to make friends in cities you don’t know. Also, true story.

Class with pizazz for men

Going beyond the amazing designs, shapes, colours and styles of the shoes, JOHN FLUEVOG is a company with amazing culture, fun marketing flair and lovability. For example, the Jobs section of their web-site reads “You’d have to be insane not to want to work for John Fluevog” and rightfully so, because the company supports its talented employees through “The Fluevog Artist Grant  [that] makes $10,000 available to eligible Fluevog staff every year, and may be split between candidates based on merit as decided by the Committee.”

I adore how these look in pictures! Yet, I tried them on at the store and they’re just a wee-bit too narrow. Very stunning still

They also have a fabulous online store, although if you have a wider foot (guilty!) I would strongly suggest, if you can, going into a boutique and try a few styles on as some fit quite snug.

I feel LOVE

These look gorgeous with jeans and one of the most unique pattern I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately for me, they have a high arch and I couldn’t fit my foot!

NEW Queen Transcendent Elizabeth design by John Fluevog

All images from www.fluevog.com and there’s so much more.

CAITLIN POWER modern sophistication in a nutshell

CAITLIN POWER, a Calgary native, established the namesake label in 2008. Now, living and working in Toronto, Caitlin has been showcasing her modern, clean and sophisticated brand during the TFW since Spring 2012, with much praise.

The round shoulders and sleeves make enough of a statement without being overwhelming. FW 2012, Caitlin Power

Every collection since FW 2010 is strong, extremely well-tailored, structured and wearable. The fine details, mix of leather, fabrics and lace, as well as patterns create extreme versatility in CAITLIN POWER‘s pieces while the strong designs empower the woman wearing them. I fell in love with CAITLIN’s modern spin on the retro and art-deco designs of her FW 2010 collection. The luxurious fabrics combined with details of leather and mysterious colours will help anyone imagine how glamorous, sophisticated and racy that era was. I would wear every single piece in that collection.

Stunning and flattering dress from FW 2010, Caitlin Power

CAITLIN POWER‘s FW 2012 is the complete opposite of FW 2010. Rather than modernizing the past, she opted to bring future to today. The collection, in comparison to the previous FW collections, has a lighter, contemporary feel that is contradicted by the industrial, robot-like presentation which is where Caitlin’s on-brand trademark leather embellishments and strong designs shine through. Also, men’s fashion was featured, which I think she nailed.

Clever twists on classic power coat and shirts. FW 2012, Caitlin Power

CAITLIN POWER, the Creative Director and the brand/ label, deserves recognition for just how applicable, wearable, authentic and creative all the collections have been. A fabulous Canadian talent and sure shines among others.

PS – I think I found my twin, we look insanely alike! I very much admire those who change, shock and live outside their comfort zone. Caitlin’s look is stunning and reflective of the brand. LOVE.

Caitlin with her new look.

Mesmerizing pants, I great alternative to the ripped jeans! SS 2011, Caitlin Power

FW 2010, Caitlin Power

FW 2011, Caitlin Power

Images from caitlinpower.com and Facebook page.

AMOR JEWELRY why not to love?

I’m breaking away from my recent obsession with talent from B.C. and moving onto Edmonton, Alberta where a young designer, Amor Carandang of AMOR JEWELRY, has achieved quite a following.

AMOR JEWELRY by Amor Carandang of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

AMOR JEWELRY designs fashion accessories for women and men including necklaces, earrings, and bangles. The Summer 2012 collection is perfect for a big-city dweller with refined taste but who prefers understated attention. The pieces are made of brass, copper and leather, bound together on long chains with geometric, very clean and eye-catching designs. My personal favourites are the BRASS CUFFS & RINGS that seem delicate and tasteful yet the design, which reminds me of a hex cap bolt, brings just enough of masculinity and strength.

brass cuffs & rings

I’m looking forward for the new collection and hope it’ll also be strong, edgy and clean. To contact AMOR for a custom design or to purchase one of her piece, visit amorjewelry.com. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a list of stores that carry the line.

