Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fresh Collective - Shaping Designer Dreams

Greetings from Fresh Collective HQ! My name is Allison and I’m excited to get to write the this blog post for Art of Fashion through their partnership with Fresh Collective!

A fun aspect of this partnership is getting to do these very posts on the AoF blog in which we can provide key learnings that have shaped and grown our business throughout our 10 years in the Toronto fashion retail industry.

Our business mission is to provide transformation to everything we touch, and provide inspiration and joy to designers  to help them live the life of their dreams. It was a no-brainer for us to say yes when AoF asked us to share in the journey of several new designers and gave us the opportunity to share what we know with them.

The Fresh Collective business is designed to send waves of transformation out into communities and to the world; to inspire people in a viral way. We are very much looking forward to helping foster and develop new talent in the Canadian fashion world!

Fresh Collective CEO/Founder Laura-Jean Bernhardson, Marketing Manager Jenna Cloughley and Social Media Manager Allison Dunnings

Three things you should know about Fresh Collective:

1. We are committed to success!
Fresh Collective provides the opportunity for local, Canadian and select international designers to reach new audiences through our retail stores. Our customer service, marketing support and online community build a network for our designers to reach their audience, learn what they want and create products that come together to form a complete look. We’re committed to our designers successes. Every day we refine what that looks like so we can support them with business knowledge, numbers, systems and communication.

2. We sell more than just clothing and accessories through our stores
We know we don’t really sell dresses, skirts and tops. We sell confidence, beauty and self-expression through fashion. We inspire women to let their outer self reflect their inner self, and think of fashion as a daily form of communication and art that tells the world just who we are.

Web finance guru Shannon Simmons and fashion blogger Nicole Wilson admire images from the Fresh Collective REAL WOMEN campaign - featuring FC fashion shot on our staff and designers.

3. We have an amazing team!
Founded and built by Laura-Jean Bernhardson in 2003, the Fresh Collective team has been built and refined over the last 10 years. Our team is founded on a commitment to communication, action and accountability. We do what we say we’re going to do, by when we say we’re going to do it and, if we can’t, we communicate about it. The business is built on the e-myth system of doing what you love by building the structure and team around you to support your dream. Laura-Jean’s background is in neither fashion nor business – she simply followed her heart and did what she loved. Through that she built a team around her of retail sales experts, marketing and promotion gurus, designers and curators. We all work together to provide the best customer service, the best of unique, beautiful fashions and products that make our customers feel special, and the best business advice and support we can to our partners to help them live the life of their dreams.

Fresh Collective CEO, Laura-Jean Bernhardson (center), with designers Jennifer Fukushima (Paper People clothing), and Marnie Kramer (The Blushing Maple).

Stay tuned for monthly guest blogs from Fresh Collective and keep up-to-date by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Take in Toronto Fashion Events This Week!

There are some great fashion events coming up in the next few days right here in Toronto. It's the long weekend, so take some time to get fashionable in our city!

Marchesa / Inbal Dror SS14 Bridal Double Trunk Show
Scope out stunning bridal gowns - whether you are a bride-to-be or not!
May 16-18 at White (19 Hazelton Ave.).

Monika Brugger Lecture at the Gardiner Museum
Monika Brugger presents a short journey of the history of jewellery, explaining the variety of innovative materials used through centuries, from goldsmiths and contemporary artists who manufactured exceptional jewels and invented new ways and manners using ceramics.
May 16 from 5:30pm - 8:oo pm at 111 Queens Park.

Lori Harrison Artist Showcase Opening
Art and fashion collide for an exclusive art event with Mint Boutique.  Amazing Toronto artist and designer, Lori Harrison will feature her latest art work exploring the theme of finding beauty in unexpected places.
May 16 from 6:00pm - 9:00pm at Mint Boutique (6 Rack House Mews).

Vince Camuto Fall 2013 Collection Preview
Find your next most coveted accessory from the Vince Camuto Fall 2013 collection - showcasing beautiful shoes, handbags and boots.
May 17 from 9:00am - 12:00pm at Arcadian Loft (401 Bay St.).

