Friday, March 13, 2015

Feature articles

T-Rexx in da T.Dot by Theia Bonas
She's Done It All - Anna Lacivita by Sumiko Curry
Coffee with a Toronto Fashionisto by Kayla Salmon
Thank You Toronto: Home is Here by Samantha O'Neill

The Up and Coming (backup) by Mickenzie Binding

When Fashion Hits the Spot (George in the City) by Shanelle Stewart

T-Rexx in da T.Dot

Feature Article Assignment: Tyrone ‘T-Rexx’ Edwards (revised)
Style, swagger and confidence are a few of the words that come to mind when you think of Tyrone ‘T-Rexx’ Edwards; former host of MuchMusic’s RapCity, entertainment host for E news and founder of the brand 1LoveTO are just a few of the items on his resume. He has made such a name for himself in a short period of time, it’s hard to imagine that he never planned to end up in this field and that his first love was actually basketball. He makes it very clear that all his success has not and will not change him at any point. “Never did I think I would have gotten this far. And though it may sound cliché, it’s the truth. He says "It almost feels like a dream but I’m enjoying it so much that I’m not going to complain.” He takes pride in giving back and trying to give other young black kids the opportunity at success by offering his time to the Remix Project. A free program that offers workshops in varies areas of the arts to help keep youth busy, while helping them link up with mentors in their field of choice to offer advice and networking.  
Edwards first got his taste at hosting for a few small gigs around the city and found it fitting because of his outgoing personality. “It was easy for me, because I love to talk and converse with people to hear their stories. Everyone has a story and once you get them going you can really learn interesting things about them but it’s all about how you talk to them" he says. When you speak with him it is easy to see why he is so good at what he does. He has been given the opportunity to meet artist and actors that he grew up watching. But being good at talking is nothing if you do not have the professional style to match. According to Edwards the fashion is really high up there. You can imagine that his style for RapCity is very different from his dress code for E. Another perk is having a stylist! “I actually love how my style has evolved because I’m a lot more willing to try new things and when you look good, you feel good. Helps your confidence.” He has become such a style icon that he has had the opportunity to walk and host fashion shows from right here at home to Trinidad and Tobago, building a great relationship with Project Runway winner Anya Ayoung Chee to collaborate and create a costume for Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival 2015. Becoming a recognizable face pushes you to make a statement he says: “I think my favourite look will always be a t-shirt (1LoveTO of course), jeans and Timberlands, but fashion is taking the basic and taking it a step further. So now I will add a dope jacket, sunglasses and a Russian fur hat. You now have a fashionable outfit with minimal extra effort.” He never use to think so much about the details, but with menswear finally undergoing a change, Tyrone wants to move with it!
T-Rexx calls 1LoveTO his baby. “It literally came from nothing and became something.” 1loveTO came from an idea of building a brand that would represent Toronto as a whole and bring it into the forefront. So he, along with three others, decided to make t-shirts and sell them at Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival back in 2008 out of an Ikea bag. Not exactly the story you would expect, but now they have become so popular that with every pop-up shop recently located a Roots Eaton Centre for a collaboration called "Show Your Roots", they are guaranteed to sell out in every colour and size. Now the band generally just sells their merchandise online where they also host a blog. That is the power of Toronto and how much Torontonians love their city. They started a website blog and they encourage customers to wear their t-shirts when abroad and take pictures. People have taken pictures wearing 1LoveTO in places like Australia and Dubai! Edwards looks forward to expanding and pushing the company to its maximum capacity.

Very devoted to his career, Edwards wants to keep on this successful train not only for himself but for his daughter whom he says he does everything for. “I want her to have every opportunity and see that my dad did it, so I know it is attainable.” Big things are in the works for him, but we will just have to wait and see what he does next.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

She's Done It All - Anna Lacivita

She’s Done It All
Anna Lacivita, History of Costume and Fabric Science professor at George Brown College, costume designer, stylist, choreographer, draper, and set designer.

