Fresh Collective Style Profile – Peggy Nash

I love Peggy Nash!  I’m very interested in women in leadership roles, and the first time I met Peggy in our shop, I was so impressed with how lovely she is in person and her commitment to shopping local and supporting local businesses. She is stylish, elegant and always looks comfortable and relatable.  She’s been a regular customer of ours for years and I’m proud that we outfit one of our leaders.

  – Laura-Jean, CEO and founder of Fresh Collective

 Name: Peggy Nash

Occupation: Member of Parliament

Age: 63

Lifestyle: Very active, sporty

This blouse is lined with a soft and stretchy fabric for maximum comfort and coverage, but the silk overlayer is light as air for a gorgeous, super feminine look.  We paired it with the fitted skirt for a contrast - structured on the bottom and airy on top.  (Blouse: Silk Tie Blouse - TetianaK $150, Skirt: Lithia Skirt - Annie 50 $138, Shoes: Edye Lonna Heel - Hush Puppies $100, Bracelet: Ch-ch-chains - BurfurtART $45)

Style Coach Notes: This blouse is lined with a soft and stretchy fabric for maximum comfort and coverage, but the silk overlayer is light as air for a gorgeous, super feminine look. We paired it with the fitted skirt for a contrast – structured on the bottom and airy on top. (Blouse: Silk Tie Blouse – TetianaK $150, Skirt: Lithia – Annie 50 $138, Shoes: Edye Lonna Heel – Hush Puppies $100, Bracelet: Ch-ch-chains – BurfurtART $45)

What’s a typical day like for you? Up by 6am, read the news, go for a run, quickly get ready and then usually in first meeting at 8am. In Ottawa there is a core schedule of committee meetings, House Duty, Question Period, then other events and meetings are slotted in between.  In Toronto, I try to get to as many community meetings, events and activities possible, while also meeting with constituents at my office.  Every day is different. I commute between the two cities every week when the House is sitting. Continue reading

Style Profile – Kathleen “The Dancing Crossing Guard” Byers

I am very lucky in that I have lived next door to Kathleen Byers for close to a decade. Before she became famous as The Dancing Crossing Guard, Kathleen to me was an AMAZING woman who greets each day with energy and enthusiasm and just adds joy into any relationship and any conversation.  She has become a huge part of people’s day in our neighbourhood at her crossing, dancing and spreading joy three times a day every weekday while ensuring kids cross the street safely.  While we don’t know what the future holds for Kathleen’s position as a crossing guard, I know that whatever she does it will inspire people and add a major contribution to many people’s lives.  To see Kathleen’s extensive press coverage, click here.”  – Laura-Jean Bernhardson, Founder and CEO of Fresh Collective

Name:  Kathleen Byers
Occupation:  Semi-Retired, Crossing Guard, Former Fitness Instructor 25 years, Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother
Age: 65
Lifestyle: Active


Dress: Lila dress – Mandala, $158
Bracelet: Myka, $169
Shoes: Athena, Miz Mooz, $145

Style Coach notes:  Kathleen LOVES colour and pattern, so we chose bold pieces for her to model.  This dress is flattering to any figure with the nipped in waist and full skirt, and comfortable enough for any occasion.  And, oh, need I say it…. pockets?  We LOVE pockets in dresses!


Did you know Fresh Collective has Styling Services?  Many women don’t know what looks good on them or how to project the image they want.  Our Style Coaches know the language of fashion. We’ll help you make great choices and build a wardrobe you’ll LOVE.

Book a complimentary Perfect Fit Wardrobe Makeover today in any of our stores. You’ll leave feeling confident, gorgeous and inspired about fashion and life.


What’s a typical day like for you? Relaxing every morning with my sweetheart and a cup o’ Java!  After that it’s all about choosing the colours I’ll be wearing that day. I choose my outfits by the way I feel, rain or shine!  I love colour, it energizes me! As a Crossing Guard I stay quite active by moving around to a good beat!