We hope to see you at one of these fabulous events! Have a great long weekend, Toronto.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fashionable Fundraising at Connect Beauty 2013

Make the connection between sustainable beauty and health at the Connect Beauty 2013 event, taking place this month in Toronto!

A collaboration between WHEN (Women's Healthy Environment Networks) and Fashion Takes Action, this annual event promises to celebrate the glamourous, natural and eco-conscious trends of summer 2013.  The unique fundraising affair will showcase sustainable, toxic-free beauty products and FTA members will be presenting a show featuring beautiful eco-fashions

A wonderful night is in store for all attendees! A live auction, a silent auction and raffle prizes will keep you on your toes, while you can dance the night away to a live DJ. Even better? You can dine on local sustainable beer, wine and food while perusing beauty items for purchase from local vendors.

Head over to to purchase your tickets now before they sell out!
Tickets are only $40 and go to supporting a great organization.

Fashion Takes Action is Canada's only non-profit organization that focuses on sustainability in the fashion industry. FTA works with both industry and the general public, with the goal to shift behaviour toward more positive social and environmental impacts.

Connect Beauty 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 7pm
Revival Bar - 783 College Street, Toronto

Monday, April 22, 2013

Theme Chosen for Art of Fashion 2013 Design Competition!

We have a winner!
Art of Fashion recently enlisted the help and expertise of Toronto Is Fashion and their readers to assist in choosing a theme for this year’s design competition. After furious voting, the 2013 theme is Past Behaviour!

As described on the voting page, this theme strives to make everything old new again. In the past, clothing had to be functional and played a role in society’s hierarchy. Today, beautiful clothing is available to everyone. This theme challenges the designers to borrow from the past to create for the future.

With inspiration drawn from collections such as Prada’s FW13 campaign, this adventurous theme will bring depth and excitement to decidedly classic shapes and textiles. We are thrilled to see what our entrants will come up with to celebrate the past and set the tone for the future!

To stay up-to-date on this competition, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. You can also visit us on our official website at

Monday, March 18, 2013

LKISStyle Blogging Contest: Choose the 2013 theme for Art of Fashion!


Join Art of Fashion, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting emerging designers in Canada, in helping us choose this year’s annual design competition theme.

As a fashion blogger we invite you to become a part of this incredible event and work hand in hand with our team of volunteers to help foster the careers of up and coming designers.

Every year, the Art of Fashion committee selects 10 design finalists to participate in our annual design competition. Finalists are selected based on their sketches, design experience and interpretation to the theme.

Two awards are handed out the night of the event including Most Promising Designer and People’s Choice Award. Each of our winners will receive a prize pack valued over $65,000 dedicated to helping them foster their career in fashion design in Canada.

“Emerging Canadian fashion designers need a push to leverage them in the fashion industry. What Art of Fashion is achiev[ing] for them are opportunities for exposure and bringing down the creative barriers in the industry, opening it up to hungry consumers and buyers who want more from fashion… Art of Fashion is pushing the industry to do more for aspiring Canadians and break them out of the mould!”

Evan Biddell, Fashion Designer & 2007 Winner Project Runway Canada,

Art of Fashion 2008 Judge

The Contest
Art of Fashion is looking to engage the Fashion Blogging Community to select our theme for this year’s event. Each year, Art of Fashion decides on an overall theme for our design competition. This theme not only challenges our designers’ creativity but also acts as a unifier for the event.
Fashion designers apply based on a 6-piece collection inspired by our annual theme. We give the designers a description of the theme and ask them to create a collection based on their interpretation of the theme. We generally leave the theme vague and open to creativity.
The purpose of our theme is to capture upcoming trends in fashion so that the designer’s creations are on the cusp of what’s to come.
Who better to help us choose this year’s theme than those who live and breathe fashion: YOU! We have chosen you to brainstorm a theme idea and create a blog post around this for a chance to win!
Past themes include: Raw, Choreology, La Belle Epoque, Iconic Power and Between the Lines

The Ask
If you would like to participate in the 2013 Art of Fashion LKISStyle Theme Contest, you are expected to:
· Develop a theme for Art of Fashion 2013 that captures what you think is an important upcoming trend. Submit this theme in the form of a theme title and 100 word description to Lisa Kisber.
· Create a Blog Post that explains your theme (with graphics) by Mid April
· Winner will be announced on our website and through LKISStyle Blog

Why Participate?
For Participating:
+ All 10 design finalists will be featured on our website with a bio and photo and a description of their proposed theme.
+ All design finalists will be featured on our social media platform including facebook and twitter and our blog.

