The Great Wardrobe Makeover Giveaway!

To celebrate a new year, we’re giving away

100 FREE Wardrobe Makeover
Style Consultation Services!

In this one on one session,
you work with a Fresh Collective Style Coach
to discover your personal style that suits your figure, your personality and your lifestyle. 

You bring in some of your favourite pieces from your closet that you’d like to get more wear out of, and we use items from the store to experiment and try new things. 

Our Style Coaches educate you on what silhouettes, colours, necklines, fabrics and styles work best for you and why.

It’s a new year! Is it time for a new you? 

We promise increased confidence,
self-love, inspiration and fun. 

Book now! This is a limited time offer! 

Use Promocode NEWYEAR at checkout when booking online.

Return to Peace with Minerva Maharajh

written by Laura-Jean Bernhardson

 

Minerva Maharajh is a Spritual Life Coach who joined us as a Fresh Collective Role Model in 2017. Here’s a little inspiration from her as we go into the holidays!

 

Stef Wrap Dress in Charcoal (also available in Burgundy, Sapphire Blue, Forest Green and Black!) from Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by ZSISKA

 

Minerva helps clients understand how to find their own unique brand of spirituality and use it as a practical tool in everyday life.

 

Carmen Scarf Sweater in Wine (also available in Charcoal and Navy) by Toronto label Mandala; Earrings by ZSISKA

 

She also leads retreats several times a year, giving people a wonderful chance to unplug and tune into nature and into themselves.

 

Porto Lexi Collar Dress by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Necklace by ZSISKA

 

Her techniques help clients overcome stress, a lack of motivation or whatever is standing between them and the life of their dreams.

 

Angela Dress in Navy (also available in Purple, Pine and Burgundy) from Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by ZSISKA

 

Teri Reversible Tank Top in Crimson (also available in Black, White and Sapphire) by Arianne; Dark Grey Side Line Pants by Toronto label Studio Fresh

 

Many people find the holidays stressful. The busyness and family expectations may easily cause upset, so the video below is about choosing to return to peace when things set you off. This is a good chance to remind ourselves that how we react to things can be a choice.

 

Cashmeer Twisted Cold Shoulder Tunic in Blush (also available in Black) by Brenda Beddome; Necklace by ZSISKA

 

Dogs Print Tera Top W/ Long Patchwork Sleeves by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Earrings by ZSISKA

 

Here Minerva lays out a simple and practical 3 step process to return to peace. Enjoy, and have a wonderful and peaceful holiday!

 

 

Want more videos from Minerva? Visit her website. You can even sign up for a free Clarity Call!

 

Palustris Tunic in Teal by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima; Necklace by ZSISKA

 

Designer Meet and Greet At Roncesvalles! Friday Dec. 8 – 1 pm – 7 pm

On Friday Dec. 8, join us at our 401 Roncesvalles Ave. location for a 

Designer Meet & Greet with Jennifer Fukushima!

In October we hosted Jenn at our Beaches location, and it was so much fun we’re doing the same kind of event at our Roncy store. 

She’ll be bringing a special selection of her one-of-a-kind upcycled pieces, as well as a great assortment of sweaters, tops and accessories. 

In addition, Jennifer will be bringing samples and past seasons’ merchandise for a special sale at 40 – 60 % off!

(We’re re-using the videos from our October event! Just know that this event is at 401 Roncesvalles Ave. on Friday Dec. 8. Jennifer will be there from 1 pm – 7 pm.)

 

In this video, Jenn shows us some examples of the one-of-a-kind pieces in her upcycled collection that will be at the event.

Here Jenn talks about making eco-conscious fabric choices as part of her brand’s commitment to sustainability.

And finally, we get a peek at Jennifer’s studio where all the magic happens. She’ll be bringing similar styles to our Dec. 8 event at 401 Roncesvalles Ave. plus more!

New accessories, tops, sweaters and blazers too. 

Meet the Talent: Candice Levine and The Candi Factory

Customers are always asking us for more information about the brands and designers behind our collection of clothing, so today we’d like to highlight one local label that’s been part of our Fresh Collective family from the very beginning: The Candi Factory!

 

Candice Levine, founder and creator at The Candi Factory

 

If you’ve shopped at any of our Toronto boutiques or browsed our pieces online, you’ve likely come across The Candi Factory’s whimsical, brightly-coloured designs. Locally-themed and uniquely Canadian motifs make The Candi Factory’s pieces extremely popular gifts, souvenirs and happy grabs for out-of-towners and proud locals alike. And if you’ve ever owned a creation by this awesome label, we die-hard fans are willing to bet it won’t be your last!

