Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Most Promising Designer 2012 Winner - Ryan Joelson!

Building on the theme of RAW, Ryan Joelson has created a collection that is both inspiring and moving. It is his attention to detail and pure love of fashion that resulted in him being named the Most Promising Designer at this year's Art of Fashion competition!

Making his collection even more remarkable, Ryan is currently a fashion student at Ryerson University. This resulted in him having to work within a "tight student budget" to create Rough-hewn. He utilized inexpensive materials, such as polyester, and worked them into luxurious garments that women would love to wear.

Employing unusual items like soldering irons, Ryan designed each piece with care. Applying heat and using various dyes and pigments, he worked his magic on everything from ball gowns to cocktail dresses. These garments would be right at home on the Oscar red carpet. 

From the petal effect to the ombre dyes, Ryan has created a beautiful collection that will stand the test of time. We cannot wait to see what is next for this very talented designer!

Congratulations, Ryan, on your much-deserved win!

Why not come see some of Ryan's winning designs in person? You can do so at Metro Hall in downtown Toronto from October 19-26, as part of Toronto Fashion Week celebrations.

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Anouk Moran - 2012 Most Promising Designer/Runner-Up

Anouk Moran created a collection with such force and lasting power that the judges at this year's Art of Fashion RAW competition simply could not remove it from their minds. It is because of this that the board of directors took the unprecedented  step of creating a third prize just for Anouk - the 2012 Most Promising Designer/Runner-Up!

Anouk's collection, The Resplendent Warrior, celebrates all that an artist must go through in order to create a delicate masterpiece. The overpowering emotions of the senses must be harnessed in order to unleash the creativity of the artist's soul. A seemingly impenetrable armour, formed by necessity to protect ones heart and feelings, gives way to a soft interior that lays bare the true person underneath it all.

To achieve her vision, Anouk paired sharp, masculine tailoring with a soft femininity and romantic flair. The way the garments sit on the body is exacting and precise, a testament to the attention to detail that Anouk put into her beautiful creations.

Please join us in congratulating Anouk Moran! We invite you to view a sample of Anouk's collection, along with pieces from all of the competing designers, at Metro Hall in downtown Toronto from October 19-26.

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Amy Yuen - The People's Choice

With her stunning collection that focused on the elements of our earth - aptly titled Six Elements - Amy Yuen captured the attention of a huge crowd gathered at the Art of Fashion RAW competition on September 29. After all of the online votes were tallied, Amy and her outstanding collection were crowned the People's Choice winner for 2012!

It is easy to see why this collection inspired and moved so many people. Each design captured what makes our earth so unique and special, from water to fire, wood to metal. The clean lines and structures of her designs made way for an unexpected, body-conscious femininity.

Amy utilized a variety of fabrics to explore the concept of raw. One dress features a metallic overlay with a wool base to capture the effect that energy has on our world, while another joins linen with gross grain tape for a perfectly flawed effect.

Check out some of the photos of Amy Yuen's beautiful work below. Congratulations, Amy!

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Art of Fashion RAW 2012 - All the Winners!

On September 29th, Art of Fashion held a one-of-a-kind design competition as  part of the annual Nuit Blanche festivities. This year, our theme was RAW - working with and celebrating all the materials that make fashion what it is. 

The competition was fierce and all the judges felt so strongly about the designs that we added a third prize this year for the runner up! “We have never experienced a race as close as this year’s RAW fashion design competition,” says Michelle Planche, Founder and President of Art of Fashion. “Before announcing the title we went back to our sponsors and board to create a third package because our judges and team felt so strongly about the skill and potential for our competing designers,” she says.

Without further ado, here are your winners for Art of Fashion RAW 2012!

- Amy Yuen and her collection SIX ELEMENTS win the People’s Choice award as voted by event attendees and new online ballot system.

- After much deliberation from the judges in a neck-and-neck race Ryan Joelson and his collection ROUGH HEWN is crowned Canada’s Most Promising Designer.
 - The near tie score prompted the Art of Fashion board of directors to create an additional prize package and title to award Anouk Moran and her collection THE RESPLENDENT WARRIOR the Most Promising Designer Runner Up.
All three winning designers will receive a prize package that includes a professional photo shoot and look book design from photographers Light & Hevvy and Andrew Hiorth; models from NAM Models and Orange Model Management; hair and makeup by Hair on the Avenue; graphic design by Katie Jansen and supported with a public relations and social media launch by KeeshanPR and Pink Atom Productions .

