The Swagger Coach: LOUD AND PROUD! The Canada Day/Pride Weekend Experience!

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Pride conjures up a lot of images. Well, I mean it IS one of the Deadly Sins. I’m humbled by many awesome things in my life, but for this weekend, I’ll toot my City’s (and country’s) horn. That’s right, folks, I’m proud to be a Canadian living in Toronto, free to love and free to be! I’ll be celebrating this week with all of my Canadian and LGBTQ friends! This weekend will be one of the most fun and memorable weekends, as far as cool stuff going on in Toronto, so I’ll share what I’ll be up to and hope to see you all there!

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What to Wear Wednesday: Roncy Rocks

What to Wear Wednesday - Roncy Rocks

What to Wear Wednesday – Roncy Rocks by freshcollective on Polyvore

Top: Kongo Wrap Top by Melow – $115
Jeans: Yoga Jeans in Aquamarine – $115
Bag: Meadow Tote bag by Taska – $120
Shoes: Hush Puppies Ceil Slip-on – $100
Necklace: Curious Oddities

Come to the exciting, eclectic neighborhood of Roncesvalles Village on Saturday June 15th for annual local music, arts and culture festival, Roncy Rocks!

Fresh Collective will be hosting a fabulous Sidewalk Sale between 10am-8pm of the classic Toronto clothing line Fresh Baked Goods. Come snag sweet deals on your favourite dresses, skirts and tops at this blowout sale!

Stop by for an iced herbal tea and meet and greet with two of our talented designers, Kat Shura, creator of Curious Oddities, a line of vintage styled jewellery and Yasmine Louis, renowned silk screen artist behind the one of a kind collection of Toronto cityscapes silk screened on quality tees.

We’ll keep you entertained as you shop with a live Cello performance by Sarah Steeves at 3pm.

If that’s not enough, we’ll also be drawing for our Roncy Rocks prize pack which includes a Fresh Baked Goods Dress, A Curious Oddities pocket watch (perfect gift for Dad!), and a Yasmine Louis Tee!

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Fresh Events: From Day to Night

Maybe you just got a job that involves lots of post-work events (Congratulations!), or twice a year, you’re expected to show up at a big corporate event where the memo booms “all hands on deck”.  If it stresses you out how to take an outfit from office to party, then this is your event. If a simple black dress is your thing, great.  If you like a funky tunic with bold pattern, awesome…day to night event

About Your Style Coach:

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Liz is the Foundress of LIZPR (www.lizpr.com), a company that promotes and styles classical musicians.  Liz prepares her clients for the stage, photo shoots, and auditions, but she loves styling anyone who wants to make a statement (from conservative to edgy) with his or her apparel. Liz encourages her clients to step out of their comfort zone and try something on they never would have chosen.  With every outfit you try on, be prepared for this!

This Events Featured Designer: Desserts And Skirts

This Fresh, Fun, Fabulous event is also your opportunity to preview the new 2013 Spring line from Desserts and Skirts! You’ll have a chance to shop the collection (and the entire store) before and after the styling session!
BONUS: Desserts and Skirts designer Nicole Boudreau will be giving away a piece from her spring collection!
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Fresh Events: Colour Your Spring!

Join us this Thursday, February 28th from 7:30-9:30pm as we open up our Queen Street store for a night of fun, fabulous fashion and set you up to leap into Spring head first!

Receive a complimentary consultation with our amazing Style Coaches and learn what colours work for you, which shapes are the most flattering for your figure, and how to make them work together!

Our Style Coaches for the evening... Laura-Jean Bernhardson and Kelly Kan!

Our Style Coaches for the evening… Laura-Jean Bernhardson and Kelly Kan!

It’s time to add classic essentials and funky modern twists to your wardrobe. Our boutique is bursting at the seams with fantastic new Spring collections. At this workshop our Style Coaches work with attendees to help you:

  • Dress for success at work and brush up on professional but personalized attire
  • Learn how to build a versatile wardrobe without over-stuffing your closet
  • Find the right shapes and cuts to show off and play up that amazing figure of yours, curves, no curves, and everything else!

