Our current designer in the spotlight is…
Creator Jessie Tucker-Lyzwa was one of Laura-Jean’s first co-op placements, while attending George Brown College. Just a few months after graduating in 2002, she was officially hired into the family, where she worked as a pattern drafter and sewer, learning the ins and outs of how to run a successful business. It was in 2008 that she finally took the plunge and launched Sugar Rush, not for clothing, but as a jewellery business, already inspired early on by a grandmother who she remembers as being able to make just about anything and with a solid respect for hand crafting.
Sugar Rush is all things glamour; inspired by old Hollywood, couture fashion, vintage and sparkle, with a little bit of whimsy thrown in. The Fall 2011 in is filled with rich, saturated colours, purple, cranberry, indigo, amber and emerald, as well as black and white for traditionalists. It uses primarily re-purposed vintage parts as the center inspiration for each piece, to make dramatic statement pieces that are a little bit over the top and truly one of a kind. This season has also introduced the use of feathers into the line, sourced from small, cruelty free businesses, like all Sugar Rush supplies.
Our previous designers in the spotlight…
modern clothing ~ vintage vibe
Mandala Design designer, Mandy Armstrong was born in Ireland and moved to Canada just before starting kindergarten. Always interested in fashion, she remembers having very strong opinions about what she would and wouldn’t wear on her first day of school. In high school she taught herself how to sew on her Grandmother’s sewing machine. At first she choose fabrics completely unsuitable for what she was making and ‘created’ garments by pinning them on herself then taking them to the sewing machine and just stitching across the pins! She decided to become an accountant, but was encouraged by her Dad to “do something with the sewing” and so, attended Sheridan College and got her diploma in Fashion Technique and Design.
Mandala Design was founded in 1991, right after Mandy graduated. She began building her brand by participating in many shows in and around Toronto, including the Old Clothing Show and the One of a Kind Craft Show. She worked on Mandala part time, in addition to working full time in the fashion industry until 2005, when she took the leap to focus entirely on designing her own line. Mandy met Laura-Jean of Fresh Collective at the One of a Kind show and found a great place to display and sell her collections at the Fresh Collective stores.
A great deal of Mandala Design’s focus is on fit; combining adjustability and a flattering silhouette. Most of the clothing is able to transition from a casual working environment…to dinner…to the weekend, so that it works for our busy lifestyles. Classic styles, interesting fabrics and vintage touches inspire Mandy. She infuses unexpected details, simple lines and a little bit of whimsy into each collection.
This year Mandy is moving out of her home based studio and into a brand new ‘storefront’ studio just around the corner from her home. Exciting things are on the horizon for Mandala Design and Mandy is so grateful to have followed her passion and thanks her Dad for convincing her that she would have made a horrible accountant!
Paper People Clothing
Jennifer Fukushima grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where the only clothing options were cookie cutter fashions from the local mall and second hand findings from the Salvation Army Thrift Store. In search of something different, she began surfing the internet, perusing crafty DIY sites like Sparkle Craft and Epitome Girl. Then during a trip to Calgary, Fukushima stumbled upon indie boutiques that carried clothing made by local designers. At the age of seventeen, Fukushima decided to launch her own line of recycled handbags, Paper People.
Fukushima moved to Toronto to study fashion at Ryerson University and soon her line was carried at local downtown boutiques. Expanding into clothing, she sourced second hand t-shirts and turned them into funky, eclectic tank tops. Paper People has since evolved to include eco-friendly options such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton garments. The line blends colour, texture and pattern for a DIY, handmade appeal.
In keeping with Paper People’s environmentally conscious approach, waste reduction is an important part of the design process. Clothing items are cut first, scraps are saved and used to make accessories and appliques. Smaller unsuable scraps are collected and donated to local artists, crafters and community groups.
Paper People Clothing is best known for their one-of-a-kind, recycled and reclaimed sweaters, great for all seasons and truly unique. Visit the website and take a look at what else is in store this Spring…. http://www.paperpeopleclothing.com/
Fresh Baked Goods
Fresh Baked Goods started in 1994 when I bought a used knitting machine and crowned myself Laura-Jean the Knitting Queen. I became known for my fabulous funky sweaters, which I sold in shops around Toronto and at the One of a Kind Show and Sale. I was obsessed with my business, and loved making things, so it all kept growing and growing.
I went to a wholesale trade show in New York a few times and got orders as far away as Japan, but in 1998 I decided to focus on a retail empire. I found reproducing the same samples over and over not so much fun, and I thought having a store would be cool. I loved meeting my customers one on one, and being able to make small runs and one-of-a-kind pieces. I found it more creative, and I love having the stores.
My line has changed a bit over the years- currently our focus is dresses- but the style is still a bit offbeat with an emphasis on a flattering fit. We often hear our customers exclaiming that we make clothes for “real women” and our size range goes from 4-18. We can also customize the fit with alterations when needed. The business has grown to the point I have a wonderful team of people who help me design and sew everything. I love what I do, and feel lucky every day!
Here’s a peek at the Fall 2010 line from Fresh Baked Goods: