Get the look: Your 6 favourite TV characters

By Bree Duwyn

With the rise of Netflix original shows, Canada has finally earned its way into the popular television industry. Three of the company’s most popular original series, Riverdale, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and A Series of Unfortunate Events, were filmed in Vancouver, placing Canada one step closer into the TV limelight.

These shows have more in common than just the filming location. Their combination of mystery and adventure, their dark and alluring plots with moments of heart and humour, all create the unique dynamic of each show.

In Riverdale, the main characters often hang out at the Whyte Wyrm, known in the real word as Gabby’s Country Cabaret, in Langley, B.C. This spot and Langley itself has grown in popularity lately, primarily because of the show’s success.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina films mostly in Cloverdale, Surrey, a suburb in Metro Vancouver. A staple location in the series is a bookstore, Cerberus Books. In real life it was known as Dann’s Electronics, but is currently empty for filming.

A Series of Unfortunate Events was filmed at Whites Ironwood Studios, with locations is both, the north and south parts of Vancouver.

These popular shows feature creative sets, props and fashion. You can get the look of your favourite characters at popular stores such as H&M, Forever 21 and Aritzia.


Photo courtesy thecwriverdale on Instagram

Riverdale is a hit Netflix original series, that also airs on The CW Television Network. Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge are reinvented on screen from the original Archie Comics as the dynamic best friend duo. They’re solving the mysteries of their town, Riverdale, alongside Archie Andrews and Jughead Jones.

Just like vanilla and chocolate, sugar and spice, the styles of these two complement their friendship and personalities.

Betty’s style is cute and playful, while maintaining maturity and vibrant colours. For instance in season 2 episode 6, she pulls off a cute pair of denim overalls, a piece she’s been spotted in throughout the series. You can get a similar pair of overalls online at ModCloth and to complete the look, a similar white long-sleeve shirt from Aritzia.

Photo courtesy thecwriverdale on Instagram

Throughout the show, Betty pairs the overalls with an abundance of colours and styles. Solid colours and patterns such as stripes look well against the denim, and fitted shirts complement the fit of the overalls.

Betty shows off her quirky personality in colourful prints on sweaters, such as hearts, flowers and stripes.

Betty is most often seen in a simple pair of jeans and a sweater. This pink pullover can be paired with high-waisted denim jeans, to recreate her casual look.

These items can be found at Free People (sweater) and ModCloth (jeans).

To add a twist to Betty’s denim overall style, check out this cute overall skirt from Forever 21.

Photo courtesy forever21canada on Instagram

Veronica’s style is bold and confident, with a breath of sophistication. Her style consists of collared dresses. They vary from black with pure white collars to ones with a pop of colour.

Both dresses are from ModCloth.             

For a more daring look, check out this cape dress, similar to the ones Veronica wears. For a preppy look, Veronica often wears fitted polo tops, like this one. It’s both casual and bold.

Veronica also often wears vibrant and youthful crop tops, as well as sweaters with a bow.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Photo courtesy sabrinanetflix on Instagram

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina details the life of a teenage witch named Sabrina Spellman. This show is also derived from the world of Archie Comics.

The story follows Sabrina as she copes with having a life in both, the mortal and the magical worlds. The show features numerous unique characters from both spectrums of the world.

Sabrina’s signature colour is dark red. She wears an array of clothing pieces in this colour, such as this buttoned coat.

She often wears knit turtleneck sweaters, ranging in colours and styles. This classic grey knit, this ruffle-trimmed knit and a bold ribbed yellow sweater, are similar to those she wears in the show.

These tops are often paired with black jeans and can also be paired with vintage skirts such as this, or plaid skirts like this one, available at H&M.

Another dazzling character from the show is Prudence Night, an empowered witch with a daring and wicked style.

Photo courtesy sabrinanetflix on Instagram

Prudence’s style is sharp, bold and mature. Her boarding school-esque attire is perfect for any occasion.

To make the ensemble pop, add chunky rings, tights and a pair of heavy black boots to complete the look.