Bring your friends, and show up ready for a fun evening with our top-notch stylists and get ready for all the amazing things spring has to offer!

Bonus: Win a blouse from designer Monikova!

One lucky attendee will walk away with a brand new Monikova blouse!

One lucky attendee will walk away with a brand new Monikova blouse!

This Fresh, Fun Fabulous event is also our opportunity to preview the new Spring 2013 line from MONIKOVA! You’ll have a chance to shop the collection (and the entire store) before and after the  styling session.

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Click the button above to check out the event on Meetup and secure your spot! See you Thursday!

2013 Oscars – Red Carpet Review

Well last night was the biggest night in Hollywood fashion. That dazzling evening where the stars come out in drool-worthy gowns and dazzle us with their red carpet hits (and misses)!

I donned my best vintage gown, grabbed a gorgeous gal pal and headed to a red-carpet Oscar Party at Riverside Public House for some nominee-themed cocktails, popcorn and to cheer on my favourite flicks.

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My friend Sabrina and I rocking the red carpet (this gown snagged me the “Best Dressed” prize)!

Now as all women do, I kept a keen eye on the dresses of the evening, formulating my own personal best-dressed list; something I’ve been doing since I was a little girl.

I have to say, this years awards hosted some BEAUTIFUL dresses on beautiful actresses and it was hard to narrow it down, but here we go… Our picks for the Best Dressed actresses of the 2013 Oscars…

OUR #1 PICK: JESSICA CHASTAIN

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One word: STUNNING. I have been admiring Jessica Chastain through the entire award season and have been so impressed with her class, poise and style. This outfit did me in. From the perfect Veronica Lake waves, to the glittering Armani Privé gown, she channeled old Hollywood to a tee. Her performance in Zero Dark Thirty was fabulous (we love a strong female role!), and I only wish she’d won, as a gold statue would have been the perfect accessory to this classic and beautiful look.
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STACEY KEIBLER:

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My jaw hit the table when I saw Clooney’s leading lady on the red carpet. This Naeem Khan gown and it’s art deco detailing is a big time winner in our books. A dress as good-looking as her date!
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JENNIFER LAWRENCE:

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The Best Actress winner topped many best dressed lists with this Dior Couture gown. The  22 year old looked radiant in this voluminous blush number, even if she did trip up the steps in it on her way to claim her award!
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CHARLIZE THERON:

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Has Charlize ever had a less-than-stellar red carpet look? We think not. She was a vision in another Couture gown from Dior with peplum detailing and a new cropped hairstyle. Two thumbs up from FC!
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ADELE:

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Oh how we adore Adele. The singer glowed in this beaded Jenny Packham gown and took home a well-deserved award for her song Skyfall. We love her humble nature, classic style, and for the way she embraces being a beautiful curvy woman!
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HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Naomi Watts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Halle Berry

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(Left to right: Naomi Watts in Armani Prive, Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zuhair Murad, and Halle Berry in Versace)

The theme of the evening seemed to be radiant, glittering metallics in silver and gold. Statuesque, structured gowns dominated the red carpet this year, some in old hollywood style, some more futuristic. These three dresses definitely stood out among the crowd!
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WORST DRESSED: ANNE HATHAWAY

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Okay, I have to start by saying that I really like Anne Hathaway. I was rooting for Les Miserables the whole way, and was thrilled when she won (it was no contest). HOWEVER… what on earth is she wearing? There are so many things going wrong with this Prada number. The colour washes her out, it’s cut like a junior high graduation dress and what’s going on with the back (we’re not even going to talk about what’s going on with the darts in the front)? To top it off the Tiffany’s necklace is so awkwardly placed, there really is nothing good to say here. Such a shame when she has a history of such great style.
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Who were your top fashion picks at this years Oscars? Were you happy with the show and the winners?
Sound off in the comments below!

FC EVENT: Sarah Portway Launches New Book at FC Queen!

