Young Paris is a NYC-based rapper and rising voice in the world of fashion. Having recently singed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, we Montrealers are lucky enough to catch him in action this Saturday, October 22nd with No Kliche, as part of the Red Bull Music Academy.

Here is an interview I conducted with Young Paris, discussing his roots, inspiration, and connections to Montreal:

I’m curious about your relationship to music as a child, as you were growing up. Did you learn instruments or sing in groups? Or was music something you came to later on.

My parents were world renown performers so you could imagine music was always around us growing up. From as long as I could remember, I’ve been playing the djembe and dancing. Music to our family has always been second nature and till this day we still perform together.

You draw from so many different areas in your image, your music, and your live show. It’s clear you are inspired by vibrancy and individuality in all its uniqueness. Are there some non-musicians that really shape your aesthetic approach to your image, your music, and the creative process in general?

Yes, I’m inspired by the fashion and the art world as well. I went to college for Fine Arts and my mother was a play writer as well, so I try to translate those references in my art. Artists / Designers like Alexander McQueen, Basquiat, Nick Cave, and Yinka Shonibare, for example, are artists I’ve been super inspired by.

Congo has a much-celebrated history of dance music, some of which comes out in your music – but is there a Congolese rap tradition you feel connected to?

No, my rap history comes from growing up in NY!

What is your musical community like in NYC?

NY has a vibrant range of musicians. In my circle, I know some of the dopest underground and notable artists but I try to stay in my lane. There aren’t many artists creating my type of music and Afrobeats generally is just becoming very popular in the states.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how art can help bridge the gap between cultural traditions without getting sucked into the mainstream media machine of mass representation and stereotyping. You seem to be navigating it very well – but have there been some major challenges? Is Jay-Z someone who understands your vision?

Social media is a great way to see raw talent and I’m always excited for what the people I’m following are coming up with daily. I think the bridge has been created, but it’s important to respect certain symbols and traditions.

Sacred art, for example, is so accessible now I think it’s up to the curators to translate their inspiration with caution and take time to do their research before shining light on the beauty and talents of these artists. For me and my situation at Roc Nation, I have complete creative control and they are open minded to my ideas.

Any plans for a fashion line?

Potentially 😉 but i will be collaborating with brands as a creative director.

Have you been to Montreal before?

Yes i lived here for nearly 2 years.

Also! You can win a free ticket to see Young Paris this Saturday if you answer this question correctly:

Q: What is the name of his new mixtape?

Email your answer to, and see you at the show.

Young Paris plays Théâtre Fairmount, 5240, Avenue du Parc, Saturday, October 22nd, 9:00pm (Doors at 8:00pm). If you don’t win tickets, they are $12 and available through the box office.

“Don’t break me heart or I’ll break your heart shaped glasses”

Marilyn Manson (probably off of his lamest album to date)

I feel like a little girl on most days, riding around on my trike with ringlets in my hair. A friend of mine gave me a pair of heart shaped pink glasses and my life has changed. I won’t take them off.

They are pink chakra glasses, supposed to evoke love and positive energy. Everything has been better to me since I put them on my face. The universe smiles in my direction.

Pink is the vibrant and lovely color of passion, universal love, everything is more beautiful through a pink lens. Pink smooths it all over, it calms, soothes, and relaxes the mind.

When the pink Chakra is blocked, we experience anxiety, self defeat, lack of strength, and cloudiness. Pink awakens me like a wish at 11:11. I have always been the stereotypical girl attracted to pink.

cat and cow loveI went into the woods and forgot what day it was, I cut myself off from technology and responsibility. There is no need for a cellphone out there. There is no need for a cellphone in here.

I want to throw a party where everyone puts their stupid smart phones in a box and keeps them away the entire night. People will actually speak to each other.

When I went to the Dave Chapelle stand up show the other day they had a strict no cell phone policy and even locked people’s phones in little sealed bags if they brought them into the venue. I thought that was an awesome idea, people will pay attention to the show and not distract others with the glow of their phone, the temptation of false gods, the safe little internest.

Technology literally bit my nipple just now.



“I don’t know whether to say I’m sorry or you’re welcome”
– Juicy Lucy, my roommate and creative soul sister.

The answer is both. Seconds before my vivacious roomie leaned in to give me a hug, I was lying on the couch writing this very blog on my laptop, as she leaned in the laptop closed, (mind you I am not wearing a bra) directly on my nipple, pinching it shut.

So funny, yet so painful, what are the chances of that happening? One of those moments that I want to remember when writing the lesbian stoner comedy that is my life. Every experience is just another scene in the movie.

summer loveI needed that pinch to let me know I was actually awake. I’ve had a strange few days. There is an old man who lives across the street from me, always says hi from his swing as I trike by. Yesterday he called me over, asked me if I wanted a coffee table that he didn’t want to put at the curb, and then told me that his sister died.

He was very sweet, obviously just wanted some conversation and a smile. It was a perfect sunny day, I shared that I recently lost my grandma and I think of her every time it’s sunny.

He then mentioned that his sister’s favorite color was purple and that a beautiful dark purple tulip sprouted, it was beautiful, it was her! The purple chakra means spirituality, connected to the other realm.

The day before my friend called me. She had found a woodpecker in distress. It took its last gasp, stared her in the eyes, and died in her hands.

She told me that I was the first person that she called without thinking. Her fiancé agreed that I was the one they needed to call.

How have I become the person that people need to see when they are sad or in trouble? I think of the person I call when I am in that position and my first responder is always my amazing dad. If I am anything like him that makes me so proud.

happy cat

Even though I am an optimist, I don’t feel that inspiring most days. I’m covered in two day old glitter crust, dandruff, and pizza crumbs, some call me a beautiful creature, but I honestly think I am a little gross.

What I am trying to say is not that I am not capable of being there for someone, but rather why would they ever choose me to begin with? I am irresponsible with my own heart and expectations. I am not even there for myself.

I am trying though, baby steps. It has been six months since I ate meat or talked to a sort of ex love of mine. I made a decision to make my life better by cutting out the things that made me sad. I can’t bear to hurt animals or relish in the despair of unrequited love.

pink glassesI want to see the positive aspects of this incredible world we live in. I want to be there for people, a safe place to go when you are in need.

You can sleep in my hammock or take solace in my hugs. I think that these pink glasses have given me that extra boost of energy to share with everyone I know. I genuinely love everyone and look at things from an unrealistically positive light.

You can’t see flaws through rose tinted glasses. Look to the pleasant parts of life, take it in, breathe in the sunshine and feel good about life in this moment. Get yourself some pink glasses and open your mind.

P.S. Rose tinted glasses are also excellent at hiding those pesky “tired” stoner eyes, paranoia free is the way to be. Fashion for your health.

Everybody struggles with their identity. Step back and stop trying to be anything but authentic to find meaning in life. Be yourself and use your own unique set of skills to make this world a more sustainable place.

I am inspired daily by my friends’ strength. Everyday on Facebook (where the struggle is real) and in actual real life I have friends who are open about their HIV positive status, about being Transgender, or on the Autism spectrum, or recently broken free from abuse (from a person or an addiction), anything that can cast an unjust judgement should be set on the table with a proper place setting.

My life is full of humans who celebrate their beautiful and diverse humanity! Skinny or fat, black or white, red head or bald, gender fluidity, diversity and pride in your culture is the fruit of life. It is only society and the expectations of the patriarchy that ever told us differently.

