Business style with an old school twist

Dalhousie student Derek Doyle adds a classy, old-school feel to his everyday look.

By Hanna McLean

Sweatpants, T-shirts, and flip flops – this is what the average 19-year-old would typically wear to class, but for Derek Doyle that is not the case.

Doyle’s wardrobe consists of finely tailored suits and leather dress shoes that he keeps in pristine condition. He stands out from the typical university male student and his formal and stylish way of dressing gets peoples’ attention. “I always do get comments, for sure. Just like, ‘you look so fancy’ or ‘you’re all dressed up,’ but for me it’s just normal for me to dress this way.”

Doyle, who has been keen on men’s fashion for a number of years, sees his style as an important expression of who he is. “I know a lot of guys probably don’t put much effort into their looks, but I see it as a pretty important part of my day.”

Doyle, a commerce student at Dalhousie, is finishing up his co-op at Deloitte Canada, where he fit right into the business-casual atmosphere. “It was nice to get to go to a job where you are expected to look your best,” he says. “All of my colleagues acknowledged the way I put myself together. That was great.”

Getting His Look Right

The way Doyle puts himself together is a process, starting with his hair. He uses Brylcreem, a men’s hairstyling product that has been around for generations. “This is the stuff they used to use in, like, the 50’s; very old school.” After his hair, Doyle likes to use his vintage shaving kit for a daily clean shave. “Hygiene is a big part of looking your best; you can’t be dressed nicely and neglect your hair,” he says.

Although Doyle has some high-end suits, he says you don’t need a whole lot to get his slick look. “I have some jackets from H&M that cost me like 50 bucks,” he says. “One time at work a guy asked where I get my suits made because my jacket had such a good fit.”

Doyle is fond of one jacket in particular: his Dalhousie Commerce leather bomber. “I wear it often, I enjoy my program and it sort of has an old school feel to it. It seems to go well with most of my wardrobe,” he says.

After the hair, the shave, and the suit, Doyle adds that it’s the little things that truly make his personal style. “I always have some cuff links on; they definitely complete my formal look most days, but don’t get me wrong- I dress causal too, just not in the plaid pj’s and a hoodie kind of way.”

Shop second-hand this spring

Value Village has moved down the street to 165 Chain Lake Drive in the Bayer’s Lake shopping area in time for spring shopping.

By Deborah Oomen

Need a new spring wardrobe but don’t have the money? Shopping second-hand is an affordable way to get your closet out of its winter blues and the new Halifax Value Village location has just opened its doors.

After seventeen years at its previous location, Value Village has moved down the street to 165 Chain Lake Drive in the Bayer’s Lake shopping area. The store relies on a heavy amount of donations.

“We’re in partnership with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, so they bring us ten truckloads Monday through Friday and then we have a drop-off donation area as well,” says Value Village Production Manager Margaret Gaul.

“Everybody’s welcome, everybody can find something here which is the best part about it.”

So what makes going through piles of old clothing – some of which might have mystery stains or looks like something your great-aunt would wear – worthwhile?

Fashion blogger and avid thrift store shopper Danna Storey says she appreciates how second-hand shopping fits her lifestyle both fashionably and economically,  “I like to live a reduce, reuse, recycle sort of lifestyle. I also have to shop on a budget, so shopping second[-hand] just makes sense. I like things that are a little more obscure and one-of-a-kind so it also fits into that desire too.”

One of Storey’s all-time favourite second-hand finds is a vintage, floral-beaded coin purse from Penelope’s Boutique, “It’s so beautiful, I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken to create and I love that it is mine.”

To prepare for her wardrobe Storey says she does some much-needed spring cleaning, “It’s awesome to go through [clothes], organize, decide what to keep, decide what you want to donate. I always forget things I have so it kind of gives me new inspiration and reminds me of how much I already have to work with.”

Dalhousie University student Daniel Pappo says he balances shopping between used and new clothing, but “the best thing about shopping second-hand is the reduced prices, and the anecdotal stories behind each piece.”

Pappo’s favourite purchase from a thrift store is a T-shirt made by the Thai brewer, Chang. “It’s got a sweet double elephant logo and was in pristine condition.”