I had the pleasure of first meeting Anna on Friday, January 9, 2015, it was my first class for History of Costume and I was absolutely giddy with excitement. I had been waiting so long for this particular course. History of Costume is a topic in which I am knowledgeable and deeply fond of and I couldn’t wait to meet the professor who would enlighten me further. All week my schoolmates who had already had their first class were telling me how much I was going to love it. I remember sitting in my seat, right near the front, my hands were shaking, palms sweating and I could feel colour rising to my cheeks. My friend sitting next to me, making fun of my eagerness to learn, I had my notebook open to a fresh new page and my pen at the ready, already prepared to begin vigorously writing down whatever words Anna would say. Friday quickly became my favourite day of the week and History of Costume, my favourite class and Anna my favourite professor. As the weeks went on and I slowly learned more about Anna, her favourite historical pieces and random snippets of her preferences and career history, I knew that I needed to learn everything from her and so it was obvious that I would need to interview her.
We met on a Friday, an hour before class. I was a little nervous but that quickly disappeared after Anna politely asked if it was okay if she ate her clementine whilst I interviewed her. She didn’t always want to work in fashion, “No, I wanted to be a teacher or chiropractor…I was really fascinated with the human body, but I guess it’s kinda connected. I always took drawing classes and was drawing from live nudes…I really got into studying the body, it’s helpful when you’re designing.” Her transition into the designing community began with dance. She choreographed and designed costumes for over 10 years in Ontario. Her designs were recognized and she won many awards which led her to study at York University in Theater Design. She also studied at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan for fashion design and at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University for Design for Stage and Film.
She stayed in New York and began as a design assist, assisting Oscar and Tony award winning designers for theatre, “I think it’s more difficult to be an assistant or an associate because essentially you’re not thinking for how you want it to be, you’re thinking how somebody else would want it to be. So you have to know the designer’s aesthetic and how they would want it. It’s a hard job, I actually think it’s a lot harder to be an assistant or associate than being a designer. Because when you’re a designer, you call all the shots.” Anna also had the fantastic opportunity to work on Broadway, “Broadway was so much fun because usually they’re bigger budgets and bigger teams. But then because of my dance background I was able to really lead a lot of the teams because I knew a lot of what would work and what wouldn’t work, especially when you have quick changes.”
Anna has done just about everything in the theatre and film industry, she even did assistant set design for movies starring Nicole Kidman, “So they always worked in Nashville, because that’s where she lived…so I stayed in New York and I never went to Nashville and everything happened through Skype or through phone…so I never actually met the team personally…and so what my job was all about finding fabrics for furniture, costume, curtains, matching paint colours, so a lot of colour planning…so I was their New York person.” She would ship fabrics every day and they would be sent back if they were usable or not.
She even styled up-and-coming soul bands in New York and a few styling shoots for Vanity Fair and Neiman Marcus, “we worked really close with department stores like Saks, Bloomingdales, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, and so you work with them and you’re finding things that work for the shoot. So it was a historical piece but more modernized, so how does Miss Hannigan from Annie: The Musical, relate to 2012… how do you showcase some historical aspects to today. So Prada mules and housecoats.”
And nonchalantly she name drops a few other stars whom she had the great privilege to work with, “And then I worked with you know, Alec Baldwin and Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges.” Anna’s favourite experience was working with Alec Baldwin for the play Equus (2010) in the theatre company in the Hamptons, “A very well-to-do kinda class of people, you know whatever you see in the movies is true about the Hamptons, everyone wears white,” Anna sarcastically adds, “and I showed up wearing fluorescent pink, so it was a great day.” Alec Baldwin played the lead role, Dr. Martin Dysart a psychiatrist who treats a young man with a religious fascination of horses. Anna worked with a tailor to costume Baldwin in a suit that they built from scratch. “He’s great, he’s great, I’m like, I have a huge crush, HUGE crush.”
More notable work from Anna’s resume is the 2012 film, R.I.P.D, Taylor Swift’s tour, Red, the television series, Boardwalk Empire, and the 2012 film, Mirror Mirror. Anna still misses theatre work in New York and frequently flew back and forth in between teaching to work on plays, though she can no longer do that now, as she is pregnant and needs to relax.
Time flew by as Anna and I continued to talk about fashion and history but sadly, the interview came to an abrupt ending as it was almost time for class. I hope to further converse with Anna and pick her brain for more insights into the costume and fashion industry.