Vanity masks insecurity. I hide behind my perfect teeth and Marilyn locks. Selfies instead of being selfless. Curse of the bleach blond material girl. That dark comes creeping in. Courtney Love, Madonna, and Debbie Harry are my style goddesses because they didn’t care.

There is a point where letting your roots hang out is sexy, it reminds you of who you are a little bit. I have been hiding behind blonde hair my entire life. I was born with it, I loved it, I identified with it. Then my hair started getting darker and I wasn’t having it! I highlighted at first and then went right for full throttle bleach blonde and haven’t turned back since.

I literally freak out if I dye it too much of another color. Its just like how I identify with being fat. I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t a large blonde woman anymore. Buxom blonde is me, I cannot be a thin brunette.

What is a poser? People are entitled to change their mind, and sometimes in the beginning of that change they are  going to be considered posers. It’s like when I was a teenager and I decided that I really did like punk music, I wanted pink hair, a plaid skirt, and combat boots. I knew that it couldn’t come from Hot Topic or I would be shunned. I also knew that I wasn’t about that dirty blonde Gap t-shirt Old Navy denim white Nike kind of life anymore either.

Eventually I found out that it didn’t matter what you wore as long as it was yours. It is not cool to completely appropriate ANY culture that is not yours just for the sake of fashion. Of course it is cool to learn about other people’s perspectives and earn the chance to be part of their traditions, learn why they are there and respect their significance.

Be yourself, don’t ever try and be something you are not, but DO constantly re-invent yourself! Don’t ever feel trapped by who people think you are or what they expect you to be like.

My style is a mixture of 1950s housewife, 1980s teenager, and a crazy high school art teacher that is covered in cat hair. But sometimes I prefer to be a man. I like my Zubaz and American Pride gear, I like my unlatching Tevas with dirty knee high tube socks, I could go undercover at a Donald Trump rally and nobody would know the difference, satirically blasting David Alan Coe from a boombox.

american man
All I need is a dirty blonde lace front mullet wig with a matching mustache. That’s next level, with a little investment he will be believable even. I would no longer be just a girl in a wig,

I often wonder what I would look like if I was just left to my own devices and not brought up in the society that told me I had to be a girl because I was born with a vagina and not a penis. It’s not like my parents bought in though, I could have had GI Joes if I wanted them, I just really did love Barbies. I liked to dress them up and make them bang, didn’t everyone do that?

I went on fishing trips and had season tickets to the Buffalo Bills, always in places normally designated for just the boys. I took after my amazing grandma, her name was Fred (Mary Freda). Non gendered names are the best.

gay unicorns
Everyone is a sparkling  unicorn. We all need to get connected on this idea. If everyone treasured every life we would have no hate or war, no murder or conflict.

Take the time to curl your hair and use the sugar scrub, paint your toe nails neon pink. My toes aren’t mean for those with a foot fetish, you cannot suck on these toes.

My legs are hairy and covered in scales. I have always tried to compensate for my insecurities by making something else way more extravagant. If my hair and makeup is fancy and I have on a pretty dress nobody will notice how flawed the rest of me is.

I need to wake up and realize that there are NO flaws. I am ok being naked on stage or posing for art students but scared of being photographed nude because of my skin, the weight doesn’t bother me as much as the skin condition,

Disease is not beautiful. But in the last two days I have met two beautiful women who have the same stupid auto immune skin disease as I do. I didn’t judge their skin issues and they didn’t judge mine.

My life is as important as my cat’s life, or the life of a new born baby, or a 98 year old man, or a cow waiting to be slaughtered. Every being is perfect and worth it. There is no life that matters more than another life, we all are equal and beautiful.

Today I woke up in a cuddle pile with some of my all time favorite humans in the world: my soul friends. They inspire me to new depths of creativity, I want to travel the world with them, love and respect them forever, and always have time to meet them at random times and places and sit down to reminisce about their adventures and our conjoined memories. They are my roommates, my longtime friends, my inspiration to pinup culture, the girl who inspired my Monroe piercing and lust for travel, the people who create my favorite music, new friends, and past lover

The patterns and techinicolor of the John Waters movie made me feel like I was tripping, we were in the movie. His films have inspired the people and art that has influenced me. It was fucking magical. I even made spontaneous plans to go see him in New Orleans in December, I will meet John Waters and finally be discovered, it’s my new life plan.

Last night was also one of the best and most inspired shows I have ever had, The Stripteasers and I danced our hearts out, leaving the frustrations of our daily lives at the door and truly transforming for our audience. I performed in raunchy drag to Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving Song and it was epic. I spent way too much money on the most epic turkey hat and made some pretty adorable turkey pasties (get it, “turkey breasts,” ahhh). Cock Sinclair was in a fantasy land.

cat thanksgiving 2I did a live version of the song and the laugh track from the live audience made me feel so empowered. It was perfect, I almost want to add a laugh/clap track to all of my songs. That way even if nobody likes the show I will still have positive vibes. There have been only a three or so times where I have felt the total roar of an audience like Adam Sandler felt during that live show. On the bar in the red glow of Nietzsches I pulled a turkey baster and a very phallic turkey decoration out of my plush penis and seductively t-bagged the unsuspecting onlookers.

Buffalo LGBTQ Pride 2015 was one of the best days of my life. I stuffed a gas station apple pie full of magic mushrooms while I was wrapped up in a giant rainbow pride flag attached to my adult tricycle that was parked literally steps away from a police officer. I rode around that day feeling like the parade was for me.

The highest point of the day was performing in the tent at the main event. I was sandwiched between fabulous up and coming local drag queens. I danced to the Backstreet Boys’ Larger than Life and pulled my infamous rubber fist (her name is Ivana Punishu) out of my pants.

The crowd converged on me. It was a feeling like no other. There was a moment of panic when I realized that I did not remove my swamp ass bike shorts before the show… I took them off and there was definitely a wet spot, but nobody noticed because the rubber fist distracted them. I thought I was going to be lifted up to crowd surf like at a Warped Tour. During the climax of the song I took a magnum condom out of my pocket and put it on the giant rubber fist.

I was told right before the performance that the show was supposed to be PG-13… well clearly I was more NC-17…. and it was perfection. I enjoy pushing all of the boundaries that I can. It was an incredible moment in my life.

Some other moments of greatness involved three becoming one… lets just say there was a lot of alcohol and heavy petting involved. It was incredible for me to finally have the two people I wanted most.

I had known that I was bisexual since high school (even sooner than that really, just not acknowledged, maybe even as young as kindergarten), but I had never had the opportunity to have both genders at the same time. It was fucking magical.

I had just gotten out of an emotionally abusive long term relationship and was brand new in the burlesque scene, I drove a van, I was an assistant manager at my favorite clothing store Torrid, and in art school at the University of Buffalo. I was inspired to create some of the most prolific and large scale art of my life.

It changed me as a person. I grew so much that year artistically and sexually. I have not explored a relationship like that since. I realize that it’s all I want, the right person to take on the world with. I need a man that I can pick up women with, a woman I can pick up men with, or even one of each.

I don’t think that’s greedy, I just see other people doing it and then I remember the happiest time of my youth. I was at a party out of town last week in a similar cuddle puddle.

cat fashionThe real best day of my life was during a fashion show called Mass Appeal. The whole reason for this blog is partially because of Facebook’s new “memory” feature. It showed me a photo from two years ago when I was wearing a corset made out of pizza crust, a grease sheet skirt and pizza box train.

I had a giant mohawk with extensions and epic glittery shoes that easily put me over six feet. I was the only plus size model in the show. I remember wearing this corset and feeling like a greased pig. I walked to the end of the runway and took bite of a slice and the crowd ignited. I felt like I was at a Bills  game and not a bourgeois fashion show.

