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!

 

insta banner

 

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!

 

banner 3- border

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.

 

banner1-border

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!

camyl3

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

camyl6

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

camyl-5

 

3. The hood when worn up

camyl-7

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)

 

 

18 Ways to Stay Cozy in STYLE!

Choose this cozy Tia Tunic for a sporty casual look. 

Angela, our Store Manager at 401 Roncesvalles Ave. posted this poll to Facebook to show off the 3 colours of the new Chelsey Sweater.

This beautifully soft sweater is only available in stores (so far) so pop into any of our locations to try one one. 

Want to see how the voting went? Visit Angela’s post here.

The Tia Tunic also comes in black! From Montreal based label Schwiing.

Also from Schwiing. The Anaeve Tunic which comes in black or grey.

Here’s the Anaeve Tunic in grey… check out the cool zipper detail at the hip!

Check out the adorable Adelie Sweater in Cat Print (look closely to see the cat faces!)

Here’s Gladys! A stylish sporty jacket available in grey as shown and black. (Psssst…. black is almost sold out!)

Here’s the super cozy Millord Poncho in black!

And the awesome Camyl Coat by Soia & Kyo in 3 colours! Order online or visit any of our stores for this style.

In this video, Laura-Jean and Erica present two styles from a new line of coats, Noize.

These coats are 100% vegan (no animal products used) and a GREAT price point at $259 and $250. Check them out at our Beaches or Roncesvalles locations.

Imagine the coziness of this grey Millord Poncho! Perfect for fall weather!

Wrap up in any of 7 colours of blanket scarves! Check our site to see all 7, and at only $29, you’d be smart to grab a few!

The Ursus Top is made from a gorgeous and soft Merino Wool.

Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima designs beautiful pieces to last year after year, and this top is sure to be a favourite in your wardrobe for a long time!

Watch the video to see all 4 colours! Only available in our stores right now, at all 3 locations. Coming soon to online.

Erica presents the Regalis Cardigan, another classic piece from Toronto designer Jennifer Fuksuhima, in this video. It’s made from a cozy, soft bamboo and cotton blend.

Available online in burgundy only (for right now… we’re working hard to photograph everything and update our online store!), you can pick up the other colours in our stores.

In this video, Jane and Laura-Jean present the Deparia Cardigan, also by Jennifer Fukushima. These are in all our stores, and are each one-of-a-kind due to the upcycled nature of the materials used.

Check out the video for more details!

This adorable Adelie Sweater in Star Print will definitely help keep you cozy!

The classic Dania Tunics are back from Toronto label Desserts and Skirts! In heathered sweatery fabric or the pretty floral, this tunic will be one of your favourite pieces for years to come!

Order online or visit any of our locations.

The amazing Angela Dress has been a huge hit this fall. Cozy, cute and flatters a variety of shapes, many women are buying 2 or more colours! Add cozy tights and boots to get you through the winter in style!

Shop online for it here, or visit any of our stores. 

Check out the video to see the Angela dress in 3-D and motion!

Thanks for checking out our coziest styles! I hope you found a few pieces to add to your fall wardrobe!

 

 

 

Style Profile – Teacher Edition: Grace Bodnar

Name: Grace Bodnar

Occupation: French Teacher

Age: Ageless

Lifestyle: Easy-going and slightly adventurous

 

Friday Dress in Plum Cats Prints (also available in Black Floral and Teal Waves) by Halifax label Poison Pear; Sylvia Compartment Purse in Forest Green (also available in Black, Ash Plum, Navy and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

It can be busy: I usually get up around 5:30, even on the weekends. I enjoy making those morning coffees for myself and my husband, taking care of our pet birds and getting ready for the day.

 

Off to work early where it is a continuous hive of activities, no time to catch a breath till the 3:30 bell signals the end of the school day–for the kids, not necessarily for me.

 

insta banner

Once I get home, I can relax while preparing dinner, doing the usual household chores, relaxing with my husband and absorbing myself in my numerous hobbies.