After saving up all winter, Value Village is prepared to provide shoppers with everything they need to spruce up their wardrobes for spring.

“We prepare year-long, which basically means during the wintertime we’ll back-stock certain items such as capris, t-shirts, tank tops – that kind of thing – because we know that when spring and summer roll around we’re going to be needing it,” says Gaul. 

The long and short of iconic hair

Two men with exceptional hairdos aren’t worried about parting with their locks

By Erin Way

Connor Fitzpatrick let his five-o-clock shadow become a four-month shadow. Kyle McKenna has let his hair do its own thing for the past four years. Both of these men had a ‘why not’ moment and let nature do the rest.

Back in November, Fitzpatrick grew a moustache to raise money for Movember. After the month was up, he decided to stop shaving altogether.

“It’s definitely the biggest,” says Fitzpatrick of his current beard. “I’ve done Movember for the past three years and I’ve grown a beard for maybe a month before, but not this long.”

Although Fitzpatrick has committed to his gingery beard for the past five months, he does not think he will keep it for the long haul.

“It’s not really summer compatible,” he says, laughing.

Fitzpatrick says he gets one of two reactions from strangers about his beard.

“People either say nothing or they are very obsessed with it — like, ‘Can I touch it?’ and stuff like that.”

Although Fitzpatrick has avoided the tedious task of shaving every morning, maintaining lustrous facial hair is no cakewalk.

“You don’t shampoo because, unlike your scalp, your face doesn’t produce the oils you need for your hair,” he says.

“I condition it, then I rinse it out, then I use Moroccan Argan oil to keep it shiny and nice, and I trim it a little bit.”

Fitzpatrick’s hair care routine is the opposite of McKenna’s. In fact, all his dreadlocks require is a daily shampoo.

Similar to growing-out one’s facial hair, McKenna’s transition into dreads was passive.

“My hair is so curly it just dreads together on its own. I didn’t do anything to get them.”

McKenna has had his current dreadlocks for four years, but this is the third time he has had dreadlocks.

“(The first time) was the first year of high school I started growing the ‘fro, says McKenna. “Then I evolved.”

As with Fitzpatrick’s beard, no stranger has ever commented negatively on McKenna’s unique ‘do. His co-workers, however, have been known to jokingly tell him to ‘shave and cut your hair.’

“I kind of keep it just in spite,” says McKenna, laughing, “But I look good with short hair, and I’m alright with long hair, too, so either way.”

Once his dreadlocks grow and become heavier and more annoying, McKenna says he will take the scissors to them. After all, he has before.

“The first couple times I cut them off it was like I lost a bit of my identity,” says McKenna. “Like ‘Oh shit, I’m not the guy with the dreads.’ But you know, it’s all good.”

McKenna already stands taller than the average man and his dreads make him even more distinctive.

Regardless of how much time they have had their respective hairstyles, neither man seems worried about cutting it all off.

As McKenna says, “You’re never your hair. So if it goes, it goes, you’re still the same person.”

Appreciate, don’t appropriate

There’s an argument to be made that there’s something wrong with the way Aboriginal Peoples are represented in the world of fashion.

 

By Nicolas Haddad

There’s an argument to be made that there’s something wrong with the way Aboriginal Peoples are represented in the world of fashion, and it goes beyond Justin Bieber’s new tattoo.

Inspiration for new styles are drawn from anywhere and everywhere. But with the rising popularity of Aboriginal-inspired icons, the fashion world has to consider how ethical it is to use another culture’s symbols without knowing what they represent.

“Fashion is: you wear something because it’s an expression of yourself, and you wear it because you like to wear it. So it’s not necessarily that you wear it because you know what it means or you understand what the designer wants it to mean, but it’s because you appreciate what it means to you,” says Michelle Cameron, a student from University of King’s College whose part-time job is in retail.

Cameron says similar to bohemian trends, native American-inspired designs have a place in today’s fashions, “Moccasins and beads and flats that have fringe on them are trendy and people do wear them. People wear it to be trendy but it doesn’t really mean anything to them.”

