From November 24 until Dec 4, The Direct Energy Centre – or what we will always affectionately refer to as The Ex – will become a maze of creativity featuring 800 artisans from across Canada. And they will all decorate booths with gorgeous, flavourful and handmade gifts that will surely delight your loved ones. Eeeee….warmmmmm fuzzzzzy! (Said in my magical muppet-puppet voice.)
Unlike in years past, when we’ve nearly fainted zig-zagging from aisle 26 to aisle 4569, someone or some slick agency has sorted shit out. Firstly, the new website is awesome, giving each local artisan a profile and allowing users to easily browse through the various categories on offer. Are you looking for a hat? Or are you more interested in wood? Beyond the nifty new site, there is also an App to help you make a list and navigate the enormousness of this crafty hoopla. Crafty h-o-o-p-l-a! Hmmm, what does that look like as a dance move?
Now, here’s how to do oneofakind:
Step 1: Check out the website.
Step 2: Make a list for your friends and family.
Step 3: Buy tickets online and save money. $12 here or $14 at door.
Step 4: Download the App
Step 5: To avoid waiting in line for an overpriced crepe, pack a granola bar, some Swedish Berries and water to keep you going.
Step 6: Take the #29 Dufferin Bus south to The Ex (Because parking is a nightmare on many fronts… mostly cost.)
Step 7: Use that App! And avoid the mid-afternoon holiday meltdown.
In the meantime, we picked nine super cool designers to share with you. We think you will love their creative wonders just like we do.
1151 Skirt by Atelier B
Designers: Catherine Metivier & Anne-Marie LaFlamme
These imaginative roomies from Montreal make cute high waisted skirts with pretty lace detail. Plus they screenprint their own designs and use ethical materials. Point, point, point! We think this skirt is the kind of wardrobe staple that you can wear year round and no one else will own. Point, point, point! (Think of a Las Vegas casino sound.)
Atelier B skirt, $115
Modern Friendship Bracelet by Biko
Designer: Corrine Aestopoulos
We love BIKO! As expressed in our tete-a-tete with the young and extraordinary talented local designer. Tough yet whimsical, Corrine’s jewelry adds the right amount of edge to any outfit. Because let’s be honest, we are fucking edgy around here! This year, we are going to run to her booth to grab, not 1 but 2, Modern Friendship Bracelets. Why? Because they are awesome and she’s selling 2 for $150. Made with love in downtown Toronto!
Modern Friendship Bracelet, $85 or 2 for $150 ilovebiko.com
Pleated Purse by Hoi Bo
Designer: Sarra Tang
Often spotted along Queen West, Sarra Tang is a local designer whose Hoi Bo has a reputation for making the most beautiful handmade bags and purses in, well, all of Toronto. Durable and oneofakind (may as well drop that in!) her craftsmanship makes us wonder why we ever shop at big box stores? The Toronto Standard made this video of Sarra hard at work, if we haven’t sold you yet, it will.
Pleated Purse, $390 hoibo.com
Winterheart Light Sweatshirt by Cry Wolf
Designers:Rose Chang and Stephanie Drabik
These long time BFFs make sweet t-shirts and sweatshirts with their hands. NO MACHINES! Each shirt is printed individually and their illustration and design make us happy. Support them! Cute stuff, they work hard and it’s not even expensive. If you screw up and miss their booth you better not cry wolf to us. Does that make sense? Not really. Better brush up on our Mother Goose.
Winterheart sweatshirt, $40 crywolfclothing.com
Bucket Tote by Bookhou
Designers: Arounna Khounneraj and John Booth
With studio headquarters located on Dundas West, we often jump inside Bookhou for a bit of daydreaming. It’s one of those special places that always surprises; you need to poke your head in to see what we are talking about. OR GO TO THEIR BOOTH AT oneofakind.
We think your sister or mom would love a Bucket Tote. It’s subtle design but design that gets noticed. I think I speak for millions when I declare that we are all over the obnoxious “THIS NOT A PLASTIC BAG!” bag. It was smart for a minute.
*We don’t know how much the Bucket Totes are but if the $42.69 Market Totes are any indication then we are guessing less than $50. bookhou.com
Your boyfriend’s new undies by Bangers and Mash
Designer: Tiffany Ho
Colour block his cock! (Sorry, but it had to be done.) Vancouverite Tiffany Ho has made a name for herself in womenswear but Bangers and Mash serves up a whole new kind of tasty sausage: underwear for men. Breathable (thank God!) and in a variety of bright prints, including botanical (green thumb? Green bum!), these are the perfect gift for your sexy man friend. Bonus! We hear they come gift ready in a pretty package. bangersandmash.com
Felt Figurines by Him Creations
Designer: Shima Habashi
Want-want-want-but-don’t-need-need-need-but-who-cares…ALERT! Awww, wittle fuzzy creatures in neon. SOLD! Shima grew up in Japan and immigrated to Vancouver in 2008. She gained a loyal following at Van’s popular Portabello Market and if you don’t buy these curious felt figurines, we have a hunch that Magic Pony will. We think they are the perfect way to tell someone you love them.
Felt Figurines, $45-60 himcreations.com
Type Table Napkins by Schoolyard
Designers: Katy Chan and Hilary Dennis
Don’t worry if you burn the stew, everyone around the table will forgive you if you have these fetching font cloth napkins. Move conversation away from the screwed up souffle and interject with, “Have you seen my Type napkins? I got them at oneofakind.” SAVED! Always striving to use recycled, reclaimed and organic materials when possible, we hope these napkins read, WELL DONE.
Table Napkins: Type (Come in B&W & turquoise), $20 for 2. schoolyard.com
Designer: Nicole Tarasick (duh)
Give a truly Canadiana gift with this Map of Canada Pillow; it’s a nice talking piece for any living room. Nicole has three degrees: Fine Art & Architecture from UofT and Graphic Design from OCAD: A true trifecta of talent! She brings together all her passions in her thoughtful craftsmanship of unique home decor objects. If you already have too many throw pillows, then maybe a consider a Great Lakes tote? Nicole’s work makes us proud to be Canadian.
Map of Canada Pillow, $64 nicoletarasick.com
P.S: On December 11, oneofakind will have a special late night shopping night and stay open until 11pm.