Happy Family Day!
Family is such an important part of life, and I don’t like to stop at the people you share blood with. I think in life we create our own families, little gaggles of people that mean the world to us. I am lucky to have a  pretty amazing family, and a great extended family of friends that spreads across the world!
Of course, I am always referring to my coworkers as my FC family – and that’s not just because of the convenient alliteration, it’s because I really believe it to be true.

On that note, I’m excited to share with you that one of the members of that family has some big news: our very own Sarah Portway is publishing a book! To celebrate this awesome accomplishment, we are hosting her book launch event this Thursday at our Queen Street Store (and you’re invited)!

Learn more about this book in Sarah’s own words:

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Hello Fresh Collective fans,

This isn’t my first guest-blog, but for me this is the most exciting. Over the summer I had my Master’s thesis published and we are launching my book at the Queen Street store (692 Queen Street West) starting at 7PM on February 21st. I’m thrilled to share my years of research with you and possibly entice you to add my book to your shelves (along with some great local fashion for the closet on the same night). As a fashion academic and educator in the sustainability field, I don’t often get to nerd-out to my full capabilities; I’m saving it all for you next Thursday!

My book is entitled Regenerative Abundance: Fast and Sustainable Apparel Production in Toronto. It’s a mouthful, but sometimes great things come with long titles! What I’ve been working on for the last few years is a solution. I know this audience won’t be surprised to know that many small-scale local fashion designers are having a hard time competing in today’s retail market. I decided to look at what might be responsible for that. According to my research (and many other scholars and market strategists in the field), consumers are demanding what we currently call ‘fast fashion.’ Fast fashion pieces are generally of lower quality but are pointedly on trend, and available at a low cost. These pieces come in and out of the wardrobe quickly and not bought with the long-run in mind. These goods also cycle through stores very quickly, meaning the fashion season is being shortened. This trend in purchasing behavior and retailing shows no sign of stopping anytime soon, which means that if local design is going to thrive in Toronto, we need to negotiate new terms which meet contemporary demands.

But meeting new demands isn’t enough; there is the planet to think of! Fast fashion encourages large quantity buying, lots of the pieces will only be worn a few times before being disposed of. So my research had to dig deeper. How can we as local designers nourish the planet at the same time as our own wallets and local economy? Authors McDonough and Braungart pose some very convincing strategies in their book Cradle-to-Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things. The new terms that I have negotiated for designers bring the Cradle-to-Cradle strategies into perspective in real terms. I’ve answered the question: what would a fast and sustainable fashion industry look like in Toronto? How can we get there?

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Not to toot my own horn, but people seem to like what I’ve come up with (I hope you do too!). I’ve presented this work at international conferences and am on track to continue this work at Cornell University next year as I begin my Ph.D. in apparel design and fiber science. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an acceptance letter any day now! I currently hold a Master’s degree in Fashion from Ryerson, a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Guelph and I split my time between teaching at Ryerson and helping you find fabulous local design at Fresh Collective’s Queen Street store on the weekends.

I look forward to meeting you all! Can’t wait to be my nerdy self and get down to the business of fashion.

XOXO -Sarah Portway

P.S. My book will also be available for electronic purchase that evening and after the event these print-to-order beauties will be on their way directly to your door! If you would like to pre-purchase your copy and have it signed the night of the launch, CLICK HERE to do so.

Click the RSVP button below to see all the event details and RSVP! See you Thursday!

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BONUS: We’ll also be giving away a brand new Penny Dress from Paper People Clothing’s Spring 2013 line that night! Good Luck!

WIN THIS DRESS!

WIN THIS DRESS!

www.paperpeopleclothing.com :: Paper People on Facebook

 

This Weekend at Fresh Collective: Lois Laine, Desserts & Skirts, Michelle Carey!

We’ve got a weekend jam packed with exclusive events in our stores. Not only will you get the chance to meet a designer new to FC, but you’ll get a first look at new spring items from some of  your favourites!

