Where have we been?!

Boy oh boy…
It’s been a long journey to fall this season! We have had so many exciting and interesting changes happening in our business over the last few months, we didn’t have the opportunity to update our blog as much as we should have.

We’ve been busy behind the scenes creating a new set of articles from some of our fantastic designers and product partners, which we will be releasing weekly.

We apologize for the delay in getting these out to you – but at long last, here is our first blog post from one of our newest partners, enCircled. We LOVE her fantastic Chrysalis Cardi that can be worn 8 ways. A fantastic, versatile piece that can take you from day to night, from runway to play ground – It’s so fabulous! But enough about what we think! Here’s enCircled designer Kristi’s first blog post sharing how the idea for the Chrysalis Cardi came to be.

Enjoy!

Like every Entrepreneurial dream, our Chrysalis Cardi started with an idea!
Written by Kristi, Chief Fashionpreneur, enCircled

I was packing for a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. It was the night before and as I zipped up my suitcase, the zipper broke. Luckily, being an avid traveler, I had several pieces of luggage, however the next largest suitcase was half the size of the one that I packed!
Frustrated, I started pulling stuff out of the suitcase… what don’t I need? What could I do without? Was there anything that I could wear multiple times, multiple ways?
I realized I packed a ton of stuff that would likely only be worn once (a frequent traveler faux pas!) so I attempted to edit.

There were two items I’d packed that were on my radar for unpacking. First, my grey circle scarf and secondly, my grey wrap cardigan. It was snowing in Toronto and the plane might be cold, but surely I could do with one of the two?
I’d bought the circle scarf with the intention of wearing it multiple ways. It came with a card showing 25 ways to wear but I’d never attempted any of them. I was hopeful that I could make the scarf into a cardigan and therefore could ditch my wrap cardigan from my suitcase.

As I sat there at 10pm the night before a 5am flight, I tried to figure out how to create the looks with the infinity scarf. It was tricky!

To make the various looks, I had to use safety pins, or tie the scarf, which resulted in an incredibly messy look. It looked like I was trying to make a scarf into something it wasn’t supposed to be. The fabric was see-through so that eliminated the possibility of it doubling as a dress, and the edges weren’t hemmed, which made the scarf look shabby. The infinity scarf was not as multifunctional as I hoped!

I longed for a piece of clothing that could be worn a few different ways really well. I didn’t need to turn a scarf into a bag. I just wanted something versatile that could take the place of a few things in my suitcase, perhaps a dress, a cardigan, and a scarf. So I designed it.
This is how the Chrysalis Cardi came to be.

Immediately when I returned from Costa Rica, I began designing the piece.
I’m a self-taught designer, so the product development took time. I started with the 8 key looks I wanted to create and backed into a design that could deliver all of them in an effortless and iconic way.

IMG_1259_colours

I sketched a rough pattern and created samples at home, playing around with what ‘attachments’ to use to hold the various looks together without requiring buttons, tying or pinning. I finally landed on heavy-duty metal snaps, hidden cleverly along the hemline!
The fabric selection was key– I knew I wanted something sustainable, eco-friendly, luxurious that was opaque, easy to travel with, colorfast and non-piling. This led me to Modal, which is derived from beechwood tree fiber.

I wanted it made in Canada and found a production contractor just north of Toronto who believed in my design concept and worked with me to refine the design. We produced our first run last year, and our second this year with many more runs to come!
Today, the Chrysalis Cardi can be worn over 8 different ways from an infinity scarf, to a one-shoulder dress, tunic, cape, halter top, and of course, a cardigan.
Each Chrysalis Cardi comes with a detailed instructional look book, as well as access to our {Members Only} videos on Encircled.ca

Every day, new looks are discovered – my customer’s have so much fun playing around the garment and trying new ways to wear.

The Chrysalis Cardi looks like what it’s supposed to be. When you’re wearing it as a dress, it’s classic evening wear. When it’s a cardi, it’s a cozy cocoon wrap.

