Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Accessories at Fresh Collective!

Due to the unseasonably warm weather you may not be thinking about winter accessories, but we sure are!  We've got a whole display at the back of Fresh Collective: mittens, armwarmers, hats and hoodscarves.  We've even made a new armwarmer style this year using wool free sweaters (think cotton, ramie and silk fibres!). 

Come stock up at Fresh Collective Queen (692 Queen St W, Toronto ON) while the selection is good and you'll be prepared for the cold days ahead!

This Tuesday I also brought in a new selection of Abigail Dresses.  The jewel tones were sold out so I re-stocked with plenty of rich reds, burgundys, purples and greens!  There are also plenty of muted greys and neutrals to chose from.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall/Winter 2012/13 Preview!

At Fresh Collective designers are given the opportunity to sign up and do a feature window each season.  As the time draws closer for me to install my window I'm always racking my brain for a theme as well as ways to make my window unique and eye catching.

About a year ago I was having a conversation with a former boss about sell through and new styles.  I was feeling frustrated because it's so hard to predict what will sell well before you make a whole production run.  He suggested I pick one retailer to work with and preview new styles to see how well they sell and then produce them the next year.  So I decided to try this idea out for my feature window.

For my window I included current 2011/12 styles as well as the two new pieces I designed to test.  Clockwise from top left:  Assymetric Preview Cardigan, Chloe Vest & Preview Maxi Skirt, Abigail Dress, Brett Hat, Morgan Hoodie and Sarah Armwarmers.

I wanted the two preview pieces to be dramatic to draw more attention to the window.  The trend for maxi skirts and dresses this summer was pretty obvious.  You couldn't go a block without sighting a woman in a loud, beachy printed dress.  To be honest I wasn't that much a fan but then I bought a beautiful grey and black plaid maxi skirt for fall and fell in love with the trend.  So I decided to reinterpret the plaid skirt using men's dress shirts in dark, rich plaids, stripes and solids.  The skirt combines 5 shirts for a dramatic, tonal, multi patterned masterpiece.

The second piece, the Assymetric Preview Cardigan is something I've been contemplating for a while.  Personally I just love long cardigans and with the current maxi trend I though it was the perfect timing.  I was intimidated because I knew it would be complicated requiring a lot of pattern pieces and a lot of sweaters.  I believe it took about 4-5 sweaters to make the cardigan but I was quite happy with how it turned out.  I wanted a large dramatic colour and I decided to incorporate multiple prints which is something I usually stay away from.  The large voluminous collar and ornate closures finish off the piece in style.

As for the theme of the window, I enlisted the help of my assistant Sivan.  She had the idea to create streamers from scrap fabric to hang from the ceiling.  We always have little scraps of fabric leftover from our cuts so I like to try to make use of it.  I liked the idea but thought we should take it a step further . . .

I've been holding onto this United Colors of Benetton ad for quite a while.  I just love all the texture they've created with the fabric and I thought we could do something different by braiding and knotting the fabric in different ways.  So with the scraps left over from the skirts I got Sivan to make a bunch of long braids and flowers to adorn the mannequins and suspend from the ceiling.

The display is up at Fresh Collective Queen (692 Queen St West, Toronto).  So come take a look if you're in the area!  It will be up until October 15.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trade Show Booth Inspiration!

I've been thinking about having a custom trade show booth created for a while now but keep putting it off.  It's a pretty big project.  At the moment I've been using various rolling racks, dressing screens and tables for my display which is in my mind a little lacking.  I want to give customers the full experience as if they're entering the mini Paper People boutique.  Everytime I do a trade show I get asked by multiple people if it's my first show (no, I've been running my buiness for 10 years).  So it's either because I look young or because my booth set up looks amateur . . .

So to complement my selection of reclaimed vintage clothing and accessories I thought it would be SO COOL to have a booth built from reclaimed furniture and building materials!