Introducing: Lois Laine

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Born out of the love of earth and beauty, Lois Laine is a contemporary women’s clothing line that is both elegant and playful.  Lois Laine believes that clothing can be beautiful, comfortable, and pleasurable.  We double the pleasure by being ecologically responsible.  What could feel
better than a beautiful, timeless garment made from sustainable fabric?
We want our customers to feel good in every way.

 

Creator, Lois (Elaine) Van Koughnet has a background in
both theatrical costume and interior design who showcases the influence of historical shapes as well as architectural lines in her garments.  Lois is also a nature lover with a deep connection to the natural world drawing inspiration from
seasonal energies as well as animal and plant forms.

Meet the designer and shop Lois Laine at Fresh Collective Roncesvalles this Saturday and Sunday from 1pm-5pm as she hosts a special guest trunk show! 

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Spring Preview: Desserts & Skirts / Michelle Carey

Our Queen St store is also full of fun this weekend, as designers Nicole Boudreau and Michelle Carey will be on-hand to show of new spring designs AND sell off past season’s stock at great prices!

Desserts & Skirts - Spring 2013

Desserts & Skirts – Spring 2013

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Michelle Carey – Spring 2013

Both designers will be in store Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1pm-5pm. Stop in, say hello, and grab something special for yourself!

As always, keep an eye on the FC EVENT CALENDAR for upcoming events, sales and trunk shows!

 

Guest Blog: Style Coach Liz Parker on how to ReFRESH your Spring Wardrobe!

We’re excited to have the stylish, spirited and oh-so-fun Liz Parker with us tomorrow night for our ReFRESH YOUR WARDROBE event at our Queen Street store tomorrow night! 

Read on to get to know Liz a bit better and find out more about this fun event and the insight she’ll be sharing!
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I’m quite excited by the event coming up with Fresh Collective on Wednesday night.  What I love about fashion is it’s an instant, daily, obvious way to express yourself.  For some people, fashion is pure instinct and talent; for others, it takes a bit of work figuring out what works and their bodies types, and why.

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Once you get the basics down – which is learning what fits your body – you can build from there.  Start with the basic in your wardrobe (little black dress, jeans, tops) and then build on that (experimenting with colour, prints, accessories, shoes).
I follow the fashion trends as a hobby and obsession.  I remember Estee Lauder’s perfume “Beautiful” featuring Pauliza Porizkova as a bride in the 90s, following the sexually charged “Obsession” ads by Calvin Klein, which were less acceptable in the wake of the then AIDS crisis of the late 80s.  I remember when cargo pants became the rage in the early 00s … because of the war in Iraq.  It became trendy to resemble the troops.  Fashion reflects both our times, as well as you, and where you’re at.
I’ll be chatting about some of the trends we can actually wear.


1)  Black and White (yay!  Don’t we all have a pair of black pants and a white top?).  It doesn’t have to be boring; I’ll show you how to add a pop of colour to freshen up your outfit.

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2) Prints (don’t be afraid of prints.  I’ll wear them on my pants, but if that’s scary, then I’ll show you how to ease into this trend)
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3) Flats and low heels (THANK GOD.  I hate high heels.) Please note: flats does not mean “baked potato” shoes.  You can be quite stylish in practical shoes.
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4) What do I wear with jeans? I’m hearing that a lot of you come into the store asking this.  I’ll bring in a pair of jeans and show you how I wear ’em.  I love a fashion challenge, and helping any person of any body type find the right fit and feel really good about his or her outfit.
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I look forward to seeing you there!
xo – LP


Meet Liz at Fresh Collective Queen St TOMORROW NIGHT for our ReFRESH Your Wardrobe Event. Click here to learn more and RSVP!


