Ceramicist Lindsey Hampton on studio style and multitasking

When you get a look at Lindsey Hampton’s Vancouver studio, a question springs to mind: Is there anything this woman can’t do? The multidisciplinary artist and designer, focuses mainly on print design and ceramics, both functional and sculptural, while not only dabbling but excelling in photography, installation and music. It was only in the past few years that the multi-tasking Canadian artist took to studying sculpture and won over the world with her playful, architectural ceramics. We’re super excited to have a few exclusive pieces for our holiday collection, so we went behind the scenes with her to find out more.

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HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON CERAMICS AS A CAREER PATH? I didn’t really, it kind of happened by accident. I took a course about five years ago and have just been doing it ever since. I sold some pieces to my first store, One of a Few, I think about three years ago and it’s just snowballed ever since. I do it pretty much full time now, although I still leave some room for freelance design projects.

New Classics Studios founder Alyssa Lau on all her favorite things

When we first met Alyssa Lau she was splitting her time between a biochemistry lab and an addictive style blog called Ordinary People. Today, the Edmonton-based creative director continues to rule the web and is now at the helm of a fast-growing online boutique dedicated to sustainable style, stocking sought-after labels like Kowtow, Shaina Mote, Samuji and more. Earlier this year we chatted about what it means to #wearthechange (make sure you read that here), so, in preparation for Fall, this time we’re talking Netflix binges, winning outfits and playlists.

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Ring stacking and tequila stocking with Tarin Thomas

Kylie Nakao has had a life long romance with adornment, so starting her own jewelry line seemed as natural as Kim Kardashian publishing a book of selfies. After growing up in Toronto, Kylie headed to NYC to study design at Parsons and went on to get some serious industry experience working as a buyer for trendy upscale boutiques. When buying for others, Kylie saw a lack of cool, easy to wear, sophisticated jewelry at a reasonable price point, so she filled the gap by creating Tarin Thomas. The line is the perfect balance of old world craftsmanship and modern awareness. Each and every design explores dualities like masculine and feminine; delicate and bold; and modern and traditional. We caught up with her to talk unisex style, stack stories, grapefruit margaritas and more.

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Founder of iconic Canadian boutique gravitypope reflects on 25 years

“Twenty-five to life.” Gravitypope’s campaign for celebrating a quarter of a century this year is pretty apt. For most Canadians the boutique is truly an institution. What started off as an import project by Louise Dirks in Edmonton has turned into a full fleet of iconic boutiques across country. Armed and dangerous with Acne Studios, Alexander Wang, Karen Walker, Arielle De Pinto and more, it’s easy to see how the gravitypope has had Canadians swooning for 25 years. Louise keeps pretty busy with the task of shaping Canada’s fashion-boutique landscape, but we managed to catch up with her to find out how it all began, why she likes making order out of chaos and world, well, Canadian, domination.

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OKAY, WE WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING. HOW DID GRAVITYPOPE GET STARTED? Prior to owning gravitypope, I worked in retail for many years, then studied Clothing and Textiles at the University of Alberta. I loved fashion and knew I wanted to work in the industry in some capacity. After University, I  co-owned an import shop and traveled the world to find beautiful handmade art, housewares, clothing and accessories.  I learned the trials and tribulations of buying, labeling, packing, shipping, and brokering goods. In my travels, I discovered a line of boots from Czechoslovakia called Monkey Boots and the same distributor also sold Dr. Martens. We bought a few pairs and were surprised at how quickly they sold. Soon there became a growing section of Dr. Martens (and Monkey Boots) amidst beautiful embroidered Indian cashmere, Turkish kilims and Guatemalan ikats.

The shoes in the import shop quickly outgrew the space and in 1990, gravitypope was born with its first location on the flourishing Whyte Avenue in Edmonton. I was attending trade shows in Germany, London, Paris and Milan, importing footwear from all over the world.  This was rare for any store to do back then but set us apart from our competitors and was easy for me as I was familiar with the import process.

To offset rent costs, along with the unique selection of footwear, we subleased to a friend, a small area for an espresso bar, in the back of the shop. At the time, espresso bars were virtually unheard of.  This was far before the infiltration of Starbucks! After about a year, our friend decided to move back to Japan where he had moved from, and I filled the space with clothing, mostly streetwear, which was super new and exciting in the marketplace.