According to Cameron, designs like war birds and colourful patterns are popular because, “people in the fashion world right now are trying to project a lot of aggressive pieces.”

So what happens when the invisible line is crossed? The feathered headdress, a fundamental Aboriginal icon symbolizing status and sacred knowledge, has re-emerged into popular hipster culture.

WHEN IS IT OK?

 

Glenn Knockwood, youth coordinator for the Kitpu Youth Project at the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre says, “There’s a term for that, the adoption of style from a culture that isn’t your own: it’s appropriation.”

“There’s this big movement towards popularity of the appearance of ‘aboriginal-ness’ but it’s also a stereotypical image of aboriginal people. Say you’re wearing a headdress. Oh, well, what tribe does that come from? Where is the origin of that?” says Knockwood.

There are more than 600 bands or tribes across Canada, and patterns or motifs are often passed down for generations. Current stereotypes perpetuate the false idea that native culture and traditions are a thing of the past, since they don’t always wear their traditional garb.

Knockwood says nowadays, “Regalia is ceremonial wear. It’s meant to be an expression to the creator and the spirit.”

Debbie Eisan from the Halifax Aboriginal People’s Network has found that, “It starts as early as arts and crafts when 5 year-olds make paper headbands with the colourful feathers.”

Every colour, ribbon, and even the choice of hide have a traditional meaning among Aboriginal groups.

“From the Mohawk to the Mi’kmaq, every tribe has their own designs and clothing, and the way we wear that clothing, people will recognize us,” says Eisan.

COMMERCIALIZED OR WESTERNIZED?

Michelle Bernard, a psychology student at Dalhousie University grew up on-reserve in Indian Brook, N.S.

Though understanding of where people are coming from, she remains on the fence, “I say it’s wrong, but I’d like to dress up as Pocahontas for Halloween too. I’m still very conflicted about it. It’s such a form of capitalism, and someone’s making money off it. It’s not authentic and it’s getting money into the wrong people’s hands.”

According to Bernard, cultural appropriation has actually fed into the tired archetype of the conquering white pioneer looking over his new land with a half-naked red-skinned girl nearby, “It’s perpetuating this trope that Indigenous women are supposed to be sexualized, so that was a big representation of trying to sexualize indigenous settings.”

According to Cameron, it’s not possible to keep the spiritual meaning of an article of clothing when you’re marketing it in North America, “It’s totally a contradiction. When you’re making something into a large trend and you’re commercializing it so that a lot of people like it, it’s going to lose its meaning.”

Twisted Muse thrives in new space

What at one time looked like the end to Twisted Muse Boutique has turned into the best move the store could have made.

Formerly located in the Mills department store on Spring Garden Road, Twisted Muse was facing an uncertain future when Mills was suddenly sold in October.

Five months later, and the boutique is thriving in its new location behind sister store Sweet Pea on Birmingham St.

“Everyone was kind of just rolling with the punches,” says Twisted Muse and Sweet Pea owner Johanna Galipeau, about the sale which saw a series of shuffles among several Spring Garden Road shops.

Galipeau also owned Sparrow Shoes, another business which moved from Mills. Sparrow Shoes has since merged with Twisted Muse, however, becoming a single store.

“It was really nice because things that we already had fit really well into that space. Like it was just meant for it,” says Galipeau.

“The original architecture was just amazing for the vibe of Twisted.”

It’s only a month old, but Twisted Muse is already more at home in their new space than they ever were in Mills. Galipeau says the staff has put their mark on the space, incorporating the fireplaces and storefront windows into their displays. Galipeau loves being able to mold the space to fit her vision, something that was difficult in a department store setting.

Business has been strong since the move. Galipeau admits that they did lose some customers, but won over many others.

Sister stores are closer together now

“We regained more of the Sweet Pea [type of] customer, [who] are the people who like to do boutique-sized street shopping; they’re over at the liquor store getting their stuff, they’re going to Pete’s to get their groceries.”

The whole process came together seamlessly. A small group of friends and family packed, painted, built and then unpacked to bring Twisted Muse back to life. It helped that the two locations are so close, as the movers used trolleys instead of trucks.