I got what I wanted that day. I have always fantasized about having a mohawk. It was my power. I was invincible. I remember walking through the sea of perfect tiny models after taking off my costume. I was practically naked, wearing only small red “pepperoni” pasties, my blatant imperfections and a thong as I made my way to the bathroom after the runway. I had never felt as beautiful as I did that day.

Tonight is a full moon. It is also the anniversary of the best day of my life. I am working, but I have some amazing things lined up for this evening. My boobs look great in this dress. I am going to dance, laugh, and love like today is the new best day of my life.

I stood on the roof and smoked a bowl as the sun set on my beautiful city and breathed in the crisp fall air (warmer than usual) and felt that same invincibility that I felt on stage two years ago. I came into work at the hostel and two guys from Indonesia checked in and immediately wanted to take a selfie with me. I guess Im looking memorable today. I can’t wait to take on the night.

Tomorrow I am going to have my entire family over, this is my time to go nuts and be free. It’s hard to be happy when all we see in the world is pain and despair, there is so much evil that we must cherish our moments of bliss, it may not last forever.

It’s true.

Sometimes, like when the weather finally starts to get warm, and you get to pull your shoes that weigh less than a small cat out of storage, you want something new and pretty. People who don’t wear dresses – please forward this to someone in your life who does!

This post is about Dress911, a company we’re proud to have an affiliate relationship with.

When I need to scratch the consumer itch, I tend to try and avoid physically taking myself to a store or mall and trying on a bunch of too-small things under harsh lighting surrounded by masses of other, better looking people.

The internet exists for a reason – but buying clothes from it has always been a bit of a risk size and fit wise. Most online stores hail from the good old USof A and so we get *screwed* on shipping, duties and returns and it ends up not being worth the effort (ask me about the $65 I spent once on a dress that didn’t fit me *grumble*).

The convenience factor is also sometimes problematic. You have to estimate if something will work for you, take a bet on whether or not it will be delivered as described and then you have to wait. And wait.

But then there was Dress911.

I found them about two years ago and have probably ordered around eight pieces from them since then. They’ve all been fantastic: accurately shown on the site and with spot-on measurements. I’m wearing one right now, I love my draped, green maxi dress!

It’s a Canadian company, the styling is excellent, the clothes are good quality and they’re located in London Ontario, so things usually arrive in under a week. If you ever happen to find yourself in the London Area, I strongly recommend stopping by. It’s a little out of the way, but they have the cutest little store – and it’s jam-packed with pretty things.

Oh – did I mention $5 shipping and free returns in case something doesn’t fit?


Not wanting to keep all of the nice things to myself, I thought I’d see if we could share the fun.

I connected with Michael, a Dress911 team member, and let him know how much I’d been enjoying his company and asked if I could spread the word a little.

Happily, he agreed, and donated a $50 gift card for one of our lucky readers. That’s more than enough to buy many of their dresses.

Entry is easy – all you have to do is subscribe for Forget the Box updates by entering your name and best email in the box to the right, and you’re good to go! We’ll be randomly selecting a winner on May 31st. You can check out all of the contest rules and regulations right here.

And if you can’t wait to start shopping head on over to Dress911 and get something nice for summer.

What about you? Do you shop for clothes online? If not, what has been your biggest hesitation?

So apparently, these days, the typical “mom” look of 2002 is back again. You know the type, people – just think sitcoms like Will and Grace or the lower budget, bad laugh-track types with the lead female role acting overly cute and awkward with exaggerated hand gestures and flippy hairstyles with streaks and butterfly clips (remember those?).

Fall 2013 has been so confusing in terms of what’s been hot and what’s been not. It seems to me that local magazines will say whatever they want to say about what’s currently “in” and “out”, but I found that the best discoveries I’ve made were by observing people around the city. And the conclusion? Raid your mom’s closet, ladies.

Mom jeans (a.k.a. bootcut) rolled up at the ankles, plain cotton t shirts, tanks, whatever – (basics), Kimonos, dust-sweepers, and loose, long, button-less cardigans. I remember wearing a similar outfit last winter to a family function and my sister wrinkling her nose and turning up an eyebrow at me sneering, “that’s a little too 2002, don’t you think?”

Not going to say “I told you so,” but I was right about Kimonos, wasn’t I?

Something I was NEVER expecting, however, was the heeled ankle boot craze. A couple of weeks ago, I felt so confused and stubborn about the fate of shoe fashion, that I actually went out and bought a pair of leather wedge ankle boots that would have been fine in 2010 – but when I took them home, they looked like they belonged on Minnie Mouse’s feet. Seriously. All I needed to complete the look was a garish pair of white gloves and a ridiculous red polka-dotted dress.

I had a difficult time accepting the heeled look, even though the preferred heel is nothing extreme, I just kept thinking back to this specific pair of ankle boots my mom has in her closet and wears religiously around the Fall. I was never crazy about those shoes, but now when I think of them, they seem kind of cool. I actually want to borrow them next time I visit home. This thought scares me a little.

IMAG0008-1I’ve come to realize, though, that it’s all about pairing. After I came to my senses (and was more than halfway done with my antibiotics, curing both my fever and temporary delusion) I returned the ugly, out of date shoes and used the refunded cash to update my look a little. It took some research and hunting, but I ended finding these reasonably priced gems at Spring. In my opinion, the sister store to Aldo and Little Burgundy offered an impressive selection of the new style at the most realistic prices. My choice was the ideal ankle boot that I had made peace with in my mind.

After accompanying other friends to find their ideal ankle boot, I had constructed these guidelines to consider:

1. Imagine the ideal outfits you would want to wear your ankle boots with. Picture accessories, hairstyles, and general attitude as well. What kind of vibe or silhouette are you aiming to create?

2. Black, brown, greyish green, burgundy. What’s your flavour? (I personally chose black because I figured it would go with most of my eclectic choices, and I believe that black shoes always make my legs look longer when paired with tights and mini skirts.)

3. Lace up or side zipper?

4. Texture is very important! Not only because we live in a city with harsh climate, but because you’re going to be stuck with these shoes. Due to the economic crisis (again.) we should all consider a level of frugality when adding a new trend to our wardrobes. Can you make peace with the fact that studs and spikes may be tacky by next fall and you won’t ever want to see them again? In my opinion, go for something classic and timeless, like leather or suede.

2013-10-06_14-22-22-15. Watch out for that thick, elastic-looking material. It makes your shoes look cheap.

6. Make sure they’re comfortable! If they ain’t comfy, they ain’t worth it – but remember, they will break in beautifully after a week of wearing them. New boots tend to pinch!

That being said, I love my new ankle boots. After giving the trend the real college try, I’ve come to accept the mom look that goes along with it. It just… works. It’s also really comfy, low maintenance, modest, and conceals those extra added pounds that don’t want to be advertised. Perfect for the upcoming holidays!! 
Happy shopping!

Have you ever craved some Hair of the Dog in the middle of getting a haircut? Dream no more, because it’s become a reality.

Yes, to all of you curious voyeurs! It isn’t just a gimmick! The Blue Dog Motel, a bar wedged between many others on the populated and always busy St Laurent Boulevard, won’t judge you for ordering a gin and tonic with a side of haircut, day or night.

Perhaps for some dutch courage? Relaxation? Social lubrication? Whatever the reason may be, we should all bow down to Montreal born Daniel Marin who had a vision, and pioneered the concept, bringing a bit more fun onto the urban block.

