Crushing on Fieldguided

My crush on Anabela started somewhere between reading her blog, fieldguided, following her twitter, and browsing her flickr. We share many friends and live blocks away from each other in the same city, but, until early in this new year, we’d never met. Fieldguided became a regular read (even inspiring the title for the zebra photoshoot from issue 11) and filled with lovely photography, soft, clean design, and a distinct taste that is clearly all her own.

What did you wear when you where in high school?
I went to a Catholic high school and so most of the time I wore my school uniform, which was navy blue with white and pale blue, with a pair of buckled Doc Martens that I actually hated at the time but wish I still had. I’ve blocked a lot of it out, but I remember trying to dress like the girls from the band Lush in later high school. I wore a lot of shiny, satin clothing in 1996. Oh dear.

What are your local fashion store crushes?
My favourite is Robber, on Queen West. I love the aesthetic; I love loose dresses, I love clothing that is feminine and unpretentious. I appreciate that most of the clothing is made locally to the brand. When I want to invest in something I know I will love for years, I go there (I have worn an APC Madras dress I bought there in 2009 approximately three thousand times — or so it feels). I love the shoe selection at Chasse Gardée. For vintage, I like Silver Falls and Penny Arcade and the 69 Vintage Collective.

What literary characters have interesting style?
I have been reading a lot about the Mitfords on blogs lately, and I think me and others are attracted to the idea of their disheveled aristocrat style. I’ll go with “the Hons” in The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford. Also, since I’m going through a weird VC Andrews obsession, I have to admit that her descriptions of makeup, perfume, hair, and clothing have stayed with me since I first read those books at the age of 12. I can’t pin-point an exact style (except, I guess, “filthy rich New England lady”) but I loved luxuriating in her descriptions of fabrics and textures and clothing details, as well as dressing rituals. It’s possible that I’m remembering it all wrong, though.

Did you make any fashion-related new year’s resolutions? If so, what are they?
I didn’t make any resolutions per se but I have resolved over the past few months to stop buying fast fashion. I have too many items of clothing in my closet that I have worn once or not at all. I find that as long as I stay out of those stores, I won’t be tempted, but I am always tempted once the season changes, particularly around spring or fall. I have also decided to try to hammer down what my specific aesthetic is over the next little while, and to stay faithful to it. It’s really just about making better choices, and being less wasteful. I also want to save up for a pair of clog boots. I have wanted them since 2008! It’s time. I love wooden heels.

As a huge cat fan, do you have any favourite cat fashions?

Leah Goren makes really amazing hand-printed clothing and bags with cat faces — the tee-shirt is on my wish list for sure! I also have a Paul & Joe Sister cat-face sweater that I got on clearance for about $10 a few years ago that is pretty special. The little knitted face is adorable.

Nothing beats the United Bamboo 2010 calendar for fashion for cats. If only I could get my calico, Pony, into that peach blouse and black skirt!

- Serah-Marie

Crushing on Lydia Okello

Lydia Okello’s wardrobe is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. Her ability to perfectly mis-match colours and garments never ceases to amaze me. The 21-year-old fashion merchandising student’s blog, Style Is Style, is a mix of personal style shots with inspirational editorial shoots. She’s quite sweet herself.

What was your first favourite outfit as a kid?
My mom sewed a lot of my clothing as a kid, and I remember having a large floral print dress with matching hair piece (either a scrunchy or hat) that I couldn’t wait to wear on Sundays to church when I was four. I think I loved it so much because a) it was matching and b) it was very, very girly. I think all of the pieces have been donated by now, so somewhere there is a kid wearing a 90′s dress that used to be mine!

Do you have similar taste in clothing now?
I actually find my self reverting back to my early childhood wardrobe. I had many dresses, and lots of girly, frilly things. Nowadays I look for the same elements in pieces for my wardrobe. You will very seldom see me in pants, I am hopelessly devoted to being pantless for eternity.

Tell us a story about the garment or accessory you love most.
One of my very favourite pieces (and it’s very hard to choose) is a floral print, scalloped neckline 80′s dress that I thrifted back in Grade 10. At the time, I was just beginning to sort of develop my style, and I was always on the lookout for 50′s inspired pieces at the local thrift store. I found this dress and I nearly had a heart attack! The print, the shape, the fact that it had a tulle underskirt… It seemed like a dream dress come true! I think at the time it didn’t actually completely fit properly, but I bought it anyway. I had debated converting it into a strapless dress, but luckily I was too lazy to actually do it. The scalloped details are actually my favorite part of the dress now! One of the reasons I love this particular dress so much is that I always feel good in it. When I went on a whirlwind trip to New York Fashion Week in the spring of 2010, I wore it, so now it also has really amazing memories attached to it too. It’s my “happy” dress!
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Crushing on Sarah Quinton

Tucked behind Nathan Phillips Square and city hall, the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC) is an oft-overlooked institution in Toronto that has been compellingly connecting cloth, culture and art for the last 35 years. Sarah Quinton, the Curatorial Director of the TMC, tackles, and overcomes, this challenge season after season, researching, importing and sharing with us textiles from every corner of the earth — from shawls from Afghanistan to mola blouses from Panama.