In total, the store was closed for only three days.

“When we opened, it just felt really right,” she says. “I was really happy.”

She credits social media and the staff at Mills for making sure customers know where Twisted Muse moved to.

The sale of Mills has brought Sweet Pea and Twisted Muse closer together in more ways than one. Being able to go from one store to the other through a back door, Galipeau now sees more of her staff and her customers.

“We’re really loving this close-knit little family,” says Galipeau.

“I just love that it’s right behind Sweet Pea, like it truly is finally our sister store.”

The Future of Mills

Back on Spring Garden, Lisa Gallivan, Deanne MacLeod, Candace Thomas and Katharine Perry teamed up to purchase Mills from Micco Companies in October. The sale of Mills has had a ripple effect on the rest of Spring Garden. Mills will be moving down the street and setting up shop in Spring Garden Place in May, in the space vacated by Roots and Thornbloom. Roots has already moved across the street from its former location.

Visible tattoos may pose problems with employers

After seven years of tattooing experience, Matt Owen has seen a slight move towards social acceptance of tattoos.

By Alissa MacDougall

Matt Owen is a tattoo artist at Utility Tattoo (Alissa MacDougall photo)

After seven years of tattooing experience, Matt Owen has seen a slight move towards social acceptance of tattoos. Owen, an artist at Utility, says, “I think a lot more people have gotten tattoos, but at the same time there’s still a little bit of stigma attached to having tattoos that are very visible.”

Visible tattoos are often seen as negative, especially to prospective employers.

“Anytime I will tattoo someone on their hands, faces, or necks I make sure that they are conscious that this could ruin your life; this could ruin your employment for the rest of your life,” says Owen.

Despite this, the cultural and community aspect of tattoos has been long-standing in Halifax . The Maritime Tattoo Festival has been hosted in the city annually for the past six years, with the seventh annual festival scheduled to occur in May.

There are more than a dozen tattoo shops in the area, with a handful of them well-established in the downtown core.

Across North America, there’s also been a shift towards acceptance of tattoos in the media. Shows such as Ink Master and LA Ink that chronicle the lives of tattoo artists have gained popularity with mainstream audiences.

Related Audio

 

Owen speaks on social consensus of tattoos
Tattoo artist Matt Owen speaks about social consensus on tattoos.

Owen says tattoos in North America are a fad that have been around for the past 50-100 years, but they’ve existed in other cultures for centuries.

“There’s always going to be tattoos and there’s always been tattoos,” says Owen.

Trendy vendors give market artistic flair

The Halifax Seaport Market is known for its local meat and produce, but it’s unique artisans make the shopping experience special.

By Erin Way

The Halifax Seaport Market is known for its local meat and produce. The market also hosts many local creative businesses selling their handiworks. Profiled here are four style vendors that are found at the market most Saturdays.

Jewelry Gillian Hannah Berry Designs

Gillian Berry’s table at the market is packed with more than a hundred of her own jewelry designs. Berry is different from the run of the mill jewelry stand because each of her designs is made from repurposed material.  There’s a section of leaf inspired earrings, watch face bracelets and necklaces made of Scrabble game tiles.

Gillian Berry constructed this necklace out of a fake floral bouquet that her mom had. (Erin Way photo)

“I’ll recycle and reuse and also I’ll go to antique stores and flea markets and estate sales and find old pieces that I can turn into jewelry,” Berry says.

Although the materials she uses for each mini collection vary, her whole line maintains a vintage yet modern feel.

“I like to use birch bark, leather, antique clock faces deconstructed from old watches,” Berry says. “Really anything and everything.”

T-shirts etc.The Quarrelsome Yeti

Geordan Moore’s booth stands out at the Halifax Seaport Market because he’s one of the few clothing vendors, and because of the subject matter and intricate details in his artwork.

Moore draws all of the content that is silk-screened onto his products. He started printing t-shirts and posters then branched into postcards and market bags.

