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A milestone event for Ryerson University and Toronto; this year marks the 25th year of Mass Exodus, the largest student-run fashion show in the world. Everything from PR to make-up to media relations is all handled and co-ordinated by students of Ryerson to successfully put on the largely anticipated event, showcasing collections by Ryerson’s 4th year graduates of the Fashion Design program. Mass Exodus has a solid history of discovering Toronto talent and kick starting big dreams and this year, was no different.

My first fashion piece ever written was on Mass Exodus. It was 2003 and I was in 10th grade. I remember not blinking the entire show, just completely enamoured and in awe. My fashion teacher suggested I present a piece to the class on the experienced and as soon as my film developed (Pre-Instagram days!), I did. The wide-eyes of my peers, the probing questions and round of applause planted the seed of aspiration which led me down the path to where I am today; watching the 25th annual Mass Exodus alongside Stacey McKenzie in VIP, counting designers as friends and reporting for the best team in the world.

Similarly, Stacey McKenzie, Model and Guest Curator of the show, got her start in the modelling industry as a young teen walking for Mass Exodus in the early 90’s, her very first gig! “The experience of walking down that runway, solidified that this is where I was meant to be… of all my accomplishments, being asked by Mass Exodus to be the curator, is really and truly the best, as you guys (Mass Exodus) supported me from day one.”

That is exactly the kind of full circle experience this year’s graduating class hope to achieve as they have their collections work the runway. Breaking away from 25 years of tradition, this year they opted not to have a theme but instead be guided by The School of Fashion’s leading principles: heritage, diversity and innovation. In total, 46 promising designers showcased their work including our favourites: Mani Jassal by Mani Jassal, NEVERLAND by Yu Sun Kang, Fay by Ryan Joelson and A-POC-A-LYP-TIC by Brie Reid.

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Posted by Samira Zia Rehman

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ShopSmall

As young entrepreneurs we truly understand how important it is to support small businesses within our communities. We’ve always loved to find those one-of-a-kind neighbourhood gems, so we took the American Express pledge to #ShopSmall and visited 5 of our favourite shops in Toronto.

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Our first stop was Magic Pony on Queen Street West. If you’ve never been there before, let’s just say it makes you feel like a kid again. They have everything from designer toys, cool housewares, giant poster art, plus some hard to find books and magazines. We bought “Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes” by Toronto artist Michael Cho, who we blogged about back in September of 2012.

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We made our way down Queen Street West until we got to Spadina where we ate lunch at What A Bagel! We managed to get the last available table during their busy lunch hour rush and ordered the “Old School” and their vegetarian breakfast. If you get the chance to eat here, ask for the owners Ely or Isaac and tell them that we sent you!

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Our 3rd stop was Another Story Bookshop located in Roncesvalles Village. One of the reasons why we love this independently owned bookstore is because they focus on literary themes such as social justice, equity and diversity. They also highlight local authors and hold book readings and launches for local talent.

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After a long day of shopping we needed to relax and refuel, so we headed to Yorkville to visit our friends at Sotto Sotto for dinner. This famous Italian restaurant has played host to celebrities for years, including Brad Pitt, Oprah, Diddy, and of course our very own Drizzy Drake. If you’re looking for a small, private dinning experience, look no further, Sotto Sotto is perfect for date night. (pay attention fella’s)

Shout out to Angelo for always taking care of us!

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We decided to end off our night with a few cocktails at SpiritHouse located at 487 Adelaide St W at Portland. This specialty “spirit” bar has over 400 bottles to choose from, including a small selection of local beer such as Mill Street Organic, Steamwhistle, Tankhouse and Amsterdam Blonde. Next time you’re looking to try a new drink, try the “Toronto Cocktail”.

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American Express recently conducted a survey to see how Canadians feel about shopping small and “Word-of-mouth” was the #1 way we find out about small businesses in our neighbourhoods. Do you have a favourite Shop Small business? Get out there and spread the word! Show them some love by voting in the Neighbourhood Gems contest on Facebook. Each vote earns you an entry into a draw to win a $50 Amex Gift Card!