 

Joel Slouch Tee in Mustard (also available in six other colours!) by Toronto label Mandala; Sylvia Compartment Purse in Navy (also available in Black, Ash Plum, Forest Green and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood; Necklace by Nova Scotia label Beck & Boosh

 

What in your life is really important to you?

 

Family, friends and my faith are the centre of my life. I guess with them, no pretence is needed, and honesty is just a given fact in my life. I am not saying that I am not whole without them; rather, they are the different facets that make me who I am, bring out the best in me and therefore I am able to give the best of myself to others.

 

Friday Dress in Black (also available in Plum Cats and Teal Waves) Floral by Halifax label Poison Pear

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

I would hope that I was able to inspire others to accept themselves wholeheartedly for who they are and not for what society deems them to be.

 

banner 3- border

 

One little thoughtless act could destroy a person’s self-worth and at the same time, one simple thoughtful gesture could light an unquenchable spark that can fuel a person’s desire to reach for the stars.

 

Angela Dress in Purple (also available in Pine, Burgundy and Navy) by Fresh Collective’s very own label, Palette by Laura-Jean

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

I enjoy fashion; I love searching for those timeless pieces but I also enjoy hunting for that trendy accessory that would complete my outfit and reflect the styles of the day. Being able to throw a shawl or a wrap (either purchased or one that I have knitted myself) over my outfit makes Fall my favourite season.

 

Meloe Dress in Heart Print (also available in Diamond Print) by Montreal label Schwiing; Sylvia Compartment Purse in Taupe (also available in Black, Ash Plum, Forest Green and Navy) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

 

As soon as I entered the store, my eyes took in the eclectic collection. After closer look at the clothes and accessories and a chat with Angela, I discovered that Canadian designers are responsible for those gorgeous collections. The clothes can be enjoyed and worn comfortably by everyone no matter what body-type they may have.

 

Friday Dress in Plum Cats Prints (also available in Black Floral and Teal Waves) by Halifax label Poison Pear

 

Are there any ways parents can engage to help their children maintain a drive to succeed in school (especially in subjects they may be less fond of)?

 

I like to think that teaching is a partnership between myself, the child and the parent(s). Close communication and a shared interest in the child’s success is necessary.

 

banner1-border

Not all parents speak French (my own don’t) but I know that parents are willing to take their children to the library or the bookstore to access French books geared to the child’s level of knowledge.

 

Joel Slouch Tee in Mustard (also available in six other colours!) by Toronto label Mandala; Sylvia Compartment Purse in Navy (also available in Black, Ash Plum, Forest Green and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood; Necklace by Nova Scotia label Beck & Boosh

 

The internet also provides countless resources to help shore up the child’s abilities. However, the encouragements that parents provide still remains the most important thing to help motivate their children.

 

Friday Dress in Black (also available in Plum Cats and Teal Waves) Floral by Halifax label Poison Pear

 

What is one proud teaching moment you’ve experienced?

 

Everyone talks about the “A ha” moment and it is exactly that. Seeing the dawning comprehension in their eyes, the ability to orally compose a sentence entirely in French and actually verbalized and/or write it down is a sweet moment of which I never tire. It may happen in front of me or it may happen in high school. As long as it happens, I will savour it.

 

Meloe Dress in Heart Print (also available in Diamond Print) by Montreal label Schwiing; Sylvia Compartment Purse in Taupe (also available in Black, Ash Plum, Forest Green and Navy) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

What do you have that you want to promote?

 

Through an incredible amount of work and group effort, my school was awarded the Indigo grant last year that is allowing our school to purchase books for the school library and classrooms. Children need access to books in order to improve their literacy skills and thereby prepare them for their future roles in society.

 

Angela Dress in Purple (also available in Pine, Burgundy and Navy) by Fresh Collective’s very own label, Palette by Laura-Jean; Necklace by Nova Scotia label Beck & Boosh

 

Is there anything else we should know about you?