Some have called me The Dancing Crossing Guard, I call it my Diabetes Prevention Program! It’s rhythmic aerobic exercise four hours everyday which I do while safely crossing children to school.  I have two breaks everyday which I use for eating and resting. This makes for a very full day, since I start about 8am and finish at 4pm.  I am blessed to live, work, and play in my own community.

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Dress: Lana Shatter Slash Shift Dress – Mandala Design, $138
Shoes: Pepper – Miz Mooz, $150

Style Coach Notes:  More bold prints and colours for Kathleen.  Aside from her vibrant personality, Kathleen looks fantastic in rich colours because of her skin tone and hair.  This dress skims Kathleen’s curves without hugging too tight, and the keyhole neckline adds a bit of fun without being too revealing.  This would be a great dress for a summer dinner on a patio with Kathleen’s hubby, Jim.

What in your life is really important to you?  Belonging is very important for me.  A friendly wave from a neighbour, a nod or smile, really it’s the simple things in life that matter the most.  I love to laugh everyday!

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Dress: Dandelion dress – Desserts and Skirts, $125
Bracelet: Ch-ch-chains – BurfurtART $65
Shoes: Kathleen’s own


What would you like to be remembered for? Fun!  I used to say, “Have fun everyday, why not have fun all the time!”


Dress: Amy dress – Michelle Carey, $198
Earrings: Curious Oddities, $18
Shoes: Kathleen’s own

Style Coach Notes:  For Kathleen, her family is most important, and with all those people to love in her life, there’s no end to the birthday parties and anniversaries she is going to. This dress is a great versatile piece and is perfect for all kinds of fun summer occasions. The dots are perfect for Kathleen’s personality, and the shape is so flattering with the band at the waist, gathered bust and full skirt.  This dress creates an awesome hourglass silhouette for a wide variety of figures.  I have to add that at the beginning of the photo shoot, Kathleen was a bit reserved in her poses.  By the end, she was strutting her stuff, dancing, laughing and posing like a supermodel.

What role does fashion play in your life?  Fashion for me has always been about running gear or jeans and tops.  I never wear dresses or skirts or anything that girly or feminine.  That is, not until today when I saw the great designs and collections at Fresh Collective.

What do you love about Fresh Collective?  I loved the beautiful prints full of colour and great style.  I loved the pockets, yes pockets!

What do you have that you want to promote? I am available for a new career in modelling, “Great-Grandma Fashionista!”

Is there anything else we should know about you? I once got three strikes in a row – bowling!



Style Profile – Pip Bradford

Those of you who have been to Roncy when Pip is in the store may have received some cookies, some fashion advice or just had a good laugh.  She is our honorary Fresh Collective employee and a pleasure to know.

I first met Pip during a Wardrobe Makeover last summer. From the moment she walked into the store exclaiming that “Pip is here!” I knew that this girl was something special.  Pip is super outgoing and not afraid to speak her mind.  She loves our store and our designers and we love Pip.  She is not afraid to try something new and loves to go outside of her comfort zone with fashion.  Her clothes always match her personality and her amazing tattoos and she just radiates happiness.

Anyone that gets to meet her instantly falls in love with her and the party really doesn’t start until Pip has arrived!  She is a woman of many talents and an absolute pleasure to be around.  I look forward to the days that I know she is coming for a visit, and when it’s a surprise it’s even better!

– Joe McKiernan; Store Leader Fresh Collective Roncesvalles

Name: Sarah “Pip” Bradford
Occupation: Production Manager/Stage Manager/Theatre Technician
Age: 31
Lifestyle: Saying one “works hard and plays hard” makes one sound like a frat boy, but there you go.


Dress: Gwen Poppy Print Dress – Mandala Design $148
Shoes: Lonna T-Bar Black – Hush Puppies $100

Style Coach Notes: Pip has a big, bold and vibrant personality so a print like this is perfect for her. This dress is also practical for her life on the go. Pockets allow her a place to tuck things, and the the easy but flattering fit allows a lot of movement for a busy gal like Pip. This dress can easily be worn in various ways- more professionally with a fitted black linen or cotton blazer or with a belted cardigan and tights in cooler weather for example.