We would love to hear about your favourite Toronto business! Tweet your recommendations to @1LOVETO @AmexCanada #ShopSmall

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The lavender backdrop on the runway at the Stephan Caras show really set the stage for the models that glided out with modern bouffant buns on the very top of their heads and glossy red lips, while Adele’s “Skyfall” blared out of the speakers.The looks started out moderately casual and chic with an enlarged houndstooth print on jackets and pants with feather accents. The feather details on pockets and sleeves were extravagant and fun and just when you had your fix of houndstooth prints, the gowns took over. There were plenty of bridal dresses and some that were more toned down. The colour palette was simple; black, white and off-white. Thigh high slits, one shoulder details, lace and halters showed just enough skin. Twin embellished, strapless babydoll dresses in black and white simultaneously came down the runway adding even more drama. The last dress boasted a lace corset with a billowy white bottom. The show was immaculate and with the end came a well deserved and emotional standing ovation for the long-time designer.

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For more info: stephancaras.com

Photos by George Pimentel

Posted by Jessica Franklin

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ShopSmall

We’ve always loved to support local artists, creators and business owners, which is why we’re so hyped about the new Amex #ShopSmall program. The program is designed to celebrate the significant role that small businesses play in driving Canada’s economy, while adding to the culture and diversity of each unique neighbourhood, and we’ve teamed up with our friends at American Express to help highlight some of our favourite neighbourhood businesses.

We encourage you to join us in taking the pledge to #ShopSmall by supporting your favourite local businesses. These businesses are owned and operated by people just like you, who help to make our communities a better place to live.

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American Express is also looking for Toronto’s Neighbourhood Gem to help celebrate the role small businesses play in our community. Show some love and vote for your favourite Shop Small businesses in the “Neighbourhood Gems” contest!

HOW TO ENTER
- Visit the American Express Canada Facebook page and search for your favourite #ShopSmall business in Toronto
- Vote for your favourite Shop Small Merchant once a day from April 1-21 and you’ll automatically be entered into a daily draw for your chance to win a $50 Amex Gift Card
- The Top 5 businesses with the most votes will move on to the final round of voting
- You can vote from the Top 5 Shop Small Merchants from April 29 – May 5

www.neighbourhoodgems.ca

Good Luck!

Follow @1LOVETO & @AmexCanada #ShopSmall

Mackage – Fall/Winter 2013 (Runway)

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The Mackage models strutted down the runway with slicked back hair, a la Vampire in Brooklyn, paired with oxblood pouts. There was an overload (in a good way) of leather in every look. Any fall appropriate garment you could think of had a leather rendition; shorts, leggings, skirts, ties and even turtlenecks. Although the phrase “fashion knows not of comfort” came to mind, the collection was undeniably cool. The leather was not bland and came in a few colours, including a bright orange – in the form of leggings and a somewhat pleated a-line mini skirt paired with a white leather turtleneck. To compliment the natural fabric, the pieces were strategically layered with plaid skirts, vests and heavy wool coats. The coolest being the red ombre wool jacket worn by one of the male models. The pieces ranged from super fashion forward (re:orange leather leggings) to completely toned down, leaving a good selection for those who like to take risks or to those who only really wear clothes for all intents and purposes (i.e down jackets).

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For more info: mackage.com

Photos by George Pimentel

Posted by Jessica Franklin

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In the last few weeks leading up to the show Caitlin Power has been featured in an online series titled “Off The Runway: The Making of The Caitlin Power Collection” by Kenton Magazine & Heratics. The 8-part series follows Caitlin Power & Amanda Lao through their journey in creating the collection. Viewers can catch a glimpse of the inspiration and the process involved. While the episodes are only around 2-5 minutes each, they give a valuable insight into the life of a designer in Toronto.

The showroom for the Caitlin Power Fall 2013 collection was packed! Not only were the seats full, but the area behind where people were standing was overflowing. The program started with a short film that featured a behind-the-scenes glimpse of preparation for the runway show and then the models came out. The collection was inspired by Romanticism, steampunk and was created for the powerful woman. Those themes translated through the recurring use of burgundy (in the garments and in the make-up) and the power shoulders in the dresses and tops. The silver eye make-up and slicked back buns complimented the glossy fabrics. The pieces were tailored and defined, featuring sharp lines reminiscent of those seen in modern architecture. In the stands girls were literally lusting in whispers over the black and blue leather sleeveless dress – the show was a success!