 

I am an avid knitter, crocheter and a relatively recent jewelry crafter. Having seen me knit and wear my own knitted/crocheted designs, my students have evinced an interest in learning how to knit and crochet and I am in the process of organizing a Knitting/Crochet Club.

Style Profile – Teacher Edition: Jane Pascucci

Name: Jane Pascucci

Occupation: Special Education and ESL Teacher

Age: It’s just a number!!

Lifestyle: Feet on the ground, but head in the clouds

 

Top by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Skirt by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Greta Tote in Black (also available in Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

One word I would use to describe my typical day is hectic… It’s like a moving bus with many stops–or like the Amazing Race. I get up in the morning, get my kids ready for school. We are out the door by 8:00 a.m. After I drop them off at school, I get in to work and it’s like a whirlwind, non-stop till the bell rings at 3:30.

 

 

Then part two begins when I get home. Dinner, my homework, the children’s homework, family time (when we’re not running to some activity like soccer, hockey, piano, photography class or snowboarding lesson).

 

Top by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Skirt by Toronto label Studio Fresh

 

I try to carve some “me time” in between the hustle and bustle by doing yoga, meditation, or going for a long walk.

 

Angela Dress in Pine (also available in Purple, Burgundy and Navy) by Fresh Collective’s very own label, Palette by Laura-Jean

 

What in your life is really important to you?

 

It’s hard to say just one thing that is really important to me. Obviously I would put my family at the top of the list but I would also say living my life to the fullest, being the best version possible of me, and experiencing all the ups and downs life has to offer is important as well.

 

Friday Dress in Black (also available in Plum Cats and Teal Waves) Floral by Halifax label Poison Pear

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

Discovering penicillin…but wait, that’s been taken. My sense of humour, the ability to make people smile and feel good about themselves. Life is too short to be so serious all the time.

 

Friday Dress in Teal Waves (also available in Black Floral and Plum Cats) by Halifax label Poison Pear

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

I love fashion. I like choosing pieces that are in fashion and trendy, yet make them my own so they fit my lifestyle. I also like having a few classic pieces that never go out of style.

 

insta banner

 

My one go-to item is my blue jean jacket. I can’t live without it. I think the clothes we wear tell a story. They are an outer reflection of our feelings or state of mind.

 

Silver World Globe Necklace by Nova Scotia label Beck & Boosh

 

Lizea Skirt in Cat Print (also available in Black) by Montreal label Schwiing; Necklace by Nova Scotia label Beck & Boosh

 

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

 

The first time I walked into Fresh Collective I was impressed by the eclectic vibe of the store. So many items to choose from along with fabulous accessories.

 

banner 3- border

 

My most favourite part of the store is all the pieces are made in Canada, by Canadian designers, and they are affordable.

 

Top by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Skirt by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Greta Tote in Black (also available in Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

Describe your ideal fall outfit!

 

Long burgundy or forest green knit sweater, black leggings (or skinny jeans), suede ankle boots, topped off by a funky colourful scarf.

 

Top by Toronto label Studio Fresh; Skirt by Toronto label Studio Fresh

 

As a teacher, what’s the most rewarding aspect of your career?

 

The most rewarding aspect is the moment you can see in a child’s eyes that they understand the concept you are teaching them. That ‘light bulb’ moment when their eyes light up because they got it. It’s also knowing that you are having a positive impact on a child’s life that makes my job so satisfying.

 

Angela Dress in Pine (also available in Purple, Burgundy and Navy) by Fresh Collective’s very own label, Palette by Laura-Jean

 

What made you decide to follow this professional avenue?

 

I like to say that this profession found me. In university, I studied languages but had no idea what I wanted to do. A lot of my friends knew from a young age they wanted to be teachers but I was never sure. Like I always tell my daughter, life puts us where we are meant to be.

 

Angela Dress in Pine (also available in Purple, Burgundy and Navy) by Fresh Collective’s very own label, Palette by Laura-Jean

 

What is your teaching philosophy?