Daniel, a talented hair barber and local ambassador for the Californian water based hair product Layrite, started off giving cuts at the last St-Laurent street sale. The concept really caught on and so his chair was moved from the sidewalk and into the infamous platform level of Blue Dog that once resembled the trippy living room from A Clockwork Orange.

Blue Dog Barber-003

The space has been transformed into a comfortable yet edgy mini salon that suits the atmosphere of the bar. In it, there is the station where Dan works his magic, and a mini bar stashed to the side offering different types of liquor. The bottles are stashed away at times and liquor service is generally offered at the bar itself.

Daniel is a versatile artist who seems willing to work with many different hair types, regardless of length, fullness, texture, or gender. The “no problem” look he gave me when I asked if he would be able to tame my unruly waves was definitely assuring.

“To me, it’s very personal,” he replied when asked where he draws the line, “they tell me what they want, and I let them know if it’s possible beforehand.” He also takes walk ins, which is ideal for those who are feeling impulsive.

As the night progressed and I watched him work his magic, Daniel’s talent with hair really shone through. I witnessed him transform a burly hipster with mop hair into a sleek looking gentleman (with tamed scruff) and a soft looking, slicked back style that I felt tempted to run my fingers through.

Blue Dog Barber-010

I couldn’t help but notice that one of Daniel’s other customers, and Daniel himself, had this similar haircut that resembled heartthrobs of my childhood days. When I asked him if this style was in any way reminiscent of the mid 90s, he scoffed and said “it’s from the 20s and 30s!”

This seems to be the effect that the combination of Layrite and his creative genius have on men’s hair. The product gives an end result of hassle-free hair, is easily washable and holds for just as long as its petroleum jelly based ancestor.

In my opinion, whether it’s 20s, 30s, 90s, trendy, or merely crafted from Dan Marin’s mind, I have nothing against the lads of Montreal walking around town with hair like Leo DiCaprio.

So, why should we start going to Blue Dog to get our hair cut? Well, it’s the only liquor licensed barber in the city and who wouldn’t want to do shots in the middle of a makeover? Also, it’s very economical, since Dan has already done the haute salon scene and doesn’t care to overcharge people for a new look.

Blue Dog Barber-006“What I wanted to do is be one of the lowest on the block,” he said, “25 bucks for men 35 for women.”

If requested, (or if he likes you) he’ll whip out this super nifty head massager called The Hangover Cure. When this device was demonstrated, I didn’t want to leave it alone.

Some may think this establishment could be a road to disaster, but Daniel gives off a super professional vibe. He never works past midnight, appears to be super sober as he’s doing his job and dims the lights/restricts the Barbier area of the bar when he’s off duty, “unless it’s a busy night and space is limited. Then we turn it into a VIP area.”

In my opinion, this establishment is a fun and fresh idea. It’s nice to know that we have the option to knock back a couple while getting a haircut. It’s a super fun concept, and besides, Blue Dog is planning on getting a striped Barber Pole for the occasion.

Do people think this is going to go far? Daniel’s lovely girlfriend and fellow hair stylist Maral definitely thinks so: “this isn’t a pop up shop, it’s gonna get bigger, I feel it.”

* photos by Chris Zacchia

It’s all in the family and all about fun and quirky fashion at Le Caniche Noir. The Montreal born online boutique that has been buzzing on peoples’ newsfeeds is all about “not taking yourself too seriously” but exploring the “elegance, independence and intelligence” of the modern woman.

coraltoplaceWhen I met with Dilara Dzafic, the birth mother to the brand, I knew right away that I could relate to her style. I absolutely loved her outfit. The Eastern European/Middle Eastern Poodle was rocking this moderately 80s inspired Power Look with a twist: a beautiful white ruffled cropped sleeve top that was paired with flared trousers I have always wished I had enough guts to pull off, and those mid 90s, slightly pointy toed, classic black heels that looked just like the kind Corporate Barbie would wear. Dilara’s butter blonde hair was chopped and cropped into a modern pixie cut and she sported gorgeous, black cat eye glasses. She exuded non threatening, natural glamour. “Fashion is my escape! I’ve been doing it forever.”

Bicontinental Dilara, who has a background in marketing, commutes between Germany and Montreal, and has worked for brands such as L’Oreal and Nivea, launched the business in 2007 after completing her MBA… and it was an instant hit!

“We would have photoshoots to market the clothes, and they would sell out before we could even post them on the site!” chuckled the site’s marketing manager and brother, Dzaner. Thankfully, the Dzafics don’t have to worry about that anymore, as they have a warehouse in Montreal and everything on their site is ready to order. Dilara designs the “first draft” of many of the pieces, others are bought in straight from Europe.

Though Le Caniche Noir is proud to be a Canadian brand and is situated in Montreal (plus offers same day deliveries, no customs shipping within Canada, and free returns), their apparel doesn’t only cater to a North American consumer audience. With influences that trace back to the founders’ roots, their sales skyrocket in other continents and their international style is apparent with concepts that wouldn’t necessarily be overly marketed in North America.

“European style is sleek and simple, but very powerful,” dishes Dilara, “the point of our clothes is to empower women, especially those behind the work force. There are a lot of powerful women out there who want to look classy and feminine but fun business casual attire is more difficult to find.”

At the end of the day, Le Caniche Noir’s ultimate objective is to inspire the lady behind the desk to think outside the box when dressing for success. They want their ladies to look good, feel good and be original!

blackpearldressTheir website is super comprehensive and helpful, dividing their apparel into sub categories that relate to the browser’s mood. Femme Fatale, Weekend Glamour, Dare to Bare and Gypsy Queen are only a few to mention.

Notable pieces in their collection that I personally covet are this beautiful red cross back romper, a silken middle eastern inspired tube maxi dress, this backless, black mini dress with a pearl studded design at the shoulders (for that edgy 21st century look) and a piece that was named as the season’s best seller (and was generously gifted to me by the designer) this absolutely stunning, flawless coral button down blouse with a lace back.

In my opinion, these pieces sum up the theme Le Caniche Noir tries to convey in their clothing. They are versatile and classic pieces with a twist, that can work for any occasion.

Le Caniche Noir is definitely different than anything else out there. The Dzafics are all about adding the extra “oomph” and personality to their pieces. As Dilara puts it, “the average girl could wear a long black dress and keep it simple. Our girls would wear that long black dress with a big red hat!”

They’re also harmlessly kooky, yet tasteful: “We love to have fun, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We were bored at work once, so we made a sex tape.” I tore my sides in laughter as she immediately pulled out a masking tape that had the word “Sex” scrawled across it in red marker.

The quirky Dzafic quality is illustrated all over the brand, with their entertaining photoshoots that could initially raise an eyebrow, but would bring a smile to even the most prudent person’s lips at any time. Concepts that are so cheesy yet so charming, like Fashion Addicts, or Fashion Crimes, turned into photoshoots to promote their product. “We’re even having a Christmas party… on September 21st! Since Fall is like, Fashion Christmas,” Dilara said with a cheeky smile.

Why Le Caniche Noir? I think this boutique sets a positive example to women today. Even the concept behind naming the brand is inspiring. I originally thought it was named after Dilara’s adorable black poodle, Kiki (who is also the mascot of the brand), but there is a lot more to it than that.

“To us, Le Caniche Noir translates to a fashionable black sheep,” explained Dilara, “a woman who gets a little extra attention in a good way. The poodle, like our consumers, is elegant, and they are the second smartest canine breed. We aim for our clothes to cater to a strong, smart, elegant, and independent female audience.”

