STYLE PROFILE: NATALIE SIMMS BURNS

Name: Natalie Simms Burns

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Age: 32

Lifestyle: Work-from-home-boss

 

Rachel Cardigan from Toronto-based Palette by Laura-Jean; Relaxed Fit Scoop Bottom T-Shirt from Toronto-based JericoAndy – Gaucho – Classic Rise from Montreal-based Yoga Jeans.

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

Most days, you’ll find me working from my home office, coffee in hand and stretch pants on! But there’s also often something to pick up or drop off, so I’m always ready for some running around town.

 

Sailor Dress – Black Stripes from Montreal-based Cherry BobinUna Jacket from Toronto-based Palette by Laura-Jean; Frances Ziparound Wallet from Markham-based Pixie Mood

 

What in your life is really important to you?

 

My family and friends are my heart and soul. I would not be where I am today without their love and support. Especially not without my spouse and business partner Rob.

 

Other than that, I would say that the most important virtues to me are kindness and authenticity. I try to bring those with me to every area of my life, and try to surround myself with kind, authentic people.

 

Rachel Classic Rise Ankle Length Skinny Jeans from Montreal-based Yoga Jeans; Sub Top from Canada-based FIG.

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

I would like to be remembered for the light that I try to bring to the world. As a vegan, feminist, and environmentalist, justice and non-violence are central to my life’s mission.

 

Shift 18 Dress from Toronto-based Studio Fresh.

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself through fashion. I can show off my quirky creativity without saying a word! I also see fashion as another way to live consciously by choosing locally and sustainably-made clothing.

 

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

 

I absolutely love your focus on local designers, and on unique, quality products. In today’s world of fast fashion made offshore, it is so important to choose Canadian-made whenever possible. The shopping environment and staff in your stores are also always so pleasant!

 

Julia Tunic from Canada-based Desserts and Skirts.

 

Natalie’s online store sells a whole host of eco-friendly, cruelty free household and personal care products, including re-usable water bottles and containers, bamboo toothbrushes, deodorants, sunscreens and more!

 

What do you have that you want to promote?

 

My online store, www.ardentearthstore.ca!

 

At Ardent Earth, we’re all about sustainability and eliminating single-use plastics. All of our products are also 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Love the Earth with Ardent Earth.

 

Your readers can get 10% off their first online order with code FCSTYLE.

 

Or use this link to have it automatically applied -> https://ardentearthstore.ca/discount/FCSTYLE

 

Sailor Dress – Black Stripes from Montreal-based Cherry Bobin;  Una Jacket from Toronto-based Palette by Laura-JeanFrances Ziparound Wallet from Markham-based Pixie Mood

 

With a background in fashion design, how did you first get into the business of selling sustainable and eco-friendly merchandise?

 

While I still love to sew, and have a side-hustle making custom wedding dresses and costumes, I decided long ago that working in the fashion industry full-time just wasn’t for me. I’ve always been interested in eco-friendly products, but had a tough time finding Canadian-based companies that catered to this lifestyle. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to take the plunge and open the store that I always wished had existed!

 

Julia Tunic from Canada-based Desserts and Skirts.

 

 

We love that your collection is not only vegan and eco-friendly, but natural and free of harmful cosmetic ingredients! What are some of Ardent Earth’s best-selling items?

 

Thank you! It is very important that all of our products be safe for the body and for the environment. As someone with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, I know all too well how cosmetics and personal care products can negatively affect the body.

 

Our Meow Meow Tweet deodorant is really popular right now, as more people are moving away from typical antiperspirants. Some other best sellers are our Buncha Farmers all-natural stain remover, Colibri reusable snack bags, and Brush with Bamboo biodegradable bamboo toothbrush!

 

Shift 18 Dress from Toronto-based Studio Fresh.

 

For those of us wanting to move ourselves toward a greener lifestyle, what’s the best place to start?

 

Start small. It can be overwhelming when you realize the severity of our environmental situation, and just how many products are problematic. But just because you can’t do EVERYTHING doesn’t mean you can’t do ANYTHING.