 

It’s not about what you teach but more about how you make your students feel. That’s what they will remember. If they feel valued and respected they are more apt to take risks and not be afraid to make mistakes…. and that’s when real, authentic learning takes place.

 

banner1-border

As teachers, our role is to facilitate our students’ learning. In this digital age that we live in, teaching is not so focused on content as it was thirty years ago.

 

Friday Dress in Teal Waves (also available in Black Floral and Plum Cats) by Halifax label Poison Pear

 

It’s about teaching our kids to be critical and discerning thinkers who are able to evaluate and synthesize all the information available to them.

 

Friday Dress in Black Floral (also available in Plum Cats and Teal Waves) by Halifax label Poison Pear

 

What do you have that you want to promote?

 

Last year, I was fortunate enough to be involved with a grant application to Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. The school where I teach, won the grant and was awarded a large amount of money to help buy books for our school library and classrooms, which are in so desperate need as our school board has limited funding to buy books.

 

Friday Dress in Black Floral (also available in Plum Cats and Teal Waves) by Halifax label Poison Pear

 

I believe that every child needs to have access to books and the opportunity to learn how to read in order to spark their imagination and develop their literacy skills.

 

Lizea Skirt in Cat Print (also available in Black) by Montreal label Schwiing; Necklace by Nova Scotia label Beck & Boosh

 

Is there anything else we should know about you?

 

One of my newest endeavors: dragon boating.

Join us for Pedestrian Sunday! September 24!

Join us in Kensington for Pedestrian Sunday where there will be all the usual fun and festivities all over Kensington Market!

At Fresh Collective at 274 Augusta Ave. take an extra 10%* off sale items, and save $10 on any Matt & Nat purchase over $50*! 

 

(*In-store only and only on Sunday!)

And don’t forget about these specials below! All valid until September 25 in all stores and online!

 

This week’s specials in ALL stores!

Dania Tunics (from Toronto’s own Desserts and Skirts) are always popular but this floral version is a super hit this fall!
 

Ladies love the swirly colourful pattern that just adds a little more fun to a pair of leggings or skinny jeans!

Shop the Floral Dania Tunic here.

Save $10 off the Floral Dania Tunic until Sept. 25 by using promocode SAVE10 at checkout!

To save $10 on the Floral Dania Tunic in-store, print the Fresh Bucks below or show on your mobile device!

This gorgeous Side Ruched Dress is made right here in Toronto by 98! Gorgeous style, and until Sept 25, save $10. 
The Catia Quilted Skirt is another great style for fall, and another fabulous way to save this week! Save $10 until Sept. 25 by using the Fresh Bucks below!

The Nancy Skirt from Montreal’s Annie 50 comes in Grey Tweed and Velvet with Dark Floral Print. 

Pick up either (or both!) and save $10 with the Fresh Bucks below!

The Fanny Jacket was made to go with the Grey Tweed Nancy Skirt.

Complete the outfit (or buy the jacket on its own) and save $10 on Fanny as well by using the Fresh Bucks below!

Tour of our Toronto Beaches location Fall 2017
Have you been to see us in the Beaches? We’re at 2116 A Queen Street East! Here’s a 2 minute tour of our boutique just full of fabulous fall new arrivals!

The gorgeous Stelleri Top can be yours for $10 off, just until Sept. 25!

Use the Fresh Bucks below and enjoy!

Style Profile – Teacher Edition: Danielle Saint-Onge

Name: Danielle Saint-Onge

Occupation: Teacher and Executive Functioning Coach

Age: 35

Lifestyle: Active

 

Teri Reversible Tank Top in Sapphire (also available in White and Crimson!) by Canadian label Arianne; Sylvia Compartment Purse w/Crossbody Strap in Taupe (also available in Black, Navy, Ash Plum and Forest Green) by Markham label Pixie Mood; The Jacket FW17 in Black Crepe by Toronto label It Fitz Me

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

We start early in our house. I generally try and hit the alarm for 5:45 am so that I can squeeze a morning work-out in, before coming home and assembling the troops for school. My husband is also a teacher, so everyone is out the door by 7:45 am.