I traveled the world, looking for up and coming brands in both clothing and footwear, importing them direct.  In 2000,  I did a major renovation,  acquiring some extra space from my nextdoor neighbor Blackbyrd Myoozik (who fortunately also happened to be my boyfriend).  This allowed me to expand both the footwear and clothing offering, bringing in the latest fashion brands and always willing to try new, exciting products.

Today, after 25 years, my philosophy is still the same and I continue to aspire to find the best product in the market, changing as the consumer changes and feeding the every hungry desire for new, beautiful, exciting, quality fashion.

Artist Ola Volo on modern folklore and traditional storytelling

Every work of art by Vancouver-based illustrator Ola Volo tells a story. Her intricate works weave a narrative motif with animals, people, elements of nature and architecture, all with a distinct style that is drawn from the traditions of her heritage and contemporary whimsy. Lucky for us Ola regularly shows her work around town while working on commissions from such clients as Hootsuite, Lululemon and the Vancouver Opera House. We love what she does, so we had to find out more.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST IDENTIFY AS AN ARTIST? I grew up attending art classes in school and out of school all my life. However, it was my final year of university where I completely fell in love with art. From that point, I couldn’t wait to dedicate all my time towards illustration and fine art.

YOU’RE ORIGINALLY FROM KAZAKHSTAN. HOW DOES THAT INSPIRE YOUR WORK? My world has been greatly influenced due to being raised in Kazakhstan and Canada. A big part of Kazakh culture is storytelling and use of intricate patterns. Blend this with multiculturalism, and often that’s where the root of my concepts are inspired from.  Having had the chance to live in Asia, Europe and North America, I’ve been directly impacted by the cultural styles and themes from these diverse regions. In fact, at the moment I’m visiting Kazakhstan and writing from a small town near China called Tekeli.

Montreal designer Brit Wacher blends fashion with science

Brittany Wacher is one to watch in Canada’s evolving fashion landscape with her out of this world designs. Based in Montreal, Brit’s garments are influenced by the globe-trotting first few years of her career. After she graduated from university in Vancouver, she spent some time in Asia working as a stylist for various magazines. Later in Arnhem, working under Dutch designer, Pauline Van Dongen, Brit learned to refine her approach to making clothes by merging with ideas of science. The designs from her eponymous collection are a careful consideration of life’s dualities and bringing the notion of science into art. We had to find out more.

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WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO START YOUR OWN LABEL AS A DESIGNER? It just happened that way. I enjoy staying in and creating day after day and soon there was enough volume for collections each season. I really love what I do.

Meet the Designer: Study NY

Based in Brooklyn by way of Montreal, the woman behind Study NY is bringing the next generation of designers up to speed on sustainability.

Tara St. James’ contemporary Brooklyn-based label is the hangover cure to the over consumption of fast fashion. Study NY doesn’t subscribe the regular fashion calendar, instead creating seasonless clothing locally and ethically. Her latest project, Conversations in Craft, looks at the value we put on craftsmanship through a line of embroidered sweatshirts. A run of sweatshirts were made in their Brooklyn studio and sent to Peru, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the USA to be embroidered. Each country was given a pre-designed embroidery pattern, a fixed spending amount of $24, and instructions to stop working once they had reached the limits of their countries respective wages. Wage differences are comparable by how far the country made it with the pattern. The finished pieces are now being sold on the Study NY website and the project can be seen at Parsons. If that doesn’t inspire you to learn more about where your clothes come from, we don’t know what will.

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Meet the Designers: Minnow Bathers

Toronto-based Minnow Bathers makes swimsuits for real women without sacrificing a bit of edge.

Swimsuit season should be all about fun in the sun and summer vacation, but so many of us go into panic mode because the idea of being in a bikini feels like apocalypse now. Karen Donaldson and Vanessa Warrack and their awesome Toronto-based swimsuit line, Minnow Bathers, are here to change that with designs that have real women and functionality in mind. The creative duo said forget about the string bikini and created cool and comfortable pieces that involve ’70s silhouettes, cutouts, bandeaus, suspender straps, high waisted bottoms, and grungy vintage prints. Minnow Bathers is dedicated to making a summer uniform that girls can hike, camp, lounge, beach and feel confident in. We had the opportunity to speak to the dream team who are all about making women of all shapes feel good half-naked.

 

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