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!

New Selection of Scarf Dresses at Fresh Collective Queen

 So when I designed my Spring/Summer 2011 collection my idea was to experiment with a variety of different materials and styles to see what sold best.  I made some pretty dresses from bedsheets and dress shirts as I have in past seasons and I made some dress styles from new sustainable jersey (organic cotton, tencel) with a screen print I designed myself.

I did some layering pieces like shrugs and vests from lightweight cotton sweaters.  Then I made some fun tanks using a spray bleach relief print on organic cotton jersey. 

A couple new things I tried were the dress and tops made from reclaimed men's polo shirts.  I love the subdued colours and subtle prints you can find with them.

Lastly I decided to get a little wild (something I used to be more known for) and made a garment from scarves that could be worn as a skirt or dress.  Hence the scarf dress was born. 

I don't know if anyone remembers but I used to throw the brightest colours and wildest patterns together to create tanks and tube tops from recycled jersey items but somehow over the years my tastes have matured in favour of more neutral or washed out colours so I really didn't see it coming when this dress became a hit.

So here it is, carefully crafted from 6 brightly patterned scarves and topped off with a bamboo jersey band.  This garment can be worn full length or short and sweet when pinned up by the buttons around the mid seam.  

Check them out at Fresh Collective (692 Queen St W, Toronto Ontario).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fresh Collective Roncesvalles

 I went for a trip to Fresh Collective Roncesvalles to drop off some summer dresses.  Roncesvalles is the newest location in the Fresh Collective chain and the shop is looking really gorgeous.  It's open and airy with big glass windows and lots of treasures to chose from!  They have old favourites like Fresh Baked Goods, Mandala Designs, Spruce Clothing as well as handbags by Guy Latulippe, bags and home decor by Blushing Maple and jewellery Kurve.  To be honest there are too many to name on here!

  While stopping off at the shop I was lucky to have a few minutes to talk to owner Laura-Jean.  Laura-Jean has been a great mentor to emerging designers for many years and her advice has helped me along the way many times.  A year ago I was stressed out to the max being stretched thin with all the responsibilites of my growing business.  Laura-Jean talked me into hiring a full time assistant and it couldn't have been better advice.  Ashleigh has been with me now for 1 year and it's been great having her around to bounce ideas off and help out with all the production tasks that are never ending!  Now that she's gained some experience and learned about the world of remade vintage she's ready to move on so I take this opportunity to ask L-J for advice on hiring!

I've been with Fresh Collective since 2008 and things have really changed.  Laura-Jean is actively expanding the business looking for new locations to give local designers more opportunity to showcase their wares.  She's revamping her line, Fresh Baked Goods and she's started "Fresh Collective University" a resource available to all designers who join FC.  Drawing from her experience as a fashion entrepreur, LJ is writing an 11 chapter book to educate, guide and inspire starting entrepreneurs.  Unlike the dry business jargon they feed you in school, Fresh Collective University is written in an easy to digest, down to earth tone with plenty of anecdotes and personal accounts.  The meetings to discuss the reading take place monthly at Pauper's Pub on Bloor and it's a great time to get together with other like minded creative folks to discuss business, art and life! 

All in all Fresh Collective has been a great experience that has helped my business grow.  There are always plenty of opportunities to tap more experienced designers for advice and information as well as chances to help budding new designers figure out the ins and outs of the industry.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Linen & Lace Scarves!

Necklace by Odd Bird, dress by Samantha Stoncius

Just in at Fresh Collective Queen (692 Queen West) are my Linen & Lace Scarves.  Made from hand picked vintage handkerchiefs and doilies, each scarf has been dyed by hand.  Available in purple, teal and green!  I couldn't resist keeping a teal and a purple one for myself!

There are only 4 in store so come get them before they're gone!