Caniche NoirWhat’s next for Le Caniche Noir? They don’t plan on marketing men’s clothes, but “we’re thinking of making doggy clothes! Ones that would match some of the outfits we sell!” Isn’t that just the cutest thing you’ve ever heard?

They also daydream about opening up an actual flesh n’ blood boutique, but maybe somewhere in Europe. “Actually, we want to open up four different boutiques that cater to different moods: Office Look, Party Girl, Hangover Chic and Look at Me. This would probably be done in Europe, but the idea expresses how eclectic the brand really is, and how it encourages it’s buyers to shop for their mood!”

Become a Caniche Noir girl and visit or, call them at their adorable phone number 1-855-7-POODLE (I just love it, I don’t even know why!!)

skater dressI am going to kick this off by saying I’ve been a bad girl. A Nasty Gal, some might say.

See, for a while now, I have been getting notifications on my Facebook news feed regarding new items of clothing this online store, Nasty Gal, has produced. When this gorgeous midnight blue, floral Kimono caught my eye, I decided to actually visit their website and explore what they have to offer.

Nasty Gal is an eclectic online store that has something for everyone (but mostly for those lucky women who have experienced the joys of being a size two, or curvier ladies who aren’t afraid to pull off the cut-out look). But what I’ve noticed about Nasty Gal, is that everything they have on their menu are the hippest, trendiest pieces you would see the likes of Rihanna (gag me) sporting.

First of all, let me just say that I’ve noticed that black is back. The web store is infused with little black dresses, black maxi dresses, black cut out dresses, and black skater dresses. It looks great, classic, and sexy, but I think it’s safe to say that black will be making a huge splash in our autumn wardrobes.

Kimono!!Now, KIMONOS. I’m just going to take the opportunity to announce to my friends and family who doubted me two years ago that I told you so. Kimonos have made a comeback and my investment from 2011 was not a mistake, so eat my dust, Mom. Kimonos are fabulous and Nasty Gal has them beautifully fluttering around their website. I am strongly considering being unreasonable and purchasing one.

They do have one trend littering their pages that concerns me, however and no, it isn’t overalls. I sincerely hope that we’ve gotten that one out of our systems.

Has anyone heard of this “peplum” business? Well, if you don’t know, the peplum detail is extra material that flairs out at the waist of a dress, jacket, skirt, for added accentuation, I suppose.

Judy JetsonIt is supposed to give the wearer an hourglass feel, though I personally think it makes everyone look like they just stepped out of The Jetsons. I think the detail can be cute on a dress, a skirt, maybe even a top that flares out peplum style, if you’re into that, but pants? Come on.

Honestly, I could be negatively judging the peplum pants because I’ll never forget the whole “skirt attached to pants” phase that was huge in 2002 and can’t help but wonder if we’re trying to bring it back in a more futuristic way. But for all I know, people will start rocking the pants with killer chunky heeled booties, a tight cross-back bustier top, and high blonde ponytails. Hey, Judy!

Nasty Gal looks like a fun place to shop from home. It’s web design is eye catching black and white with pink detail, making you feel like an adult kid in an adult candy store. Personally, the colour scheme makes me crave shoes.

black peplum dressTo be honest, it’s quite pricy, and since I haven’t actually experienced wearing any of their apparel or (knowingly) witnessed any of it face to face, I don’t know if their prices are worth it. I did pretend shop there, however, and noticed that they don’t charge taxes.. which is weird, possibly illegal, and I could be completely incorrect about it.

Maybe they’ll just end up pulling an Ikea: wait till the last possible minute, then BAM! $100 extra has been added to your subtotal. Their shipping costs are decent, though.

Their collection is definitely something pretty to look at. If you feel like window shopping on the net, if you’re stuck at home on a rainy day, if you’re looking for some outfit inspiration. Would you buy anything? You’d probably want to, but it depends on your own personal budget and money spending ethics.

That being said, both my budget and money spending ethics are pretty low, so I’m off to purchase that Kimono and solve the “no tax” mystery. You can do the same at




As we approach the end of summer, the steamy hot days and humid nights that sometimes force us out of our beds mid slumber just to ice our heated bodies start to cool down. In turn, people start to put some effort into their outfits again.

Montreal Fashion Downtown (43)That’s the thing about living in Montreal; extreme weather=don’t give a shit about what I’m wearing, as long as it accommodates the temperature. In winter, we’re covered from head to toe so that we may brave our inevitable treks through the snow and -20+ weather (Oh, Canada.) and in the burning hot months of June and July, it’s all about short, loose dresses, tanktops, shorts… basically, leaving the house wearing as little material as you possibly can.

In between times are perfect- Indian Summer, Spring, Fall, because you can play around with more looks: shorts and a blazer, perhaps… or long skirts with tank tops. Long pants with T-shirts, and scarves also make a cute comeback at this time.

This was apparent when the temperature dropped in the past week. As we strolled up and down centre ville’s busiest street, rue Ste Catherine, I zealously approached people hoping to capture their outfits on film.

Like a sexually charged adolescent boy seeing a naked woman for the first time, I initially appeared as clumsy, desperate and aggressive when approaching the busy and introverted civilians who had better things to do than get their picture taken on a dreary, grey Wednesday afternoon.

Montreal Fashion Downtown (39)

For the sake of inspiration, my talented photographer and I moseyed on down to the popular boutique Editorial. Wedged in the middle of Stanley and de Maisonneuve, Editorial has been coined by local residents as the Mecca of urban fashion and cutting edge style.

Urban and cutting edge it is. It is also a bit on the pricey side, but their apparel is of such good quality.

Montreal Fashion Downtown (17)Like an overflowing coffee cup, the store is brimming with hot trends. It’s filled with pieces that play on classic themes, logos and looks, with a completely new and loud look.

They have chunky heeled ankle booties with both downtown and by celebrity street styles. There are graphic tees that play on brands like Hermes (turned into Homies and Hotmes), studded and spiky shoes, earthy yet edgy bustiers and pieces that would mirror an overall look of 90s rap videos with an haute couture twist.

Montreal Fashion Downtown (54)And then, it was like catching bees with honey. The beautiful people of downtown Montreal have adapted a similar style, but manage to stay eclectic at the same time.

We found that studded and spiked touches on accessories such as bags, shoes and shoulder pads were popular. Futuristic looks with chunky moon boot sneakers and blazers, funky hair and sailor moon jackets with knee high stockings.

It’s like Downtown Montreal is a can of mixed nuts where everyone is doing their own thing, but it feels consistent since it all looks so “tough guy” yet lovingly… 2013.

Side note: I wish I could pull off this long red skirt. Work it, Baby.

*photos by Nicole Small, for the full Downtown Montreal Street Fashion set, check out our Facebook page

kayleigh peddie
Designer Kayleigh Peddie

It was a gorgeous summer evening in the Mile End, and I was sharing an iced tea and some girl talk with local designer, Kayleigh Peddie, who’s been branding herself and her collection since 2010. Peddie, a graduate of Lasalle College’s class of 2009, was wearing a gauzy black crop top baby T, paired with her handmade high waisted red and black leopard spotted leggings, and a kerchief  neatly tied against her maple wood coloured hair a la Lucille Ball.

Like her collection, her look exclaims fun, flirty, and individualistic, with a nostalgic feel towards the classic cuts and silhouettes of the mid 20th century. I almost immediately interrogated her choice and courage to wear leggings as pants- a look that not many people can pull off, though she did so beautifully.