Moore is constantly coming up with more unusual content. He can often be seen drawing up new designs at his booth. (Erin Way photo)

“The style that I use right now is based on the relief print making process, like woodcut print making,” Moore says. “I am really interested in Japanese wood cuts and that reductive style of drawing and they’re kind of silly, usually.”

One of Moore’s more popular designs features a rabid looking beaver with brains leaking out of its orifices and gnawing on a log. Around the drawing is written “Welcome to Canada”.

“When I started the business… I told myself if I ever had an idea that I thought was too stupid, then I should do that.”

The Quarrelsome Yeti has found its niche at the market catering to those with a distinctive taste in fashion.

BagsThe Wind Bag Company

The Wind Bag Company is out of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and sells in stores in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Every Saturday you can find owner Pauline Dickison in the upper level of the Halifax Seaport Market singing praises of her products.

Primarily, the company sells various types and sizes of bags made from worn-out ship sails. Part of a Wind Bag’s appeal is that each one is unique.

“We use other materials to trim and line the bags,” Dickison says. “We’re all about giving these tough materials another life.”

A selection of bags made from old sails by the Wind Bag Company. (Erin Way Photo)

The company reclaims other materials such as seatbelts, leather, event banners and even the curtains from White Point Beach Resort, which burned down in 2011. For the past few years, NSCAD has been donating discarded painted canvases, which Dickison accepted gratefully and turned into bags.

“We do a little harvesting at the local junk yard,” Dickison says. “It’s all about giving this tough stuff another life and otherwise they end up in the landfill.”

Pauline Dickison, owner of the Wind Bag company

 

Link text
Pauline Dickison talks about what makes each Wind Bag special.

“Every bag has a tag that tells you the story of the boat from which the sails came,” Dickison says.

From messenger bags to duffel bags, to pencil cases and wallets, there is a Wind Bag for every occasion.

Socks, Mittens and other wool products- Lismore Sheep Farm Wool Shop

On the North Shore of Nova Scotia near the River John area, 150 sheep are working hard to produce wool for the Lismore Sheep Farm. The farm is owned and operated by Gillian Crawford and her husband, and they use all the resources the sheep have to offer.

Some of the vividly coloured knitted mittens from The Lismore Sheep Farm. (Erin Way Photo)

 

“We raise our own sheep and then from the sheep we get lambs, which we sell for meat,” Crawford says. “Here at the market we sell all of the wool products: so the yarn, woven blankets and sheepskin blankets, are all woven from our sheep wool.”

Crawford works with River John locals to knit some of their products.  Their shop offers sheepskin shoe liners, blankets and wool dryer balls alongside brightly coloured knitted socks and mittens, all of them with felted wool inside to make their products warmer and cozier.

Winter brings challenges to local growing

Local growers and businesses that use their products face difficulties providing produce for the market as soon as the weather turns cold and things stop growing.

Sean Gallagher of Local Source Market (Steve Large photo)

By Steve Large

Winter is tough on local growers and businesses that use their products.

Locally grown foods have become a staple of the Haligonian diet with the promise of freshness, quality, and production within a snug radius of the city.

For many local growers, colder weather means relying on what has been harvested and is inside cold storage to satisfy a market hungry for organic and local foods.

“There’s only so much that we can do to try and provide good growing conditions for our plants,” says Norbert Kungl, the proprietor for Norbert’s GoodFood and Selwood Green Farm. “If it gets cold, there’s really not much we can do.”

Cold weather makes the work slow and miserable for people in the field, Kungl says. Early and unexpected spring frosts can wipe out entire harvests in a matter of hours.

Even businesses like Kungl’s, that grow their own vegetables and devote themselves to local and seasonal food, sometimes have to make exceptions in order to meet the demand. This often means reaching beyond the local sphere.

“We use as much of our own produce as we can,” Kungl says. “The variety of things that we have in the winter time is quite limited and therefore, we import organic produce through Pete’s Frootique.

Related Audio

 

Link text
Norbert Kungl on local growers and farmer’s markets.

Sean Gallagher, the owner of Local Source Market, says that with the exception of organic butter and certain ingredients that don’t grow in Nova Scotia, he doesn’t go beyond the province to get what he needs.