Introducing I’Moniq Accessories

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We’re pleased to welcome another gorgeous line of accessories to the Fresh Collective family! These beautifully crafted accessories featuring gorgeous textiles will be making an appearance at FC Queen THIS WEEK!
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About the Designer:
Monique Anderson successfully received a BA in fashion design from Ryerson University in 2004. Although her love for apparel was very apparent, it was while visiting India that she was inspired to realize her true calling. Her adoration of unique textiles and secret obsession for jewellery meant more than just a shopping experience – it was a way of life. Having been surrounded by colourful textiles and intricate artwork all her life, as a result of an Afro-Caribbean upbringing, Monique’s Indian excursion sparked an interest that had remained dormant for a long time. Monique then took her two loves – jewelry and textiles – and fused them together to give birth to I’MONIQ Accessories.

 

About I’MONIQ Accessories:
          I’MONIQ Accessories incorporates rich textiles offering a new and fresh take on costume jewelry. The silk scarves used in each piece are hand-dyed in different cities and villages from around the world including Bali, Thailand, and Chennai. These colourful and luxurious scarves are then knotted and combined with diverse materials and transformed into amazing new art forms. A great deal of time, craftsmanship and care goes into each piece resulting in intricate and unique jewelry to complete the finest of collections.
Hand-crafted in Monique’s Toronto-based studio, I’MONIQ offers limited runs of necklaces, bracelets and earrings composed of strong mixed metals, crystals and vibrant silks from cities and villages across the globe. Prices range from $50 – $350.
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“I’MONIQ is the perfect marriage of classic and current designs, with a signature twist. The intricate designs and detailed craftsmanship of this jewelry are incomparable to anything I’ve seen. You can see the love and inspiration put into each piece.”
–       Melanie Fiona, Singer, Grammy winner


Check out some stunning designs at the I’Moniq pop up shop this Wednesday and Thursday (Feb 13th and 14th) at our Queen Street store! 1pm-5pm daily.
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Something Sweet and Special from Elementals Jewellery!

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Custom Bracelets from Elementals Jewellery!Kelly Kan, the fabulous talent behind Elementals Jewellery has something special planned this month! February 8th & 9th at Fresh Collective Queen St, Kelly will be offering customization on her bangles (pictured below) and plain tag bracelets (same as pictured above, but without the raw diamonds). These stunning pieces can be customized on the spot with your name/message!
SONY DSC Plain Tag Bracelets will be $59.00 +tax, bangles will be $79.00 +tax, and Kelly will even be waiving her usual customization fee so those prices are all inclusive! 

Get to know Kelly a bit better with this Q&A:

How long have you been designing/where did you get your start?

I guess you can say Jewellery Design is in my blood. My family have been in the fine jewellery business for three generations. I was given my first kit with plastic beads at three, I think. Growing up, I never bought any of my friends Christmas or Birthday presents- everyone always got handmade necklaces or bracelets. I spent a lot of time with friendship-bracelets-in-progress pinned to my jeans as an early teen. 

Where did you find your inspiration for this collection?
I have always loved mixing textures, high-lows and design influences. My signature piece for Spring/Summer 2013 is a perfect example of the aesthetics that I love- It’s a very classically crafted double strand of Swarovski pearls, with a beautiful Art-Deco inspired clasp – but the pearls are this delicious matte neon pink.
If you could dress any celebrity who would it be?
I would love to see my jewellery on Local Torontonians! Off  the top of my head – Sarah Polley, Meaghan Rath and Anna Silk. 
What is the most rewarding part about having your own line? I get to pour my creativity into my very own vision. I don’t need to answer to anyone else’s design mandates except my own and my client’s. It’s one of the hardest jobs I should imagine, but also the most fulfilling. The learning curve is steep. 

What has been the best part of your Fresh Collective journey thus far?
Working for yourself is lonely- I hide in my basement all day!  Being part of the Collective puts me back into a community of like minded, talented people. 
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Co-hosting this Queen St Trunk Show will be the awesome Jessie Tucker Lyzwa of Sugar Rush – another one of our fab jewellery designers! Jessie will be unveiling new pieces from her spring line as well as offering 40% off her Fall/Winter line!
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The Elementals/Sugar Rush Trunk Show runs from 1pm-5pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday (Feb 8, 9, 10). See our EVENTS CALENDAR for more up and coming Trunk Shows and Events.