“I vowed to never wear leggings as pants,” she assured me with a modest chuckle, “I wore them around the house all the time because I was like ‘this is the comfiest thing ever’  but I’m like, leggings are not pants! I finally wore mine out of the house like, two weeks ago an I was like ‘never ever taking them off, they’re so comfy!”

Needless to say, the comfy report and overall aesthetic of the leggings convinced me to confirm my plans to invest in her velvet floral leggings from her 2011 collection.

peddie 1But not everybody is petite like Peddie. Can the rest of us pull off the taboo “leggings as pants” look? Peddie thinks so: “I think the high waist helps out a lot, it kind of gives it a little more than low cut with a muffin top hanging out.” Sold. Add to cart.

Though some may initially see her collection as daring and directed towards a specific body type, Peddie claims with confidence that her clothes are made with everyone’s body type in mind. This is especially apparent in her swimsuit and lingerie lines, and on her Facebook page where she consistently posts pictures of her friends and customers wearing her pieces. These models range from petite to curvy, and they all look great in Peddie Couture.

As we discussed her swimsuit lines, I couldn’t  help but mention to Kayleigh that her pieces remind me of modern, funky, and sexier versions of Wilma Flinstone and Peggy Bundy. She beamed at my comparisons and exclaimed : “The Flintstones and the Jetsons are like my favourite things ever!” And with her use of old time cuts, it is easy to see that she appreciates shapes from the 1950’s and 1960’s, with wild prints leopard prints that are modern, yet have the brightness and flashiness that would be seen in the 80s. “The cuts are more classic, because they’re  much more modest with the higher necklines. But I think people are more willing to wear that these days, it’s not all about triangle bikinis anymore.”

lingerie peddieThe bikini tops can also be recycled as tops for every day outfits (for example, with a long skirt or flowy trousers, high waisted shorts (whatever your little hearts desire) but the experiment has the designer’s stamp of approval. “I’ve worn that top as like a shirt, and I don’t feel half naked. I like doing things more modest like that where people can wear them and be comfy, but still feel great”

Her lingerie as swimwear line was also discussed. The 2012 collection consists of several pieces varying in colours and prints that resemble 1950s undergarments. At first glance, I found this line a little daring. But then at second glance, I feel quite tempted to rock it. When I asked Kayleigh how she feels about the concept she says, “it can be done there’s lots of really great swimwear out there that’s lingerie inspired.. as long as it’s done right and in a tasteful way”. Well I’m sold. I’ll have one in pink, please!

As for her actual lingerie lines, like her, they are fun and flirty looking with splashes of modesty and a vintage sexiness all intertwined. Materials like mesh and velvet are frequently used, which is not unusual, but definitely rare in the world of lingerie. Peddie’s designs are completely original, but her favourite lines that specialize in lingerie are from Australia; Hopeless Lingerie and Lonely Hearts. “It looks like stuff you’ve never seen before, but it’s really classy!” Well, I could definitely say the same for Peddie’s lingerie collection. Personal favourite of mine: the black velvet bandeau bra and matching high waisted panties. Perfect undergarments for a harsh Canadian winter, with “super strong material that never fades”.

smiley sweater peddieAnother notable piece is the Kayleigh Peddie smiley faces bandeau bra and panty set. When I asked if this print is considered her signature, since it is also available as an oversized sweater, a mesh high neck bra and panty set, and (only as seen on her Facebook Page) a crop top, but she laughed and denied it. It is just one of the prints she enjoys using “I can’t not use all those colours! With swimwear and lingerie, people are willing to wear prints they wouldn’t wear everyday and look a little cheekier.”

All of Peddie’s pieces are made to order, and completely handmade by the seamstress herself. She is a one woman operation, and a great talent who bared a strong (yet unintentional) resemblance to Betsy Johnson- though on a personal note, I find her apparel to be way cuter. It is playful, yet mature, exciting and daring, but doesn’t look like it’s on crack. She doesn’t have plans to add accessories to her collection, but she has plans to expand her empire by eventually making her own fabrics, and “actual lingerie”.

Visit Peddie’s site, and spend a couple of hours looking through her stuff. You can also “like” her on Facebook.

There are size options listed, but she prefers to have people send her their actual measurements to avoid confusion: “I feel better sending somebody something that I know is going to fit them because they didn’t just guess their size.”

As for prices? They definitely range, but the quality and attention paid to the craft is worth it. “Nothing is out of reach, some people might people think it’s a little pricey, but it’s all handmade, it’s good quality, and it’s me.”

I was walking with a friend of mine the other day who was in town for Osheaga. She turned to me at one point after a small group of polyester clad teenagers pranced by and said “I hate it when unfashionable people go to music festivals.”

Now, that was a little harsh, she even realized it when I begged her to let me use this anonymous quote as the opening for this article, but I could understand what she meant.  People shouldn’t necessarily choose to look crappy just because they’re going to a music festival. Now, I’m not telling you to show up at Parc Jean Drapeau in an evening gown, but you don’t have to look all drab and boring just because you need to be practical.

I personally didn’t go to Osheaga- but if I’d  gone, I would have worn a pair of denim high waisted Levi’s shorts (these fit like second skin and nothing ever falls out of their pockets… plus, they’re hot) a sensible tank top (for the August in Montreal heat) with a low maintenance Kimono. Not only have Kimonos been making a huge comeback since the Oriental look quietly maneuvered  its way back into style, but they’re also super practical for nights that aren’t quite nippy enough for a full on jacket.

I also would have carried an over the shoulder tote or bag. Make sure it’s over the shoulder, so that you have the option of wearing it across your body for extra security. Also, it’s way easier to fish out your necessities from a messenger bag. Totes are expandable – you should bring one you don’t care about getting ruined in the rain.

For shoes, I recommend Tom’s loafers or boat shoes. Anything slip on and beat up, basically. Flip flops are a bad idea because they can break easily. Sandals, it depends. They’re cute, yes, but the flimsier they are, the more likely they are to give up on you at the most inconvenient time. If you really want to wear sandals, opt for a more secure model- such as the type that have a thicker weaving, or are practically closed toe.

End of the summer tip for ladies: a friend of mine was wearing a pair of adorable sandals similar to what I had just described yesterday. She reported that they were recently purchased from Ardene of all places! It’s not too late, ladies! Go give ‘er  a look!

Hats are always welcome for a summer festival, after all, we must protect our visages from the ozone layer-less rays of Canadian sun, but I feel that the head accessory differs per person. These days, I have been down with turbans. The nice thing about turbans is that you can use the scarf when you’re cold, or as a veil to protect you from the rain. When you’re not using the scarf for your hair, shoulders, or as an umbrella, just double knot it to the strap of your messenger bag. It makes for a cute bag accessory, and won’t take up any room in your tote.

festival goer

Gentlemen, I haven’t forgotten about you. First of all, let’s put my past preachings of patterns to use and go wild with the floral tanktops. If you choose not to wear a tanktop, muscle tee, wifebeater, whatever you choose to call them, wear an extremely thin material T-shirt, but I heavily advise against longer sleeved T’s or even baseball shirts (though you guys look adorable with three quarter length sleeves).

If you’re going to get cold, bring a cardigan or flannel shirt separately, because you might get hot again. And while I understand (and believe me, appreciate) that you can just take your tops off wherever you want when you feel uncomfortable, what are you going to do if your date gets cold? Give him/her your sweaty pit-stained baseball shirt because you weren’t smart enough to bring a button down along? I think a man with a button down is extremely sexy, especially when it’s plaid and he’s offering it to me when I’m cold.

Men, you look adorable with hats on, do what you want to with that accessory. Just no visors, please. You’re never going to get laid if you prance  around this world proudly wearing a visor.

