When I encountered this talkative, expressive, hand gesturing girl just 3 years ago, she was living in Toronto ever questioning her role in this city. Common problem. If there’s anyone I know that can be the ambassador for change, it’s Elise. Within two years, she made the jump into a new life. After leaving her part time graphic design job in Toronto, she packed up and told me she was heading to London, England. She was to go solo, and sans job. Something I’ve always admired in people.
Not long after she moved, I was traveling Europe and did a pit stop over in the UK, where I had the chance to catch up with her. She told me she had found a great job with a firm, doing her “passion” graphic design. This was all I ever heard of when she discussed her future plans. Frankly I didn’t even know she sang.
Well one year later. Elise quit her job, started a musical duo with her brother David, signed to a label, put out an album on itunes, and has toured within Europe and the United States as the lead singer for Au Palais, obviously her true passion.
Because Elise is only visiting with us in Toronto, I could not shoot in her home atmosphere like usual. Rather we shot in her friends store on Dundas and Dufferin. A beautiful little place called ”Life of Manek“ carrying new and vintage items. Owner and curator Nicole Manek is assisted by the store’s manager Clara Gold with the buying, and trust me they do a fantastic job! If you need a party dress, a sexy pair of pumps, and a purse to go with it, they have what you need. Obviously I left with a little something something for myself : )
Job - Singer (Au Palais) / Graphic Designer
Age - 25
Hometown - Toronto
Currently living in - London, UK
Nationality - Canadian/Italian
Who are your style icons?
That’s a really tricky question actually. I don’t know if I have any icons, but I really respect the style of certain people. I love what Patti Smith was doing in the 70s. Edie Sedwick. Right now I think Alexa Chung is pretty bang on.
How would you describe your style?
I feel like I have a split personality when it comes to style. There is my band style which is a lot darker, more theatrical. But then in my daily life, my style is equal parts girly and dressing like a boy.
When you were in highshchool you dressed in?
A catholic school kilt uniform.
Must have items?
I always need to have a good pair of flat black boots, I can’t dance as much as I want to on stage if I’m in heels. And a big fur hat for winter.
How do you decide what you wear each day?
The weather plays a big role in what I end up wearing. I hate being underdressed and cold!
What do you feel most comfortable in?
Day dresses. My leather jacket. Brogues. In fact that combination is my favourite.
What’s your most cherished item/items
I’m very sentimental about things, so my most cherished are my grandmother’s pearl earrings.
You splurge on…?
Never be caught wearing..?
Key pieces for this upcoming fall would be?
Really want a new pair of combat boots. Was eyeing a beautiful vintage hooded cape the other day as well.
Do you have any particular fashion rules?
Maybe just if an outfit makes me feel uncomfortable or self-conscious then I will change it. There is no point going out wearing something that makes you feel awkward or hyper-aware of yourself. There’s no fun in that!
How do you like to spend your free time ?
Illustrating, reading, wandering, daydreaming, sleeping.
Your favourite places to shop are?
The status of my bank account affects this question greatly.
What perfume do you wear?
Currently rotating between Calvin Klein Euphoria and Miss Dior Cherie.
Do you have a shopping secret?
If you wouldn’t buy it if it wasn’t on sale, don’t buy it.
crop top: TOPSHOP
navy chiffon maxi skirt: American Apparel
red striped espadrilles: André Assous
fox necklace: Zoe & Morgan
striped circus pants: Primani
jean vest: swapped with a friend
black boots: Doc Martens
blue jumpsuit: vintage- Life of Manek
belt: vintage- Life of Manek
gold shoes: Manolo Blahnik
striped colorful dress: American Apparel
black boots: Doc Martens
gold earrings: vintage- Life of Manek
she claims this as her “I look like a man named Ron who lives in Florida” outfit.
acid wash jeans: Cheap Monday
yellow bikini top: Victoria Secret
Romeo + Juliet shirt: vintage- Life of Manek
BIG thanks to Life of Manek & Clara for putting up with our shoot : )
Listen to Au Palais HERE!
a video I watch time and time again. I like to imagine that THIS is what heaven would be.
Age - 25
Hometown - Vancouver
What happens when you put a soft-spoken Serbian over 6’3, and an exuberant multicultural beauty under 5’4, together? Well, you’ll just have to scroll down to find out…brace yourself it’s one of the longer ones!
While attending George Brown for Fashion Design Studies, these two met, and have since, been proving their individual uniqueness to the world. You can’t help but be curious about this duo. I like to describe their lifestyle as artistically scavenged. They do as they please, and probably don’t use the word “restrictions” very often. Both extremely loveable characters, they are indeed characters. People like this, simply make the world a more interesting place.
This is Rayna Sydney Syed, otherwise known as Syd. She likes Farmers Markets, house music, shoes, knives and bakeries. She rather dislikes fast food, processed meats, and most of all, people without manners.