When Prudence is not attending her witchcraft classes, she has a sleek and modern style.

You can find all the essential pieces of her outfit, including this skirt, shirt and jacket at H&M.

Photo courtesy hm on Instagram

Photo courtesy hm on Instagram

Harvey Kinkle, the beloved mortal boy and Sabrina’s on-again and off-again love interest, has pile-lined denim jacket as his statement piece. H&M sells mens denim jackets in both light and dark wash.

Photo courtesy sabrinanetflix on Instagram

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Photo courtesy unfortunate on Instagram

A Series of Unfortunate Events is a spinoff of a book series by Daniel Handler, under the pen name Lemony Snicket. This series airs on Netflix and has been a big hit for its mystery and alluring appeal of wonder and adventure.

Esmé Squalor is the villain of the show. Her fashion is very bold and outspoken. She rocks patterned pantsuits and has a dynamic power behind her personality.

Photo courtesy unfortunate on Instagram

NA-KD has a similar pink striped pantsuit in a modern and fun style.

Esmé also loves to wear leather. If you’re looking for an edgier look, these pants, this shirt, and this jacket is your way to go.

If you’re looking to change it up a bit this year, getting the look of these expressive characters can be a fun way to try new things and explore your style.

Spring in Canada: Fashion trends to stay on top of this upcoming season

By Mia Maaytah

Although this winter seems to be endless, spring is approaching and Toronto designers have been busy cultivating new fashion trends for the city.

In the past, spring has been an opportunity to softly reintroduce colour back into our closets and a time to pair lightweight material with classic, dainty jewelry. However, this year the trends seem to be roaring into existence with bright red and green pieces, mixed with eccentric patterning and bold accessories.

This year, bold is an understatement, as all shapes, colours, patterns and types of fabrics are skillfully crafted together.

Major designers such as Coach, Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade New York have hit the runway featuring designs that incorporate fusions of primary colours and classic patterns like stripes and polka dots.

Photo courtesy of coach on Instagram

Courtesy of Rex Leung and Ryan Feng via marcjacobs on Instagram

Courtesy of katespadeny on Instagram

Not all runway attire is exactly suitable for the constant hustle and bustle of the working crowd in Toronto. Sara Duke, a Toronto-based independent fashion designer and Ryerson University graduate, just released her new collection of pieces that encompass both style and functionality.

Made with all Canadian material, Duke says she strives to create clothes that are not only rich in quality, but are also suitable for day-to-day use in their comfort and versatility.

Courtesy of sarasaraduke on Instagram

“Overall, spring this year is a lot darker. There is a lot of primary colours being used,” said Duke “Everything is sort of darker and duller and grittier as far as colours go, plus, stripes. Stripes are a big deal.”

Duke’s designs feature timeless T-shirts, dresses and pants that are handcrafted and targeted toward a working woman. Her use of dark blues and baby pinks fit the trendy theme of the blending of contrasting colour palettes. Her neat use of stripes adds a classic aspect to her spring 2019 collection.

Courtesy of sarasaraduke on Instagram

Although Duke remains trendy with her creations, she said she does not rely on pieces made by major designers as an outline. Instead, she uses fashion forecasting brought to her by fabric contractors.

“When I build a collection, I look at what did really well from the collections before that. I look at what shapes and styles did really well,” she said.

“I don’t really pay attention to runway stuff. I pay attention to my customer, because this is clothing that needs to be practical enough to be worn in public.”

Numerous other Canadian designers share Duke’s vision. They aim to satisfy their customers by staying updated with the global fashion trends while ensuring practicality.

Kollar Clothing, a Canadian fashion line for men, recently showcased their spring collection. It offers a rugged, yet classy approach for the upcoming season.

Courtesy of kollarclothing on Instagram

Kollar Clothing’s denim jackets and pants are paired with sleek button-up shirts and black leather jackets. The brand’s newest line follows the ominous theme of dark hues, accented with touches of pastel purple on a patterned, collared T-shirt.

