Mandy Armstrong is the designer behind our best selling line, Mandala Design. Women love her clothes because they fit and look fantastic and because they are just the right mix of retro fun and wearable chic. Mandy has been selling her line with us since the early days of both Mandala Design and Fresh Collective, and her line’s success has been a huge part of our success. She is an excellent designer, a smart businesswoman and a genuine pleasure to do business with. I have learned a lot from watching how she runs her business, and I look forward to building many more stores for her to sell her line in! – Laura-Jean Bernhardson, Founder and CEO of Fresh Collective
Name: Mandy Armstrong
Occupation: Clothing Designer
Age: Let’s just say that I remember the 80’s too well to consider it vintage.
Lifestyle: A work in progress. While I’d be quite content to hole up and work most of the time, I also want to get out into the world and see what’s going on. Visit new places, try new food, experience new adventures. I know I’m a bit too introverted for my own good, but I’m working on it!
Style Coach notes: With Mandy’s dark hair and light complexion, strong colours look best on her. This dress is a great alternative to Mandy’s typical studio look of jeans and a tee-shirt, and would be perfect for an interview with a magazine, to meet a client or for date night with her hubby.
What’s a typical day like for you? Wake up, get dressed, get on the computer to ‘work’. Spend way too much time looking at funny animal videos. Walk around the corner to my studio. I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else! Go home for lunch, walk our dog, Tristan. Back to the studio. Sing along (badly) to songs from my youth. Go home, walk dog, make dinner, ‘work’ – in this case it usually means research and development which is code for reading a book or magazine, watching TV or a movie or visiting the local pub for a pint. Who knows where that next spark of inspiration will come from, right?!
What in your life is really important to you? Family and creating pretty things.
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What would you like to be remembered for? There’s no way to answer this question without sounding cheesy so here goes… I’d like to be remembered as someone who made clothing that made women feel good about themselves. I’d also like to learn to be the best knife thrower ever. I should probably get started on that.
Style Coach notes: We chose the shoes because the black borders echo the borders on the dress, and the bracelets dress this look up enough to go to a summer wedding. This dress has just enough shape to skim a woman’s curves and not so much that it clings or restricts.
What role does fashion play in your life? Huge. Not because I always dress well (I’m huddled away at the studio most days in jeans and tees – don’t ever let anyone tell you that the clothing industry is glamorous – it ain’t), but because it’s what I love. Ever since I can remember I’ve loved clothes. I love the fabric, the buttons, the details, the construction. I especially love vintage clothes, the stories they tell and the ones I make up for them.
What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective? I’ve been a part of the Collective for so long and it’s such a big part of my business. Shopping there is always a joy! I’m so amazed at the creativity that can be found right here in our very own city. It’s been a fabulous experience getting to know the staff and other designers and sharing in everyone’s successes. I’m at the shops almost every week and it’s a real struggle not to succumb to the urge to buy something EVERY TIME!
Style Coach notes: This slouchy linen tee is a great with these awesome snake print pants. The top is neutral, sophisticated and tones down the va-va-voom factor of the pants. As well, the loose fit on top works as a contrast to the slim fit on the bottom. We completed the look with a bold chain necklace because, well, it just worked.
What do you have that you want to promote? One of the things that has been in the forefront of my mind these past several years is the state of the clothing industry – both overseas and right here in Canada. While I’m proud to promote the fact that all of Mandala’s clothing is made right here in Toronto, as a consumer I feel it’s my obligation to support the brands and companies that are making a real effort to curb the bad practices used by some larger corporations. Shopping local and knowing where an item comes from are just a couple of ways that I’m striving to change my purchasing habits. I think that we are becoming much more aware of the conditions that workers endure and I’m hoping that with increased pressure, we can look forward to a day when all employees both here and abroad can enjoy a living wage in safe conditions.
Is there anything else we should know about you? We recently adopted one of the cutest rescue dogs in the world (that would be Tristan), I have a 17 (almost 18, yikes!) year old son, I ride a kick-ass cherry-red Suzuki VS800 Intruder motorcycle and my favourite colour is green.
Ready for a new you through fashions like these? Tempted but not sure if it’s really “you”? Book your complimentary Perfect Fit Wardrobe makeover with a Fresh Collective Style Coach today. We sell confidence and self-expression and are committed to having YOU look and feel your best.