Other prizing includes a $1000 grant; tickets and memberships by industry organizations Fashion Group International, Creativ Festival, Paradigm Events, Design Exchange and Art of Fashion; design and retail with Black Daffodil and Global Warming; and fashion business mentoring with Carrie Hayes Collection and Pencil.

Want to see these winning collections in person? You can see a sample of the competition collection live in an exhibit at Metro Hall from Friday, October 19th through Friday October 26th, coinciding with Toronto Fashion Week. Guests can see the interactive display in the Rotunda at Metro Hall, at the corners of King and John, and Wellington and John Street, downtown Toronto.

Check back this week as we delve into each winning collection and show you why these young designers will soon be taking Canada by storm!

To see lots of great photos from the Art of Fashion RAW competition, check out our Facebook page.

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Art of Fashion Raw 2012 - Design Finalists, Part 3!

It's almost here! With less than one day to go, let's take a look at the final three designers rounding out the incredible roster at Art of Fashion Raw 2012!

Robyn Germanese, a Toronto native, has been drawing inspiration from from world cultures, tribes and ancient practices for as long as she can remember. Her collection for Art of Fashion Raw is edgy and beautiful, exposing the wounds of our psyche on the outside. It is this pain that makes us beautiful and strong, something that is delivered so poetically in her collection, aptly entitled "Morsus". Morsus is defined as a bite, a sting, pain. Pain has never looked as flawless and ideal as it does now.

Tess Barbieri's collection for Art of Fashion Raw celebrates the curves and strength of a woman's body, while providing masculine tailoring. These two opposed design sensibilities harken to the glamour of 1920's and 1930's Hollywood. Her collection is created for women to spend a night out on the town - "A Night At the Opera". The clothes beckon for a woman who enjoys experiencing an evening of culture while dressed in exquisite beading and and flowing pleats.

Our final designer is Mary Duldouras, a Torontonian with an impressive fashion resume. Her collection for Art of Fashion Raw draws inspiration from our own planet, incorporating natural materials that celebrate everything our beautiful earth has to offer. Mary's collection reminds us that our planet is a precious resource that needs to be celebrated and treasured.

Come and celebrate with us tomorrow at Hazelton Lanes from 7pm-1am. We look forward to seeing you there!

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Art of Fashion Raw 2012 - Design Finalists, Part 2!

It time to continue exploring our amazing finalists for this weekend's Art of Fashion Raw 2012 design competition. Are you getting excited yet? We are!

Amy Yuen's entry into the competition explores the five elements of our universe - water, fire, earth, metal and wood. Amy has included her own element - energy - which is evident in her inspired designs. All of the pieces in her collection are interconnected and create a harmonious vibe that is both refreshing and unique.

Tess Elizabeth has created a collection of body-conscious, feminine pieces that reflect the organic nature of the "raw" theme. Incorporating materials such as wooden beads, feathers and organic cotton, Tess's collection is both in tune with nature and luxurious.

Charlotte Ghesquiere and Andrea Kuntz have created a futuristic collection that represents purity, new life and the distortion of innocence. "Orb" is the manifestation of day blending into night and the light piercing through the fog. This is one collection that you must see to believe!

Jennie Uhlman focused her "Undulation" collection for Art of Fashion on pure craftmanship of a garment. Jennie wanted to push the fabrics to their limits, showing how much can be done without the need for other materials. The result is colourful and form-fitting, exposing the strength and backbone of a beautiful piece of fashion.

We've got three more talented designers to show you, so be sure to check back tomorrow! In the meantime, start making your plans for this Saturday night so you can see these amazing designs in person!

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The King East Design District Exhibition

On September 29 and 30, Toronto's King East neighbourhood launches its inaugural Design District Exhibition. The unique event allows venues within the neighbourhood to showcase some of the best in local and international design, from housewares, accessories, to even food and wine!

Attendees will have the opportunity to obtain a passport by making a $10 donation to Habitat for Humanity, Toronto. This passport will chronicle your journey to the individual locations, where an interactive and educational design experience will be offered. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about carpet making, venture on tours and check out the latest collections by renowned designers. Celebrity designers Andrew Bockner (Alexander Interiors & Design) and Ramsin Khachi (Cambria) will provide in-store design consultations.

The King East Design District Exhibition will bring together the leaders in design and architecture to showcase the expressive future of the King East neighbourhood to the design savvy public of Toronto.

Come out and celebrate this unique event and be a part of history as the King East neighbourhood makes its mark on the international design community!