And actually, it's the perfect time of year to be undertaking a project like this since it's moving season.  Living in downtown Toronto it's not uncommon to see abandonned furniture from someone's move sitting out at the curb.  But being the Sept 1st apartment shuffle I'm really striking gold.  I spent 3 hours last night roaming through residential areas and managed to collect 4-5 different types of dresser drawers, 1 night table, 1 folding table with turned legs, 3 head boards, 1 large vintage pictures frame and some vintage baseboard scraps.

My idea is to make a modular stacking dresser out of random mismatched drawers and some sort of matching cash desk that also stacks up.  If a cash desk isn't needed the stacking compartments can be turned the opposite way and used for display.

There were many unknowns when I decided to embark on this project, the two main questions being:  where will we get the materials (solved) and who will build these exciting new fixtures for me?

The ever helpful girls at Fresh Collective had lots of suggestions and after consulting them I decided to split the project up and go with two designers.  Tricia of Spruce Clothing and Danielle of Zippan Designs suggested Lucas Baker.     Lucas designed a new trade show booth to showcase Danielle's jewellery line last winter.  Lucas specializes in custom wood working so I knew he could do something really special for me.

My colleague Shannon of Things Aren't So Terrible suggested her business partner and husband Scott of Able Creates.  Scott and Shannon do all sorts of things including silkscreening (for their own business as well as custom designs for other businesses), graphic design & web design but I had no idea they were also builders! 

So after meeting with both Lucas and Scott we generated many great ideas and I decided to divide up the project between the two of them.

So back to my adventure lastnight in collecting castoff furniture.  After collecting all those treasures I was so excited that I still couldn't sleep so I decided to google upcycle furniture to get some ideas.  And actually I found a lot of great things and dressers just like the one I'm hoping to have made.  Here are some of the best ones I found:

I love the antiqued, distressed finish on the dresser (left)!  I also collected a bunch of vintage and antique pictures frames so I can showcase some of our great photography at the show.  I thought the display to the right was a great way to display collections of pictures although we will probably just hang them in the end.  Unfortunately in my excitement of collecting inspiration images I forgot to bookmark some of the artists' pages.  Hopefully I can come back and do that later.

Right cabinet by Thomas Wold , left table by Valentin Loellmann
The cabinet on the left is one of my favourites.  I love how it combines the drawers where you can tuck away little treasures with the open spaces that would be great for displaying merchandise.  After collecting all those head boards with the turned bars I was racking my brain over what could be done with them.  This table on the right is a perfect example.  What I'd like to do is take my tiered end table, replace the legs or add a few extras and then replace the plain bars with the turned ones from the head board.

Left cabinet by Thomas Wold, right dresser by Rupert Blanchard 
 The piece on the left incorporates a mirror which would be great for trying on hats.  The dresser on the right is very close to what I had envisioned for the dresser I want to have built.  It won't have as many drawers and it will be modular so it can be stacked in different ways and boxes can be added or taken away but the overall aesthetic is definitely the look I want.

Both pieces by SchubLaden

More beautiful mismatched drawer cabinets . . .

Left dresser by Rupert Blanchard, right upcycled door cabinet by Chris Ruhe
In sourcing materials for this project, Scott suggested we use some reclaimed doors.  My dad's cousin happens to have a knack for refurbishing old furniture and also collecting more than she can use.  I thought I would give her a call to see if she had any leftovers and she offered me some old doors.  The piece on the right is a really striking use of upcycled doors.  I don't imagine we'll do anything that complex but it certainly is inspiring!

Stay tuned as I'll have more posts to come about our exciting work for the changerooms and rack fixtures!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Waste reduction and crafters helping the community

At the studio we are always trying to minimize waste.  We have many strategies for sorting and maintaining our inventory of materials from start to finish.  When working with vintage sweaters, we first cut larger items like clothing (sweater dresses, pull overs, cardigans etc).  Inevitably there are always scraps leftover.  We sort these by colour and save them to make accessories like hats, mitts, armwarmers and legwarmers.  And after that we still have useable scraps.  They're pieces that maybe aren't suitable for our designs but things that would be good for other projects.  Anyone who sews or builds or crafts will know that at some point you have to draw the line with saving materials. 