“We have to plan ahead,” Gallagher says. “We have to work with the growers that are our main suppliers and have the capacity to hold a lot of their crops for us. So we speak to them and have to basically commit to them in advance for the winter.”

Gallagher says during the summer, his business makes preserves such as sauerkraut to help see them through the winter.

Even with careful planning, cold snaps and other weather events sometimes destroy an entire crop before it has a chance to grow, leaving businesses like Local Source Market with a new set of challenges.

“We have to roll with the punches,” says Gallagher. “We’re basically in the same boat as all of our suppliers. If we know that it’s going to be tight and we track the weather, we can set some of those things aside in our own cold storage so we can keep it for a special event.”

Gallagher says a cold snap earlier this year killed many greenhouse vegetables but his growers were able to adjust and respond to that crop failure.

“I see a lot of potential in the marketplace for people to really start planning ahead for the winters in order to round out their growing season and have specialty things available,” Gallagher says.

“There’s definitely a demand and it’s growing.”

“If you want to buy and live sustainably and promote local farming and local business and promote a local food system, I think you just educate yourself about availability and go to places where producers sell their crops.”

Related Audio

Link text
Sean Gallagher on facing the challenges of winter.

Some growers, like Kevin Graham, also look at the winter for the positive effects that it can have for farmers.

Graham says it makes certain tasks easier, such as moving bales of hay, since he is not stuck in the mud. He also says he’s happy when winter comes because it kills all of the insects.

“If we don’t have cold enough winters than insect populations will [grow] over,” he says. “So then you get a build-up of insects in the environment. If we get a blast [of cold weather] like we’ve had this year, it should reduce those insect populations significantly.”

The bitterness of winter can sometimes leave growers without a crop to sell and Kungl says that it’s important for consumers to know that sometimes a vegetable might not be there for them.

Avid Apparel looks to expand

Custom clothing company Avid Apparel, owned by fourth-year Dalhousie student Jesse Guth, is expanding.

Jesse Guth promotes his Avid Apparel laptop stickers. (Allie Sweeting photo)

By Allie Sweeting

Custom clothing company Avid Apparel, owned by fourth-year Dalhousie student Jesse Guth, is expanding.

“We are hiring campus reps at different universities across Canada,” says Guth.

Michaela Mersch, a good friend to Jesse and model for his recent ad campaign, sees a promising future for Avid Apparel.

He is branching out to Toronto next year,” says the second-year Dalhousie student. “He is opening an office in Scarborough and he’ll have a bunch of reps out here so I think it could get pretty big.”

Mersch attributes much of Avid Apparel’s success to Guth’s character.

Guth holds one of his promotional T-shirts. (Allie Sweeting photo)

“He’s extremely personable. I don’t know a single person that doesn’t like Jesse,” says Mersch. “He’s really on top of his work, very reliable, a really good friend and he’s smart.”

Guth’s goal is to offer a more personal experience to his customers.

“I find that Avid educates and informs during the whole process, so at the end of it you know you’ve made the right decision because we’ve walked you through part by part.”

The process Guth referred to is the steps taken to create the clients’ personalized piece of clothing.

The client first places an order on the companies’ website, then an Avid rep works with the client to pick and develop their design. The final product is a custom printed or embroidered apparel.

Mersch calls Avid young, fresh and something new.

“My favourite product is his funny lines on his shirts for his advertising [such as], ‘You just proved t-shirt advertising works, now stop looking at my chest.’”

About a month ago Guth got a few close friends together for a photo shoot to take some promotional pictures for the Avid Apparel website and Facebook page.

Avid models, Michaela Mersch and Emily Tauro, promotes some custom clothing. (Avid Apparel photo)

“Jesse called me up and said that we would have a photo shoot with champagne and chocolate strawberries, so I couldn’t say no,” says Mersch. “We just had a really good time, put a video together, had some music, were dancing around. It was fun.”

This fun and friendly atmosphere is a reflection of the company as a whole, and sets it apart form other custom clothing companies.

Guth believes that Avid Apparel is seen by customers as more of a cool brand rather than just a plain screen printer.

