Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Movin' On Up

A rags to riches tale of a county kid, determined to succeed in a new industry.

I grew up in the county, hailing from a small town in the middle of nowhere that required a dedicated “trip” in order to find the nearest mall. When I did go to purchase clothes I dove towards the nearest skate shop, avoiding and ridiculing anything in between. My understanding of fashion left something to be desired, which explains why I’m so surprised that today I’d rather wear a collared shirt with tie when my younger days dictated that a skateboard tee would suffice.

I moved from my tiny town and home into a much larger house and city after graduating OAC. It wasn’t until I began to work in the service industry at a night club that I started to appreciate what being a well dressed young professional could do for a person’s confidence. Every evening I would watch men dressed in nice shirts with nice pants and matching shoes flirt with beautiful women who wore fancy flowing summer dresses that shone in the spotlights. The liquor flowed freely, but it was this new scene of style that I found so intoxicating.

After admiring the drunken crowds, I found myself buying nicer shirts. One day I looked in my closet only to find that half of it was filled with shoes and belts that matched! Without realizing it, I had begun to enjoy participating in fashion. The new fall seasons meant new sweaters; the next spring season meant more tee-shirts, with a healthy dose of footwear in between. I didn’t mean for it happen, but my newfound appreciation for fashion was too strong to ignore. I continued to work until I reached a tipping point, and after two years I made a decision, it was time to go back to school.

It was time to move to Toronto! So now I’m a kid from a county living in the biggest city Canada has to offer. Lot’s of stores, plenty of boutiques, and (depending on the area) more well dressed individuals in one area then the entire population of Saskatchewan. This was a daunting task for me; even before school started I had to learn to become one of you. Which latté do I order, what style works on what street, what am I doing here? It wasn’t until I got a job in the industry that things began to reveal themselves to me. If you want to succeed socially in school and in retail keep this in mind:

1. Buy cappuccinos at Starbucks and take it with you wherever you go.

2. Work at a retail store selling something. Start in the stockroom if you have to, just getting a job will give you inside information that schools can’t offer.

3. Look like you’ve always wanted to look. Before you were an outsider but now you’ll blend in.

4. Don’t be a brat. That doesn’t get you further in life and it won’t get you further in retail.

5. Have one foot in and one foot out at all times. Fashion is overwhelming so have space set aside to breathe.

Just remember boys and girls, if a hick from the county can do it, so can you!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

L'Oreal Fashion Week Spring 2009 Preview-NADA

Fabulous was the theme for L’Oréal Fashion Week’s spring collections and when it came to Nada, it was fabulous indeed. Being inspired by Athena, the Greek goddess of war, models strut down the runway wearing everything from a gold cocktail dress adorned with metal coins, high-waist grey pleated harem pants and a flowing belted magenta tent dress. The show was styled by former Fashion Magazine editor, Tammy Eckenswiller who brought a modern eclectic touch to the Grecian inspired designs. By styling the outfits with stacks of chunky gold bangles, cocktail rings and ornate chandelier earrings, the designer looks were ready to be worn right off the runway. Nada is known for taking inspiration from prominent women throughout history such as, Alexis Carrington from the 1980’s power soap opera, Dynasty and her spring 2009 collection did not disappoint. The collection included a colour palette of olive green, magenta, purple, white and gold. The clothing was mainly made up of sinuous silk and jersey skirts and dresses that were contrasted with braided shoulder straps and brown leather belts. A soft grey spaghetti-strap tank top paired with a high-waist white flowing skirt with a braided sash belt would be a perfect look for prancing around town on a summer day and for anyone who wants to show off their tough side, just slip into a pair of the distressed leather pants that were paired with a sleeveless top embellished with gold metal coins. Nada Shephard has once again brought out the strong, sexy woman in all of us with her spring 2009 collection and will no doubt continue to dazzle L’Oréal Fashion Week in the years to come.

-Amanda Stines

Calling All Recessionistas!

The Economy Getting You Down?

You May not have to Worry as Much as You Thought!

For a while now all we have been told is to cut down on spending because we are in a recession. Are economists just scaring us or should we be worried? Should our fashion have to suffer because the economy sucks?

According to Gary North, Author of Mises on Money, “In recessions, fear grips consumers. They start looking for ways to cut back on spending”. The funny thing is that this fear seems to be mainly propagated by economists and the government. The ones who should be doing everything they can to reassure their country they can pull through this slump. They print articles on the need to be frugal, pretty much scaring us all into an early mid-life crisis! How many times in the last little while have you read an article about the recession encouraging consumers to spend less and make cautious decisions when it comes to purchases?

It is true there are potential consequences of the recession we should consider. A friend of mine was recently laid off from her part-time retail job at Le Chateau of which she worked on commission, because her ‘productivity was low’, “They wanted me to be selling $1500 an hour!” She exclaimed to me. I started in surprise. How on earth could one person sell that much in one hour? Especially in the midst of a recession! It’s not like she was working for frikkin Chanel!

This proves there are a couple of consequences we should still consider: job loss, a weak job market upon graduating, and the possibility tuition could rise depending on the length of this economic uncertainty. We should remember the impact of this recession in our later years so that we can make better financial plans for the future (because recession is always going to be around).

However, the amount of fear we should have for this recession should be directly proportional to the amount we have to potentially lose. Since we are students, most of us do not own houses and therefore do not have to worry about the value of our homes going down. Furthermore, most of us do not yet own big businesses that could pull us into debt, nor do we have much (or even any) stake in the stock markets. Since we have less to worry about, we shouldn’t restrict our wardrobes if we find a great deal on something special!