So the scraps that we can't use get donated to local crafters and artisans.  I often advertise on craigslist and kijiji and anyone who wants scraps ranging from sweater pieces to woven cottons left over from bedsheets and dress shirts is welcome to come take some as they become available.

I've had many people including felters, quilters, teachers, community organizations and people starting up their own business come to make use of our left overs.  I was recently in touch with mother Ella and daughter Kyla.  Kyla Kirk is a teen who has been eager to get involved in many causes over the years.  She started out with fundraising campaigns but has since decided that she wants to become more deeply involved. 

Her current project, Pillows and More combines her talent for creating and sewing with her desire to raise money for those in need.  Kyla has been creating and selling pillows, pet beds and fabric accessories to raise money to travel to a developing country with the Me to We Foundation Youth Program in order to be part of the process of building wells and a school.

Visit Kyla's website to take a look at her creations and make a purchase to help her help others in need.

Congratulations to Kyla and her supportive mother Ella for working towards positive change!

If you're a local crafter, hobbyist or teacher who would like some fabric scraps for a personal project or a class you're teaching get in contact with me: to see what we have available!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Style Spin!

Recently my friends Irene, Cat, Laura, Patti and Kirsten of the Deadly Nightshades have been organizing the Style Spin.  Style Spin is a bike tour that starts out at the Drake Hotel and visits various fashion studios around the city. 
Cat Essiambre of the DNS
The Deadly Nightshades are a self described "all girls midnight bike gang" who go around the city making art, fashion and mischief among other things.
This tour they visited The Burroughs Building (Philip Sparks), 401 Richmond (Janet Attard) and our very own rustic 310 Spadina! 

So we spent the day cleaning up the studio!

Guests entering 310 Spadina
Myself and my friends Halyey, Hillary (Ruth Weil) and Jade were happy to give tours of our studios.  We ushered the 50 some guests up the stairs to our 5th floor studios and let them have a look around.

Studio Paper People

Jade shows off her reclaimed guitar string earrings.
Our guests were very enthusiastic and had lots of questions about our work!  We showed off our workspace as well as some exciting new designs for fall 2011!  A good time was had by all!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Picking Treasures!

So normally when we go picking I'm mainly looking for basics: large wool pull over sweaters, bedsheets, basic men's dress shirts.  But to get all the fancy doilies and vintage handkerchiefs I have to go into this weird miscellaneous bin.  A lot of thing things that end up in this bin are things that you might have to ask, "what is this?" and ponder for a while.  There are a lot of small fabric remnants, non-descript ornamental fancies, dish towels and sometimes doll clothes.  This time I was lucky enough to find some choice handkerchiefs and my prized pick: a mini bolt of vintage lace!  I'll be saving this lace for something special!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fun with images!

Laura-Jean of Fresh Collective has been working on re-branding her line, Fresh Baked Goods for the past year.  At our Fresh Collective University meeting last month she presented an inspiration board with all sorts of words and images to represent her new brand.  It really took me back to my years at Ryerson.  The first step to each project was to create a theme board and present it to the class.  After presenting her board, Laura-Jean then asked designers to volunteer to make and present one for the next class.  My first thought was ugh, I already have so much work on my plate.  Now that I'm done school I don't need to do this sort of thing anymore.

But to be honest, I've been having so much fun with branding and playing around with images lately that I broke down and volunteered!  So I spent a good chunk of my weekend with magazines and computers and scanners to create these exciting them boards!

