OBAKKI DREAMS OF BETTER FUTURE

Canada is a land of opportunity to many. It is incredibly fulfilling, joyous and touching to learn of a foundation with a cause, passion, talent and desire to give back because we live in a land of opportunity that only a fraction of the world’s population gets to indulge in.

OBAKKI FOUNDATION is a Vancouver-based, fashion forward foundation that uses creativity and insightful story-telling as the driving force behind raising funds towards clean water and education in third world countries. 100% of their proceeds go directly to the cause (I have requested information from CharityIntelligence.ca to confirm). OBAKKI DESIGN, the creative extension of the foundation, produces truly exceptional and statement-making clothing used to fundraise. “Obakki Designs absorbs all of the administrative fees, from business cards to travel expenses, so that 100% of all public donations and 100% of net profits generated from Obakki sales can go directly to our humanitarian projects.”

Whether you buy Obakki product or make a donation to the Foundation, you know your money is going where it’s needed right now.

F/W 2012 Obakki Collection inspired by their efforts to drill water wells in South Sudan

F/W 2012 Obakki Collection inspired by their efforts to drill water wells in South Sudan

I highly suggest checking out OBAKKI F/W 2012 lookbook modelled by a Sudanese stunner and a captivating story narrating beautiful and flattering clothing.

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Obakki Signature Scarf. Purchase it through Obakki webstore for $29.00, send a pick to @Obakki with hashtag: #Create4Change

TO LEARN MORE, DONATE OR PARTICIPATE, VISIT OBAKKI WEB-SITE.

All images from Obakki web-site

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.

SCOUT & CATALOGUE spice up

S&C

One of my beloved accessories brands originally based in Toronto, SCOUT & CATALOGUE, has moved to Vancouver. The lovely Breanna, who established the label after returning from Mexico in 2009, has decided to move back home and

I want to wish her utmost success, happiness and inspiration in one of the most mesmerizing cities in Canada and the world.

Scout & Catalogue

I always found SCOUT & CATALOGUE  an organic, peaceful yet playful label that’s perfect for women who enjoy, crave and demand freedom. I connected with it right away! Beyond the freeing aspect of S&C lies true passion and dedication to quality, design and uniqueness.

S&C

Every S&C scarf is an understated statement piece that will make any woman look like a million bucks without making her feel uncomfortable. For those who live in black, these accessories are a great way to stand out and spice things up .

S&C

Right now there’s a SALE online for many may products. Be sure to visit! Also, check our my original post on S&C here.

7758195 BS.BS.05

* All images from S&C web-site.

UNTTLD

Simon Belanger and Jose Manuel St-Jacques and their UNTTLD fashion label are outcasts. Outcasts rule the world. They imagine, create, inspire, live and dream all in one moment of time. Reality is a concept they understand but don’t live by. There is no way to describe their talent and their work. That’s why UNTTLD is the perfect name for the label.

UNTTLD

UNTTLD was born in Montreal but it’s word-wide. I can see how some may confuse UNTTLD with Maison Martin Maguila however, UNTTLD is an evolution, it’s a way of self-expression without consideration of others. It’s freeing for the person who wears it and for the designers who create it.

There are no rules. No names.

UNTTLD

UNTTLD offers a deep and diverse selection of fashion comfort that anyone with a fashion sense would appreciate and find something they like. It’s the designers that inspire us to step out of our comfort zone by connecting with their clothes that are most memorable and appreciated. UNTTLD certainly enabled that within me.

Images from UNTTLD web-site.

RACHEL F. conscious accessories

RACHEL F. is a captivating line of accessories based out of Montreal with global appeal of conscious production of consumer goods. Everything that RACHEL F.  creates is made from personally deconstructed vintage pieces of leather and fur. But don’t get it twisted, the final product looks and feels like a luxurious, carefully designed, brand-spankin’-new, one of a kind product. In addition, all the final pieces are locally handcrafted –  an important way to expand the existing fashion, design, textile and crafts industry in Canada.

 

Rachel Fortin, the designed behind RACHEL F., has created warm and cozy hats, hobo-chic purses and bags, luxurious fur collars and belts, as well as enticing earrings. The FW 2013 collection, that was inspired by the Montreal’s atmosphere in the 1970’s during the holiday season, is as authentic as it can get. When I saw a number of pieces at The One of a Kind Show in Toronto, I was instantly captivated, drawn and inspired to go back in time by acquiring a statement fur hat.

Images from Rachel F Facebook and website.

ANASTASIA LOMONOVA a fashion design rock star

ANASTASIA LOMONOVA has a unique story and a unique namesake label. Born in Ukraine, raised in Cyprus and now lives in Montreal, ANASTASIA is an enigma that’ll keep you guessing fashion show after fashion show.

One common thread since the establishment of the namesake label in 2007, has been dedication to showcasing a creative vision that’s independent of popular trends. For example, both SS and FW 2012 collections lack the widespread inclination of the overwhelming use of colour. As much as I enjoy including colour in everyday wardrobe, there’s something to be said for an impactful dress in a neutral palette that can be worn casually or dressed up with statement jewellery pieces for a night out.

ANASTASIA LOMONOVA also brings a lot of unconventional structure to her collections, mixing fabrics, playing with shapes and different shades of neutrals. Her work seems contradicting when romantic influences are combined with dark colours and flowy shapes are actually superbly structured designs. That said, the collections still feel emotional, elegant, stimulating, and created for ambitious women.

Check out the online boutique, or contact Anastasia directly for custom order pieces through her web-site.

All images from Anastasia Lomonova web-site.

CHARLOTTE HOSTEN: breaking rules, maintaining tradition

I truly can’t imagine anyone not appreciating, enjoying and loving CHARLOTTE HOSTEN jewellery. The Montreal-based designer captures imagination with original, boundless, luxurious and distinctive pieces.

When I saw CHARLOTTE HOSTEN colliers, I was reminded of a few quotes by Alexander McQueen, a man I admire because of his humble, brilliant, honest and self-proclaimed blemished nature. He’s been quoted stating: “I spent a long time learning how to construct clothes, which is important to do before you can deconstruct them”*and “You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.”**

CHARLOTTE HOSTEN pieces, to some, may seem overwhelming but they are perfectly balanced with unique beads, chains, ribbons, charms, fabrics, leather, pearls, jewels, and feathers. Each piece has a lot going on but it’s exceptionally designed and balanced because of the designer’s intimate knowledge of the basics, and innate desire to push boundaries as well as emphasis on imagination and creativity. To create prominent pieces that will be cherished for generations on end, one first has to know the basics, and then work within those basics but with progression to achieve new greatness and evolution.

To note, CHARLOTTE HOSTEN colliers are the perfect gift you can gift yourself or a friend. They will make any and every simple dress or outfit stand out. You can find certain pieces on Etsy.

* Bolton, Andrew, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, pg.30, Yale University Press, New Haven

All Images from Charlotte Hosten web-site.

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.

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