 

Enjoy Ontario Tank from our Spring/Summer 2017 Collection

Toronto Neighbourhood Tee from our Spring/Summer 2017 Collection

 

The Candi Factory is a family-run business and Toronto-based fashion designer Candice Levine is the talented mastermind behind the name. Happy (and funny) imagery and loud colour combos are her signatures, and dresses, leggings and light linen jackets alike give a nod to symbols of our Canadian heritage. Moreover, all of The Candi Factory’s pieces are made in Toronto, from start to finish.

 

Candice Levine, founder and creator at The Candi Factory

 

Yet perhaps what Candice and her Candi Factory owe most of their pride and success to is their amazing line of men and women’s artisan underwear!

Toronto Map and Skyline Undies – Pink

Smarty Pants Men’s Undies – Grey

 

Within their collection, you’ll find just about everything from animal prints and crossword puzzles to Toronto skylines, hot dogs, math equations and even Justin Trudeau—all in bold, sunny prints and colours to make you grin!

Seamless Trudeau Women’s Undies

Hot-dog Men’s Undies

 

But her cheerful – and often cheeky – designs are most definitely not the only reason our customers adore The Candi Factory’s underthings so much! Made of breathable fabric that neither shrinks, fades nor pills, these undies offer all comfort and functionality you could hope for, and they’re built to last. Their men’s boxer briefs have been such a long-standing hit at our boutiques that they’re one of the only “guy things” we carry! Women just love buying them for their boyfriends and hubbies!

Seamless Whale Print Women’s Undies

Crossword Puzzle Men’s Undies

Owl Women’s Undies

 

But what’s so special about the ladies’ line of seamless and trimmed undies (besides the fact that they’re absolutely freakin’ adorable!)? The magic lies in their incredible “anti-wedgie” technology! We aren’t even kidding.

 

Moose Women’s Undies

Women’s Hockey Undies

 

Wear them on your bike ride, to yoga class or even just for a simple grocery run and you’ll be amazed to find that these undies don’t ride up your butt, thanks to their special memory design! And really, at the end of the day, what more could a sensible underwear shopper want?

 

Style Profile: Sarah Dawn Adams

Name: Sarah Dawn Adams

Occupation: Fiber Artist and Knitwear Designer

Age: 33 (but 12 in heart and mind!)

Lifestyle: Dreamer and activist

 

Angela Dress in Pine (also available in Purple, Burgundy and Blue) by Fresh Collective’s very own Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by Birch Street Studio

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

I start work at about 9 am. I’ll spend a good part of my day just knitting, swatching, making things–and ripping my work back out and starting over!

 

The other parts of my day are the pattern-making; translating my notes from my prototypes and testing various knitting patterns. Also, there is an online component to my job: social media, answering e-mails, troubleshooting any problems I encounter, and all the other things that have to be done.

 

In the evening, I’ll usually make dinner with my roommate (we both enjoy cooking) before taking some ‘me time’ (usually a good book or a video game) in the evening. That’s if I don’t have to run off to a meeting or event!

 

Vera Tee in Forest by Toronto label Mandala; Jude Skirt in Plum Floral Print (also available in Slate) by Toronto label Mandala; Necklace by Birch Street Studio

 

What in your life is really important to you?

Trying to be true to myself. In this world, it seems like there’s all this pressure to ‘be someone else’ and try and fit in, and I don’t really want to be someone else, or to be ‘normal’ (what is normal, anyway?).

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

Creativity, Kindness, and passion.

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

Upcycled, one-of-a-kind cardigan by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima (available in-store only!); Necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

I’m a knitwear designer, so in some ways, it’s part of my job! But I actually don’t pay that much attention, directly speaking, to fashion trends. I design what I think looks awesome and what I (and others, I hope) want to wear and use!

 

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Fashion, to me, is actually kind of complicated. There are so many ethical issues in the fiber and fashion community, so ethically-made clothing is important. But it’s also important to me that clothing be functional, yet still fashionable!

 

 

I guess I’m a bit of a ‘Goldilocks’ when it comes to fashion, but when I find clothing I love, I’ll wear it until it’s right and truly worn out (and often buy multiple of the same thing!).

 

 

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

 

So much of the clothing and items you sell are made here in Canada! That’s a huge plus for me because of the ethics issues in the textile and fashion community. Plus, your staff are incredibly knowledgeable! And you’re showcasing Canadian talent, which is always exciting to me.

 

 

You feel quite strongly about conscious consumerism and shopping locally. Could you tell us a little bit about your fashion philosophy and how you came to adopt your approach to shopping habits?