Andrew Coimbra, a clothing line based in Toronto, reverses the trend of a primarily deep colour palette, as their Spring 2019 collection is alive with colour and vibrancy.

Courtesy of andrewcoimbra on Instagram

This collection features both casual and elegant styles. It offers felt blazers and simple white T-shirts. The blend of bright colours and busy patterns, accented with pops of black and navy blue, make the line fresh and unique.

As comfort is a concern for many practical brands, some Canadian artists do not miss an opportunity to dazzle their clientele with dressier pieces. Greta Constantine, a women’s clothing label founded by Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong, released a new collection for the upcoming season featuring fairytale-like designs for fancier occasions.

Courtesy of Peter Tamlin via gretaconstantine on Instagram

This collection’s pieces range from dresses, to jumpsuits, to matching two-pieces. Pickersgill and Wong followed this season’s stripe trend just like Duke, in a couple of designs. Their Spring 2019 line features cheetah print and primarily metallic fabrics. The collection is unique and bold, in comparison to other Canadian designers’ newest lines.

Grammys 2019: Canadian celebrities step onto the red carpet

By Nuha Khan

(Photo courtesy of Recording Academy (@recordingacademy) via Instagram).

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards consumed the pop culture spotlight on Sunday night, attracting some of the most notable Canadian celebrities. The Grammys are considered one of the biggest nights in music, fashion and celebrity culture. It’s a time for artists to show off their style and celebrate each other’s success. This year’s list of Canadian attendees features everyone from Shawn Mendes, Nina Dobrev and Drake. Check out our favourite looks below.

Shawn Mendes with Grammy performer and nominee Camila Cabello at the Grammys after-party on Feb. 10, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Shawn Mendes (@shawnmendes) via Instagram).

Shawn Mendes

Mendes’ red carpet look was classy to say the least. He wore a polished navy suit over a black collared shirt. This year, the Canadian pop star was nominated for two Grammys, Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. The singer changed into a laid-back, rock ‘n’ roll outfit, before performing his single “In My Blood” with Miley Cyrus. He wore a sleeveless silk black shirt and navy pants.  

Shawn Mendes and Miley Cyrus prepare to perform Mendes’ song In My Blood at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Shawn Mendes (@shawnmendes) via Instagram).

Alessia Cara and comedian Bob Newhart at the 61st Grammy award show on Feb. 10, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Alessia Cara (@alessiasmusic) via Instagram).

Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara was another Canadian who walked the red carpet at this year’s Grammys. The singer wore a black lace gown by Self-Portrait. The 2018 Grammys Best New Artist winner is typically known for her casual style, but this year she stepped it up with a more formal look. Cara wore a laced black dress and topped off her look with slicked hair, loose waves and a bold red lip. The singer kept her jewelry simple, only wearing pendant golden earrings. Cara’s style reached new heights at this year’s Grammys. Last year she wore a simple black blazer with matching pants and dressed it up with colourful hoop earrings, wearing her curly hair down.

Alessia Cara wears a simple pant suit with converse at last year’s Grammys as she makes her acceptance speech after winning the Best New Artist category on Jan. 28, 2018 (Photo courtesy of the Recording Academy (@recordingacademy) via Instagram).

Drake making his acceptance speech after winning the Best Rap Song category with God’s Plan at this year’s Grammys on Feb. 10, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Drake (@champagnepapi) via Instagram).


Although Drake missed the red carpet, he graced the stage when accepting the Grammy for Best Rap Song with his hit God’s Plan. The Toronto-born rapper, who made a surprise appearance at this year’s award ceremony, wore a sophisticated charcoal suit with a subtle checked pattern. He went for a combination of classy and urban by wearing a suit over a black turtleneck.

While making his acceptance speech Drake was cut off by a commercial break. Fans immediately took it to social media, expressing their frustration with the producers and calling their actions unacceptable.

Nina Dobrev

Actress Nina Dobrev walked the Grammys red carpet in a nude Dior dress. Dobrev was an award presenter at this year’s ceremony. Her dress was embodied with simple floral designs from top to bottom. She topped off the look with a tight updo, diamond earrings and a ring, making her outfit chic and classy. Usually at award shows Dobrev tends to go for a modern look by wearing short cut dresses and her hair down. At this year’s Grammys she changed it up and there’s no doubt that her look radiated with elegance.