Since consumers seem to be listening to the economists warnings not to spend, is it possible to get your shopping fix and still ride out the recession practically unscathed? The answer is sad for businesses, but great for consumers! In an article titled A Black Friday like no other: How the economy is changing Black Friday, Dan de Grandpre CEO of says, “Make no mistake: Thousands of jobs are at stake, and so many stores going out of business is bad over the long-term. But in the short term, these stores must liquidate their inventory. Consumers benefit from liquidation sales.” Now wait a second. Aren’t economists telling us to spend conservatively? Isn’t the whole notion of a recession that we need to cut down? Well some of these sales may be too good to give up! I say, shop smartly. If you need new clothes don’t forbid the shopaholic in you from prospering, just make sure you find the best markdowns!

Since people will not be splurging like they used to, high-end labels will be hit hard by the recession. The solution, accessories! Designers will be marketing their handbags much more because they are cheaper then their other products. People may still buy an expensive bag if they realize it will last a long time and will far surpass the outfit they wanted that was more expensive in the first place.

So what else are high-end labels and brands doing to stay afloat? Not surprisingly, slashing their prices like everyone else! “Look for overpriced brands like Ralph Lauren, Coach, and Gucci to be dramatically discounted… at Macy's, Saks, and their own retail outlets. Saks is running web coupons that apply to high-end brands, a rarity. Even Tiffany is pushing free shipping deals,” states Dan de Grandpre. Of course labels will always be around but it’s good to know you may now be able to get that amazing Gucci bag for a steal!

I have always been somewhat of a bargain hunter myself and usually head straight to clearance in my favourite stores first. It seems this may become an even more popular trend for the itching fashionista; only in this case it’s time to become a recessionista! Someone who embraces the recession not as a time to be stingy with their wardrobe, but to embrace the discounts (both designer and non-designer) that will likely be popping up out of nowhere. So what are you waiting for? Now just may be the best time to update your wardrobe!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hot on the Hill

Priscilla Levac shreds the hill and her new collection

These days there are so many different role models fluttering in and out of the magazines. Good ideals are hard to come by with scandals in the tabloids almost every day; why not look to Levac, a killer woman snowboarder for inspiration both on and off the hill. From Canada and sponsored by many notable companies, such as DC shoes, Spy and Monster; she only started riding when she was fourteen, now going strong on the snowboarding scene, she is one of the most adventurous up and coming women. 

When ever she talks about going to a snowboarding contest she gets so stoked; it’s wonderful for Levac to have a job that she loves, as well, she’s just starting her own company. How could a girl from a town as small as Montebella Quebec have achieved so much? Well it’s all thanks to her mother who moved her out to British Columbia when she was younger. She had to learn English when she moved there because she was never taught it when she was in Quebec. This is a great accomplishment for a teenager spending most of her time on the hill but that time certainly paid off. She was named Snowboarding Magazine’s female rider of the year in 2005, won the US Open of Snowboarding in 2004 and Queen of the Hill that same year as well as got second in the Session at Vail, CO. Levac thinks events are fun, but she’d much prefer to head off into the backcountry with snowmobiles and a bunch of good friends than pin a contest bib on. 

Daredevil Levac loves to go out into the back country and jumps off of cliffs with only a board strapped to her feet for fun, so starting her own under layer company must have been a snap. Her own company called Cilla started when she had a snowboarding accident and broke her fibula. As said in Pacsun’s Future Snowboarding on September 13th, 2007, Levac has always dreamt of creating her own company in the snowboarding industry and she “had the idea of first layers because most of them out there are pretty boring and not so functional.” Her contribution to women's snowboard fashion has been amazing so far; her functional fashion pieces include the June which is a fleece top with a waterproof band around the bum. Erin Comstock said on Cilla’s website that, “the waterproof band kept my bum warm all winter. I never ever got snow down my pants when I wore this top! It is the ultimate piece to snowboarding in!” The new collection will be coming out in ’09 but right now she has a few pieces in stores in North America and on her website:


When she’s not designing her new under layer line, she’s busy jibbing rails for movies or contests. Most notably she was in Love/Hate by Kidsnow Productions as well as Ro Sham Bo by Misschief Films, in these she does more rails but she loves jumps a lot more. Being an amazing women snowboarder means that many younger girls look up to her, she even has one fan who she is very personal with named Emma. Just like the the pop stars, she has a fan base, and with her new company’s designs she should be a figurehead for young snowboarding girls everywhere. Levac brings a new sort of sexy to the stage, instead of flashy dance outfits, she sports a more subtle attractiveness. Modeling for her new clothing line she has a modelesque body and this can be seen even when she’s riding the hill in her snow clothes with the guys, sometimes even showing them up a little. Many riders such as Mikey Lablanc even compare her to Mark Frank Montoya with her easy going but sometimes competitive riding style, it’s easy to see why she’s coming out on top.

However, despite her fearless nature, she is also quite down to earth, loving soy lattes that she makes herself and oil painting to jazz on a rainy day. She loves to hike with one of her best friends: her dog. She is a model for fitness through her job as well as on her spare time, snowboarding is a rigorous sport and she more than does her share to keep up with some of the top male snowboarders her age. She is anyone and everyone, showing what anyone can succeed when they have a passion for something so great it drives them forward for the rest of their lives.