Jane recommends: The Charlie Slouch Tee

Jane' new art

10428492_912806462084046_6457131983133613143_n

Today I’m featuring another piece from Mandala Design – the Charlie Slouch Tee. So simple and beautifully cut and draped to fit and flatter so many body types. It comes in a rainbow of colours at all of our locations.

Buy the Charlie Slouch Tee online here: BUY NOW

Charlie slouch tee

Jane shows off three different looks with the Charlie tee and simple black jeans.

This piece is a fantastic wardrobe builder.  At FC, we want you to be choosing versatile pieces you’ll love for a long time and be able to wear in many different ways.

charlietee

Here, Samantha Hurwitz, author of Leadership is Half the Story, shows off a Charlie Slouch Tee with a Sara Flip Print Skirt also by Mandala Design.  See Samantha’s Style Profile here.

This one is a no-brainer staple to get for your wardrobe- so much so that many of our customers grab several in a variety of colours. You can mix it match it with pants, skirts, blazers, sweaters. Dress it up or down for work or play.

Just check out all the ways we’ve styled it and get inspired!

Buy the Charlie Slouch Tee online here: BUY NOW

11021159_889633117734714_1539944113628314455_n

Here Rachel Zuckerbrot, our Style Coach at Kensington, pairs the Charlie tee with a BurfurtART necklace and diamond patterned pants from Brenda Beddome.

11034305_891439547554071_1609922409664582658_n

Angela Osmond, our Store Manager at Roncesvalles shows off three looks with the Charlie Tee.

 

jane's bio

Mandala Design’s Gayle Dress and Matt & Nat!

Jane' new art

Oh happy day!  I get to show off TWO of my favourite Canadian brands in this post!

Starting with the Gayle dress by Mandala Design, this is a almost a quintessential Fresh Collective kind of dress.  Here’s why:

  1. The colours and prints are fun, bold and feminine!
  2. Not only is the fit flattering on most bodies, this style walks the line between sexy and demure all at the same time.  You could wear it to teach grade three or out on a date and it would be appropriate for either situation.
  3. The fabric is easy care and virtually wrinkle free.  It will travel exceptionally well, pack small and you could easily wash it in your hotel sink if need be!
Gayle dress- Jane

Gayle Dress by Mandala Design – $128; Bag (left) Baxter – $128 and now 20% off Bag (right) Whilem $124

 

Mandy Armstrong, the designer behind Mandala Design knows her customers’ needs very well, and is masterful and designing with YOU and your lifestyle in mind.  Year after year, we love seeing her collections come out and be consistent favourites with our customers.

Matt&Nat is another favourite among our customers because they last FOREVER! The number one thing I hear customers say about Matt & Nat is “Oh I have one of their wallets/bags from 8 years ago and it looks great but I think it’s time for a new one”. Matt & Nat is a vegan bag line that looks like leather and a lot of thought goes into the details of the design making it perfect for everyday use. The price points are also great making them easy to fall in love with.

Akibo

Akibo clutch by Matt&Nat – shown in Iris, other colours available are black, storm, champagne $79 (20% off now $63)

I want to make sure to highlight the really fabulous Akibo clutch from Matt&Nat.  When I select all the styles I always look for how it’s going to fit into people’s lives. This clutch is awesome because your hand slides through the front strap making it stick to your hand easily. This is the perfect clutch for going out on a date, attending a networking event or just looking like the creative professional that you are. Now 20% off for a limited time!

 jane's bio

Product info:

Ms. Haselgrove’s Picks and Tips – Brenda Beddome’s 3-way Cardigan

Jane' new art

Toronto based designer Brenda Beddome created a best selling cardigan last fall that could be worn 3 ways, and thank GOODNESS she is recreating it in a spring version!  A lightweight, versatile spring sweater is a perfect wardrobe builder and this one hits all the marks!  I know this cardigan is sure to be a best-seller this spring!

Three reasons you’ll LOVE it!

  1. It’s lightweight!  It’s so light and airy, you can easily pack it in your purse to bring along for the evening or in a carry-on bag for travel.
  2. The fabric is heathered, which gives it some interest but keeps it neutral enough to go with most prints.
  3. It’s so versatile! With 3 ways to wear it (open, buttoned and tied) it offers a LOT of versatility for styling.