What’s a typical day like for you?

As a freelance theatre artist, there really isn’t such a thing as a typical day. I could be organizing a bi-lingual Spanish/English festival with artists from across the Americas; rehearsing a children’s show; or installing technical elements for a different play, usually all at once. Given that I usually start work between 8 and 10am and end my night with a drink with friends as late as 11pm, I can often spend up to sixteen hours a day on the go.

What in your life is really important to you?

It can be really hard to prioritize when you have so many things happening! I’m very lucky that so many of the most important people in my life work with me often, so I don’t have to choose between my friends and my career, which I think are my big two.

My current extracurricular passions include comic books (I give the part of my paycheque that doesn’t go to Fresh Collective to The Beguiling on Markham Street), youth mentorship in the arts, and learning to do things I don’t know how to do. I just taught myself how to cook (like a grownup!), and now I’m teaching myself how to silkscreen. I love challenging myself!


Dress: Dandelion Dress – Desserts and Skirts $125
Necklace: Ch-ch-chains – BurfurtArt $57
Shoes: Lonna T-bar Tan – Hush Puppies $100

Style Coach Notes: This dress is a soft and comfy jersey- again great for a girl on the go! It looks so great Pip could attend an important meeting but she could also ride her bike there in this dress. This dress flatters most figures because of the cut. The band shows off a waistline while the skirt just flows easily over tummy and hips. And the drape of the fabric is just gorgeous.

What would you like to be remembered for?

My brains, my guts, and my ability to hold my liquor.

What role does fashion play in your life?

I have a big personality, and I look to fashion to help me express that.

With so much of my time spent on-the-go, it’s important to me that I’m always ready for anything. I mean, I could leave my house thinking I’m just going to supervise a work call for a few hours, but by the end of the day I’ve managed to also fit in a lunch meeting, a hundred errands, and a first date with an exciting new person…and in the right dress, I can do all of it!

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?

Hanging out with Joe.

Ah, I joke! I mean, I do love Joe, but there’s so much more than that to love about shopping at Fresh Collective. The whole staff is great, and they always remember my style and have ready recommendations based on their excellent knowledge of the designers they stock. And the designers! I am locked in a years-long love affair with Mandala Designs (I cannot wait to get my hands on her summer line!), and I think I own four different versions of the Skirts and Desserts Frill Dress. There’s always something new and exciting to check out every time I go in!


Dress: Annete Dress – Studio Fresh $179
Shoes: Lonna T-Bar Black – Hush Puppies $100

Style Coach Notes: Another fantastic dress for Pip. This one is a little off-beat with the patchy fabric and awesome print. The fit is flattering and easy- a little fitted in the top and more loose and skimming in the skirt. The top is a stretch fabric which allows Pip a lot of movement and comfort for her busy life!

What do you have that you want to promote?

Okay, guys, I tried to choose just one thing, but I have to go with two, in chronological order:

I’m a huge fan of comic books and graphic novels, and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival starts TOMORROW! Comic artists from all over the world will be coming here for a whole week of fun, concluding in a two-day vendor fair and exhibition at the Toronto Reference Library on May 10th and 11th. This is my first year working with TCAF, and I’m the head volunteer for their kids’ programming at the library. There’s also TCAF Kids’ Day 2014 at St. Paul’s, a whole day of kids’ programming including author presentations from a huge roster of amazing authors and artists! Visit for more info about the whole exciting event!

ALSO, I’m presenting my first interactive installation art piece as a performer/creator in Toronto at the Toronto Fringe Festival this summer! Flip The Table will be debuting in the Fringe Club behind Honest Ed’s from July 2-13, and it’s just what it sounds like: You choose your table setting (anything from picnic to full high tea), pick a scenario you want to act out (ever want to tell your boss what you REALLY think about her?), and then you come in and flip that table! It’s about exploiting taboos, exploring freedom, and making the biggest mess you possibly can in a 10’x10’ tent.We’re still in development, but you can check out more about it at or via our Twitter @flipthefringe closer to the festival (bookmark it now, you’re not gonna want to miss this!). For info about all the fun stuff going down at Fringe this year, check out

Is there anything else we should know about you?