I started out with words that inspired a lifestyle.  I came up with: gypsy, hippie, adventurous, in nature and artiste (my colleague Shannon of Things Aren't So Terrible put on a vest at the store earlier in the year and said it made her feel like an "artiste".  I think she meant it mockingly but the word stuck in my brain).  Originally I was going to make only one board but after having all these separate yet similar images I decided to go with four.  I then elaborated furthere with words evoking feelings/lifestyles and ones evoking more visual and tactile elements. 

One of the important things about inspiration boards is finding the right images.  They have to be high (print) quality and they have to be original and inspiring.  Nothing like the pixelated clipart type images that a Google images key word search would turn up.  During my time at Ryerson, one of my favourite places to get such images was the library.  I would go to the children's section because those books always have the most fanciful illustrations.  I would take the books to the copy shop, get colour copies made and then collage them into fun scenes and compositions.  I didn't even think to use a scanner . . .

So for this round of inspiration boards I thought, where to start?  I haven't done one in about 4.5 years!  I used to do a lot of collaging for fun.  I would collect images from everywhere: magazines, postcards, posters on the street etc.  I still have a box full of clippings so I went through it.  Next I went through the small collection of magazines I have stashed away.  These were great for finding all the inspired backgrounds and scenery I used in the boards - key for setting the mood!

The collaged body parts are also taken from fashion magazines.  I love the playfully chaotic compositions that come together when you borrow an arm here, a head here, some extra hair from over there.   But this time instead of trying to find exactly the right size head or arm I was able to resize them in Photoshop.  Who would have thought? 

Next and most importantly came the outfits.  Having plenty of past photoshoots to pull from, I took garments from Paper People past, cut and collaged them together to emphasize layers, textures and colours.  It made me wish I could make clothes like these in real life but isn't that silly?  I DID make all these!  And then lastly, each post got a prop to tie in the mood or lifestyle that each board is trying to convey.

I had so much fun with this project.  I was going to wait till the next Fresh Collective University meeting to unveil these but I've just spoiled the surprise!  I guess I needed to spice up my Monday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More graphic design fun!

So Gigi's last project for me is to create new hang tags for my clothing.  I've been using the old ones for 4 years or so.  The ones I have are great but I'm getting a little sick of looking at them so I wanted something totally fresh and new.  Here's a sneak peak at the design she came up with.  These ones may not go into print until Spring/Summer 2012 (so think next February-April) because we've already got most of the goods priced and ready to go for Fall/Winter 2011/12.

I can't wait!  It's going to be a folded card with more information on the inside so these are the front and back covers.  I think it would be really fun to have them dye cut along the edge of the doily but we'll have to see how much that's going to cost.  I'd also like to have them printed on recycled paper like my current tags.

If anyone needs a graphic designer I'd love to recommend Gigi!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fall is almost here!

The Chloe Vest photo by Carmen Cheung
Stacks of Chloe Vests ready to be sent to retailers.
So it's that time of year again that we at Paper People eagerly await!  We've been busily working on fall/winter merchandise since February and it's almost time to unveil our creations!

We spent the end of last week going through all the items so we can sort them and send them off to various stores across the country.  This is only the start and we will probably be doing this all week.  Really it's one of my favourite parts of the job as I get to see the fruits of our labour and pick a few to keep for myself!

Fall designs will be arriving at the Fresh Collective stores Friday
 August 5th.  So stop by to get first dibs on all the new dresses, sweaters, tops, skirts and more!  Or stop by before then to get last minute deals on spring and summer items.  At the moment my dresses and tops (reg $55-169) are on for $39-99!  I'll also be bringing in some sale merchandise from last fall in August so there will be deals to be had!

So now I'd like to introduce two new styles I'll be releasing in August: The Chloe Vest and the Morgan Hoodie. 

The Chloe Vest is a really cute and nicely tailored vest.  The has cute front pockets and it's meant to be worn open.  I took great care in tailoring this one so it contours nicely to the body.  We did these in a whole variety of prints and a few solids.  The front band is made from organic cotton jersey and the rest is made from reclaimed vintage wool or cotton sweaters.