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Congrats Caitlin & Amanda!

Photos by George Pimentel

Posted by Jessica Franklin

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Etsy Canada – “Make Your Living”

Etsy Canada recently released their web series “Make Your Living” as a call to action to inspire Canadian artists to take the leap and turn their passion into a business. Etsy has already helped countless numbers of artists around the world do just this and their eye is on Canada for this initiative. “The amount of talent in this country is astounding, the Canadian handmade aesthetic is slowly nurtured and tended to, not rushed and mass produced. It’s why we have some of the best sellers in the world, and it’s why people love buying Canadian goods, our sellers have a respect for their craft and consumers are looking for thoughtful, quality items that are one of a kind,” says Etsy’s Canadian Community Manager, Nada Alic.

For more videos check out Etsy Canada on Youtube.

Posted by Tahnee Pantig

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Toronto designer Anu Raina delivers another conceptual collection, this time, inspired by her first impressions of New York City. The colour palette for this collection comes from the NY cityscapes with smoky pastel blues, greys, rusty browns with a shock of neon green and pink. The prints are of course inspired by the famous architecture of structures like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the complex city subway systems. The collection boasts a variety of materials including denim, silk, faux leather, wool and more. Take a closer look at some of the photos below.

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For more info: anuraina.com

Previously: Anu Raina – “Tathya’s Garden” S/S 2013

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The Soïa & Kyo Fall/Winter 2013 runway show was practical and stylish. The collection was made up of a warm/neutral colour palate full of wardrobe necessities. The puffy winter jackets and wool turtlenecks that were worn were just one instance of the luxurious necessities shown. Tea length pants and skirts paired with leather booties also frequented the runway. The leather accessories and dark shades created a cool, effortlessly chic vibe. I was able to ask Ilan Elfassy a few questions before their show:

1. What inspired the collection this season?
For F/W13 the look is inspired by the fluidity and texture of soft metals, introducing a look that it is both polished and down to earth. The colour palette is made up of warm rich tones and offers shine through pairing of nickel greys and muted copper elements.

2. Describe the design aesthetic for Soïa & Kyo.
Our focus is to always incorporate fashion and function. Our aesthetic is to design contemporary outerwear pieces that deliver functionality and quality without sacrificing style. Each season the approach is to generate immaculately designed pieces that are fresh and unique.

3. What can we expect to see from Soïa & Kyo in the future?
The brand has really progressed over the last couple seasons and our customer has evolved quite a bit. As a result we are expanding our collection and offering contemporary tailoring and modern silhouettes to cater to a broader audience while meeting the current demands of our customers. We have a keen focus on expanding our global outreach and strengthening brand presence.

4. What are the top 5 Canadian designers to see this year at Fashion Week in Toronto?
We are excited to see what Joe Fresh, Chloé Comme Parris, Pink Tartan, UNTTLD and Mackage will be showing for Fall/Winter.

5. What do you love most about the city?
Toronto has some great places to eat if you are a foodie – we always try to discover new hidden gems whenever we are here.

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For more info: soiakyo.com

Photos by George Pimentel

Posted by Jessica Franklin

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It was a full house at the Line Knitwear Fall/Winter 2013 runway show on Tuesday and with good reason. Line’s collections have always been aesthetically on point, but this season they took it to another level. Every look that came down the runway was interchangeable and appropriate. The collection featured a plethora of their signature knits with metallic accents in the accessories and in some of the garments. Leather and A-line skirts were thrown into the mix in just the right amounts making it completely cohesive without the slightest hint of monotony. For a Fall wardrobe, the clothes felt light and easy with plenty of movement, not to mention, silhouettes shown would complement so many different shapes which means that they are without a doubt hitting a core market.

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Congrats John & Jenn!

Photos by George Pimentel

Posted by Jessica Franklin

Previously: John & Jenn Collection

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