The Chrysalis Cardi as an original cardigan (top left) the X-back halter (bottom left), the grecian tunic (top right) and a one shoulder dress (bottom right).

The Chrysalis Cardi as an original cardigan (top left) the X-back halter (bottom left), the grecian tunic (top right) and a one shoulder dress (bottom right).

 

My Chrysalis Cardi has taken the place of a handful of things in my suitcase and closet. I am able to travel lighter, and live with less.

I’m now working on our second design – a versatile t-shirt that can be worn over 6 different ways. It will take you from the office to a night out, to Sunday brunch. Like the Chrysalis Cardi, in this next piece we will be pushing the boundaries of design in a mindful and purposeful way.
Stop by Fresh Collective and pick up your Chrysalis Cardi today!
I truly hope it becomes the most versatile piece of clothing that you will ever own.

Kristi is the Chief Fashionpreneur of enCircled. enCircled creates ethical, sustainable and versatile women’s apparel, manufactured in Canada from eco-conscious fabrics. enCircled’s first design, the Chrysalis Cardi is available at all Fresh Collective locations in Raspberry, Black and Cobalt. For more information, check out http://www.encircled.ca or follow enCircled on Facebook

 

 

What to Wear Wednesday – SPRINGing in the Rain

What to Wear Wednesday - SPRINGing in the Rain

What to Wear Wednesday – SPRINGing in the Rain by freshcollective featuring missoni

Okay, so it’s raining… a lot, but in an effort to play devil’s advocate, I decided to have fun creating a rainy-day set for today’s WTWW post.

I based today’s set around one of our great Soia & Kyo spring jackets. this stylish jacket creates a great silhouette while it’s fashionable hood (yes, that’s possible) keeps your ‘do safe from the drizzle!

Underneath, throw on your favourite pair of jeans and one of our brand new Yasmine Louis tops – I LOVE the slouchy comfy long-sleeved ones! I’d rock it off one shoulder for a casual cool look. Finish it off with your umbrella and give a pair of your fall boots (Miz Mooz pictured) another trip around town!

What to Wear Wednesday – Deep Freeze Darling

What to Wear Wednesday - Deep Freeze Darling

What to Wear Wednesday – Deep Freeze Darling by freshcollective

Well… it’s a bit brisk outside, wouldn’t you say? I kind of wanted to put together some sort of head-to-toe down-filled ensemble (can someone design me one that’s still chic?) but instead this adorable number will have to do!

Top: This Alexi Isla Knit top from Studio Fresh is great for winter layering. It’s lightweight knit makes it great for transitioning from outdoors (don’t you hate when you bundle up in a heavy sweater only to find yourself overwhelmed and overheated when you get to work?)

Jeans: Our beloved Yoga Jeans are great for an active winter lifestyle. These jeans move with you and form to your curves so you can look great while you skate! Available in several colours, this merlot tone will bring a warm glow to the winter cold.

Boots: I’ve overlooked these little Miz Mooz ankle boots for awhile now, and I can’t figure out why…they’re adorable! Maybe not perfect for trudging through snow, but my goodness, if you’re indoors – try these on for size!

Headwear: Last but not least, keep yourself toasty with a bit of Paper People Clothing winter style. A fashionable alternative to your normal knit cap, this headband/turban hybrid made from repurposed wool is a stylish way to stay warm!

What to Wear Wednesday – I’m only happy when it rains

What to Wear Wednesday - Singing in the Rain

 

Well it’s rainy and dreary out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little rainy day fun with your wardrobe! It’s the perfect day for comfy layers and great boots – embrace it!

Jacket: Soïa & Kyo (Spring/Summer 2012)
Top: Mandala (Charlotte Bubbles Top – available in store and online)
Jeans: Yoga Jeans in mocha
Boots: Miz Mooz Charley
Earrings: Curious Oddities

Still not convinced that it’s not so bad? Just listen to this song… I always find myself humming it when it’s raining and somehow it makes it more enjoyable! 