 

Look at the things you use every day and ask yourself if there’s a better option. A great start would be making sure you have a reusable water bottle, coffee mug and shopping bags, and getting into the habit of using them!

 

For personal care and household products, it’s always best to use up what you currently have to avoid waste, and then consider making a more eco-friendly purchase next time.

 

Rachel Cardigan from Toronto-based Palette by Laura-JeanRelaxed Fit Scoop Bottom T-Shirt from Toronto-based JericoAndy – Gaucho – Classic Rise from Montreal-based Yoga Jeans.

 

 

Which household products have the biggest environmental impact?

 

A lot of our modern household conveniences are having a big environmental impact due to the amount of plastic waste created. According to One Green Planet, these are some of the most wasteful everyday convenience items:

 

– Coffee pods
– Cotton swabs
– Plastic produce bags
– Plastic straws
– To-go containers

 

Luckily, Ardent Earth carries easy, reusable swaps for all of these!

 

Rachel Classic Rise Ankle Length Skinny Jeans from Montreal-based Yoga JeansSub Top from Canada-based FIG.

 

I’m a vendor with an awesome, eco-friendly product I’d love to start selling through Ardent Earth! Can we get in touch?

 

Please do! I can be reached at ardentearthstore@gmail.com

 

Where can people find you on social media?

 

Follow Ardent Earth on Instagram or Facebook @ardentearthstore

 

Joe Dress – Fit and Style Guide

We’re in LOVE with the super versatile Joe Dress from Montreal label Fig!

Here Laura-Jean shows 15 of the unlimited ways to wear this dress! It pairs easily with so many accessories, jackets, cardis and tights, and can be worn pretty much all year round with the right styling. 

Here she shows the fit and stretch. Laura-Jean wears the size large and is 5″5″, 158 lbs. Her bust is 42, waist is 35″ and hips are 41″. 

 

 

STYLE PROFILE: Beryl Tsang

Name: Beryl Tsang

Occupation: Scheduling Sherpa at the University Health Network, Master Knitting Instructor, Grant Writer and Children’s Book Author

Age: 52

Lifestyle: Urban Community Builder

 

Josee Dress – Black Aviary by Halifax label Poison Pear; Hoop earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

I’m a bit of a night owl, so my day usually begins with my alarm going off and going through the five stages of mourning as I attempt to extricate myself from my pillow: Denial (“No, it can’t be 6:30am.”); Bargaining (“Hmm, maybe I sleep in and take a taxi/uber to work. No, prolly not.”); Anger (“Dang, I have to get out of bed.”); Depression (“Mornings are so sad!”), and Acceptance (“I am now vertical–yay me!”).

 

My weekdays are busy; I work with physicians, residents and scientists to manage their time. I always try to fit in a workout mid-day. Usually it’s yoga or Pilates, but lately I’ve been experimenting with lifting and interval training.

 

The Horizon Dress – Black – Mirage by Montreal’s Noujica; Necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

What in your life is really important to you?

 

Family and community really matter to me. I believe that the world is actually a hard place and that it can be tough if we are alone. It’s important for us to reach out to one another and form bonds to see us through tough times, but also to lift us up and find meaning and purpose.

 

I am really lucky to have the best family and the best community!

 

Joy Dress – Grey/Blue by Toronto’s Studio Fresh; Hoop earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

Being a good mom, a good friend and a good person.

 

Shift 18 Dress – Green by Toronto’s Studio Fresh; Acetate Large 45mm Hoop Earrings – Tortoiseshell by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What role does fashion play in your life? What sort of outfits do you opt for?

 

I love fashion, but not fast fashion.

 

I love Fresh Collective because they feature local designers who create clothes and accessories with meaning. I adore the clean lines and whimsical patterns of their in-house line, Palette. I’m huge into dresses and I think I probably own at least one dress from every designer!

 

O-Tie Dress – Black by Toronto’s Studio Fresh; Scalene Triangle Acetate Earrings – Ivory Mix by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

You’ve been with us since Laura-Jean’s Knitting Queen days! What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

 

I have to say, the BEST thing about shopping at Fresh Collective is the  Style Coaches. Every shopping trip at FC is like visiting a best friend.