For our Winner:
+ The Winner of the AOF theme contest will be featured on our website, Twitter, Facebook, blog and marketing materials for the year
+ Have the opportunity to speak at the Art of Fashion 2013
+ Create a video blog to be featured on Art of Fashion website
+ Opportunity to interview 2013 designer finalists
+ Opportunity to participate as a judge at the 2013 event

What Art of Fashion can offer our Bloggers
+ Involvement in Unique and Innovative Programming
- An evening dedicated to celebrating emerging Canadian fashion talent
- AOF engages the community by making fashion accessible to the public.

+ Attractive Target Audience
- Over the past two decades AOF has cultivated a dedicated following of supporters.
- AOF attracts professionals 25-45 years of age who are Interested in culture and the arts.
- Large existing database: 10,000+ people

+ Strong Promotional Capabilities
- AOF has a powerful network of public relation professionals, lead by Michelle Planche (Paradigm Events), dedicated to promoting programming.
- AOF has extensive multi-media expertise; including talented video and photography team
- AOF online presence:

ü1,900+ Twitter followers
ü800+ Facebook fans
ü1000+ Youtube hits

+ National Reach
- AOF design competition accepts applications from designers across the country
- Established resources / networks across Canada

+ Cross Promotional Opportunities
- Winner will choose theme
- AOF will promote winner’s blog on all of our social media and marketing materials

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Albert Yuen - Catching Up with the 2011 AOF Design Winner!

Building on the success of his win at the 2011 Art of Fashion show, Albert Yuen will be unleashing his first F/W collection for 2013. Drawing cues from starry nights and the stunning beauty of the aurora, Yuen is poised to make a huge splash on the Canadian fashion scene.

The designer sat down with Michelle Planche to talk about his Art of Fashion win, his inspirations and his future plans.

Michelle Planche: What made you realize that you want to get into fashion?
Albert Yuen: I knew I wanted to be in fashion since I was a small child. I was inspired by fashion in magazines, other designers and what consumers were wearing on the street.

Describe your background and experience in the fashion industry.
I studied Fashion Design at Ryerson. After graduating in 1996, I worked in the fashion industry for Kelly Windsor, Tequilla Mockingbird who specialized in women’s clothing. After working for Kelly, I gained further experience working for Lyn Leather Company, designing leather jackets.

Who is your favorite designer?
My favorite designers are Alexander McQueen & John Galliano.

Describe for us your inspiration in creating the winning collection for the 2011 Art of Fashion Design Competition; Choreology?
For me Choreology is all about movement. I was inspired by the dance of nature from the clouds and birds in the sky, to rain drops, trees, dandelions and weeds. In creating the movement of the nature, I have used different kinds of materials, such as paper, fabrics, yarn, beading and feathers.

After participating in The Art of Fashion, was there any major lesson you learned that will help you in your future career?
One of the valuable take-away’s from that experience was the importance of time management when building a collection. I also learned how to work and manage a team to ensure the production of a
smooth collection.

Who would be your dream retail buyer to purchase your collection?
My dream would be to be sold in Holt Renfew, as they always carry the top designers in Canada. I would also love to be showcasing my collection at The Room at the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Credits for all photos: Credits: CREATIVE DIRECTION+VISUAL DESIGN: Pheinixx of Pencil | PHOTOGRAPHY: Irem HARNAK Photography | HAIR+MAKEUP: Julia Hofer
STYLING: Manj Gill of Plutino Group | MODELS: Samantha at Elite Models + Zanana at Elite Models