Leather arrowhead, Summer 2012 collection by AMOR

Brass link, Summer 2012 collection, AMOR

Copper plate, summer 2012 collection by AMOR

All images from AMOR Facebook page and web-site.

LOVE JULES create leather goods differently

LOVE JULES LEATHER credit their passion for creating leather goods to isolation, being based in Whistler, B.C., and travel, including their recent trips to London, Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, and San Francisco. The journey of the creative duo, consisting of Jules and Josh, began in 2008 after Jules, a Nova Scotia College of Art and Design graduate, apprenticed with a Dartmouth leathers, fell in love with the craft, began experimenting and, like many free-spirited B.C. young souls, decided to do what felt right. And now,  “LOVE JULES has grown to where it is today a result of nothing more than passion, perseverance, and trial & (much) error.”

Custom Handcrafted Guns N’ (Victorian) Roses Boat Shoes – Cream patent print – Etched Pistols – MADE to ORDER

What caught my eye were the LOVE JULES superior distinctive boat shoes that they have coined as “Westsiders”, a play on Sperry’s “Topsiders”, and high-tops.  Each pair are easily identifiable by a simple yet unique logo at the top of the tongue, and cool personal designs that have been hand etched with a wood burning pen that won’t fade or crack like the screen print designs. Finding out that each pair is individually hand-made (with very minimal machine support) by Jules and Josh in their Whistler basement / studio was unimaginable!  None the less, this makes it easy for the customer to order whatever size, etched design or personalization they want. To see all the availability, give LOVE JULES Etsy site a go.

Josh and Jules of LOVE JULES

I contacted LOVE JULES with a few questions to incorporate in this post and because the response that I received was personal, simple and honest I had to share it.
We’d like to be known as that little rogue mountain based shoe company who does things just a little bit differently than everyone else. 
Josh and Jules

Navy & Faux Denim n’ Tan Leather Boat Shoes with etched ANCHORs – MADE TO ORDER

If you want to be known for one thing, what would it be? 
Perseverance. A lil’ nothing that became (hopefully) something. 
The ideal next 5 years for Love Jules looks like:
  • A little work-live mini-factory/ creative space here in Whistler, filled with beautiful & burly machines & a vegetable garden in the back. 
  • We’d like to produce a volume of shoes that is a lot by our standards but a drop in the bucket as far as the shoe industry is concerned. We’ll continue to design & produce in-house
  • We’ll never compromise on quality, and we refuse to get lazy. We want to be perpetually growing (creatively).
  • The ability to support the local community by actually employing local creative types would be a dream. We’re a great team, but we’re only two-strong right now. We’ve got room to grow. 
  • The connection to our customers is important, and it will always be a goal to predominantly sell/ communicate direct. Though, it would also be cool to align ourselves with some like minded retailers… maybe one in each of the cities we love. Something to give us that much reason to jump on a jet plane every now and then… 
  • Collaborations. Lots of collaborations.

Handcrafted HIGHTOP Leather Boat Shoes – Distressed Black and Purple with purple Pendleton detail and liner – MADE to ORDER

Handcrafted HIGHTOP Leather Boat Shoes – Distressed Oiled Dark Tan Cowhide & etched pistols – Dark Brown CUFF

REBEKAH PRICE JEWELS

Now that fall is in full swing, winter is tip-toeing into our lives, and holiday season is very close, I already overheard people talking about holiday parties, Starbucks Canada has rolled out its infamous red-cup, and, admit it, you already started thinking about gift-giving. Many women, myself including, tend to purchase gifts for ourselves. REBEKAH PRICE, a Toronto-based jewellery designer with the namesake brand, is that perfect gift for yourself that you can flaunt during the holiday parties adding a lot more sparkle, colour and confidence to the warm, cozy and happy season.

Bow Tie Collar Necklace from Fall 2012 collection

REBEKAH PRICE, born in LA, studied business and design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, interned with Elie Tahari, and,  in 2007, launched her line in Toronto while raising three kids. Since the launch, REBEKAH PRICE show-stopping jewellery have been featured in so many renowned magazines including Vogue, Fashion and InStyle, that I feel out of touch with the world. If I had one word to describe REBEKAH PRICE, I’d choose: Superwoman!