Actress Nina Dobrev on the red carpet at the 61st Grammy awards on Feb. 10, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Nina Dobrev (@nina) via Instagram).

Actress Nina Dobrev at the 2016 American Music Awards in Los Angeles (Photo courtesy of Nina Dobrev (@nina) via Instagram).

Canadian YouTuber Lilly Singh walks the red carpet 61st Annual  Grammy Awards in a sparkling jumpsuit on Feb. 10, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Lilly Singh (@iisuperwomanii) via Instagram).

Lilly Singh

YouTube superstar Lilly Singh was another Canadian who made an appearance at the 2019 Grammys. She wore a sparkling dark silver jumpsuit which was covered in sequence, a look that is both fun and chic. She left her hair down and accessorized it with a pearl pin on the side. Singh tends to wear her signature jumpsuits to award shows and premieres, so we saw this look coming.

Internet sensation Lilly Singh wore a black jumpsuit at the Bad Moms movie premiere on July 19, 2016 (Photo courtesy of Lilly Singh (@iisuperwomanii) via Instagram).

Schitt’s Creek actress Emily Hampshire dressed in a white pant suit as she walked the red carpet at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019 (Photo courtesy of HELLO! Canada Magazine (@hellocanadamag) via Instagram).

Emily Hampshire

Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire, who plays the role of Stevie Budd, was at this year’s Grammys as well. She wore a low-cut white blazer, matched with oversized glossy pants. Hampshire’s straightened hair and red lipstick completed her girl-boss look; the pants, however, may not have been a great idea, since they wrinkled and made her look less polished.

The #10YearChallenge: Canadian fashion in 2009 versus 2019

By Meghna Sarawat

The #10YearChallenge has been blowing up our social media feeds since the beginning of the new year. You’ve seen it: two contrasting photos of your friend, on the left a photo of them in 2009 and on the right a photo of them today. Some also refer to the challenge as the ‘How hard did aging hit you’ challenge. 2009 was literally and figuratively a different time and we’re throwing it back to the good old days.

2009 was the year Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released and everyone was listening to “I Got a Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas and obsessing over Eminem’s Relapse album. Harem pants were today’s Champion sweatpants and boots with shorts were today’s equivalent of a skinny dress with suede over-the-knee boots.

2019 has already brought all new music, movies and pop culture trends. As for the world of fashion, it has come a long way since 2009. Last year was somewhat revolutionary, because that was when politics and fashion collided on a global scale. Today it’s trendy to use fashion for political messaging, like with the Me Too movement and the larger feminist movement, which inspired graphic t-shirts with feminist expressions.

Chair of the Ryerson School of Fashion Robert Ott remembers his 2009 style consisting of predominantly navy and black suits. He described the past 10 years of fashion as going from, “Loose fitting pants to slim fitting pants, from t-shirts to sweaters, from long shirts to short shirts.”

Chair of the Ryerson School of Fashion Robert Ott decorated his office with silk wall art by French fashion designer Pierre Cardin. (CanCulture/Meghna Sarawat)

Chair of the Ryerson School of Fashion Robert Ott decorated his office with silk wall art by French fashion designer Pierre Cardin. (CanCulture/Meghna Sarawat)

Ott said that 2019 has given us the freedom to develop our own individual styles. In an interview with CanCulture, Ott spoke about fast fashion and its important role in 2019. By fast fashion he means mass produced clothing, which aims to keep up with the latest trends, rather than primarily focusing on quality. He also said that in 2019 we, as a society, tend to stay away from purchasing expensive designer brand items.

“We are happy in buying something that was knowingly knocked off from another brand for a fraction of the price,” said Ott.