The Morgan Hoodie.  Photo by Carmen Cheung
 And below we have the Morgan Hoodie.  I went on a bit of a hoodie binge last winter and got a taste for them.  My favourite hoodies were super long and fitted so I decided to design one along those lines.  The Morgan Hoodie is made from reclaimed vintage wool sweaters and organic cotton/spandex jersey.   Like the vest it comes in a wide variety of patterns.  The medium weight jersey is perfect for early fall and has lots of stretch to it.

Orders will be going out to other parts of Canada over August and September.  My new list of retailers will be going up soon (and so will my new website).  For the time being here is a list of cities: Victoria, Vancouver, Nelson, Courtenay, Duncan, Squamish (British Columbia), Calgary (Alberta), Toronto, Ottawa, Thunder Bay
(Ontario), Quebec, Montreal (Quebec), Lunenburg (Nova Scotia), St. John's (Newfoundland) and Ojai (California).
Morgan Hoodies.  So many colours and patterns!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New website coming very soon!

 So here is just a little taste of what's to come.  I've been thinking about getting a new website for about a year or longer and in a spur of the moment decision this June I decided to take action. 
So that's where Gigi came in.  I got in contact with the Ryerson School of fashion to see if there were any communications students looking for a little work and experience.  I know a few friends who have gone on to do freelance graphic and web design and it doesn't hurt to have your work floating around on the world wide web along with happy clients to back up your reputation.  Gigi has done an amazing job.  She is continually in touch showing me updates so we can work together to tweak the look and function of the site as she goes.  She's been very open to all my suggestions and has been great with suggesting technical solutions to keep things simple for me.  I think it's also been a learning experience for her working with a client as anal as I have been (but I got this way by learning to try to please my own customers)!  In the end I'm getting the website of my dreams and I really hope some of my designer friends will get in touch with her to create websites or logos for their companies too!

The top photo shows a snippet of a product page - mainly I wanted to show the super cute menu bars she has created.  The top one is scanned from a vintage handkerchief and she has manipulated the colours in photoshop.    If you see it up close it looks amazing - you can still see the wrinkles and fades in the actual fabric.  The second one has headings in a super cute old fashioned typewriter font on top of a herringbone fabric.  Orignally I wanted to scan an actual piece of fabric with frayed edges but she did such a good job in photoshop that I'm happy to keep it as is.  She's also revamped my logo.  It has a bit of a retro feel to it but still incorporates my "paper people" (silhouette cut outs).  There's something catchy about it. 

The second image is the top of Gigi's CV.  The graphics she created for her name really caught my eye.  It's intricate and girly and has a beautiful flow to it.

The bottom photo is the size chart Gigi created for me.  Maybe I'm a bit of a dork to be ooing and awing over a size chart but it's just so effective!  It has that vintage feel to it but it's a little classy.  And the tactile quality is amazing.

Apparently Gigi had just begun work on her personal site when we got started on my project so that's been postponed but here are some links to her other work:

So I'd like to give a big pre-thank you to Gigi and please inquire if you'd like to hire her for your new web site or graphics overhaul!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fresh Collective Fall/Winter Lookbook shoot!

The Fresh Collective Fall/Winter 2011 lookbook shoot was last week.  Here are a couple behind the scenes shots and actually a bit of a sneak peak at my FW11/12 line!  The shoot was orchestrated by Jane Haselgrove, one of Laura-Jean's main assistants.  I actually know Jane from a few years back.  We worked together for a summer at Preloved and became friends.  Jane was attending Seneca at the time and I was at Ryerson.  Then a few years later she turned up again as Sarah's assistant at The Rage where I was selling my line.  Then a few months back (or has it been almost a year?) Jane sent me a message saying she wanted to apply for L-J's assistant job.  Knowing what a positive, talented and hardworking individual she is I put in a good word with L-J and she's been working hard to help propel the Fresh Baked Goods line ever since!