Don’t wear long jeans, ESPECIALLY not skinny jeans.  It’s not the time or place. I encourage you all to wear a pair of demin shorts and roll up the pant legs. Ladies, this goes for you too. A summer festival and long jeans should not mix.

No shoes you would wear to the gym, that’s just stupid. For you, I recommend beat up loafers/any shoe you can easily slip into as well. Also, don’t bring your soccer ball thinking you’re going to play soccer in the middle of the festival, don’t bring your guitar to a music festival, it’s not about you, but please, bring your own bag. Your girlfriend does not want to carry everything around for you all day.

Well mesdames et messieurs, I think that’s all the wisdom I can pass down for this week. We have about a month left of summer, so use this guide for any other festivals you may be going to, or weekend trips to the beach, labour day… whatever the hell you’re going to do to prepare yourself for the cold days that are coming to us.

Peace, love, and forever promoting loafers.

Let’s talk about Hipsters.  It seems to me that most people living in a major city know at least one person who they would  define as a Hipster. What is a Hipster, anyway? Is there really a definition? Some may say a Hipster is somebody who consistently tries too hard to be ironic, while others may insist that Hipsters are a group of pretentious and judgemental assholes. In my opinion, both definitions apply, but as a self proclaimed fashion theorist I have come to gather that Hipsters are the modern day Beatniks of our generation, who actually may have a delicate psychology behind the movement we have come to both covet and mock.


Let us reflect on the past 14 years of fashion. As I’d mentioned last week, doesn’t it seem like we have managed to turn a full circle since the year 2004? Yes, the vintage look and influences from the past were always trendy throughout the 20th century, but up until the return of skinny jeans, pieces were all new concepts, or concepts that were deemed classic. For example, remember 2007: flip through the pages of any Vogue of that year and you’ll find skinny jeans, V neck cashmere sweaters, cropped jackets, and knee high boots with jeans tucked in. Neutral tones with vibrant neon attached. Small glasses were the norm and fashion was just… modern. It didn’t seem like anyone was trying too hard.

About one year later, I noticed a new movement had taken the generation by storm when I visited my sister in Montreal.  I thought it was bizarre how a lot of her friends had taken up an extremely simple way of living that wasn’t modern or complicated. These people looked as though they had walked out of the scenes of 1980s movies with their skinny jeans, Doc Martens, oversized and ragged knit sweaters, loose toques, and grim facial expressions as they drank whiskey from their Mason jars and listened to records in their quaint Plateau apartments when the “normal” and “expected”  was to live downtown. I was living in Halifax at the time and had noticed that none of my friends or any of their friends had felt the need to mimic this lifestyle. It was as though the thought had never occurred to them. Halifax, being a much smaller city, had citizens who were more than happy with their five appliances, Uggs paired with Lulu Lemon leggings, and breakfasts at Chez Cora every Sunday.

Bludgeoning_Irony_-_Hipster_Girls_-_SXSW_2009But the economy was crashing, the political world was going nuts, and there were lots of unsettling theories and conspiracies about our futures. Collectively, I’d say with the way shit was going down, our generation had the right to be angry with our parents. It makes sense that these kids who we called Hipsters wanted to revolt against their parents’ frivolity that had taken the world through such highs and lows on political and economical levels. What does that mean? Everything old must be new again, and let us save, save, save. Everything that is quaint is fashionable. If it looks like something you would have owned as a child, your mother, father, aunt, or uncle would have owned as a child, and an apartment your grandmother would have lived in when she was your age, it was considered cool. Thriftiness had become a trend, and the thrifty people obviously flocked together with their similar interests.

Personally, I was a little surprised when I’d noticed a couple of years later how Hipster fashion had made it through the pages of Vogue. I had never in a million years expected it to be fashionably acceptable to look like Topanga Lawrence again, or to wear Steve Urkel eyeglasses—even though my personal taste had taken to the look when I had first discovered it. On some level, I find it fishy, how easily we returned to a whole decade that had only just passed. Was it because we were simply bored of the monotonous metallic and neon colours of the futuristic 2000s? Or, were we starting to think like the Hipsters and flock back to what we used to know, before the world was complicated.

The 90s wardrobe has been the peak of Hipster fashion for the past couple of years. And whenever I wear high waisted Levi’s shorts, I feel 8 years old again, not worrying about nuclear war or whether or not we are actually living in a 1984 environment. If I feel this way, others must as well, otherwise the trend wouldn’t have taken so strongly.

IHipster_med_öl really don’t think the movement was intended to turn into a huge trend. I feel that the image the Hipster generation was initially trying to convey was one of simplicity that had spun out of control.But when we think about the concept of everything old being new again, is it possible that we are clinging to the familiar because we are afraid of the future?

It is an interesting concept to think about next time you’re at a quaint cafe where the room is glittered with people dressed in clothes that are inspired by decades throughout the 20th century but everyone is on their smart phone or laptops. With that image, I always think: If someone were to teleport themselves from the 1960s, they would be extremely confused. On the other hand, I’m glad we’re not dressed in robot garb yet, and we can have fun with clothes from the decades we had missed out on.

Isn’t it funny how over the past decade we’ve managed to revive the best and worst styles of the better part of the previous century? Since 2003, we have introduced old concepts into our new wardrobes.

I remember the ressurection of leggings worn under mini skirts paired with the large baggy tops of 2005. I remember the unflattering ballerina warm up shrugs that were meant to be tied at the waist but made everyone’s arms look fat. I also remember the 1950s inspired poodle shaped skirts with flamboyant colours and prints of 2004, heinous large neon earrings that we would see Kimmy Gibbler wearing on old episodes of Full House paired with skin tight black mini dresses that would later be a part of American Apparel’s 2007 collection.

I will never forget the vintage movement that swept the end of the decade and turn of the century or as I like to call it, The Return of the 90s. The revival of the 90s took the fashion world by storm.

Being bi-continential, I noticed even my stylishly stubborn friends back in the Middle East eventually catching on to the look. Larger glasses were introduced, fedoras and bowler hats were encouraged and wayfarer sunglasses and skinny jeans were essential.


However, 2013 offers something different. It is almost as though the fashion industry is pushing women’s fashion aside and dedicating the evolution of trend to the male audience.

I know, it sounds like crazy talk, but think about it ladies: has this season not been really weird? Anything “new” you can think of, with the exception of swimsuits and shoes, isn’t actually new.

Last summer, we were obsessing over chiffon material and hi-lo skirts and dresses. This year, feel free to raid your closet because it seems that everything that has been fashionable over the past five years is still perfectly acceptable to create an up-to-date outfit.

My theory is we’re taking a small detour since we’ve literally circled the better half of the previous century stylistically speaking. Yes, this year, with great hesitation, we are back to the years of fashion we were trying to forget not five years ago: the early 2000s.

What does that mean? The Oriental look, metallics, spaghetti strap halters with long a-line skirts and awkward strappy sandals a la Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in their creepy pubescent entertainment careers.

But men are seeing something different in fashion. This season, they are being given more of a chance to actually be fashionable!

mens fashion 2013Sure, more often than not you’ll still see the everyday average heterosexual dude between the ages of 18-35 wearing the same old cargo shorts, graphic tees and disgusting sports sunglasses. You’ll also spot the average sweatpants wearing, hideous high crotch, elastic band jeans with the awkward ass and high ankles wearing guy who looks like he’d just stepped out of a Mickey Mouse Club video cassette, pairing them with those insulting Velcro cross strap sandals.