Shae Lynds, a Ryerson fashion design student, remembers 2009 as the phase of Hollister and Aeropostale, when everyone looked more or less the same. She explained that her style has tremendously changed over the past 10 years. In 2017 she  moved to Toronto from Niagara-on-the-Lake. She said that in her hometown everyone dressed in similar clothing, and since moving to Toronto, the diversity of clothing has influenced her style.

Ryerson fashion design student Shae Lynds credits the diversity of Toronto fashion for influencing her personal wardrobe. (CanCulture/Meghna Sarawat).

Ryerson fashion design student Shae Lynds credits the diversity of Toronto fashion for influencing her personal wardrobe. (CanCulture/Meghna Sarawat).

As for designer culture, Canadian designers have earned much press in the last few years and have shown the world Canada’s talent. Meghan Markle, who resided in Toronto for seven years, has been very well known for her fashion. She supports numerous Canadian brands, like Aritzia and Soia & Kyo.

Canada has gained a reputable standing on the world’s fashion platform since 2009. Designers Jason Wu, Greta Constantine, and Mackage have got the #10YearChallenge in their pocket; see how they changed over the years…

Greta Constantine

Another highly acclaimed Canadian fashion designer is Greta Constantine. Ten years ago Constantine was into bodysuits and revealing outfits. Today, the brand is creating more classy, simple yet elegant pieces.

Jason Wu

Jason Wu has designed beautiful dresses for Michelle Obama, Gemma Chan, Karlie Kloss and other icons. The Canadian designer is known for his elegant and feminine dresses. In 2009 Wu designed Michelle Obama’s dress for her husband’s inauguration. Her one-strap dress was light in colour, texturized, romantic and feminine. In contrast to Obama’s dress, Wu’s design for Gemma Chan’s Critics’ Choice Awards 2019 look was more bold. Chan’s a-line dress was bright pink and flowery, completely strapless and contained a very 2018/19 detail - pockets.

From left: Michelle Obama dances with her husband Barack Obama at his presidential inauguration in a dress designed by Jason Wu. (Photo courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Suzanne Day via Wikimedia Commons) Actress Gemma Chan poses in a custom Jason Wu floral gown at the Critics’ Choice Awards. (Photo courtesy of  Jason Wu  via Instagram) Graphic created by Meghna Sarawat.

From left: Michelle Obama dances with her husband Barack Obama at his presidential inauguration in a dress designed by Jason Wu. (Photo courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Suzanne Day via Wikimedia Commons) Actress Gemma Chan poses in a custom Jason Wu floral gown at the Critics’ Choice Awards. (Photo courtesy of Jason Wu via Instagram) Graphic created by Meghna Sarawat.


In January 2009, Mackage, a popular Canadian outerwear brand, mostly came out with leather and sheepskin coats with fur accents around the collar and wrists. This season the brand is focusing on puffer coats and parkas with fur lining this season. Their puffer coats, which have made a comeback the past two winter seasons, fit the simplicity of today’s major fashion trends. For a closer look, you can check out their store location in the Toronto Eaton Centre.

Social media fads such as the #10YearChallenge are a great way to start off the new year. Looking back and reflecting on the past is a good way to appreciate what we personally, and as a society, have gone through; it even forces us to think about where we’d like to see ourselves in the new year.

Canadian designers have come a long way since January 2009. This year they will surely come out with tons of original and trendy styles as they adapt to this year’s popular culture. This year we will surely see more celebrities wearing Canadian brands than ever before, as Canada continues creating a global name for itself within the fashion industry. Perhaps, 10 years down the road, in 2029, we’ll look back at today’s trends and think, “Oh my gosh, how could I have worn those Fila Disruptor sneakers with that little black dress?”

Our Fave Canadian Celebrity Halloween Costumes of 2018

By: Regina Dickson

As the Halloween celebrations wrap up and we sit at Starbucks, sipping our peppermint mochas, admiring the newly-released Christmas merchandise, we can’t help but wonder what the celebs got up to this week. Yet more importantly, what were they wearing?

Here’s a glimpse of Canadian celebrity looks from this year’s Halloween festivities.