“I mean you walk around the library at Dal and you see people with Avid stickers on their laptops. I’ve got my car covered in stickers so people see it.”

Jesse Guth and the Avid models at last month's photo shoot. (Avid Apparel photo)

The three words Guth believes represents Avid Apparel best are, “Leaving customers happy.”

“As long as they’re happy at the end of the day, then I know they’ll spread the word about Avid, and they’ll come back.”

Guth’s expansion plan is to have a presence at many universities across Canada.

“To have these reps immersed in their university community, and be the go-to people when it comes to custom clothing needs on campus.”

Mersch suggests that the company could more than triple in size in a year’s time.

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMq1zISpTCU

Jesse Guth discussing how Avid Apparel got started.

 

 

Local designer’s fashion show helps low-income women

Halifax designer Lisa Drader-Murphy raises awareness for an international charity.

By Megan Marrelli-Dill

Lisa Drader-Murphy owns the clothing store Turbine, located on Lower Water St. (Megan Marrelli-Dill photo)

Halifax designer Lisa Drader-Murphy is raising awareness for an international charity. She’s putting on a fashion show at the Westin Nova Scotia Hotel on April 1, calling it the Tea Party.

Part of the proceeds will go toward Dress for Success, an organization that started in New York City in the 1990s. It gives professional outfits to women who are looking for a job, but can’t afford office attire.

“It’s about empowering women,” says Drader-Murphy. “We’ve supported a lot of charities that take women out of harmful situations. But this is the next step, getting their feet back on the ground, caring for their children. I think that’s really important.”

Brenda Saunders-Todd is the board president of Dress for Success and is also the chair of the fashion show. She says, “[Drader-Murphy] donates all of her time; she provides everything that’s required. We used to do a fashion show anyways for awareness, but when we realized this opportunity to partner, it only made sense. What she’s giving back to this organization is more than I can say, we’re so grateful.“

Along with dressing people up, Dress for Success also has a Professional Women’s Group and a Career Centre.

“Expect to see lots of color, we have some beautiful, colorful silks and pastels, lots of knits and some new handbags as well. I’m loving the tote this season, it’s practical but luxurious,” says Lisa Drader-Murphy.

But it’s best known for its “interview suitings.” Women get lined up with job interviews through groups like Women’s Employment Outreach. Then, they come in to Dress for Success for an interview suiting. They get pantyhose, shoes, jewelry, a briefcase, an overcoat , all free of charge.

Women can come in for a second outfit once they get a job.

“People in the community donate the clothing,” says Saunders-Todd, “We have some very generous business people, law firms in downtown Halifax. But primarily it’s women who are looking to clean out their closets.”

Saunders-Todd expects to see 500 women at the Tea Party this year. “Everybody from the corporate world, entrepreneurs, retired women, mothers, students,” she says.

The fashion show will also have a silent auction, psychic readings and a marketplace where entrepreneurs can showcase their businesses.

“That’s why women absolutely love the event,” says Saunders-Todd. “There’s so much to it.”

Tickets to the Tea Party are $50.

Related Link:  

Lisa Drader-Murphy’s Turbine Fund, est. 2003

“The mandate is to empower women through education and support. For example we’ve been able to donate a total of $115,000 to women’s charities,” she says.

First hints of spring have Haligonians ‘season-pushing’

With spring approaching Haligonians are breaking out their spring and summer wardrobes.

By Christine Bennett

Biscuit General Store, located on Argyle Street. (Christine Bennett photo)

With sunny days upon us and the spring season approaching, many Haligonians have begun to break out their spring and summer wardrobes.

But with March historically being one of the cooler months, are these people jumping the gun?

Wendy Friedman, owner of Biscuit General Store, has a name for these people. “Those are what we call season-pushers,” she said.

Clearly no stranger to season-pushing, Friedman described it as “kind of an anomaly — it’s something that occurs every season.”

“It’s not so much jumping the gun with spring trends,” said Friedman, “Trends can start now if they’re worn in a way that’s not dressing for a tropical resort.”

This doesn’t mean that spring and summer clothes need to stay hidden in the closet. There are “season-appropriate ways to wear things,” said Friedman.