It’s obvious, however, that the fashion industry has gone the extra mile for my adorable, hairy counterparts. It seems that men, regardless of their sexual orientation or personal style, are being encouraged to go bold with what they wear.

Think about it: the fashion industry for men is usually targeted towards the media’s idea of the “typical” fashion loving homosexual man, and the preppy guys (or as we call them here in Montreal, guys from France), but the everyday average guy, regardless of his sexual orientation, wouldn’t necessarily have much of an option.

What happens if you don’t like what’s coming out? If it’s too preppy for you? All they’ve been stuck with was skinny jeans, plain t shirts, and v neck sweaters (sexy). Otherwise, it’s back to the same old cargo shorts and graphic tees.

This year, shorts are encouraged, especially if they’re cuffed. The cuffed look is being pushed onto men like skinny jeans were.

I’ve spoken to quite a few men who have different tastes, and most of them agreed that the cuffed pant-leg look is too feminine. I personally disagree and feel they should give it a chance and take the risk; after all, cuffed pant legs look pretty classic with a nice loafer or boat shoe and a simple, light button down shirt that’s casually been left unbuttoned.

Now, I can see how that would look a little too Dawson’s Creek for some of you, but remember how people felt about skinny jeans when they first came out? Exactly. Just give it a couple of years.

I think that this season, it’s safe to say men are being encouraged to make bolder decisions, even in an androgynous sense. I know that the concept of androgynous style is not necessarily new, but it has definitely been expanding.

Some men are rocking heels paired with self-designed outfits and they look fierce. Same thing with dresses.

Back in the day, the public might have had negative reactions to the concept of gender-bending fashion, but especially after this season, I see great potential in the look. You wear your heels baby, and wear ‘em high.

There is nothing more beautiful than the silhouette of the androgynous look. It’s like having a bunch of beautiful mannequins walking around constantly inspiring me to go shopping.


But you don’t have to wear heels or even cuff your pant legs to be bold. According to one of my fashion conscious, average Joe friends: “men are finally opening up to patterns that aren’t plaids or stripes…. floral, polka dots, small patterns like anchors.”

My friend does live in a in a city where these changes are more likely to take place straight away, but what about the rest of the world? Are men ready to take the plunge into this pond of fashion? All with a grain of salt and giving things a chance, even if you just start off with bold colours or wearing a denim shirt.

Keep in mind, though: rolling up your pant legs make you look taller, and I personally swoon over a tall glass of water.


Montreal Fashion Week, also known as Semaine de la Mode Montreal, began its 24th season at its new venue, L’Arsenal, with the aim of rivaling other fashion weeks and becoming known as an international fashion city. Follow along as I go through the high and low lights of the four-day display of Autumn/Winter 2013-2014 collections:


Fully prepped, gathering up my first look of the week. I’m all leg in a sheer, shaped grey camo sleeveless robe by diesel under a black Tavon & Mitto kimono vest, no tights, and huge platform boots; a foreshadowing of the evening ahead. Camera charged, beer chugged, a new teal ‘do and we are bound for the first show, By Thomas, in the smaller Studio des Createurs par Target. Natasha Thomas, one of five participants in the Target Exchange prize which awards a $25,000 scholarship, a spread in ELLE Quebec, and their winning looks sold in the new Target Canadian stores, came in as colour-faded out in shades of the black rainbow, a huge departure from the preppy-bold hues and safari patterns of last season. Trending shades of pewter pink, red wine spills, pleathers, and revised turtlenecks. Metallic champagne pants alongside other neutrals and creams soothed me instead of rocking me to sleep. A step-up in design for this masculine inspired collections has me ready for what is next in this evolution.


Finally out of the side room and onto the main stage, Pedram Karimi stole the week right out from under everyone’s stilettos with an earth-shattering show of intergalactic portions. Androgynous earthlings paraded forward in layers of black, white and grey, including silver with splashes of burnt cantaloupe, dark teal, and even a black-out algae crushed velvet coat and fetish inspired caps. Billowing shapes and capes bring this futuristic aesthetic to new heights, and I’m not just talking about the buffalo platform boots. I talked with Pedram about the show in his studio where we discussed his inspiration, textures and how his show captured just enough avant-garde, and just enough consumerism. To read my full praise on his third collection visit Montreal Street Fashion.

A crowd favourite season after season is Melissa Nepton. Her “Equestrius” collection, which was quite graphic, added more white and black, innovative necklines, houndstooth, full body stripes and sheer, voluminous silhouettes. Nepton also unveiled a new line of accessories which was all a very urban take on the usual equestrian influences.


The evening took a down spill with the last fashion show of the night. Nadya Toto’s florals and drapery patters needed an injection of youth as her collection was out of place with the styling of the show. Dowdy crimped hair and over sized jewels painted a portrait of the rich older woman who finally stepped out of the house and away from her collection of porcelain cats. However, I loved the black frilly jackets similar to that of Martin Lim. The appeal would have escalated had their been a more noire approach to the styling. If there had been added witchery, perhaps a romantic goth poem could have emerged.


Day Two of Semaine de la mode Montreal was a mix of unfortunate design and intense spectacles. Annie 50 and Symbiose by Hinda a took a more artistic approach, preventing themselves from expanding outside their Mile-end woman’s aesthetic. Nisse took on work wear with tailored jackets and a stand-out plum piece with bow. A collection for any age with leather mini skirts, teal tuxedo jackets, military style coats, and lace frocks that take you from your desk to the nice table at the bar.


Ralph Leroy clocked in the snooze button with basic suits of bland hues, floor length sequin gowns tacked with a back floor length bow. What saved the show, but not the fashion show, was the integration of a traditional Haitian dance with contemporary ballet. It also helped that the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” himself, Will Smith, was front row as well as Canadian icon Jeanne Beker, who spent the show looking at her phone.

tumblr_mhscn8jF691s4nyjto1_1280 tumblr_mhsg3mbYCy1s4nyjto1_1280

Fringe, fluidity, and texture: finally some innovative designs. Martin Lim went retro with his big 70’s looks. A little bit of everything with a Sister Mary/Wednesday Adams vibe, full fringe new goth frocks, mixed gold and silver petals, ballooning sheer fabrics in white, black, blue, grey and rose.

Photos by Tristan Harris for Montreal Street Fashion and Raphaelle Bob Garcia of Bobby Leon.

Clothing swap

Clothing swap

Have you picked up your fall and winter outfits yet? Well here is your chance to find some designer duds and some sweet accessories for next to nothing! This Sunday at Espace Griffintown there is gonna be a mega clothing swap. Come drop off those clothes that you’ve been planning on getting rid of forever and exchange them for someone else’s awesome hand-me-downs.

The clothes swap is being presented by the xChange Collective (Tim Webber, Gina Bourne). FALLBACK is the second of their events, aimed at creating a unique experience by offering—on one side, a vintage and accessories sale, offering the best that local Montreal vintage vendors and designers have to offer—as well, separately, providing a gathering space in which people have the opportunity to bring gently used or vintage items of good quality into a clothing exchange, thus creating an inventory of great pieces for those involved to choose from.

The clothing exchange concept was really the jumping off point, and central focus of xChange Collective. They love the idea of bringing people together, the idea that ‘one man’s trash is another’s treasure’ (not literally, of course!), the ‘happening’ that occurs when different people, clothing, styles, and ideas collide in one event.

So come check out a great event in a great venue (L’Espace Griffintown), with a bar, good music, food and beverages, photographic coverage, a cool and friendly atmosphere, to shop, exchange, and socialize. xChange Clothing swap!