1. The Weeknd

Canadian-born singer The Weeknd and girlfriend, model Bella Hadid dressed up as Lydia and Beetlejuice, from Tim Burton’s 1988 fantasy/horror film Beetlejuice.

2. Avril Lavigne dressed up as a pirate for a Just Jared Halloween bash.

3. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was Sherlock Holmes as he took part in Halloween

celebrations with his family at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. His wife Sophie was a zombie bride, while the rest of the family dressed up in other outfits of their choice.

4. Celine Dion didn’t dress up this year, at least not in public, but she did post a goofy Halloween photo of her and her sons wearing rotten teeth with a caption, “Happy Halloween ! Don’t eat too much candy, it’s not good for your teeth ! 😜👻🎃 - Céline xx…”

5. Vancouver-born actor and film director Jason Priestley and his daughter Ava played around with some eye-catching Halloween face paint.

6. Nina Dobrev, former Ryerson University student and Canadian-Bulgarian actress dressed up as a baby star, inspired by the 2018 remake of the film A Star is Born, staring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

7. Canadian TV personality, host of Love It or List It Vancouver and former ABC Bachelorette Jillian Harris and her family dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland.

Who’s ready to have another go at Halloween right about now?

Hopefully by scrolling through some of this year’s celebrity costumes you’ve been inspired to concoct something extra creative for next year.

Imagining a post-digital world at Mass Exodus 2018

By: Regina Dickson

“May we ask you to put away your mobile devices for just twenty minutes and allow the lenses of your eyes to appreciate the work, not the lenses of your mobile device,” said Robert Ott, Chair of the Ryerson School of Fashion, as he opened the 30th annual Mass Exodus fashion show.

This year’s collections were nothing short of unique, featuring space terrain, a vacuum cleaner impersonation, bridal gowns, accessible clothing and more. This year’s event was also a call to unplug from digital technology, and to imagine a post-digital world, at least for the duration of the show.

Ott explained the digi-free take on this year’s show, “We gave students a directive to look forward and imagine a future, a world that is not defined by digi-technology. A world that we call post-digital. And it’s a world that re-engages us with the physicality of things, the beauty of objects and the meaning of being present.”

Mass Exodus is organized by third-year fashion communication students at Ryerson University. It showcases the works of fourth-year fashion design students, introducing them to the industry and the public.

‘Jupeio’ by Karin Meister

One of the most unique collections displayed last friday was ‘Jupeio’ by Karin Meister. It was a kids’ collection inspired by space terrain. “I thought, if we were to travel to a different planet, or do space excavation, what would a kid wear?” said Meister in an interview with CanCulture.


Photo credits: Regina Dickson

Photo credits: Regina Dickson

She aimed this collection to young girls, since she noticed that space and science themed clothing on the current market is mostly found in the boys’ section. However, Meister also wanted this collection to follow the current trend of unisex wear. “While my collection is for young girls, I wanted to also create pieces that boys could wear if they wanted,” she said


Her collection is also all about fun and comfort, which explains the bright colours that give the designs a futuristic feel. She said, “I wanted to create something that they could move around in, have fun in, and it’s sort of like a more realistic dress-up to match their interests.”

‘Personify’ by Beverly Tse

Another collection in this year’s repertoire was ‘Personify’ by Beverly Tse. Through the collection Tse wanted to play with the juxtaposing relationship between the artificial and the natural. “I looked at objects such as suction cups, vacuum cleaners and I kind of realized that, for some reason, I could see a part of myself in them, in a way. I looked at a vacuum bag and how when you take the air out of it, it’s kind of like a human breathing,” she explained.

Her designs bring inanimate objects such as a vacuum cleaner to life.

Photo credit: Regina Dickson

Photo credit: Regina Dickson

Instead of focusing on online research, like some other designers, Tse looked at things around her for inspiration. Her approach fits well into the digi-free theme of this year’s Mass Exodus.

Her inspiration also came from wishing to experiment with unusual things she’s never used before. That’s when she ordered suction cups and after cutting them in different shapes began picturing her ‘futuristic garden’ dress.