What, I haven’t told you enough already?

 (Special thanks to our neighbours, Sweetpeas, on Roncesvalles Avenue for letting us shoot in their gorgeous flower and gift shop.

Style Profile – Sarah Couture McPhail

In our seventh Style Profile, we feature one of Laura-Jean’s best friends, Sarah Couture McPhail. Laura-Jean and Sarah have known each other for more than 15 years.  Sarah met Laura-Jean through one of the first employees of Fresh Collective, and then worked part-time at the Kensington store when it was still called Fresh Baked Goods.

“Sarah has always been among the most stylish women I know.  She effortlessly mixes and matches, and uses accessories in creative and fun ways to produce endless looks.  I feel like I’ve never seen her wear the same thing twice, but I know she pulls from her closet from past seasons and just makes things look new.

She’s an avid Fresh Collective shopper, and loves to find the unique Canadian designer pieces that make her wardrobe so special. Aside from being super stylish, Sarah is fun, amazing and incredibly kind hearted.  She is a mom of twin boys, an artist and active in her community and her school.

She’s the kind of friend who has great get-togethers, awesome parties for her kids and can feed you or find a glass of wine for you just because you popped in her back door unannounced. She shows up at your door with home remedies when she knows you’re sick and her house is the one all the kids just gravitate to in the summertime.  I feel blessed to have Sarah in my life and I wanted to let the world know how much I love her.

xoxox   – Love, Laura-Jean”

Name: Sarah Couture McPhail
Occupation: Mom/Artist/ Mastercrafter/Workshop Facilitator/Student
Age: I am trying to own 40
Lifestyle: Urban Political Artsy Mom – ya I listen to a lot of CBC Radio 1

Dress: Calamity Jane - Annie 50 $179.00Sweater: Yvonne Cardigan - Paper People Clothing. Regular price: $149.00 now 20% off $119.20Necklace: Curious Oddities $25.00

Dress: Calamity Jane – Annie 50 $179.00
Sweater: Yvonne Cardigan – Paper People Clothing. Regular price: $149.00 now 20% off $119.20
Necklace: Curious Oddities $25.00

What’s a typical day like for you? I am rushing. I rush kids and myself off to school; I run to the studio; I fetch errands; I work on Parent Council endeavours; and I cook up other community projects. I try to squeeze in friend time, quality kid time, and time with my partner as much as I can. This usually results in scrambling hard for a stretch, then crashing hard for a couple days.

What in your life is really important to you? So much is important to me, but my family and friends are paramount. My house is full. I like it that way. I am also very appreciative of the quiet time I get to spend at the studio I share. Without any doubt, I am fortunate.

Dress: Frill Dress - Desserts and Skirts. $165.00Shoes: Miz Mooz, past season from Sarah's own wardrobe.

Dress: Frill Dress – Desserts and Skirts. $165.00
Shoes: Miz Mooz, past season from Sarah’s own wardrobe.

What would you like to be remembered for? “I aspire to help build communities and create them where they don’t already exist.” That is a quote from my resume. More than that though, I would like to equally and wholeheartedly be remembered for being a good friend/ mom/ and partner. I would also like to leave behind some damn good art… since we are being optimistic here.

What role does fashion play in your life? Fashion has always been a special source of inspiration. In the past, I’ve really enjoyed conceptual dressing. Whether it be playing with a nautical look or rocking 70s librarian, I am drawn to the associations that clothes ignite. Dressing up is often like taking on a new character. Though I might not act like an 80s glam superstar, when I wear a metallic blouse with a belted harness (not as crazy as it sounds) I am trying to conjure a feeling. When it works, it puts a strut in my stride and nothing can go wrong. Today while I dress a little more conservatively (by my own standards), I am still drawn to vintage and vintage inspired pieces. I like structured and well made clothes that will last. I also like blending modern clothes with retro ones too.