“When you’re a stylist you pull and when you design you create,” says Anna.

Monday, March 09, 2015

EssKay Ji

Technology has grown so much in the last 20 years.   Just looking into entertainment, leaving your house is not the only option to watch a new movie.   We can now stream, download and view movies just with a click of our phones.  We can also shop, interact with people and work while sitting in our pajama’s at home.  With all these new apps, where does the future lay for the younger generations when it comes to finding a job, or a career?  With people becoming famous just from YouTube, Instagram, or Tumbler it’s easy to get your foot out the door. 

EssKay Ji is a fashion blogger who does most of her work from her Tumbler page, Instagram, and recently YouTube.  EssKay Ji is a fashion inspiration. With her Hip-Hop influence to her fashion, her style is very unique.  Just like any other fashion blogger EssKay Ji started blogging because her outfits stood out.  I had the honor to interview Sandy Gill better known as EssKay Ji.  When I asked how she started in the industry she responded; “Basically for the longest time I was always the friend who would attend events dressed to the nines wearing the most ridiculous outfit, and my friends would always tell me to start taking pictures of my outfits and start posting them online on a blog and writing about them and how I put them together. I slowly became addicted and started being consistent with blogging my outfits and the hustle started to get noticed! That's all!”  Personally following her on her Instagram and Tumbler page regularly, I was curious to find out how it would have been for EssKay Ji if there weren’t any technology.  “I don't think I would exist if there was no technology. I certainly think that new age technology has helped me and is the reason why my art is easily accessible to everyone. I am only doing it because I have an outlet to push my art through,” she says.

EssKay Ji is a stylist who has styled artist such as Superwomen who is known for her hilarious videos on YouTube, and Humble the Poet who is an amazing local rap artist.  With their highly watched new music video ‘Leh’ EssKay Ji was the great stylist behind the scenes.  When asked how she felt when styling Humble the Poet and Superwomen when their styles are very different as her own, she replied; “Styling both Lilly and Humble has been so wonderful, not only because they are such amazing individuals to be around but also because they both allow me full creative control when I style them. They are both so open to trying new things and always make everything look so good. Both of them have also been huge influences behind Esskayji and have helped me get to where I am today.”  The proof is in the video; EssKay Ji definitely knows what she is doing when it comes to fashion. 

The story doesn’t end there, not only is EssKay Ji an amazing stylist she is also a model and a designer of scarves/head wraps, and t-shirts.  With her funky patterns and bright colours we can insure that these head wraps will be displayed all over Toronto.  Her newly designed shirts display the names of all the influential hip-hop artists of all time, from DJ Kool Herc to Eminem.  We can catch up on all her new items of clothing from posts on her Tumbler and Instagram page.  “In the next five years, I see myself with an established and developed clothing line, still blogging and hopefully styling more clients!”  With all her great responses to my questions it was really easy to see who EssKay Ji really is.  She is very confident in who she is, and where she would like to take her career; and I did not need to sit down to talk to her to figure this one out.  With the amount of effort she puts into her Social Media, we can see her personality seep through her clothes. 

What’s next for EssKay Ji “You can definitely look out for more head wraps and t-shirt designs! Excited to share those with you all this year! And of course keep checking for updates, blogs, videos and everything else!”  With her blaring personality seeping through her art in fashion, we can insure that EssKay Ji will not be a stranger in Toronto.  I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next and where this new technology driven fashion world takes her.
Instagram: thesandylion