She suggests that if women have new dresses they’re excited about, they can “throw on a blazer and pair of tights,” and the outfit becomes season-appropriate.

However, not only women are guilty of season-pushing — it’s common among both men and women. Friedman notes that “a lot of guys wear shorts all through the winter,” while girls, “especially on a weekend evening, don’t want to put a jacket over their new clothes.”

India Parhar is "season-pushing" in her shorts and tank.

India Parhar is a self-proclaimed season-pusher. “On the first semi-nice day of the year I was already wearing some of my spring clothes,” said Parhar, “The arrival of the warm weather is exciting.”

Friedman attributes this season pushing to “giddiness ” and “excitement, particularly with spring.”

“People want to bust out and are tired of bundling,” said Friedman, “People do it out of excitement.”

Related audio
India Parhar discusses “season-pushing”.
MONO-009

Parhar is one of these excited people.

“It’s almost a kind of ‘good riddance’ to winter. People are so tired of the cold weather at this point that we start wearing our spring clothes as soon as we can,” said Parhar, “It almost feels like it’ll speed up the arrival of spring. It’s also a pretty good excuse to go shopping.”

Friedman has advice for those tempted to break out their summer clothes: “Don’t put your dignity or health at risk.”

Wearable art hits runway with NSCAD student’s show

NSCAD University’s 22nd annual Wearable Art Show took place last Saturday at the Halifax Forum, showcasing students’ original and creative art pieces on the runway.

By Michelle Cameron

NSCAD University’s 22nd annual Wearable Art Show took place last Saturday at the Halifax Forum, showcasing students’ original and creative art pieces on the runway.

The award-winning fashion and art show has become  a greatly anticipated cultural event in Halifax. This year there were around 20 designers from NSCAD’S Textile and Fashion Department, ready to present their exclusive creations.

“The focus is on art that’s fashionable and wearable as opposed to just clothes on the runway. Here you have both together, which is what makes it so cool,” says Nicole Dnistrianskyi the organizer of this year’s show.

The runway for the NSCAD Wearable Art show. (Ivy Jones photo)

The show debuted everything from feather headpieces to gowns made from children’s books. The tickets cost $15 for students and $20 otherwise, and the proceeds went to both the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia and the Wearable Art Scholarship for NSCAD students.

Daniel MacCaulay, this year’s winner of the Wearable Art Scholarship, says he spent months working on his collection entitled, “Out of Context.”

“I knew to expect organic and hipster styles from NSCAD students,” says MacCaulay. “I think there’s a kind of faux-pas when it comes to leather, especially at NSCAD, so while I wanted to be different, I also wanted to portray high-end clothing that was original.”

The Wearable Art Scholarship’s purpose is to reimburse students for the money spent on their pieces. However, the scholarship did not cover the $600 MacCaulay spent on leather, lace and chain materials for his collection.

Models from left to right are Steph Moewan, Kendra MacCaulay, Brad Johnston, and Matt Capstick with designer Daniel MacCaulay seen centre, backstage at the show. (Matt Capstick photo)

“I’ve been thinking about this collection since October, so I wanted to put everything into this show. My collection is both fashion focused but artistic because some of the pieces are completely useless, but just look awesome,” says MacCaulay.

Model and designer Sophie Golets says the beauty of the Wearable Art Show is that it doesn’t have to cost that much money at all. Since Golets is a King’s Student taking fashion at NSCAD for an elective, she says she didn’t want to spend a lot on her piece.

“I took the emphasis off being a perfectionist and focused on really experimenting with materials and my creativity.”

Golets focused on being artistic, making a skirt from wooden hoops plastered with colourful fabrics.  She also modeled someone else’s piece,  a cotton dress embroidered with pennies.

“There was such a spectrum of wearable creativity at the show,” says Golets. “NSCAD is the only place I’ve seen something like this. It’s not just about creating trendy clothing, but it also allows people to experiment.”

The Wearable Art Show showcases local talent that is both artistic and fashionable to admire and to wear.

 

 

michelle’s autoSophie Golets talks about what she looks for in The Wearable Art Show.