When: Saturday, September 29 from 11am - 4pm
Sunday, September 30 from 11am - 4pm

Where: Various locations in King East between Church and Sackville Streets


Get your passport now and donate $10 to Habitat for Humanity by visiting us online at

For more information, please visit:

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Art of Fashion Raw 2012 - Design Finalists, Part 1!

With the Art of Fashion Raw 2012 design competition rapidly approaching, it's time to take a look at some of the amazing participating designers this year.

First up, Ryan Joelson from Ryerson University. In his collection for Raw, Ryan will show how synthetic textiles like polyester can be made into works of beautiful, fashionable art. His unique approach to treating and adorning the materials will both inspire and intrigue you.

Devlyn van Loon is a designer and illustrator from Toronto. Currently studying abroad in Auckland, New Zealand, Devyln's Raw collection is a study in deconstruction and emotional impressions. The pared down colours and forms truly become a part of your own body and identity.

Finally, Anouk Moran creates "The Resplendent Warrior", a collection that seeks to meld the relationship between the wearer, nature and even armour. The collection is both feminine and masculine, romantic and strong. These juxtapositions come to life in vibrant colour and refined tailoring.

With the show rapidly approaching this weekend, be sure to check back as we preview more of the outstanding and talented designers competing for the title of Canada's most promising designer. Come out and support Canadian fashion!

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Risqué Clothing - Your New Favourite Boutique!

With a name like Risqué Clothing, you might expect to find some rather daring outfits housed in this lovely little shop located in the Bloor Annex. But Risqué Clothing offers some of the prettiest dresses, sweaters, skirts and blouses that you can find in the heart of this vibrant Toronto community. With a massively loyal following, you are guaranteed to have an amazing shopping experience at Risqué!

Founded in 1989, Risqué Clothing is a staple of the Bloor Annex community. As the owner herself describes it, Risqué is a “customer-oriented boutique”. There is never any pressure to buy – you are welcome to pop in and browse at your leisure. But if you do need assistance, one of the friendly staff is there with a smile to help you find that perfect piece for your wardrobe.

Risqué carries a wide variety of brands, including BB Dakota, Dish, Kersh, Bionic, Mink Pink, C’est Moi and many, many more. They specialize in dresses (and do they ever know how to accessorize them! Just take a look at the mannequins on display throughout the boutique or on their Facebook page) but also offer a selection of jeans and outerwear during the fall and winter seasons. You’ll also find a wide selection of belts, jewelry and sunglasses. Need to know how to pull an outfit together? Just ask a sales associate for some invaluable tips!

The price points are perfect for fashionistas on a budget and the styles change weekly. With a focus on Canadian brands and designers (they even carry Anice Jewelry, whom we featured on Art of Fashion just last week!) Risqué Clothing is a true fashion treasure trove in the heart of Toronto. Pop in and find out what all of the fuss is about!

Risqué Clothing
404 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON
Between Spadina and Bathurst Stations on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Inspiring Anice Jewellery

Strolling through Toronto’s hip and eclectic Kensington Market, your eyes will be treated to a variety of beautiful clothing and jewellery stores. One of those stores shines out like a beacon on a cacophony-filled street – Anice Jewellery.

Founded seven years ago, Brittany Anice Catherine Hopkins created her unique brand of jewels after finding inspiration in her own grandmother. Brittany vividly recalls on her website being a 4-year-old girl fascinated with the jewels her grandmother wore and wishing to wear them when she was older. She has now realized that dream. Certified with a diploma in Goldsmithing and Jewellery Arts (as well as a diploma in Business Administration, Entrepreneurship & Innovation) Brittany is a true connoisseur of jewel creation.
Brittany specializes in the art of mixing old gems and new materials, with the ultimate goal of creating one-of-a-kind jewellery. On top of her own vintage and modern creations, Brittany works with clients who wish for their own unique jewellery visions to come to life. Visiting the Anice store, you will find a variety of antique treasures that you can use to create your own stunning piece of jewellery that people will stop you on the street to ask you about.

The Anice store also holds private and open workshops where you can learn the art of fixing or re-working your own broken/old jewellery yourself. Come on in and be inspired!

“Anice wishes you inspiration every day; that you may give love to yourself and those around you, and hopes to encourage you to wear jewellery fearlessly.”

Anice – A Jewel Boutique
167 Augusta Avenue
Toronto, ON
Buy at

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I’MONIQ – A Jewelry Adventure

Torontonian Monique Anderson is the visionary designer behind I’MONIQ accessories, a unique jewelry line that is rapidly growing in popularity. As one of the participating designers in Art of Fashion’s boutique on September 29, now is the perfect time to learn more about this eclectic, beautiful line and its creator!