 

My fashion philosophy is to buy something that will last, care for it well, and use it until it dies! I’d rather pay more now for something that will last than pay more overall for something I have to replace every 6 months. Plus, I strongly believe in paying living wages, so I’m willing to pay a bit more for ethical work!

 

 

I’m also not adverse to second-hand clothes. In fact, some of my best finds have been from hand-me-downs and clothing swaps! So I actually don’t usually buy a lot of clothing because, I figure, I have enough clothing already!

 

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And when I do go clothes shopping, I go to specific stores or brands that I’ve researched and know the quality of, and I know exactly what I’m looking for.
It’s about buying less, buying well, and then wearing what you buy to its limit. I also have an advantage in that I do know how to sew. So I’ve saved many a garment from the rag-bag by sewing on a replacement button, or darning a sock!

 

 

Where does our wool come from?

 

Well, most commercial wool comes from either China or Peru, with a fair bit also coming from New Zealand. But there is production in the US (and in Canada) of wool and other animal fibers as well.

 

In terms of the animals, wool is from sheep, but a lot of other animal fibers can be spun as well, including angora (from rabbits), cashmere, (from cashmere goats), alpaca, and qiviut* (the undercoat of the musk ox). In theory, almost any animal fiber can be spun (including human hair!), but certain animals have fibers that are A) far easier to spin and B) far more useful in making textiles. That’s why you don’t see a lot of horse-hair garments, for example.

 

Angela Dress in Pine (also available in Purple, Burgundy and Blue) by Fresh Collective’s very own Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by Birch Street Studio

 

You don’t have to kill the animals for their wool. They can be shorn, or in some cases, brushed, to get the fiber from the animal. Sheep actually need to be shorn, since their wool otherwise just keeps growing and can actually cause them a lot of problems if they’re not shorn.

 

 

But, of course, the treatment of the animals varies wildly depending on the farm in question. If you’re looking for wool or any other animal fiber, you’ll have to do your research. Look for the smaller farms that are open about the shearing processes and how they treat their animals, and look for organic wool (see if the farm is certified organic).

 

Upcycled, one-of-a-kind cardigan by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima (available in-store only!); Necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

In Canada we do have some domestic fiber production; we have one of the oldest operating woolen mills in North America in New Brunswick, with Briggs and Little. Here in Ontario, there’s also the Upper Canada Fiber Shed, which is a number of Ontario and Quebec fiber producers, makers, etc.

 

 

. . . I could write more, but then I’d be giving you folks an essay!

 

*those who play scrabble will understand my love of this word!

 

Vera Tee in Forest by Toronto label Mandala; Jude Skirt in Plum Floral Print (also available in Slate) by Toronto label Mandala; Necklace by Birch Street Studio

 

When and why did you first learn to knit? What inspired you to take this activity to the next level and turn it into a business?

 

Well, I first learned to knit from my mom when I was 4 or 5, as part of physical therapy. . . and I hated it at the time! But I made a scarf for my doll, so I guess it wasn’t all bad!

 

I knit on and off again for most of my childhood and teenage years, but it wasn’t until my late 20s that I really got back into it. I found that Toronto actually has a huge fiber arts community. There’s the Toronto Knitter’s Guild, lots of different yarn shops, and even the TTC Knit-Along.

 

Vera Tee in Forest by Toronto label Mandala; Jude Skirt in Plum Floral Print (also available in Slate) by Toronto label Mandala; Necklace by Birch Street Studio

 

As for making it a business, well, that came about through the intersection of a few different things.
First: As someone with a visible disability, it’s hard(er) to get a job. Many of the things said to me by hiring managers aren’t fit to repeat, but basically, there’s a huge bias against people with disabilities in the job market. So I started to wonder why I was putting myself through interviews for jobs that weren’t my true passion, only to get refused (often with rude words) anyway.

 

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Second: People were approaching me and asking if I sold my hand-knits. Now, honestly, people couldn’t afford the prices that would pay me a living wage (I usually charge around 60 for a pair of fingering weight socks), but the interest was clearly there.

 

Third: I was already designing patterns. I’d get ideas, and think ‘oh, this would look awesome as a pair of socks,’ or ‘yeah, I could make that hat.’ And designing and selling knitwear patterns is a lot more sustainable for me than trying to sell actual garments. Plus, I do knitting classes, too!

 

 

You are possibly the first visibly disabled lady we’ve featured in a Style Profile, and your story is incredibly unique! As someone with multiple disabilities, what would you like others to know about living with a disability?