Anyway, the shoot was photographed by Emma-Lee, super amazing graphic designer/photographer/PR specialist!  It took place at her super cool apartment/studio which is actually (coincidentally?) just behind the store.  So all morning we were running back and forth from the store to her studio to grab extra t-shirts, hangers, accessories plus steaming and ironing garments.  It was pretty crazy.

As a side note, Emma-Lee is also an incredibly talented singer/songwriter!

The first photo is the new Audrey Sweater.  This is actually my favourite sweater style for the new season!  It's got a super cool slouchy shape with a raised neckline and cowl.  The back has some interesting detailing but you might have to wait for more photos to see that. 

The second photo shows my new Brett Hat and Ashleigh Mitts (designed by my former assistant Ashleigh McIver).  Having done so well with my armwarmers and hoodscarves I decided to expand my selection of winter accessories to include cute hats and mitts.  And the best part is I can use all the leftover scraps from my clothing items to make them! 

I'll be unveiling my new website as well as my Fall/Winter collection at month's end it looks like so stay tuned!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My bathing suit finally came!

Okay, so actually it came last week but I was too busy getting ready for the photoshoots to blog about it. 

I've been looking for a new bathing suit for a while.  I've had the same black bikini since high school and apparently still haven't found anything exciting OR flattering enough to replace it with.  It's a pretty good bathing suit I guess.  I got it at La Vie en Rose.  The top has underwire and a decent but not overly generous amount of padding for those of us who are "petite".  My biggest complaint about bathing suits is that they aren't built more like bras.  A bandeau or a triangle top is going to do nothing for my (non existent) cleavage thank you very much.

So I had been ogling this suit on the Free People website for a while but was unsure about making the purchase and it quickly went out of stock.  After further visits to the site I decided I needed to have it so I searched the manufacturer's website: Lisa Maree (apparently an Australian brand) but alas, they too were out of stock.  Googling crocheted bathing suit got me a few cheap, slutty looking alternatives.  Then one day I was killing time on the Free People website and lo and behold it was back in stock!  I read the reviews thoroughly and made my choice carefully.  Normally I always buy xs at Free People but the reviews advised that the suit didn't stretch much and was short in the torso.  Now normally I can't even wear a one piece because of my long torso but this suit has a low neckline and adjustable tie around the neck so I didn't think I had much to worry about.  The side cut outs are great for sculpting the waistline (I'm not particularly curvy so this was an added bonus) and the delicate crochet fabrication appealed deeply to my doily and lace obsession!  So basically, this suit was made for me!  I ordered the small.

Now just to remind you this was during the Canada Post strike.  I remembered reading a big banner on the site a few nights earlier stating that all orders to Canada would be shipped UPS (or was it FedEx?) to avoid any delays or mix ups.  Well wouldn't you know they shipping it USPS and my package got stuck at the bordered for a good few weeks.  I ordered the suit in early June but it didn't arrive until early July.

Anyway, it was well worth the wait.  My decison to buy the s/p instead of the xs was right on.  It fits perfectly!  Now I just need to find the time to make it to a beach!!

So many photoshoots!

 So we had our big lifestyle shoot on Thursday.  My assistant Sivan and intern Aris were kind enough to take some "behind the scenes" photos so I thought I would share them with you!  We did shots for both Fall/Winter 2011/12 and Spring/Summer 2012.  Angela has already sent preliminary shots for me to pick from but I won't be sharing those until later . . . I'm thinking of releasing them one by one.  How painful!

When I pulled up to Jess & Ken's house on Thursday morning I was a little taken aback.  There was a construction crew set up right next door jackhammering the neighbour's driveway (and they soon pulled up the bulldozer to scoop what they were hammering at I assume?).  They insisted that I couldn't pull up my car to unload the: bike, suitcase, garment bags, computer & lunch for 7 people.  But they were nice enough and suggested I park a little ways down so that the rental car didn't get damaged . . . by flying rocks I'm assuming?  Someone tipped them off that we were doing a photoshoot and they were extra friendly to us pretty ladies.  Lucky thing we hadn't planned to do any shots in the front garden!