 

I love bringing out-of-town friends to FC; they always manage to find a statement piece there, whether it be a necklace, T-shirt or funky skirt!

 

Josee Dress – Black Aviary by Halifax label Poison Pear; Hoop earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What do you have that you want to promote?

 

I want to promote myself and my professional services!

 

If you’re looking for a Master Knitting Instructor to teach you to knit or consult on your projects, my big claim to fame is that I was the knitting consultant to Season 1 of the Handmaid’s Tale! I’m also a kick-ass grant writer.

 

Lastly, I really want to promote The Adventures of Ludwig and Imogen, a children’s book about what imaginary hippogriffs and their humans get up to on a daily basis! I wrote the story, and the fabulous Meredith Wolting illustrated it.

 

Check out more about Ludwig and Imogen on the Ludwig and Imogen Facebook page!

 

The Horizon Dress – Black – Mirage by Montreal’s Noujica; Necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

Your career has taken you down some interesting bends, including the creation of an original knitted breast prosthetic for breast cancer survivors. Most recently, you published The Adventures of Ludwig and Imogen. What first attracted you to children’s literature?

 

I was a huge reader as a child and  loved reading unique and fanciful books to my children as they were growing up. We were big Maurice Sendak fans.

 

The hippogriff statue that guards the Lillian B. Smith Library in Toronto, which has a large and fabulous collection of manuscripts of children’s books, inspired the character of Ludwig. Parent friends of young children inspired the character of Imogen.

 

Joy Dress – Grey/Blue by Toronto’s Studio Fresh; Hoop earrings by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

What age group does your new book target and where can we get our hands on a copy?

 

The book is for parents of children any age between toddlerhood and young adulthood. It is unique in that the story is told through both Ludwig and Imogen’s eyes, with Ludwig’s perspective on one page and Imogen’s perspective on the next.

 

You can order it from me at beryltsang1@gmail.com, or on Amazon USA (DIRECT LINK) if you’re living in the States.

 

Shift 18 Dress – Green by Toronto’s Studio Fresh; Acetate Large 45mm Hoop Earrings – Tortoiseshell by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

Is there anything else we should know about you?

 

I’m a little odd. Lovable, but still odd.

 

O-Tie Dress – Black by Toronto’s Studio Fresh; Scalene Triangle Acetate Earrings – Ivory Mix by Toronto’s Torched Studio label

 

Where can people find you on social media?

 

Follow me on Instagram! @beryltsang

 

 

Fit Guide – An-Li Dress

Love sales? You can pick up our An-Li Dress at half off!

Laura-Jean is 5’5″ and 158 lbs.

She’s got a 42″ bust, 35″ waist and 41″ hips and she wears a 34 DDD bra.

Here she is wearing the An-Li Dress in size Large.

Pick up our An-Li Dress at half off now!

She’s about 5’4″ and has a 34″ bust, 28″ waist and 39 inch hips. How do you compare?

If you’re the same, go for the XS.

A little larger and you’re a a size Small! 

We LOVE the versatility of this dress! Style it for spring, summer or fall and you’ve got an easy, flattering look – and on sale now!

Pick up our An-Li Dress at half off now!

Pick up our An-Li Dress at half off now!

 

 

Shorts – Fit Guide

Laura-Jean is 5’5″ and 158 lbs.

She’s got a 42″ bust, 35″ waist and 41″ hips and here she is in the Maria Shorts in size Large.

(The Darcy Collar Top she has on is Large and you can shop that style here.)

 

Shop all shorts here

Shop all shorts here

Questions about fit or anything else? 

You can always call any of our stores:

274 Augusta Ave. * 416 966 0123

401 Roncesvalles Ave. * 647 352 7123

2116 A Queen Street East * 416 594 1313

Or email us at info@freshcollective.com

Or, message us through Facebook

We LOVE to hear from you! 

 

 

Laura Skirt – Fit Guide!