Need to have it?  Come in to any of our three locations, or order online here.

Here you can see a demonstration of how the buttons work to transform the look.

brenda_Beddome_cardigan_1

Three way cardigan – Brenda Beddome, $99 Colours available: white, grey, blue

Check out this variety of looks to get a sense of all the ways you could work this piece into your spring wardrobe!

brenda_Beddome_cardigan_2 brenda_Beddome_cardigan_3

Cute, eh? To buy come in to any of our three locations, or order online here.

jane's bio 

 

 

 

Top 3 tips for indie fashion designers in Canada

Jane' new art

In my role as Product Coordinator at Fresh Collective, I feel privileged to work with up to 50 designers each year.  These designers are all entrepreneurs as well which is key to making it as a designer.  Essentially, they are each running a small manufacturing business. They develop, test and tweak their products, then manage production, sales, marketing and bookkeeping.

It takes a lot to juggle all these jobs successfully and keep putting out fresh products each season.  Here are my top 3 tips for succeeding in launching your own line:

1. Research:  Find out as much as you can by browsing stores, meeting people and looking at other products out there that would be your competition.  Go all over the city, store to store. Learn about the boutiques. Find ones you love. Talk to the people working there and see if you can see your line fitting it. Look at the garments and jewellery; examine how they are constructed, look the price. How is your product going to stand out? How will you produce items that will sell at a marketable price?  Will your line play a nice complement to the other lines and help them sell?   Then research potential customers- your friends and family is a good place to start! Show people your samples and ask their opinions of them. Knowledge is power!

supporting local designers

Jane Haselgrove wearing a dress by Melow from Montreal in the Queen Street location of Fresh Collective.

 

2. Get started selling: Do craft shows, special sales and events. Get your product in front of real people. Test it out on the market. Find out who your customer is and what they love. Back in the day, I also had my own clothing line and Jennifer Fukushima and I used to share a booth at the Clothing Show once in a while. Meet other designers and come up with ways to collaborate on a space at a craft show if you have to. This way when you show your line to retailers you can tell them what your best sellers are. (Hint: That’s the first question I always ask when I meet a new designer!)

3. Start small. Design 2 to 5 key pieces and perfect them.  Many designers spread themselves too thin thinking that they need to produce a full collection.  What happens too often is they drain their money and time and miss the season. And then they repeat the mistake the next season.   What works is building a repertoire of core pieces that sell well and that you can create variations on.  A fabulously fitting dress can be done in many fabrics, with short sleeves or long, and can make your whole career.  Simple and easy reproduction of a best selling piece will be your money maker.

 

I’m very proud of the work we do at Fresh Collective to partner with designers to grow our business along with theirs.  I feel a particular sense of pride when a new designer starts with us and we get to watch their progress as they work hard, innovate, take feedback and work some more to start really seeing some success.  It feels awesome to send a  sales report with a little note like, “You better get to work!  We’re almost sold out of your dresses!”

Are you an emerging or established Canadian designer interested in selling with us?  Please get in touch and tell us about your line!

jane's bio

 

Ms. Haselgrove’s Picks and Tips – Bloomin’ Brilliant Design

Jane' new art

A new label has an infinitely better chance of succeeding when the designer is able to respond to the customers’ needs.  It takes a lot of work and flexibility to make sure your product is succeeding when it hits the marketplace and some designers can get discouraged when sales are slow to begin with.

Rhea Jacinto of Bloomin’ Brilliant Design is a great example of an adaptable entrepreneur.   She works with me every week to bring new styles, replenish what’s sold and switch out what hasn’t.  Through being this involved, I know she is gaining valuable insight to design the pieces that people will love – and buy!

When a designer is new, I’m happy to spend extra time helping them understand what customers are looking for.  Sometimes the design is beautiful, but it might not be practical to wear to work and some tweaks can help make the style more accessible.  Sometimes, with clothing, it can be fit or comfort issues.  To succeed as a designer means getting all the elements right- quality, price point, fit, comfort and style- and that’s not easy to do!

Aside from being a smart and easy-to- work with business person, Rhea is a very creative and talented designer.  Of all her pieces, I love her statement necklaces the best.  I chose three of my favourites to feature here.