So here we have some accessories I picked up for the shoot: jewellery by my friend Kat of Curious Oddities, various jeans, leggings and t-shirts (we all need basics sometimes) as well as some super cute tights and hats from Urban Outfitters.  I was
 really tempted to keep one of the hats for myself but there is no way I could pull off having more volume on top of my hair!

So here to the left we have Andrea of Friskey Brown Makeup getting Ellen and Mackenzie ready for the shoot.  Andrea was a pleasure to work with!  Always enthusiastic and positive even by the end of a long day.  Andrea does makeup primarily but she was happy to step in and take care of the hair as well.  She did this really cool thing with Ellen's hair for our last scene at the beach - she did a few thin braids and then pulled it to the side.  It was simple but so stunning on Ellen's blonde mane.

I don't know why but I always think people love to see behind the scenes photos of models getting their makeup done!

We spent the morning and into the afternoon shooting at Jess & Ken's house.  They have a lovely roof top patio were we did the first few looks.  We were super lucky to have access to the house.  There was a room upstairs where we set up the wardrobe area, a family room where Andrea set up her hair & makeup station, a kitchen to get the lunch & snacks prepared and lots of great spaces to shoot in.  I even borrowed some vintage bikes from my kind friends Theresa and Amber so we could do some fun shots with them around the neighbourhood.  With all that time running between rooms and around the neighbourhood we ran a bit off schedule.  By the time we were ready to head to the beach we were hitting rush hour traffic.  I felt bad keeping everyone later (apparently next time I should be a little more anal and start hustling people around!) but it was totally worth it.  Due to scheduling and car space our behind the scenes photo crew had to head home so I don't have any candid beach shots to show you but it was nice!  As soon as I stepped out of the car I felt totally refreshed.  I couldn't believe how fast the last few shots went and I can't wait to share them with you . . . but not until next March or April!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

3 Big Photoshoots!

This tree is so dreamy!
With 3 big photoshoots coming up I'm just scrambling to get my last few dresses sewn, gather accessories and props, beg and borrow vintage bikes, rent lighting equipment and the list goes on.  Basically, I should not be taking time out to write this blog post!  But we all know procrastination makes for the best blog posts.

My first shoot is coming up tomorrow.  It's the Fresh Collective Fall lookbook shoot.  Here at the studio we're almost finished all our super warm and toasty sweaters so I plenty to choose from to bring the shoot.  But plenty of choices makes for plenty of decisions.  I get 4 looks for this shoot so I decided to go with an earth tone theme.  I have my new sweater dress style, a cardigan vest, a hat & mitt combo and my personal fav, the slouchy, funky "Audrey" sweater!  Tomorrow is my shift at the Queen store so after I open shop I'll have to rush over to Emma-Lee's conveniently located Queen St. studio to bring in my pieces and oversee the shooting!

 Then comes the one I'm really anxious about.  My lifestyle shoot with Angela Lewis.  My regular photographer Carmen Cheung is having a very busy July moving into downtown apartment with her bf and going on a trip to Europe (pretty exciting things to be busy with if you ask me) so we weren't able to shoot together this time.  So that's where Angela came in.  I know Angela through friends.  I can't remember when we first met but I kept her in the back of my mind knowing that we might work together someday.  Angela has shot for Dagg & Stacey one of my favourite Toronto labels so I know she can deliver the look I'm going for.  To the left are some shots from the location scout we did.  My friend Darcie's sister

China cabinet full of treasures!

