The pink hair, fun fur, leopard print and capes have vanished. Like a carnival leaving town, as soon as World MasterCard Fashion Week ended this past weekend, David Pecault Square returned to it’s usual drab appearance: grey concrete speckled with navy suits. It was colourful and exciting while it lasted. It always is. But now what?
Just because the show is over, doesn’t mean we need to quiet the conversation: Canadian fashion is something to celebrate. Always.
From where to shop to what’s in their closet, we asked five of Toronto’s fashion ringleaders to share their thoughts about the week, and how we can all continue to support Canadian labels year-round.
Favourite show(s) at WMCFW: Narces, the details are what dreams are made of. Rachel Sin because it’s always wonderful seeing something for the everyday lady. Matthew Gallagher for the clean lines and artistic feel. It’s hard to pick just one.
Best boutique in Toronto for shopping Canadian labels: There are so many little boutiques around Queen West and Rosedale that carry lines like Headmistress, Ela Handbags and Trout Rainwear. I adore seeing familiar faces in the labels I read. The Escape Movement from North Bay even does all their production in Canada.
Canadian designers we can find in your closet: I have a Smythe coat I bought ten years ago, that never seems to age; headmistress hats and headbands for those lazy hair days; classic Pink Tartan pieces; and a Laura Siegel scarf that I love. My Sentaler coats need to become a yearly splurge. I adore shopping local, it means a lot to me.
Advice to those who want to support local designers, but have a modest budget for new fashion: Invest in a few good pieces instead of buying a ton of things your not really in love with.
SS15 trends at WMCFW that excite you most: Flower Power from the ’70s, the Jumper with minimal makeup.
Favourite show(s) at WMCFW: I really loved seeing the Start Up show on Monday night. The best (and most exciting) part about WMCFW is getting to see the new collections from Canada’s emerging designers. My particular favourites are always Beaufille and Sid Neigum.
Best boutique in Toronto for shopping Canadian labels: To be honest, it’s not as easy as it should be to shop Canadian labels in Toronto. More boutiques are catching on to supporting local designers (and thankfully the demand for them is increasing) but it’s tough to find a good selection. Most often I shop directly from the designers’ sites since most of them have their own online shops.
Canadian designers we can find in your closet: If I could wear Beaufille every day I would, their style is totally me and their pieces are like works of art. You can also find Greta Constantine, Paria Shirvani and Bazzul in my closet for great dresses that I often wear to events. I also wear a lot of jewellery and accessories from Canadian designers such as Blackbird, Dolorous, and Michelle Ross for jewellery, and Ela and Brave Leather for handbags.
Advice to those who want to support local designers, but have a modest budget for new fashion: Sign up to their mailing lists and look out for their pop up shops, sales and sample sales. You’ll probably see me there!
SS15 trends at WMCFW that excite you most: I saw a lot of head-to-toe white looks on the runway. Not necessarily new but wearing white is always something refreshing to wear come spring/summer after a winter filled with so much black.
Favourite show(s) at WMCFW: There were two shows that really stood out for me. Matthew Gallagher — his spring/summer collections are consistently very strong. The entire presentation was impeccable. And Rachel Sin — I’m a big fan of her work and I got a sneak preview of a part of her collection the week before. It was great to see her do bright prints for the first time.
Best boutique in Toronto for shopping Canadian labels: Gravity Pope. It’s in a trendy neighbourhood, has a good selection of designers from across Canada, and their staff is incredibly friendly.
Canadian designers we can find in your closet: I strongly support Canadian designers, so there is quite a selection: a runway David Dixon gown, a deep-red Rachel Sin wool dress, plastic-against-cotton Denis Gagnon blouse, lots of Fluevog shoes, bright red Nella Bella bag, a statement Emily Woudenberg necklace, Morfologi 3D-printed bracelet, and the list goes on. I like classical pieces but also things that are very unusual-looking.
Advice to those who want to support local designers, but have a modest budget for new fashion: I don’t think you need to have a huge budget to shop local. But you should know where the designers sell their pieces, so you aren’t confined to one place with a specific price point. I would also recommend checking each designer’s online boutique and signing up for their newsletters — most of them do incredible sample sales all the time.
SS15 trends at WMCFW that excite you most: White colour. I was so happy to see almost every designer have a white piece in their collection. Some even did an entire presentation based on it. Just like black or purple, white suits every skin tone and is a perfect summer option.
Photo of Hannah by Aleyah Solomon
Favourite show(s) at WMCFW: I really enjoyed Caitlin Powers‘ show this season because there was a lot of anticipation built up since her last show in SS14. I also loved the partnership with PANDORA, sponsoring the show and the models even wore jewelry from the brand; it was sleek and minimalist, just like the Power woman aesthetic.
Best boutique in Toronto for shopping Canadian labels: I think GotStyle does it best. I love their selection of Canadian labels and I think they’re really invested in the growth of our homegrown talent. They’ve taken risks on smaller labels too, like Bazzul, who does the most amazing body-con dresses. They also facilitate collaborations like the recent Sully Wong x Amanda Lew Kee sneaker.
Canadian desingers we can find in your closet: I have an arsenal of Nella Bella handbags; I absolutely love how versatile they are, and the designs are so unique. You’ll also find a few Cailtin Power pieces, like a long white leather vest/dress. Lastly, I have three baby alpaca coats by the wonderful Bojana Sentaler. Her label Sentaler was picked up by Holt Renfrew this fall. Trust me when I say they’re worth every penny!
Advice to those who want to support local designers, but have a modest budget for new fashion: Read anything that Sabrina Maddeaux writes about the Canadian fashion industry. She’s been tracking the evolution of the local designer landscape for a few years now and gives an invaluable perspective on why the industry needs to support local talent.
SS15 trends at WMCFW that excite you most: Sportswear. I love me anything perforated and white. Sporty separates were all over the New York runways, and I’m glad to see his trend here at home. Rudsak did some amazing metallic blue leather running shorts and hoodies that have my name on them.
Favourite show(s) at WMCFW: Mackage killed it. I’m a huge colour lover, so I really dug this collection. I’m lusting hard over the bright yellow moto jacket; such a fresh look for Spring. Klaxon Howl put on a really fun show, and Pink Tartan had the best soundtrack.
Canadian designers we can find in your closet: I have a Rudsak winter coat from a few seasons back that I still get so many compliments on. Of course, there are a few Joe Fresh pieces, but my favourite Canadian designer to wear is Toronto-based Sarah Donofrio. We carry her pieces in the shop and this season I’ve been wearing her contrast floral varsity bomber jacket, non-stop. She mixes vintage fabrics and silhouettes so beautifully. I’m wearing one of her skirts here. (See photo above.)
Advice for supporting local designers with a modest budget for new fashion: My advice is to seek out local designers in your price range. Sarah Donofrio is a great example of truly affordable local fashion. Jordan de Ruiter comes to mind as well. Another great way to mix in Canadian designers is with accessories. Fieldguided, Jenny Bird, and 442 McAdam all make beautiful pieces that I wear constantly, and are a great price point. Beyond that, I would suggest choosing one standout, must-have piece from the runway collections to invest in, like the perfect coat or jumpsuit. The designer’s blood, sweat, and tears (and a whole lot of love) went into that garment; you know the quality will be amazing and it will be a piece that you’ll treasure forever. It feels great to support Canadian talent!
SS15 trends at WMCFW that excite you most: Jumpsuits and fringe!!! I basically do ’70s boho-glam FOREVER.