What to Wear Wednesday: Thanksgiving Dinner

What to Wear Wednesday - Thanksgiving Dinner

What to Wear Wednesday – Thanksgiving Dinner by freshcollective 

This weekend is Thanksgiving – a time to spend with the family, drink a little wine, eat a LOT of food and give thanks for all the good things in life (like fashion?).

Patterned Dress: This dress from Mandala is the perfect colour and print for an autumn get-together. (available online now)
Knee-high Boots: Great boots for fall that you can easily dress up or down. The button detailing adds a feminine touch to these black Miz Mooz
Statement Earrings:
 Add some sparkle with a bold piece of statement jewellery like this pair of stunning earrings by Sugar Rush!

I’m really looking forward to heading home and spending some time with my family this weekend, and I certainly have a lot to be thankful for right now! I’m thankful for my family and friends, my amazing job and the wonderful supportive people I get to work with, and for the fabulous opportunities I’ve had lately with my singing. Life is good!

What are you thankful for this year?

 

Fresh Collective with the girlfriends – FC Ambassador Guest Blog – Veronica Slater

Another fabulous FC Ambassador Guest Blog from the wonderful Veronica Slater! Check her out online here: http://veronicaslaterpresents.blogspot.ca/

Girlfriends.  What would I do without them?  About a week ago we planned a dream day together hoping none of the kids would get sick – they’re notorious for timing.  Anyhow, the Girlfriend’s Gods were with us and yesterday, we executed our plan… boy was it ever fun! First we exercised together (see proof!), then we had lunch, and just before heading to Fresh Collective on Roncesvalles for an afternoon of fun and shopping, we snapped a picture for you.  Meet my girlfriends: Christine and Lori.  I love them to death.
Here’s where the real fun began.  I took them shopping to Fresh Collective – my very first trip with friends as aFC ambassador.  Can you see me glowing?  ‘Cause I am!!!  Let’s have a look at the ‘before’ girlfriend picture.
On our shopping list (cause you always need a list!) we had identified a few basic fall ‘wants’ and a couple of ‘needs’. We also went over what works and doesn’t work so well with their body types and their best colours.  All important things to keep in mind while shopping.

Here’s Christine with a dress by Nude.  We loved the colour and fit on her.  The dress was easily accessorised with a gorgeous flower by Jennifer Morris from Blackjam and a black leather belt.  The Burgundy boots by Miz Mooz looked divine.
Here’s the same fabric in a different style, this dress is by Brenda Beddome.  Also flattering and comfortable.
Here’s Christine wearing our two favourite pieces and the ones she thought she would be wearing most: A dress by Bionic and a dress by Melow.  We all loved both of these looks on her!  They really are perfect pieces for a busy Mom of three, easily paired with leggings and flats, awesome with tights and Miz Mooz boots, chic with flashy accessories and heels. I guess this is what us Busy Bees with capital Bs look for: versatile stylish clothes that feel and look good – and can take consecutive washes too!  Gotta love real clothes for real women!  Christine also purchased beautiful casual grey boots by Miz Mooz to run around in style.

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Now here’s Lori with our favourite picks.  A Brenda Beddome top beautifully adorned by a silk flower by Jennifer Morris – Blackjam with the best footless leggings in the world by Spanx and those sexy burgundy ankle boots by Miz Mooz.  I love this look.  As you can see behind her, the dress comes in different colours.  I think she’ll be getting a lot of use out of this piece.

Here are the same leggings and shoes with a different top by Brenda Beddome – clearly made for Lori.  It’s easy to see how this outfit will be taking her from the office, to an afternoon meeting, to a hot date with the hubby, to having a drink with friends – like I’m not going to include myself in such plans!!!  Doesn’t she look great?
We left the store with big smiles on our faces thinking of what a great day we had had and how important it is to make time to reconnect, catch-up and look after ourselves.  Busy Bees are not very good at that but we’re working on it!  As for the shopping, no matter what one ends-up buying, it’s the overall experience that remains with us and ultimately what keeps us coming back.  Joe and Roslyn, as always, you were fantastic at offering the best Fresh Collective experience!  I knew you would be -only the best for my girls.