How did you get into the study of textiles?
I grew up sewing my own clothes, taught by my mother and older sister. In the late 70s I was looking for a subject to study in college and felt myself drawn to the craft’s resurgence; particularly weaving. And so I became a weaver and made a few articles of lumpy, ill-fitting clothing. Soon afterward, I studied textiles in a fine arts context and have continued that line of interest.

One of your latest exhibitions, “Skin and Bone” by David R. Harper, features embroidered portraits of people on animal skin. Is the future of textiles in “multimedia?”
Not only the future, no. It’s the present. We see textiles everywhere, intentionally and unintentionally. If you look in art galleries, you see textiles in Will Munro’s underpant collages at the Art Gallery of Ontario; artists such as Allyson Mitchell, Grace Ndiritu and Jeremy Bailey explore textile patterns, colour and politics in their videos; and there is an ever-increasing interest in Do-it-Yourself activities with personal and political actions at their core: craftivism, recycling, new feminisms… and still the role of the independent merchant in the craft market is going strong.

From Drawing with Scissors: Molas from Kuna Yala

What is the narrative potential of textiles? Can textiles tell a story?
That’s what textiles do best! All objects tell stories if you listen even a little bit. Objects are living things. We make them, we use them, we wear them, we choose them. We change them by wearing them out, by recontextualizing them, and we are shaped by them as much as we shape them.

What are your favourite textiles, pieces or artists?
Well, like anyone else, I’m most in love with the people and things I’m currently working with. You mentioned David Harper’s exhibition “Skin and Bone.” Along with David, Stephen Schofield is showing “Stumble,” a series of extraordinary textile sculptures. Kai Chan is a Toronto artist whose work is the subject of a 35-year retrospective, “A Spider’s Logic,” that opens at the Textile Museum of Canada on November 7, 2010. His work might be considered “multimedia!” When I was traveling in the Yucatan in the early 80s, I bought a string bag that I still covet. Its structure is incomprehensible to me, and I don’t even want to know how it was made. And who can resist Junichi Arai’s textiles?

interview by Lydia Guo
photography by Rachel Wine

Crushing on Nikkie To

Nikkie To is the kind of girl who steals flowers from a stranger’s garden on late night walks. Her dreamy and fantastical personality not only manifests itself in stealing flowers in the most charming of ways – but also in her clothing and photography. She dresses in a minimal, modern, fairy tale kind of way and her stolen flowers are her most common accessories. Singing, drawing, painting, and photography are all things Nikkie has a talent for. Both of us are proud Hamiltonians and while I moved away for school, she stayed in town and is currently in the fine arts program at McMaster University.

What is your earliest memory of getting dressed?

I can still remember immigrating to Canada and wearing the “I Leaf Canada” sweatshirts. For me, the 1990’s was all about tucking your shirt in and brown corduroy pants. It was never very glamorous on the days I went to school because I was a messy child, but from time to time, I would go full out in buckled shoes, knit stockings, a floral dress and a large bow to top it all off. My older sister also had a big impression on my style while I was growing up. She was the one who pushed me to be daring and to wear lace and sequence and here I am now… pulling off multicoloured feathers in my hair.

Are there any new directions you want to take your style in?

My style often hits a phase and becomes static for a while before changing again. I don’t mean to allude that it is boring in any way, but that if I’m flashy, I’ll be really into it and be flashy for a while. After that I’ll go into a bohemian-naturey phase and play within those confines. When I get bored of that I’ll move on to a playful and professional look. I draw inspiration for fashion through the simple things in my life and I feel my style now turning again toward a more masculine aesthetic because of the work boots that are mandatory for one of my university courses. There are so many wonderful possibilities out there, so why shouldn’t I try them all?

Are you planning on dressing up for Halloween? Why or why not? And if you are what are you planning on dressing up as?

I love Halloween! I think it’s a great way to show your creativity and become someone you would normally be too embarrassed to be. This year I’m going to be Russell from Pixar’s Up because it is hands down my favourite movie of all time. I plan to hand craft all of my Wilderness Explorer badges and hold my Explorer GPS tight in my hands so I’ll never get lost!
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