Crushing on Hail Mary

Nova Scotia native Mary Kolashki is one of many young style bloggers currently taking over the fashion world. Her blog, Hail Mary, is proof that it is possible to be aware of global issues while retaining a sense of style. Alongside her regular outfit pictures and musings on industry news, she uses her large readership to spread the words on important topics, from the crisis in Darfur to accepting a healthy body image.

How big of a role does fashion play in your everyday life?

I try not to let clothing itself exert a stronghold on my life, but I am a huge fan of aesthetics, so I do like to decorate everything I can as well as I can, from what I put on my body to what I put in my room. A public relations student and volunteer are roles I put before ‘clothes horse’, but I don’t understand people who don’t think I can embrace all three. I will save the world in a pencil skirt!

Who are your style icons?
I’d kill to be able to channel the perfection of the minimalist yet badass Jane Birkin and mix her with the prim and poised Jackie Kennedy. In a perfect world, this would be possible. In the meantime, I just end up looking a little confused and random, but I think that’s just great for the time being. There’s no point in pegging yourself down!

What are your favourite pieces of clothing?
I have three black high waisted pencil skirts; I honestly wear them so much. I’m also infatuated with organization, so huge structured bags with lots of pockets and places to put things makes me so happy; I’m a bit of an addict in the sense that I’m always tucking money aside for a new one!
I’m also a huge fan of wearing headscarves in the rain. Some people make fun of me for this, but with all the tech that I have to hold on to all the time, who has hands for an umbrella anymore?!

You blog a lot about body image issues. How did you first get interested in this topic and why do you feel it’s an important issue to draw attention to?
The first time I wrote about body image on the blog was A Love Letter, which was the unedited result of a very sad night that I began to question my shape, my values — [basically] the way I lived my life. I’ve had plenty of issues with body image myself, but what brought this letter forward was the moment I spoke to my friend and realized I wasn’t so alone.
Although many people acknowledge that there was a crisis with the way young girls perceived themselves, when you hate your body, it’s very easy to feel alone, especially with the double standards that exist. Basically we are told that smart girls are too clever to be swayed by the media, and everyone who diets is superficial and lacking common sense. Even worse is when they blame it on someone like Paris Hilton. It’s pretty insulting to me that people assume I’m foolish enough to make her a role model. Society’s expectancies and standards are not created by one person!

Do you find that blogs written by normal girls are changing the way people view body image in relation to the fashion industry?

I don’t know if blogging has changed the fashion industry yet, but it has highlighted some of the flaws and problems with it. It’s like we’ve come to this great realization but no one’s quite sure what to do yet. I don’t think it is appropriate to start any anti-thin campaigns or anything of the sort, but we’re finally acknowledging that we are at a point where models actually CANNOT get any thinner, and this isn’t great for anyone’s self image!
I do know from stats on my blog that a bunch of people have returned to re-read ‘A Love Letter’, so it’s an issue one their minds. The fact that my ramblings can be just one piece of reasonable, tough talking that asks a girl “really?” in a time of self doubt makes me happier than any body weight ban.

What have been the biggest benefits of blogging so far?

Companies have offered me free stuff and I’ve been featured in some pretty awesome publications (this one included!) but I think the best is seeing people all over the world who are reading my blog and relate to me, even though they’re in Indonesia, Russia, Japan, Australia… It’s so flattering, ridiculous, and makes me feel like part of this big community of completely fantastic individuals who care about clothing, Darfur, music, whatever! Having an outlet is the greatest feeling in the world, and it’s fantastic to know that people sometimes agree with me!

Mary’s Favourite Clothing Stores in Halifax

  • Elsie’s/Clothes Horse: Definitely the best mix of current clothes and vintage pieces, she stays true to her roots and sells well made clothing for great prices! Upstairs is a whole separate store named the Clothes Horse, but it’s the same idea! 2 in 1!
  • Encore: Right next door to Elsie’s, this has more of a focus on modern consignment and is very accessory heavy! I found one of my favourite purses here, and although it wasn’t cheap, it was a great deal.
  • Spree Designer Market: This one is right next to a coffee shop and if you don’t look for it, you might pass right by this gate with a few mannequins hanging out. Spree is like the rebellious sibling of all the other second hand stores in Halifax; you’ll find more bad ass things here! Of course, I’m a little biased because I LOVE the charming owner and he sells the headbands I make, but I swear that half my pay cheque goes right back there!
  • Biscuit General Store: In addition to hyper girly and gentlemanly attire, they also have the most fantastic selection of giftware ever. If you have anyone that`s hard to shop for, you`re bound to find something of nostalgia for them here.
  • Mills Brothers: The department store of all department stores in Halifax, Mills has recently started selling much ‘younger’ designers like J. Brand Jeans. They also carry one of my favourite Canadian brands, Pink Tartan.
  • Sweet Pea: I cannot say enough good things about this store. I’ll just leave it at I LOVE it and link you to the article I did on it. This is Nova Scotia at it`s finest.
  • Heroine: I seldom get a chance to get over there, but they sell my absolutely favourite Canadian designer, Muriel Dombret. It has awkward hours so check ahead of time, but my grandmother did almost all her shopping here and I may have stolen a piece or two… It says something that two generations are obsessed!
  • The Black Market: Tiny yet packed to the brim of everything you could ever imagine. A veritable hippie lair of juke box shaped bags, MILLIONS of cheap metal bangles, hand made clothing, and other things from developing countries. A great place to find fair trade gifts that support businesses all over to create a sustainable source of income.
  • Peepshow boutique: You will find denim here that you won’t find anywhere else. Lots of Canadian labels and good basics… When I do wear jeans, I like them to fit perfectly. This is a very hard task considering my hourglass shape on someone who’s 4’9… but Peepshow does a good job of it!
  • You will find no clothes here, but worth mentioning is Jane’s on the Commons. It’s no secret that it’s my absolute favourite restaurant for their grilled cheese bacon sandwich, and I gush about it every time I get a chance! Also worth noting is Sweet Jane’s, right off Queen street. Best. Cupcakes. EVER.
  • – Anna Fitz

    6 thoughts on “Crushing on Hail Mary

    1. First, I’m all in favour of saving the world while fashionably dressed. Second, the kitty post with the leopard tights is almost impossibly adorable.

      I love what Mary had to say about how “we are told that smart girls are too clever to be swayed by the media” – which seems to be the fastest way to silence the very people who might make things better. I mean, we are all going to be shaped by our environment in some way… shouldn’t we be encouraging “smart” girls to pay attention to HOW they are being swayed and not tsk-tsking them into denying they have any feelings at all? (That kind of repression rarely manifests itself productively.)

      Loved this piece.
      Cheers to Mary – stylish, tough, smart – I’m crushing a bit now, too!

    2. This was amazing! I read this blog for not only the clothes (which are so cute!) but also because she’s a real role model to other girls. I aspire to be this fashionable dressed when I’m studying International Development and volunteering next year.
      My only problem is that you stole my crush! I want to apply to become a wornette and now I need a new one…

    3. Anna, to be honest, this is one of my favourite interviews I have ever done.
      Thank you for being such a talented sweetheart! <3
      I don’t know if you’re Toronto based too, but if you are… I will stalk you when I come visit.

    4. Haha fo’ sho’ Mary!
      I actually live in Ottawa but go to school in Toronto, so I divide my time between the two.
      Aaaaand my best friend is going to Kings next year so if I ever go to visit her I will reciprocate the stalking ^.^

      Seriously though, if you’re ever around give me a shout.

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