Rebekah Price

The rings, necklaces, cuffs, bracelets, and earrings are whimsical, colourful, sparkly as well as strong, independent, statement making and a little rough around the edges, making them perfect for anyone. Although many are using Swarovski crystals, Rebekah differentiates her pieces and makes a statement by surrounding the antique sparkling delights with brass, oxidized silver, gold and rose gold (my personal favourite).

Sphinx Collar Style A, Fall 2012 Collection, Rebekah Price

One of my favourite things about the brand is the life-loving, fun and energetic attitude despite the extravagant, strong and glamorous designs that are usually associated with poshness. REBEKAH PRICE web-site blares Fatboy Slim’s remix of “I’m a Rainbow Too” by Bob Marley, which is fantastic. Most young women would, at first, feel a little intimidated looking for, purchasing and wearing daring pieces like Rebekah’s, but the energetic and laid-back song on the site makes anyone comfortable browsing and buying. I think this speaks volumes of the designer’s personality and enables the consume connect with the brand.

REBEKAH PRICE abfab pieces can be found at luxury retailers including Holt Renfrew, contemporary boutiques, and for the online shoppers, check out eLUXE.

“Betty Line Collection” by Rebekah Price was designed in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. The collection in names in honour of Rebekah’s late grandmother.

I LOVE THE HOROSCOPE collection!

Great colour combo in the Double Rivoli Necklace Style B, Fall 2012 collection

STUNNER Goth Ring, Fall 2012

Braided Fireworks Band Style B, Fall 2012 collection, Rebekah Price

Images from http://www.rebekahprice.com

PHILIP SPARKS humble tailor with distinct flavour

PHILIP SPARKS, a Toronto-based designer, has romanticized men’s style just enough so that it’s still very much masculine but is admired by women (me, especially). PHILIP SPARKS TAILORED GOODS INC., established in 2007, is a men’s and women’s clothing and accessories brand that’s 100% Canadian and is defined by the “nostalgic feeling, referencing vintage details and classic tailoring, but a contemporary sensibility.”

I’ve dropped into the boutique on Ossington St. in Toronto a few times, and although the atmosphere is minimalistic, the men’s clothes are anything but. Philip, as a designer and a businessman, is very aware of what his target market, the successful yet humble men, are looking for and feel comfortable in. PHILIP SPARKS, the clothing line, is classically tailored to perfection and stands out from the crowd just enough not to bring too, too much attention. I believe it’s enlightening to what men’s fashion should be: comfortable, outstanding quality and shape, distinctive but not outrageous.

I died and went to heaven when I saw these!

PHILIP SPARKS, the designer, has collaborated with DANIER –  a collection I believe to be unbelievably striking; as well as TOWN SHOES. You would wonder who benefits most from such a collaboration, after all, DANIER and TOWN SHOES are two of Canada’s major retailers and collaborating with Philip Sparks brings serious exposure for a fairly young designer. None the less, Philip’s distinct taste and vision certainly bring the right customer to the stores and definitely the revenue. So, it’s a win-win for both parties.

Every person in their right mind would want this bad as their travelling companion. Philip Sparks for Danier.

Philip Sparks, Fall 2012 Collection. Loving the understated look that will have girls’ heads turning

Philip Sparks Fall 2012 Collection. Classy with just enough to differentiate you from the crowd

Another great suit by Philip Sparks, from Fall 2012 Collection

* Image’s from Philip’s web and Facebook page and Danier.com

WE HAVE THE TALENT, PROMOTE IT MORE

ASHTIANI is an emerging, award-winning, luxury fashion brand that, since it’s inception in 2011, showcased four distinctive and on-brand collections that deserve international praise. In contrast, during the SS 2013 Toronto Fashion Week, ASHTIANI’s collection was presented to a select few on one of the small runways. Despite the space limitation and lack of influential eyes, ASHTIANI’s SS2013 collection got some of this year’s best reviews by Evan Biddell of The Star calling the designer “truly one of the undiscovered gems of the Toronto Fashion Week”. The Globe’s Deirdre Kelly named Golnaz Ashtiani “as the one-to-watch”. Although the designer has been featured in mags and blogs, overall, not many fashionistas, bloggers or editors truly rave about it, not to mention the common Canadian.