PSX_20150120_195319

Necklace: Onora – Bloomin’ Brilliant, $52

SAMSUNG CSC

Necklace: Mara – Bloomin’ Brilliant, $ 55

PSX_20150120_195414

Necklace: Lexa – Bloomin’ Brilliant, $ 83

 

Come on in and check out Rhea Jacinto’s fabulous line of jewellery, Bloomin’ Brilliant at Queen Street and Roncesvalles.

 

 

 

jane's bio

Ms. Haselgrove’s Picks and Tips- Caméléon

Jane' new art

A fabulous new line at our Queen Street West store is Caméléon out of Quebec. Caméléon is designed by Karine Gervais and she often uses eco friendly fibres such as organic cotton and bamboo.

The line is sized a bit smaller than many of our Toronto designers and when selecting the various lines we carry, knowing how a line fits is very important to make sure that we are accommodating our customer base. I make sure I can find great pieces to fit different body types. While some designers fit small, others are true to size or fit generously.  By carrying a mix, we make sure we get a better variety of fits for the widest variety of customer possible.

Caméléon also offers many great basics like denim skirts, tank tops and jackets to build your wardrobe.  Here I am showing off some of my favourite pieces from the early spring arrivals,

SAMSUNG CSC

  • Bamboo Tie-Dye Tank Top: $48
  • Solid Tank Top Underneath: $38
  • Denim Skirt $98

 

SAMSUNG CSC

  • Bird top – Navy and Red: $78
  • Denim Skirt: $98

Come on into the Queen Street store soon and I’ll help style you up from head to toe!

jane's bio

 

 

Ms. Haselgrove’s Picks and Tips – Colleen Poitras

Ms Haselgrove title art

Colleen Poitras Jewellery is an exciting new line for us at Fresh Collective!

Her tagline is “Pretty. Rocker. Chic. Accessories.” and I think she’s nailed it!  What I like about her jewellery is that it is very simple, clean and well constructed. She also adds little details like singeing the edges of some of the leather feather earrings so they curl up. She offers a great selection of leather and chain accessories that are work appropriate and have some edge.

Currently, it’s only being carried at Queen Street.  As part of our process to be sure we’re carrying what our customers will love, whenever we start with a new designer, we test out different styles and pieces at Queen Street.  If you’re the kind of fashion fan who likes the “newest of the new” of Canadian design, be sure to visit our Queen Street store often! Because of our testing process, you’re sure to find more experimental pieces there before the best sellers start to hit our other locations.

Colleen poitras

Product info:
Silver Leather Feather Earrings $36
Chain Necklace with Oxblood Leather detail: $55
Leather Cuff: $60

Only a few weeks in with this new line and so far the customers are LOVING the leather pieces by Colleen Pointras.  Personally, I love a bit of an edgy look, so I love the leather clasps holding the chain necklaces and the leather cuffs.  I also love the unexpected texture and feel of the leather feather earrings.

Come on in and see the Colleen Poitras collection at Fresh Collective Queen today!

jane's bio

Ms. Haselgrove’s Picks and Tips!

Ms Haselgrove title art

In my role as Product Coordinator for Fresh Collective, I’m responsible to find great design and quality and bring it to our racks for our wonderful customers. Sometimes I’m looking for statement pieces- that bold print or cool asymmetrically cut sweater-  and other times, I’m looking for great basic style and design that’s simple, but never “plain”.

These pieces from the Desserts and Skirts Spring 2015 line are those great basics. These are wardrobe builders that you can accessorize all kinds of ways to make them dressy, business casual or just everyday casual, while always looking polished and cute.

Ms Haselgrove


Jane Haselgrove models her picks from the early Spring Arrivals at the Queen Street store.Top: Panel Tee- Desserts and Skirts, $58
Skirt: Denim Pocket A-line, $88
Necklace: Rhode, Bloomin’ Brilliant, $67

In this picture I’ve topped the outfit off with a statement necklace, but a colourful silk scarf, a bold pendant or a blazer are just three of the many possible ways you could style this outfit.

When choosing the wardrobe building pieces, I always look for the subtle style details that make the piece a blank canvas for accessories and your personality.

There’s nothing “plain” about the simple pieces we look for at Fresh Collective!

Ms Haselgrove bio art