 

 

I work full-time as a teacher librarian/ kindergarten music teacher (that’s my day job) and spend either my evenings at home with my five-year-old twins, or running my private coaching practice for kids and families with executive functioning difficulties. So a typical day has me out from about 6:00 am-7:00 pm.

 

It’s super busy, but always dynamic!

 

Dania Tunic in Fall Floral (also available in Midnight Blue, Cranberry and Charcoal!) by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Kim Convertible Backpack in Ash Plum (also available in Forest Green, Navy, Taupe and Black) by Markham label Pixie Mood; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

What in your life is really important to you?

 

I’m all about connections. My goal is to continuously help support building connections with those around me. Whether I’m connecting with myself through self-care (ie. exercising, walking, reading), or connecting with my students at work, or building relationships with my friends and family.

 

insta banner

 

I believe that happiness is something you cultivate and actively construct for yourself and my pathways are all to build happiness in my own life and in the lives of those I live and work with.

 

Dania Tunic in Fall Floral (also available in Midnight Blue, Cranberry and Charcoal!) by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Kim Convertible Backpack in Ash Plum (also available in Forest Green, Navy, Taupe and Black) by Markham label Pixie Mood; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

Having two young kids doesn’t leave me with a ton of time to get ready in the morning (or a huge budget!). But I love that I can walk into Fresh Collective and the sales associates are always there to help me find pieces that represent me. I have been shopping at Fresh Collective for close to ten years now and I love the beauty of unique pieces.

 

banner 3- border

I still remember the first time I bought a piece at FC. I was with my sister shopping for clothes for my first teaching job. I was slated to teach full-time at a kindergarten and wanted a dress that would inspire me and make me feel like Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus. Laura-Jean’s Fresh Baked Goods fashion line at the time had the most amazing dresses and I immediately fell in love.

 

Dania Tunic in Cranberry (also available in Fall Floral, Midnight Blue and Charcoal) by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Sylvia Compartment Purse w/Crossbody Strap in Forest Green (also available in Black, Navy, Ash Plum and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood; Laser cut necklace by Squamish, BC label Birch Street Studio

 

Since then, I’ve made it a back to school tradition of buying some key pieces to kick off the new school season. I don’t actively keep up with fashion blogs, nor do I have time to leaf through fashion magazines, but I do value beautiful things and putting on a fashion piece from FC (whether from this season, or many seasons ago) makes me feel fantastic.

 

Joel Slouch Tee in Navy by Toronto label Mandala; High Rise Skinny Jeans with 30″ Inseam in Shark (also available in Raisin) by Yoga Jeans; Laser cut necklace by Squamish, BC label Birch Street Studio

 

How has Fresh Collective shaped your life?

 

FC was my first introduction to local hand-made goods. It felt so powerful to be able to meet and connect with the artisans who had made something that I found beautiful and grew to cherish. Since discovering FC, I now make a point of going to the One of a Kind shows and seeking out the artists that I love at FC there as well, being able to connect to real people that have designed the clothes that I love to wear is an amazing experience.

 

Stelleri Top in Teal (also available in Black and Burgundy!) by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima; Greta Work Tote in Black by Markham label Pixie Mood; Laser cut necklace by Squamish BC label Birch Street Studio

 

I remember sitting in a restaurant with my daughter last year when I realized I was sitting across from clothing designer Jennifer Fukushima (one of my stand out favourites from FC!). I felt so star-struck, but managed at the end of lunch to amass the courage to go up to her and tell her how much I loved her clothes.

 

To be able to connect to artists through fashion is an amazing experience, and I’m so happy that FC helps me to do that!

 

banner1-border

 

But FC has also helped me on my own personal health journeys too. It was after I read Laura-Jean’s fitness blog about doing Oonagh Duncan’s 28 Day transformation challenge that I decided to make the investment in myself as well.