When did you start designing? 
I graduated in 2004 with a BA in fashion design from Ryerson.  I started designing jewelry in 2009 after a life-changing trip to India. My adoration of unique textiles and secret obsession for jewelry meant more to me than just a shopping experience. Having been surrounded by colorful textiles and intricate artwork my entire life, as a result of growing up in an Afro-Caribbean household, I realized this trip to India sparked an interest that had remained dormant for a long time.

 Where do you draw inspiration for your pieces?
I am inspired by my travels, past and present. I let the materials I find dictate the direction. Because I specialize in dismantling hand dyed scarves and incorporating them into my pieces, they are a great source of color reference and texture.  The colors are the key - they are the starting point of everything I create. This season I drew inspiration from a scarf that looked like the colors of the plants you might find when looking into space through a microscope.  I sourced some titanium-coated crystals, which were very “galactic”, and added them to a lot of the pieces. The light hits them from different directions and creates this beautiful collision of colors! This called this collection “Galactic Pixie”.

How long does it take you to put together a piece - from original conception to the final product?
It could take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours - every piece is different. I do a lot of testing, because I never know exactly what the piece will look like until I have started knotting all the materials together.  It is always a pleasant surprise to see how the different materials play off of each other.

What sort of materials do you use and where do you source them?
I combine hand dyed silks, ribbons, crystals and chains.  I source from all over - from markets in India to vintage boutiques and gem shows. The silk scarves used in my pieces are hand dyed in different cities and villages from all over the world; Bali, Thailand and Chennai are just a few.

What is your current favourite piece in your collection and why?
My current favorite piece is I’M Brianna. It is just so rich in color that it lifts my spirits every time I put it on! This piece takes a long time to complete and is a serious showstopper.

Come visit Monique and see her amazing I’MONIQ designs in person at the following events!
1)        I’MONIQ Accessories will be premiering at the Henri Bendel trunk show, September 13th-16th. – 712 5th Avenue (at 56th Street), New York City. Chosen amongst hundreds at their semi-annual Open See®, I’MONIQ emerged as one of the few to return to showcase their collection.

2)       Come shop I’MONIQ on September 27 and 28 at Miracle Thieves - 249 Crawford Street, Toronto.  Meet the designer while you shop and have a cocktail!

3)       Come shop I’MONIQ at the Art of Fashion Designer Boutique at Hazelton Lanes - Nuit Blanche Oval Square, Toronto. Starts at 6pm! Receive a 20% off voucher for your next online I’MONIQ purchase!


Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Magic of White Feather Designs

“It is commonly thought in most cultures that feathers are symbols of higher thought, spiritual progression. The line of thought here is that birds were considered divine creatures in primitive/ancient cultures because they are creatures of the sky (heaven) and therefore closer to God. When you find feathers upon your path it could be taken to mean that you are on a higher spiritual path (whether you accept it or not), and it may be a sign of encouragement as you philosophically travel on this path.” -Avia Venefica

So begins our introduction to Breanne Morrow, the talent behind handmade jewelry line White Feather Designs. Starting in 2007, Breanne followed her feathers to Mexico where she studied the art of silversmithing. Filled with newfound knowledge and the inspiration to create, Breanne returned to Canada to begin her jewelry journey.
From necklaces to bracelets, earrings and cuffs, all of Breanne’s pieces are lovingly made by hand with meticulous care. Using brass, gold, silver and copper, Breanne’s muse is the world around her. Her new Boneyard Collection, for example, features a necklace made from a mould of a snake vertebrae. Incorporating vintage jewelry and buttons into many of her pieces, it is impossible to not find something perfectly suited to your personal style in her varied collections!

Looking through her beautiful online galleries, you will be awe-struck by the textures, colours and attention to detail that Breanne has infused into each piece. Every item has a story – one that you can make your own and adapt to any style or mood that may strike you.
 You can browse through all of Breanne’s beautiful collections by visiting White Feather Designs online at and purchase via Etsy. Better yet, why not come out and visit her and see her designs in person? You can find her at the following events in September!

September 14-16 – Queen West Art Crawl
Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto

September 21-22
2nd Annual Fall Handmade Market
13th Street Winery, St. Catharines

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rebel & Fuss Outfits the Urban Warrior

Are you looking for unique, hand-crafted jewelry with a rock ‘n roll vibe? Look no further than Rebel & Fuss, the new line by Toronto native Jo Kozoriz!
Jo’s jewelry is carved with 100% brass and vintage-sourced materials. Whether you are searching for a necklace, a bracelet or even an ear cuff, Jo has got you covered.