Job - Server…for now
Age - 23
Hometown - Mississauga
Currently living in - Toronto
Nationality - half Chinese Jamaican & half Indian but living in Canadiaaa
Who are your style icons? Rumi Neely from Fashion Toast, Mary-kate Olsen, Kate Moss. Her favorite designers are: Stella McCartney, Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang, and Celine.
How would you describe your style? I am inspired by a few things. I love the 70s, widelegged pants, platform shoes, and disco. Yet at the same time I love a badass woman who can kick ass in combat boots and leather . Mostly my style is comfortable; It changes a lot but is usually tomboy meets femine edge.
When you were in highshchool you dressed in? Ah - too many matchy-matchy colours and too many tracksuits.
Must have items? A statement shoe makes the simplest outfit all the better. I love my acne black wedges and my line leather jacket.
How do you decide what you wear each day? Depends on how I feel and the weather.
What do you feel most comfortable in? Soft and loose knit fabrics and wedges.
What’s your most cherished item/items? I love my collection of kiminos, my tiffany rings (one from my mom and one from my dad), and my Shun knives
You splurge on…? Without a doubt, shoes and jackets/coats
Never be caught wearing..? Work out clothes outside of the gym and fur.
Key pieces for this upcoming summer would be?
I don’t really follow fashion trends but I heard pastels and mixed prints
Do you have any particular fashion rules?
Wear what makes you happy and rock it with confidence and grace.
How do you like to spend your free time ? Weekly trips to farmer’s markets with Duey, making food, boxing, watching tv.
Your favourite places to shop are? Holt renfew, TNT Blu, Sole Struck, Free People
What perfume do you wear? I haven’t worn perfume in years, but I used to wear and love Flower Bomb by Viktor & Rolf
Do you have a shopping secret? Buy key pieces that can mix and match with other things in your wardrobe. I give away garbage bags of clothes every season because I get over it. I am learning to refine my style, closet, and spending habits/addictions
Second up is Dusan Vlajic, but he goes by Duey. He’s a simple man really, usually of little words, although he’s clearly a genius. Duey likes Moto GP, and dislikes (in his words) Meanies.
Job - Barback
Age - 28
Hometown - Kingston (grew up half the time farming in Serbia)
Currently living in - Toronto
Nationality - Serbian / Canadian
Who are your style icons? John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, Yohji Yamamoto
How would you describe your style ? Used
When you were in highshchool you dressed in? Baggy clothes
I spent 2 months in south east Asia as of recently, and from it, I took away thousands of photos, and many great experiences. For the purpose of this blog, and the purpose of my current editing sanity, here’s my quick Asia 2012 in a nutshell via Instagram. To enlarge the images or to scroll through just click on one and continue.
Before I left, I received the two cents from almost everybody I knew who had travelled there before. I’ve been a few times, because of my relatives, but was always much younger. I got a heavy amount of mixed reviews but had to go determine the outcome myself. I had many fond memories of running the streets eating things on sticks, pop out of bags, and catching lizards. This time would it be different?
When I came back to Canada, I knew I would have people asking me, “where was your favourite place?” That’s probably the hardest question to answer, because without a doubt, as you all know, every place has it’s own uniqueness, whether good or bad, its always interesting. Travelling is a funny thing. Every experience will be completely different depending on your company, on where you go, on where and what you choose to eat, and beyond that, it depends heavily on your state of mind and the energy you exude to others.
One thing Asia taught me was how to become not only a more patient individual, but a more understanding and compassionate person. How to be happy with what you have, because what we have here is so much more than a large percentage of the world, yet they exude kindness and happiness to us as strangers. Many people travel abroad and say oh I hated this city, or this country, street vendors wouldn’t stop harassing me, the people were not nice, or there was McDonalds everywhere and it was basically like being at home but hotter and stickier. All of that…is because of us. Less we forget, the west has heavily influenced the growth of these countries in such a short amount of time, that their infrastructure can’t hold the changes. Example: “there was garbage all over the beach”!
Your travels become what you make it. Of course in every country there will be places of dense backpackers, idiots getting bombed on the streets because it’s legal to buy beer from the corner stores. It’s easy to forget where you are, and what your purpose is in this foreign place if you’re always hitting up Starbucks.
My advice would be; search far and wide for those sacred places, because they won’t be sacred for much longer. Even since the last time I was in Asia, 10 years ago, it’s barely recognizable, other than the awesomely shady alleyways. Do your research, get to know the locals, definitely eat something that looks uncertain, try and immerse yourself in their culture and once you do, you’ll remember why you just travelled20,000 km to get there. Not once in those 2 months did I have a bad experience with anyone from the grumpy bus driver, to the street vendor, to the pushy children. Staying far away from the backpacking hubs, I met locals and heard their stories, tasted their dishes, learnt about what it was like before we invaded, and saw a side of Asia I will most certainly return to.
In the end, I thank Asia for showing me how to become a better individual, and please remember to be a considerate tourist. PICK UP YOUR GARBAGE.
From Hong Kong, to Thailand, to Malaysia, to Indonesia -Bali and back….Enjoy!