 

Laura-Jean is a personal hero of mine, and I felt so strongly that if she had the courage to share her fitness journey, I would try it as well. And what a transformation it was! I spent a year working with Oonagh, redeveloping my relationship to food, exercise, but also to my own mind and body. I not only feel healthier and stronger, but I have so many more healthy tools that I can use to get through my day. And it all started with FC!

 

Dania Tunic in Fall Floral (also available in Midnight Blue, Cranberry and Charcoal!) by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Kim Convertible Backpack in Ash Plum (also available in Forest Green, Navy, Taupe and Black) by Markham label Pixie Mood; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

What do you love most about your work as a teacher/librarian?

 

I am a huge reader, picture books, young adult books, graphic novels etc, and being able to inspire others to read is a very rewarding experience. I teach at a school of over 700 kids and the library represents one of our main community centres. I feel very privileged being able to work in a place that helps to build community and inspire creativity.

 

This past summer, we ran a reading competition for families at our school. The goal was to see how many books a family could collectively read. It was awesome! Our highest totals saw some families reading over 40 books!

 

I love being able to support accomplishments and being able to inspire learning and creativity, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience.

 

Teri Reversible Tank Top in Sapphire (also available in White and Crimson!) by Canadian label Arianne; Sylvia Compartment Purse w/Crossbody Strap in Taupe (also available in Black, Navy, Ash Plum and Forest Green) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

What is the most crucial thing in your go-to fall outfit?

 

Colour! I love wearing black, but I love combining colours and patterns. I always try to pair a solid with some type of colourful pattern, whether it’s through the addition of a favourite scarf, earrings, or a new set of glasses!

 

I’m also all over layering. This weather goes from cold to hot in the course of a day, so having some beautiful scarves, or boleros, or light sweaters allows me to stay in summer clothing through most of the fall. Also, investing in amazing tights/ leggings is an absolute necessity!

 

Teri Reversible Tank Top in Sapphire (also available in White and Crimson!) by Canadian label Arianne; Sylvia Compartment Purse w/Crossbody Strap in Taupe (also available in Black, Navy, Ash Plum and Forest Green) by Markham label Pixie Mood

 

You’re a music teacher and librarian, but you also work as an Executive Functioning Coach for kids and families. Tell us about your work and what led you down this path!

 

Having spent the past ten years working as a teacher (with many report cards written) it became increasingly apparent that many kids were struggling with the Learning Skills section on the report card.

 

This is the section that deals with organization, being responsible, impulse control, task initiation, etc. A lot of what we tend to refer to as “soft skills”. But what the research on the brain shows, is that actually these skills are all located in the same part of the brain, and they are foundational skills that set the stage for higher order thinking and learning.

 

Dania Tunic in Cranberry (also available in Fall Floral, Midnight Blue and Charcoal) by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Sylvia Compartment Purse w/Crossbody Strap in Forest Green (also available in Black, Navy, Ash Plum and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood; Laser cut necklace by Squamish, BC label Birch Street Studio

 

My job as a coach is to help families and kids identify and hone in on developing the specific skills and building blocks that are weakest through a wide range of activities and exercises, so that kids can experience the type of academic and social success they deserve.

 

Dania Tunic in Cranberry (also available in Fall Floral, Midnight Blue and Charcoal) by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Sylvia Compartment Purse w/Crossbody Strap in Forest Green (also available in Black, Navy, Ash Plum and Taupe) by Markham label Pixie Mood; Laser cut necklace by Squamish, BC label Birch Street Studio

 

I feel so passionate about helping to connect kids and families to concrete tools and activities that they can use to help build capacity. So my coaching practice allows me to work one on one to develop personalized plans and programs that enable kids to succeed.

 

So often we look at the tip of the iceberg (the academic achievement), failing to realize that what lies under the water (our Executive Functioning Skills) really are the foundation that our academic success is grounded upon.