 Jess and her husband Ken were kind enough to let us invade their home for the day.  Darcie, Jess & Ken come from a very artistic family so their house is full of all sorts of treasures and art.  We'll be shooting in their home as well as outside and around the neighbourhood.  For this shoot I've also begged and borrowed the favours of a makeup artist friend Andrea Brown of Friskey Brown.  Andrea is another friend of a friend.  She can do everything from pinup to character to special effects.  I'm hoping for a nice sun washed look so and Andrea says she can give the girls natural looking freckles.  So exciting!

The lifestyle shoot will incorporate models wearing the clothes in every day scenes - picnicing, riding bikes.  Basically all that lovely leisurely stuff we wish we had more time for!  I'm going to be shooting some Fall/Winter pieces to accompany the lookbook styles model shots I've done with Carmen and then some Spring/Summer 2012 looks as well!

beautiful antique rocking chair

The last shot will be the Spring/Summer 2012 product shots.  This time instead of using models we're going to shoot the clothes on my rustic looking judy.  I'm enlisting the help of my new assistant Sivan Levy and my former intern Sarah Portwell.  Sarah's father is a professional photographer whom she's assisted many times.  And Sarah is actually going to be teaching a photography course at Ryerson University next year.  I'm so proud and so excited for her!  I imagine it must be difficult getting your foot in the door to teach at a university level.

So that about sums it up.  I must get back to my sewing machine now!

I'll be releasing my Fall/Winter 2011/12 collection in early August along with my brand new website so stay tuned for details!!

bendy road with lovely foliage!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A blast from the past!

 So in my previous blog post about the scarf dresses I briefly made reference to my more colourful, free spirited past.  So I thought I would dig around and pull up some nice examples.  I think these designs are circa 2005.  I carefully edited my selection to avoid embarrassment.

These tanks were all made from reclaimed jersey and knit garments.  I think this was around the time when Goodwill's Buy the Pound was still downtown and I was a student at Ryerson University.

Remember when long tops that actually covered your mid section that the hip hugger jeans missed first came around? Yup, that's right.  Long tops!  Who would have thought!

At the time I was selling them at Get Out Side's sister store, Pull.  Owner, Doug Malcolmson had a nice, bright little sewing studio upstairs where young Japanese and Canadian designers would revamp graphic t-shirts into trendy tube tops, dresses and one shoulder styles.  I think it was actually his idea to make these tank tops longer and slap the lace on the bottom.  But hey, I rarely shy away from lace!

Web and Graphics Overhaul!

Business card by Jakki Chrysler
 About 4 years ago I decided it was time to get serious so I commissioned then Ryerson student, Jakki Chrysler to help me with a new website and graphics overhaul.  Jakki was amazingly helpful in helping me realize my vision.  She created a new logo, hangtags, business cards and my current website to show case my designs. 

So four years later I've decided it's time to evolve things and start fresh with new logos, hang tags, garment labels and an exciting new website!  I've been lucky to join forced with Ryerson's Gigi Wong to create my new image!

We met earlier this week to discuss ideas.  I gave Gigi inspiration sites to check out and samples of eye catching labels I've clipped out of old garments.  Already Gigi has produced some great ideas.  Currently we're working on finalizing a logo design and beginning the layout for the web site! 

Free People
 The new site is going to have a collagey feel with plenty of tactile elements and more photos!  I've been particularly inspired by the Anthropologie and Free People websites.  I've spent so much time on the Free People site lately it's been hard to curb those online shopping habits.  I can't wait for Canada Post to get back to work so my packages can move past the border! 
Gibbous Shop
I really like the collagey feel of the Free People website but taking things a step further is Gibbous Shop.  I don't remember how I originally came across it (Etsy perhaps?) but the beautiful handmade, gypsy, eclectic feel they have going on with their clothing is completely mirrored in their web design.  It's a must to check out.
For my own site I'd like to combine the clean polished look of Free People with the realness and handmade qualities of the Gibbous site but put my own spin on things.  Stay tuned and I will be posting some snippets of my new image!