“When I was making these things (suction cup shapes) I realized that I was, in a sense, personifying these materials and making inanimate objects have human characteristics or innate qualities of humans and nature,” she said. That’s how the name of her collection ‘Personify’ was born.

“I Do’ in Urban Streetwear’ by Melissa Nugara

A third collection on display at Friday’s show was “I Do’ in Urban Streetwear’ by Melissa Nugara. This collection consists of pieces that a contemporary bride might wear, such as a pant suit. Despite the modernity of the collection, Nugara stuck with the traditional white colour for all of her designs.

Photo by Regina Dickson

Photo by Regina Dickson

The profile of Nugara’s collection on the Mass Exodus website reads, “The goal of this collection is to steer away from the bridal ideal and traditions by using innovative ways of designing and constructing bridal gowns.”

 ‘Un-form’ by Sonia Prancho

 Lastly, the collection receiving most applause from the audience was ‘Un-form’ by Sonia Prancho. It was designed for young women with functional limitations or physical disabilities, which require an easier way of dressing. “I am pulling away from trying to adapt clothing and instead designing for their bodies and needs,” said Prancho on the Mass Exodus website.

Photos by Regina Dickson

Photos by Regina Dickson

Her collection includes elements such as velcro, magnet zippers and full side opening pants, all geared to ease the dressing process. In addition to being an accessible clothing collection, it was modelled by young women with physical limitations or disabilities. Ott’s challenge to unplug from digital technology was well received by the audience. Hardly any screens were lit up as the viewers sat in awe of the designs.

Rising stars: Vincentian-Toronto designer Rhonique Ballantyne

By Aya Baradie 


Making fashion sketches during law class on the small island of Saint Vincent in the Caribbean, Rhonique Ballantyne never imagined her success as a fashion designer in a fast-paced city like Toronto. Now, only a few years later, she sits with numerous awards, including “Best in Show” and “Most Media Ready” for her latest fashion collection, Artifice. She studied fashion design at Seneca College in 2011 and received a diploma in fashion design. She opens up about her journey to fashion and her own struggles and successes as a new designer:

Describe the process of creating a design from the idea to the finished collection.

There's nothing simple about translating an idea from your mind and then bringing it to life. It's a whole process. The collection [Artifice] took a whole year to create, focusing all my energy on how to do it properly. I start by finding a few ideas and adding them to my inspiration board. This includes shapes, colours and silhouettes. I had to do over a 100 sketches for a four-piece collection. Sketching out 100 different outfits gets you the full range of ideas and that way you get the best of the best basically. After the 100 sketches, you condense it even further and develop those outfits that stand out.  

What was your latest collection "Artifice" inspired by?

It was actually inspired by a game of chess. I very much knew I wanted to pick up those faceted pieces and that can all be reflected in this collection. I didn't want my final collection to be just flowers or something else overplayed. This collection would set the pace for the rest of my career and so I wanted it to have meaning behind it, and chess is a game that is very rich in metaphors. The pawn in a game of chess is able to transform into any piece it desires as long as it successfully navigates the board and makes it to the other side. That really struck a chord to me what with my own upbringing and where I started out in life. It doesn't matter what hand you're played in life, you can choose to navigate it as you please and really make a change.

What challenges do you experience while you design?

My challenges were mostly financial. Fabric is really expensive, so I had to make do with the finances I had at the time when I was in school. I do think that the challenge of money helped me to really get creative with the resources I had. If you really analyze the pieces, they are all just simple materials, but the way it presents itself is of much higher value.

What happens when you get stuck on a piece?

This happens quite a lot, but when it does, I feel like I just have to walk away from it for a bit and do things that don't relate to fashion. There's a lot of beauty and inspiration in the world outside of fashion. Music, in particular, is really helpful when I'm stuck on a design piece. I tend to listen to artists whose passion can be felt in their music, like Beyoncé and Kanye West, feed off their energy.

How did you get into fashion?

Before I even started out in fashion school, when I would buy clothes, it would make me feel very confident about my image. That feeling of confidence that fashion gave me was a big reason for going into this industry because I realized I wanted to give that feeling to someone else.