What’s on YOUR list of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ this season? Remember that the following clothes are available at Fresh Collective AND at the their new ONLINE SHOP, go have a peek!
xo – Veronica

What to Wear Wednesday – Study Break

Todays WTWW is inspired by my best friend Jessica, who has just gone back to school. Sadly for me, it means her social calendar is far less open for girl talk, wine dates and gossip, but I’m proud of her – she’s worked like a maniac to get where she is!

Jess and I are the total stereotype when it comes to friends. If life were a romantic comedy – she would play the classy leading lady and I would be the kooky but charming best friend. While my wardrobe is filled with loud, patterned, often vintage statement pieces, hers is filled with neutral tones, streamlined designs, classic pieces. If we go out for ladies night, she’ll wear a little black dress, simple necklace and a red clutch, and I’ll be wearing a white top, black skirt, sequin suspenders and about 8 pieces of jewellery, including at least one ring the size of my fist (true story). She’s Calvin Klein, I’m Emilio Pucci…

I have always envied her effortless style so today I thought I’d put together a little FC outfit just for her!

What to Wear Wednesday - Study Break

A simple long-sleeved jersey top – perfect for fall with a flattering cowl neckline in navy (one of Jess’s staple wardrobe colours). Mandala Designs (available in our online store!)
Neutral skinny jeans – our beloved Yoga Jeans in this fantastic sand colour, are a versatile option that’s a nice change from basic blue.
ONE long and simple necklace – this message-in-a-bottle long necklace by Curious Oddities is the perfect piece to dress up a simple outfit without going over the top.
A carry-all tote – I love this Alice in Wonderland tote by Aether Gallery – great for carrying school books!
Statement shoes – Jess has a bit of a shoe addiction (what girl doesn’t?) so I made sure to add a super fun pair of Miz Mooz ankle boots for a pop of colour!

There you have it – classic, simple, comfortable – a great outfit for a day of studying at the library or your favourite coffee shop!

What to Wear Wednesday – Lunch Date

 So he asked you out to lunch! Great! Easygoing, informal – a lunch date is a great way to get to know someone. Then your mind starts spinning about wardrobe choices – you want to look sexy, but not too sexy (it is DAYTIME after all), you want to be comfortable but still polished. The whole “accidentally sexy” look is one I’m personally always striving for!

What to Wear Wednesday - Lunch DateWhat to Wear Wednesday – Lunch Date by freshcollective featuring china glaze nail polish

Here is a little outfit I threw together that is casual and feminine but with a little rock and roll edge (my favourite thing to add to any outfit) that is sure to turn heads.

Base your outfit around a dress – one that’s comfortable but flattering with a fun pattern. The dress above by Mandala is a great option, not too low-cut, not too short, but still very flirty and in a great fall pattern/colour combo (available online now!)

Add some boots and a leather jacket – I’m not talking lace-up, vinyl thigh high boots with a 6in stiletto heel or a beat up biker jacket with chains – just a nice pair of knee-high fall boots and a classic leather jacket to add a splash of sex appeal that’s still daytime appropriate. (Boots in set by Miz Mooz – available at FC Roncesvalles, Jacket available at Joie.com)

Keep makeup and hair simple – a nude or pale peach lip gloss and a simple cat eye (think Christina Hendricks, not Amy Winehouse) will do the trick!

Finish with a touch of sparkle – a pair of earrings with crystal or rhinestones and some metallic nail polish (fall trend alert!) will add just the right amount of shimmer and sparkle to balance out the leather accessories. (Earrings by Sugar Rush – styles available vary by location)