Laura-Jean is 5’5″ and 158 lbs.

She’s got a 42″ bust, 35″ waist and 41″ hips and she wears a 34 DDD bra.

Here she’s wearing the Laura Skirt in Medium and then Large to show the two different fits. 

(The Darcy Collar Top she has on is Large and you can shop that style here.)

 

Shop the Laura Skirt here

Here Jane and L.J. show off all the prints. Jane is in the X-Small, and she’s about 4’11” and her bust measures 34″. Her waist is 28″ and hips are 35″

You can see it’s sitting a bit lower on her hip as her measurements are just a bit smaller than the XSmall on the size chart below. 

 

 

Shop the Laura Skirt here

Choose from 7 awesome prints! 

Shop the Laura Skirt here

Questions about fit or anything else? 

You can always call any of our stores:

274 Augusta Ave. * 416 966 0123

401 Roncesvalles Ave. * 647 352 7123

2116 A Queen Street East * 416 594 1313

Or email us at info@freshcollective.com

Or, message us through Facebook

We LOVE to hear from you! 

 

Andrea Dress – Fit Guide

You love our new Andrea Dress but aren’t sure how to choose the right size? 

Voila! Check out this post for our fit guide! 

Laura-Jean is 5’5″ and 158 lbs.

She’s got a 42″ bust, 35″ waist and 41″ hips and she wears a 34 DDD bra.

We hope that you lovely large ladies will be able to compare yourself to L.J. and pick the fit that’s right for you! 

If you’re a bit smaller, you’re probably going to be the medium! Check the size chart below to be sure.

A bit curvier? Try the XL! You’re gonna look awesome!

Shop the Andrea Dress online here

Jane is about 4’11” and her bust measures 34″. Her waist is 28″ and hips are 35″. She’s in the XS in the video above and the pics below. 

Shop the Andrea Dress online here

From left: Red Floral, Navy Poppies, Mustard Floral, Mod Flowers, Grey Bees.

Want more coverage at the neckline?

Go up a size!

This dress has a lot of flexibility to the fit.

Above L.J. is wearing the XLarge and Jane is in the Small, to show how going one size up still fits but allows extra coverage.

Curvy Candace from our Kensington Market location looks gorgeous in size Large.

She is 5’2″ and her measurements are as follows: 43″ bust, 35″ waist, 49″ hips.

Shop the Andrea Dress online here

Here’s our size chart and a tutorial on how to measure so you can see which size will fit you best.

For this dress, the bust and waist are the most important areas to fit.

Since the skirt is cut with a flare, hip size is much less important to the fit. 

Shop the Andrea Dress online here

Questions about fit or anything else? 

You can always call any of our stores:

274 Augusta Ave. * 416 966 0123

401 Roncesvalles Ave. * 647 352 7123

2116 A Queen Street East * 416 594 1313

Or email us at info@freshcollective.com

Or, message us through Facebook

We LOVE to hear from you! 

 

 

Joanne Dress! – Fit Guide

We love the new Joanne Dress as it fits a variety of body types! Great for curvy, busty gals like Laura-Jean, but it’s also great for more petite gals like Ala.

Check out how to take your measurements here, and then see Laura-Jean rock the size Large and Ala look oh-so-adorable in the Extra-Small. 

Laura-Jean is 5’5″ and 158 lbs.

She’s got a 42″ bust, 35″ waist and 41″ hips and she wears a 34 DDD bra.

We hope that you lovely large ladies will be able to compare yourself to L.J. and pick the fit that’s right for you! 

If you’re a bit smaller, you’re probably going to be the medium! Check the size chart below to be sure.

A bit curvier? Try the XL! You’re gonna look awesome!

Get the Joanne Dress in Blue Tulips here

See and shop the Joanne Dress in all 6 prints here

Now here’s Ala in the Extra Small.

She’s about 5’4″ and has a 34″ bust, 28″ waist and 39 inch hips. How do you compare?

If you’re the same, go for the XS.

A little larger and you’re a a size Small! 

Get the Joanne Dress in Navy Apples here!