 

I like to see myself as an underwater iceberg expert. Helping children and families to explore what lies below the surface so that it can help to ground future success.

 

Joel Slouch Tee in Navy by Toronto label Mandala; High Rise Skinny Jeans with 30″ Inseam in Shark (also available in Raisin) by Yoga Jeans; Laser cut necklace by Squamish, BC label Birch Street Studio

 

What do you have that you want to promote?

 

I am currently continuing to intake families into my private coaching practice and am happy to set up free 30 minute intake calls. Please feel free to e-mail me to set up a time to chat about ways that I can help to support great foundations for success both at home and at school. Or send me an e-mail and I will send you my online information pamphlet and a short survey to see whether executive functioning coaching is the right pathway for you and your child.

 

Stelleri Top in Teal (also available in Black and Burgundy!) by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima; Greta Work Tote in Black by Markham label Pixie Mood; Laser cut necklace by Squamish BC label Birch Street Studio

 

In terms of my role as a librarian, currently my school (Rawlinson Community School) is participating in the Indigo Adopt a School online fundraising campaign. We are a 700-student school with a library in desperate need of new resources. Please consider clicking on the link below to make a donation to the school, or sharing a story on the school’s Indigo Campaign page in order to support our love of reading program. The campaign runs now until October 8 and all donations are tax deductible. Please help us continue to inspire the minds of the future!

 

https://adoptaschool.indigo.ca/eng/schools/1772

 

Where can people find you on social media?

 

People can feel free to e-mail me at daniellesaintonge@gmail.com

 

Style Profile – The Beaches Village: Julie Watson & Liz Harmer

Name: Julie Tara Watson
Occupation: Co-Owner Afterglow Studio, Mother of 3, Warrior
Age: 44
Lifestyle: Self-made designer, Yogi, lover of life

 

Name: Elizabeth Doyle Harmer
Occupation: Co-owner, Afterglow Studio, Mother of 4, dream chaser
Age: 41
Lifestyle: Runner. Yogi. Mom.

 

LEFT: Julia Tunic in Black Cockatoo Pattern by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in Black by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd RIGHT: Dandelion Print Julia Tunic in Pink by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in Black by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd

 

 

LEFT: Ontario Top by Toronto designer Nadia Lloyd; Blondie Shorts in Black by Montreal label Annie 50 RIGHT: Toronto Skyline Tank Top by Toronto designer Nadia Lloyd; MES 2205 Layered Crop Pant by Montreal label Melow

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

Julie: I wake when my 9 year old sneaks into my bed. I’d like to say I meditate at that point but we are off and running from there. Organizing 3 kids to get to 3 different schools, and then I get myself to work by 8:45am.

 

That’s when I have my cup of green tea that I look forward to everyday. If I am teaching I teach a Vinyasa class, or I take a class. I work with my amazing staff, Kristen our studio Manager, and the most awesome partner, Liz.

 

 

I focus on all of the daily maintenance of the studio, as well as planning for our future events. It’s an invigorating job, and there isn’t a day that has gone by that I have not wanted to be there.

 

insta banner

 

I pick up my kids after school, feed them, and usually take a nap while they do homework. Teaching and running a business can be very draining of energy, so I like to protect myself from burn-out. I’m usually in bed by 9:59 when I journal or read.. Usually before 2 of my 3 kids. I love having them come to me to kiss me good night and tuck me in now…

 

LEFT: Black/White Floral Kensington Dress by Toronto label FunkD RIGHT: More than a Wrap Dress in Black Crepe by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™

Liz: I like to wake up early, drink coffee then meditate, journal and go for a morning run.
After that I make breakfast/lunches for my kiddos (have 4), get them off to school or activities and spend the day living my dream working with my awesome business partner Julie at Afterglow Studio. More kid stuff after work – activities, dinner, hanging out, time with hubby. Crash in bed 9:30pm (I’m a wild child, just kidding).