ASHTIANI AW12, SS12, AW12 looks

Although marketing and PR teams are of vital importance to grow and expand a label, the costs associated with them are sky-high and, most of the time, unaffordable for emerging designers. As such, for the first few years, just like in every start-up, the owner is the head chef and the bottle washer. Point in case, Bojana Sentaler, the Creative Director behind Toronto-based SENTALER luxury coats, is just beginning to expand her one-person shop after three years being in business and achieving doubling revenue year after year! 

It’s incredibly admirable for Bojana Sentaler, Creative Director behind SENTALER luxury coats, to achieve success doing everything on her own for the past three years.

Of course, part of the responsibility of becoming a publicly notorious fashion house, brand or label is that of the designer. But, the designer’s true calling lies in creating the life-style that the rest of us envision.

Designers are visionaries, first and foremost.  Twice a year, they create and showcase a direction in style and fashion for the rest of us, before we even realize it’s what we want. I believe that’s tough enough.

MICHI, a luxury lifestyle brand, has been designing and producing rule-bending active wear in Toronto. Looks from Fall 2012 collection.

Radio and TV stations in Canada must broadcast a certain percentage of Canadian Content, as defined in the CRTC regulations. According to Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian research and educational organization, annual broadcast content quota on Canadian TV stations must consist of a whopping 60% Canadian programming, and at least 50% of prime-time programming (6:00 pm to midnight). For radio, MAPL regulations require 40% Canadian Content. Although such policies are  a burden and a cure, supporting Canadian talent is important and beneficial for the talent, and, at the very least, it’s also good for the rest of us from the entrepreneurial and economic perspective.

From Mark Fast’s Faster luxury basics line. Not sure how to wear this but Christian Aguilera pulled it off.

I can’t help but wonder why don’t Canadian personalities, hosts and other public figures promote Canadian fashion designers to help, globally, showcase our talent? Canadian magazines should consistently and independently feature Canadian designers and fashion. This would greatly help the designers grow and remain Canadian. MARK FAST, a Winnipeg-born designer who made  knit wear internationally popular as well as sexy and racy, has been based in London since he started his label. Mark, studied in Europe, made his connections there and it makes perfect sense  to start-up shop there. DAVID DIXON, somewhat of a Canadian fashion veteran, was quoted in a March 2012 article on CBC, stating that “Over the past few years, Canada has become a little hot spot, and a lot of these designers … Jeremy Laing, Erdem — even though [they’re] not based here — still represent Canada.” They certainly represent Canada but does Canada support and assist in representing them as much as, say, London or New York?  Golnaz Ashtiani, graduated from London College of Fashion and moved to Toronto. A brilliant talent that we can only hope will stay in Canada.

ANASTASIA RADEVICH is a Montreal-based luxury shoe designer with an incredible knack and passion for modern and futuristic shoe-design.

I would love to challenge Canadian editors, stylists, bloggers, self-proclaimed fashionistas and PR professionals to continuously search out and promote unique Canadian talent that will help those fascinating and risk-taking creative minds grow, expand, stay Canadian, and gain global brand recognition. JOE FRESH will always be featured in the news because they have the knowledge, reputation, and resources. And, most certainly, Louis Vuitton is going to get the best ad space in a glossy but when will ASHTIANI, SENTALER, ANNE SPORTUN, ANDREW FLOYD, MICHI and ANASTASIA RADEVICH become international names? The longer we wait, the more these designers fall into the possibility of being mimicked, tempted to move their brand elsewhere or be offered the fame of working under an already established fashion house.

Some of the looks from Joe Fresh SS 2013 collection, from https://www.facebook.com/joefresh