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The Fashion Class

Love out, love in with SummerSkin

Erika Renfrew
Jul 24th, 2012

Chelsea Maier has "upendo" tattooed along her ribcage, the Swahili word for love.  This ink is a constant memory of working in Africa and defines her apparel and accessories line, SummerSkin.  SummerSkin offers custom, one-of-a-kind designs for men and women made from kitenge fabrics from Dodoma, Tanzania.  An artist and entrepreneur, Maier believes that the more love you give to the world, the more you will receive.   

 In July 2009, Maier spent six weeks building the Galilaya Orphan Centre in Dodoma, Tanzania.  The Vancouver Island native, who now lives in Winnipeg, studies Environmental Design at the University of Manitoba.  Her last semester ended with a new apartment and open opportunities for summer.  Then, in the chaos of moving, Maier rediscovered fabrics from her trip to Africa.

“If you want something, you just have to go for it,” says Maier. “The more you talk about it to your friends and family, the more you are accountable and have to follow through with it."

Wolf Circus: jewelry without boundaries by Fiona Morrison

Erika Renfrew
Jun 19th, 2012

Fiona Morrison has a personal definition for badass: those that do what they love and do it ruthlessly.  They may be a math genius, snowboarder or business owner, but they attack their craft wholeheartedly.  Morrison is the founder and designer of Wolf Circus: hand-made jewelry for the beautiful, brainy, bold and badass.  With an artist’s eye and entrepreneurial spirit, she creates mood-lifters and conversation-starters. 


Morrison just finished a photoshoot and apologizes for being late and she flops down on a bed in her cozy Vancouver apartment.  Raised in Victoria BC, she hopes this city will bring inspiration and new opportunities.  Barefaced, hair pulled back and wearing a simple striped tee, her energy was contagious even over Skype.

A history of plaid: from railway to catwalk

Erika Renfrew
May 28th, 2012

My father's plaid shirts. Photo by Erika Renfrew.

For 35 years, my father wore a plaid flannel shirt to work. As a shipwright and glorified Mr. Fix-It, his uniform changed marginally from day-to-day. 

Tucked into faded jeans from Mark’s Work Wearhouse, my father rotated between three plaid work shirts: one red, one blue and one green. At precisely 7:35 am, always five minutes behind schedule, he would thump down the stairs, grab his black, plastic lunchbox my mother just packed, and charge out the door — he never forgot to add an I love you. 

His life ran like clockwork: home by five (or shortly after if he stopped at Wal-Mart), dinner at six, with the rest of the evening spent puttering around the house. He saved his sick days and took a pay cut so that each year he could enjoy a two-month summer vacation with the family. My father finally retired with gray hair and calloused hands. His everyday uniform became a simple T-shirt and shorts. Only on days spent changing the oil in the minivan, or mowing the lawn, would he put on a plaid shirt. With a relentless handy-man spirit, my father found honour in fixing the unfixable.

Pro style tips with Gastown shopping trip

Johana Zara
Aug 15th, 2011

Photos by Nancy Sohl 

Jessie Carlson and Michelle Addison from Jessie Carlson Wardrobe held their private Gastown Shopping Trip at three of Gastown’s stylish boutiques last week: The Block, One of a Few, and Obakki. With only five shoppers, the media, and assistance from sales associates at each boutique, the event helped connect participants find their perfect fashion fit. 

Carlson and Addison worked their magic on all five shoppers. “I never would have found myself wearing this,” said one shopper, trying on an oversized loose white top from Obakki. With only two stylists helping the shoppers, Carlson and Addison were able to build each of the client’s personal style and wardrobe in under three hours.

Serena Mason, String Magazine’s Boutiques editor  and Jordana Mah, Being High Maintenance blogger and Schema Magazine editor,  also attended the event.  You can attend too.  See below for more information.

Bill Cunningham New York, a life of fashion photography

Johana Zara
May 9th, 2011

One camera, an aging bicycle, and a heart-melting smile -- fashion photographer Bill Cunningham and his lifelong love of fashion has inspired viewers from around the world. The new documentary by Richard Press paints a portrait of a humorous man who lives a simple life with a passion for street style. 

“I’ve said many times that we all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editor, Anna Wintour in the film. The reputedly icy editor smiles warmly as she mentions his name, which speaks of the photographer’s personal charm.

Living in a tiny room at Carnegie Hall, Cunningham lives a simple life. His entire room is surrounded by file cabinets filled with photographs and negatives of every photo he has ever taken. He refuses to take money, rides a rickety bicycle every single day, and will not drink even a glass of water at any benefit event, even if it’s his own. 

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