 

I’m not surprised that I’m probably the first person with a visible disability you’ve featured. Media representation of people with disabilities is astoundingly low (somewhere on the order of 1%) despite being the largest minority group in the world. And, when it is presented, it’s usually not in a positive manner.

 

 

So the idea that someone with a disability could present themselves as a ‘normal’ and competent person, and that disability can be a positive identity, something to be proud of, is very strange to a lot of people. Disability pride is a relatively new concept! And this is another topic on which I could probably write an entire essay, so I’ll try and condense.

 

For one, my life doesn’t suck! (Shocking, I know!) But, I hear all the time about ‘suffering’ or how ‘my life must be so hard’. And it’s rooted partially in the fact that most media portrayals of disability are, well, less than flattering.

 

 

I don’t suffer, I generally have a pretty awesome life, and most of the ‘hard’ in my life comes from the fact that Toronto’s actually still relatively inaccessible, in ways that people don’t realize until they come smack up against it.

 

For example: If a restaurant put up a sign excluding a racial minority group from its establishment, there would be major complaints (and rightly so!). But if a restaurant isn’t wheelchair accessible, very few people think twice about it. Disability Rights now are where civil rights were in the 60s. Which for me means that something as simple as finding a place to go out for dinner can be a challenge.

 

 

It’s such a process to figure out if I can actually participate in an event or go to a location because even just finding out if a place is accessible can be difficult. Plus, some places that claim to be accessible are often not.

 

I recently had a store tell me they were wheelchair accessible when they, in fact, had a step to their door. Other places are accessible. . . until you need to go to the bathroom! (That one really makes things awkward!) Even the subway is an issue, as only about half of the subway stations have elevators. Getting around the city becomes the challenge of avoiding the subway stations I can’t use.

 

All that said, things are definitely improving from where they were 10 years ago! The TTC just put an elevator in the station near me this year, and there are now new accessible streetcars on the streetcar route near me.

 

 

It’s funny that during my photoshoot, the photographer and I ended up chattering about my lack of 3D perception. It’s usually what comes up the least when I get into disability rights. As someone with no 3D perception, I’ve had some interesting encounters.

 

While my visual acuity is reasonably good (with my glasses), my kinesthetic sense is weak (the sense of where things are in relation to yourself and your body). So I will reach for something, and it’s not quite where I think it is, or I’ll accidentally hit someone because I think they’re further away than they are.

 

Angela Dress in Pine (also available in Purple, Burgundy and Blue) by Fresh Collective’s very own Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by Birch Street Studio

 

I’ve actually had one person assume I was drunk (that was embarrassing, to say the least)! Handshakes are also interesting, because I’m never quite sure where the other person’s hand is, and I don’t want to miss! Also, 3D movies don’t work for me. At best, I just don’t see the 3D, but at worst, they actually cause double-vision and splitting headaches.

 

So that I don’t make this any more rambling, I’ll close this section with a TED Talk from the late Stella Young that will probably blow your mind (she’s far more articulate in this video than I could ever hope to be on the same material):

 

 

 

What are your favourite fibres to use and why?

 

Silk. It sounds classic, but I love working with silks! It’s the feel of the silk fiber against my hands. So for something that won’t get a tremendous amount of wear and tear, silk is amazing (and can be quite warm!). Plus, it’s a very light-weight and airy fiber, so silk garments are wonderful for travel because they compact amazingly well!

 

 

For day-to-day wear, I tend to lean towards wool blends. There are machine-washable wools and I usually look for those, or washable wool blended with nylon. They’re easier to care for than some of the other fibers and can be put in the washing machine without worry.

 

And for summer wear, I look for organic cottons and linen. They’re harder on the hands to knit, but make amazing finished objects!

 

Angela Dress in Pine (also available in Purple, Burgundy and Blue) by Fresh Collective’s very own Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by Birch Street Studio

 

What do you have that you want to promote?

 

Well, first, the cowl that’s in some of the photographs is my own work, and the pattern is available here: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/snowdrop-lace-cowl

 

Also, yes, I teach knitting classes, either in small groups or one-on-one. (I get asked that question a lot!) I customize my classes to the students, so you tell me what you want to learn, and I will do my best to help you learn it! And, if you’re interested in classes, you can drop me an e-mail at sarahdawnsdesigns@gmail.com for more information.

 

Finally, please feel free to check out my Etsy store. I’ve added a small line of macrame and braided jewelry, in addition to the digital patterns. Plus, if you’re a Toronto local, message me on Etsy and I’ll work out free shipping with a meet-up! I also do have a limited amount of commissioned and ready-to-sell knitwear through my Etsy shop, as well!