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective? I have been a fan of Fresh Collective since the beginning. Finding clothes that fit me is not easy. Stores don’t stock for short and curvy people. I love knowing that the clothes I buy from Fresh are conflict free. I also love knowing that I am supporting local designers and fellow artisans. I hardly ever walk out of the stores without buying something, which leads me to avoid going in sometimes. But the clothes, and the skilled and helpful sales team at Fresh Collective never fail to draw me back in… often.

Top: Panel Tee - Desserts and Skirts $58.00.  Skirt: Dotted Pencil Skirt - Michelle Carey $96.00. Belt: Kimono Belt - Susana Erazo $185.00 Shoes: Lonna T-Bar shoes - Hush Puppies,  $100.00

Top: Panel Tee – Desserts and Skirts $58.00.
Skirt: Dotted Pencil Skirt – Michelle Carey $96.00.
Belt: Kimono Belt – Susana Erazo $185.00 Shoes: Lonna T-Bar shoes – Hush Puppies, $100.00

What do you have that you want to promote? Right now I am busy at school and doing personal projects, but you can always check out my tumblr, for upcoming workshops and events.

Is there anything else we should know about you? I am extremely uncomfortable “tooting my own horn”. In my line of work, it is unfortunately essential. This was a good exercise.  Thank you Fresh Collective for this and for being a positive place for women of all shapes, a reliable place for edgy/on trend fashion and an amazing gang of people. You all are extraordinary.

Sweet Summer Sale

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It’s that time of year again! Fresh Collective has knocked down prices on some of your favourite Spring and Summer looks. Save up to 25% on some of our most popular designers including Address Apparel, Mandala DesignStudio Fresh, and Rita Di Cesare!

You don’t want to wait when we have a sale this great! With one-offs and limited sizes and colours left from our Spring/Summer collections, you’ll want to get into your favourite store today to get your hands on that peice you’ve been eyeing up all season long.

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Continue reading

Fun at Foursquare Day

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I had a blast attending Foursquare Day on Tuesday night! The evening was full of fun, networking, laughter, delicious beverages, yummy food (thanks for the delish veggie wrap Lou Dawg’s!), goofy photo ops and great giveaways!

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The Beer Academy was buzzing with social media professionals and app nerds galore, and hosted (as you now know) by the lovely web mavens Nat & Marie, who we were proud to dress for the occasion.

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Nat wowed the crowd in this gorgeous dress by Desserts & Skirts!

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Marie totally rocked this great outfit featuring a bolero jacket from Kollontai, Tiger tee from Things Aren’t So Terrible and amazing trousers from Monikova!

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I chose to wear this pastel coloured number by Brenda Beddome which I topped with a leather jacket for a little rock and roll edge… as well as this hat and glasses… for a… cartoon Johnny Depp look? Okay okay… they were photo props, relax!


One of the night’s highlights was this fun make-your-own-gif station from SweetGif – I of course had to sneak in some FC promo – Do YOU follow us on Twitter yet? (do it… or else…)

photo (29)Other great perks: I got a yummy Pilsner from Creemore Springs and a brand new case for my iPhone thanks to iSkin!

Thanks to Karly from Foursquare Day, Nat & Marie for promoting FC so beautifully and all the other partners and attendees for a wonderful 4/16! See you next year!

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Starting a business in style – with FC Ambassador Shannon Lee Simmons!

Our FC Ambassador Shannon Lee Simmons is a force! She’s sassy, smart, and stylish! Her web series Money Awesomeness (through CoralTV) is a great source of financial tips and tricks!

She’s currently in the midst of a 4 part series dedicated to starting a business and wearing tons of Fresh Collective goodies along the way! Check out parts 1 and 2 here (we’ll be sure to post other parts as they go live)!

Part 1:

Top: Desserts & Skirts :: Necklace: Sugar Rush

Part 2:

Dress: Annie 50

Doesn’t Shannon look stunning? We’re proud to have her as an FC Ambassador!