See and shop the Joanne Dress in all 6 prints here

Here’s LJ showing off some of the prints! 

See and shop the Joanne Dress in all 6 prints here

 

 

Before Fresh Collective, there was Fresh Baked Goods

It all started with Fresh Baked Goods, my knitwear label. 

It was 1994. I had graduated from Fine Arts at Concordia University in 1992, moved to Toronto, and wondered how on earth I would start a career. 

I knew I wanted to do something creative, knew I wouldn’t fit into the corporate world and wondered if I could make things and sell them. 

I had been sewing my own clothes and making jewellery since high school but growing up in Saskatoon, I couldn’t imagine how to turn that into a career. Once I arrived in Toronto, I dabbled around taking some classes and workshops while working in restaurants as a waitress. 

I took jewellery making, silk-screening and film courses, but it was a machine knitting course I took in the basement of Romni Wools on Queen West that got me hooked. 

I borrowed $600 off my roommate to buy my own second hand knitting machine and set up in my living room, knitting sweaters. 

The first few years were spent doing local craft shows and selling on consignment in local shops like Peach Berserk, Noize and 290 Ion, while wondering what it would take to have my own shop.

In 1998, when I was 28, my boyfriend left me for a 26 year old model (!). I moped for 2 days and then decided I needed a distraction, so I went out looking for a shop to rent. 

My search started on a Monday – going around my favourite neighbourhoods and looking for signs. By the way, that was how things were done in those days! The internet was barely a thing then.  

I found a former tailor shop on Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market, and when I found out the rent was $650 including hydro, I sealed the deal as quick as I could. 

By Thursday that week, I had signed a lease and was setting up shop. 

The first few months were scary as I opened up a sweater shop in May, and it was a long hot summer. 

But tourists were finding me and bringing home one-of-a-kind creations. And by fall, I had hit my stride as Toronto’s Laura-Jean the Knitting Queen and my clientele was finding me. 

The shop was a colourful and busy little zone of chaos. I had a small studio in the back with knitting machines and often Knitting Princesses (that’s what I called my assistants) in working with me. 

The machines were noisy and production would stop when shoppers came in. Often, we would have stashed a fresh delivery of yarn in the changeroom, and when people wanted to use it, we’d have to unpack it and make room for them. 

Brenda was my beautiful Sheltie from 1989-2004. She always came to work with me and despite having a perfectly good bed, she loved to sleep in the sale baskets.

Knitting Princess Jaclyn and I in the studio. Jaclyn is still one of my best friends in the whole world. She loved to organize the studio and keep everything tidy, so her work was cut out for her. (I’m super messy and create clutter everywhere I go!)

She went on to start her own Professional Organizing business, now relocated to Bloomington, Indiana. 

Here’s me at my knitting machine. I wonder how many millions of times I zipped the carriage back and forth to make thousands of sweaters over the years!?

I rode my bike everywhere in those days. You can see it locked up outside the store in the exterior shot above, as well as in the Toronto Star article. 

And Brenda was my constant companion. 

********************

This was where my career in fashion started. I remember not being able to believe that I was actually doing it. I had my own business. My own shop. I was a fashion designer! 

What an amazing 25 years it’s been! So many of today’s Fresh Collective shoppers found me at my cute little Kensington shop so many years ago. 

I am so grateful that so many of my customers have grown up with me and supported the business along the way. 

xoxo

Laura-Jean

 

Julie Sweater FLASH SALE!


SURPRISE FLASH SALE!

The brand new Julie Sweater by Palette, our in-house line, is NOW $20 OFF during our limited-time flash sale!

 

The Julie Sweater is a wonderful piece to build any ensemble with! Its fabric is silky smooth and cozy at once! It has a generous stretch and fits comfortably, with a flared waist that gives it a lovely draped effect.

This beautiful winter sweater is available in 8 different solid colours and proudly made right here in Toronto!

SAVE ONLINE & IN-STORES!

To shop & save online, simply enter our special promocode at the checkout on our webstore:

JULIE20

OFFER ENDS FEBRUARY 20th!