 

Upcycled, one-of-a-kind cardigan by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima (available in-store only!); Necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

Is there anything else we should know about you?

 

Well, here’s some esoteric trivia about me: I’m a classically trained soprano, who loves to sing opera. How’s that for a random fact!

 

Where can people find you on social media?

 

There’s a list, so here goes:

Design Portfolio & Web Store: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/sarah-dawn

Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SarahDawnsDesigns

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahDawnsDesigns

Google+: https://plus.google.com/105320837680162395337

Blog: http://sarahdawnsdesigns.blogspot.ca/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/Sarah_Dawns/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/SarahDawnsDesigns

Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/people/SarahDawns

Designer Meet & Greet with Jennifer Fukushima – Saturday Oct. 28

On Saturday October 28, join us at our Beaches location at 2116 A Queen Street East for a

Designer Meet & Greet with Jennifer Fukushima!

Jennifer’s line has been one of our most popular for many years, and we’re proud to be hosting this event with a special selection of her one-of-a-kind upcycled pieces. 

In the video above, Jenn shows us some of the styles she’ll be bringing.

In addition, Jennifer will be bringing samples and past seasons’ merchandise for a special sale at 40 – 60 % off!

 

In this video, Jenn shows us some examples of the one-of-a-kind pieces in her upcycled collection that will be at the event.

Here Jenn talks about making eco-conscious fabric choices as part of her brand’s commitment to sustainability.

And finally, we see Jenn packing up some of the styles for the October 28 event in her colourful studio bursting with fabrics and fashion!

(See below for all the details!)

Top 10 Reasons to fall in Love with the Camyl Coat from Soia & Kyo!

Every year we stock this coat from Montreal brand Soia & Kyo, and every year we sell out!

It’s really an incredibly well-designed coat and here are the top 10 reasons why!

10. Its slim silhouette

Usually, with all that warmth, you end up looking like the Michelin Man.

But this coat is designed so beautifully, that you can be cozy on the coldest days and still look awesome!

Just look at this fabulous back view where you really see the lines and silhouette.

camyl1

 

Shop Camyl online here, or visit any of our 3 Toronto locations!

274 Augusta Ave. (Kensington Market) * 401 Roncesvalles Ave. * 2116 A Queen Street East (The Beaches)

 

9. It’s super warm!

With 90% Duck Down, 10% Feathers and a water resistant outer fabric, plus all the design features, this coat is designed in Canada for Canadian winters!

8. So lightweight! 

For this much warmth, you might think you’d be weighed down with a big heavy coat.

But nope. The Camyl is so lightweight you won’t believe it.

 

Shop Camyl online here, or visit any of our 3 Toronto locations!

274 Augusta Ave. (Kensington Market) * 401 Roncesvalles Ave. * 2116 A Queen Street East (The Beaches)

 

7. An extra layer!

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There is an extra zip-up layer from below your belly button to right under your chin.

This zipper is overlapped completely by the second layer when you do the coat up, which means not even the tiniest bit of cold air can get in!

6. It’s the perfect length!

On most women, this coat comes to below mid-thigh, which looks great, keeps your butt warm and allows a lot of movement whatever your busy life has you doing.

 

Shop Camyl online here, or visit any of our 3 Toronto locations!

274 Augusta Ave. (Kensington Market) * 401 Roncesvalles Ave.  * 2116 A Queen Street East (The Beaches)

 

 

5. Two Way Zipper

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Sometimes you want a bit more movement, to ride a bike or climb on the streetcar, and the heavy duty two-way zipper allows that flexibility.

4. The hood when worn down

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3. The hood when worn up

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For a coat that looks so fashionable, you’ll be absolutely shocked by how much function is built in for Canadian winters!

Then again, Soia and Kyo is a Montreal brand, and they know harsh winters! 

 

Shop Camyl online here, or visit any of our 3 Toronto locations!

274 Augusta Ave. (Kensington Market) * 401 Roncesvalles Ave. * 2116 A Queen Street East (The Beaches)

 

2. Water resistant and water repellent fabric

The signature brushed fabric shell is water resistant for all-weather wear.

1. Three great colours to choose from

Three go-with-everything colours!

Brushed water resistant and water repellent fabric and all this warmth and style! 

What are you waiting for? Order online below, or come into any of our three Toronto locations to try one on.

 

Shop Camyl online here, or visit any of our 3 Toronto locations!

274 Augusta Ave. (Kensington Market) * 401 Roncesvalles Ave. * 2116 A Queen Street East (The Beaches)