Her two distinct lines tempt you with something beautiful to please your rebel soul. Starting with “The Hunt and The Prowl” Jo has created brass totems of style that will get you noticed. As Jo describes it, this line is “major!”

If feathers, leather and embroidery are more your speed, check out her second curated collection entitled “We Are of This Band”.  Extraordinary necklaces and more come alive with Jo’s wild-child sensibilities.

Rocking Jo’s outstanding pieces will show the world that you are a true urban warrior. Dancing to the beat of your own drum, you know the value of a quality, hand-crafted piece when you see it. Rebel & Fuss jewelry will easily become a cherished piece of your wardrobe for years to come!

Want to see more? You can visit Jo’s online shop via If you want to see these stunning pieces in person, Rebel & Fuss is currently stocked at Love of Mine Boutique on Toronto’s hip Queen Street West.

Rebel & Fuss by Jo Kozoriz
Selected pieces at Love of Mine Boutique
781 Queen St. West, Toronto 416-368-4999

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Amber Watkins SWIM

Amber Watkins is one of AoF past finalists and you will understand why when you see her stunning swimwear line. She has produced new lines for shows and competitions such as Angie's Models and Talent Annual Showcase and participated in several charity fashion shows. And just last year she has started her own business, which she talks to us about during the interview.

Amber Watkins
Amber Watkins SWIM

1. What lead you to start designing?
It all started as something fun to work on that would satisfy my creative bug.  I began sketching my ideas during university, and sewing pieces for myself.  My girlfriend knew that I was designing and creating clothing for myself at home and she asked me to be a part of a fashion competition she had organized at a local venue.  That was over 4 years ago, and for the 3 or so years following I participated in numerous fashion shows and competitions, including Art of Fashion in 2010.

2. What is your favourite piece you have ever designed? 
That's so tough!  I try not to show pieces that I don't feel completely proud of, and every collection I've made tells a different story.  If I absolutely must choose, it would be a royal blue monokini with a braid down the centre that I made 2 years ago.  It was a crowd favourite and the model who wore it looked phenomenal.
3. You were a past finalist for AOF, how did you find the experience?
I really enjoyed the AOF competition, for many reasons.  I work best when I have a theme and specific directives, and it gave me a completely new challenge to face when designing my collection.  I was very happy with the pieces that I created and additionally I enjoyed the challenge of creating a space that would display them in a creative way.  It should be mentioned that it was also my first Toronto fashion competition, so that provided a new level of experience, and a new city in which to display my designs.  I loved the media coverage and interaction with the observers and I was very happy to be a part of the excitement.

4. Where do you find your inspiration?
That depends on the intent of the design.  For competitions, I enjoy really getting into the assignment.  For example, the year I participated in AOF, the theme was "La Belle Epoque".  I did a lot of research and then designed a collection that combined my swimwear specialty with some of the major fashion themes of the time.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  For my current swimwear collection, I incorporated vintage cuts using modern textiles and colours.

5. What is your favourite quote?
I admit I mostly quote movies, but this one is pretty relevant: 
"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."
- Emile Zola (1840-1902)

6. In 3 words how would you explain your personal style?
I'm going to need more than 3, hahaha. Feminine, mood-inspired, mix of classic cuts and current trends.

7. What obstacles have your overcome to get to where you are today?
Oh wow, quite a few.  I would say that first of all since I did not go to school for neither fashion design nor business, I have followed a nearly 90 degree learning curve.  When I decided to start the business in June 2011, I really didn't know exactly what was in store for me, so the last year has been a continuous sequence of hurdles.  I am proud of all that I have accomplished in such a short time.  It is so rewarding to look back and see where I began and what I can achieve when I make small goals and build on them.  I've said this before and am a firm believer in its truth: If the goal is what you are meant to be doing, it should take work to achieve, but never be a force pushing against you.  Every goal I have reached has taken effort to meet, but generally I have felt the path has been a natural one to follow.

8. What do you think will be big for swimwear in 2013?
Great question!  I checked out the Mercedes Benz Swim 2013 Miami images, and there was a good mix.  Lots of patterned fabrics, which I really liked.  It looks like colour blocking is still in as well for next season, as well as asymmetrical and cut-out styles.

Images below are from Amber's current line:
Post by Jenelle S. of Nelle Creations