 Did you have an "Aha" moment that made you realize you wanted to do fashion?

My grandmother was a seamstress and I spent a lot of time watching her work while I was growing up. I feel like what she did really resonated with me. Even in the Caribbean while I was studying law, I would get distracted easily during class and I would be sketching outfits.  

Tell me about your transition from Saint Vincent to Toronto.

Saint Vincent was an incredibly small island and I think I always knew I wanted to do bigger things for myself outside of the Caribbean. Coming to Toronto, it was definitely difficult. I would get lost a lot and attract stares because of my heavy accent and I didn't really have any friends here when I first started out. It's like you're starting your life from scratch.

How has your Caribbean upbringing influenced your work ethic?

One big thing I was taught growing up in Saint Vincent was to be resourceful. We didn't have much going on for us on that tiny island, but we made the most with what we had. We also were used to waking up very early in the morning to get work done and that's a habit I carried on to Canada and has helped me succeed as a designer.  

What motivates you to continue designing?

My family is a huge motivator for me. My mom raised my siblings and I as a single mother and most of what I'm doing is thanks to her. I feel like each generation should aim to do better than the previous one and I want to create a legacy for my family through fashion. I feel like I have a certain point that I'm trying to get across with fashion and designing helps me share it with the rest of the world.

How was your family's support when you decided to pursue fashion?

When I first applied to the fashion program, my mom thought I was applying to nursing. When she found out I never actually applied to nursing, and that I got accepted into fashion, she was really upset and we didn't talk for a couple of weeks. She thought it was a joke telling me "How could you do fashion design with no sewing experience?" I had to show her what I was capable of doing and how hard I was willing to work to succeed. After winning a couple of the fashion competitions at school, she saw how dedicated I was and was happy with my decision to go into this program. 

This piece was edited by Isabelle Kirkwood. 

10 Canadian fashion bloggers to look out for this year

By Aya Baradie

Instagram has become an increasingly popular platform for everyone to showcase their fashion blogging talents. From crazy patterns to pastel pinks, we believe these ten Canadian fashion bloggers have a lot of inspiration to offer fashion enthusiasts everywhere:

cara jourdan.png

1. Cara McLeay (@carajourdan)

Followers: 219K

What you can expect: sundresses and major hairstyle inspo

Where: Vancouver, BC



2.  Qing (@qingaling)

Followers: 37.7K

What you can expect: a grey and pink aesthetic with a whole lot of coffee

Where: Toronto, Ont.


Sarah Hasni.png

3. Sarah Hasni (@sarahhasni)

Followers: 30.4K

What you can expect: chic, parisian outfits with a beautifully-styled turban

Where: Montreal, QC


abdulla khatib.png

4. Abdulla Khatib (@absdulla)

Followers: 9.3K

What you can expect: an array of different styles from a vintage 60s look to relaxed puffer vests.

Where: Toronto, Ont.


Xander vintage.png

5. Alanna Durkovich (@xandervintage)

Followers: 221K

What you can expect: urban street style with ever-changing hair colours and styles

Where: Vancouver, BC



6. Mo Handahu (@Misslionhunter)

Followers: 47.3K

What you can expect: crazy, vibrant prints and the biggest smile you’ll ever see

Where: Halifax, NS



7. Farahdhukai

Followers: 5.9M

What you can expect: beauty tutorials and everyday life hacks for skin and hair care

Where: Toronto, Ont.


8. Amanda Monty

Followers: 39.5K

What you can expect: an endless array of pastel-coloured outfits, with a huge emphasis on pink

Where: Hamilton, Ont.


9. Jonathan Cavaliere (@Themrcavaliere)

Followers: 18.6K

What you can expect: a combination of relaxed and sophisticated; a suit paired with sneakers

Where: Toronto, Ont.




10. Lady Divine (@uhmlady)

Followers: 50.7K

What you can expect: taking minimalism and streetwear to a whole new level

Where: Edmonton, AB