 

LEFT: Posey Dress in Black Bloom Print by Toronto label Mandala RIGHT: Turquoise Garden Print Peony Dress by Toronto label Mandala

 

How long have you been practicing yoga?

Julie: 23 years, since I was 21 (I’m the older twin).

Liz: 23 years. Since 18 years of age. (gosh that makes me sound old!).

 

LEFT: Lovely Dress in White by Montreal designer Cameleon RIGHT: Lakeview Wrap Dress in Light Denim by Toronto label FunkD

What in your life is really important to you?

Julie: My own personal well being. If I am not in good shape, I am nothing to those in my life. My kids are number one. I want to be present with them when I can. We like to OM together sometimes! It’s calming and silly at the same time.

Liz: Mental and physical health, family, sweet potato chips.

 

LEFT: Julia Tunic in Black Cockatoo Pattern by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in Black by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd RIGHT: Dandelion Print Julia Tunic in Pink by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in Black by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd

What would you like to be remembered for?

Julie: My kindness, and support of others.

Liz: Living life to the fullest.

 

LEFT: Ontario Top by Toronto designer Nadia Lloyd; Blondie Shorts in Black by Montreal label Annie 50 RIGHT: Toronto Skyline Tank Top by Toronto designer Nadia Lloyd; MES 2205 Layered Crop Pant by Montreal label Melow

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

Julie & Liz: Fashion needs to be functional for us so we can sit on the floor with our kids, teach a yoga class or run errands with not much time for changing in between.

 

LEFT: More than a Wrap Dress in Black Crepe by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™ RIGHT: Black/White Floral Kensington Dress by Toronto label FunkD

 

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

Julie & Liz: Lots of selection and variety.

 

LEFT: Posey Dress in Black Bloom Print by Toronto label Mandala RIGHT: Turquoise Garden Print Peony Dress by Toronto label Mandala

 

What do you have that you want to promote?

Julie: Our programs for all ages! We have Parent and Tot Yoga, kids yoga, Teen and Tween Classes, and our Teen and Tween GLOW GIRLS empowerment programs.

 

banner 3- border

 

Liz: Come out and try the studio with our intro special! $28 gets you 2-weeks of unlimited yoga at our Queen and Lee location.

 

LEFT: Lovely Dress in White by Montreal designer Cameleon RIGHT: Lakeview Wrap Dress in Light Denim by Toronto label FunkD

 

What do you feel sets Afterglow apart from other yoga studios in Toronto?

Julie: Our vibe. Come in to see for yourself. (We are like Cheers! Everyone knows your name)

 

banner1-border

 

Liz: We are big on community and pride ourselves on having build a studio where everyone feels welcome. We also focus on mental health as much as physical health in our studio. Mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, self-compassion are all very important to us.

 

LEFT: Julia Tunic in Black Cockatoo Pattern by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in Black by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd RIGHT: Dandelion Print Julia Tunic in Pink by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; 3/4 Leggins in Black by Saint-Sévère label Rien Ne Se Perd

 

What inspired you to open up your own studio together? What’s the backstory here?

Julie & Liz: Julie was already fairly far down the path of opening a studio when Liz started to voice thoughts that she too would like to open one. A mutual friend put is in touch and we were surprised to learn we shared a very similar vision! It was fate. That’s the universe.

 

I want to be part of the #glowcrew! Are you still looking for instructors at your studio?

Julie:& Liz: We are always looking for the city’s best instructors. We look for knowledgeable and experienced instructors who care about community and the mental and physical well-being of our clients.

 

LEFT: More than a Wrap Dress in Black Crepe by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™ RIGHT: Black/White Floral Kensington Dress by Toronto label FunkD

 

Is there anything else we should know about you?

Julie: We are both from Ottawa, went to the same dance school, and only met 3 years ago in Toronto.

Liz: We eat a lot of rotisserie chicken from Foodland. It’s random, we know, but true. It’s our guilty pleasure!

Where can people find you on social media?

Instagram: @afterglowstudio
Facebook: Afterglow Studio
www.afterglowstudio.ca