Local High Fashion

If there are two truths that my followers would know about me they would be these. First, I looooove fashion!!! It inspires me and brings me joy! Secondly, I adore Winnipeg! Our vibrant cultural events, majestic skies, the one degree of separation from anyone you meet.

Now one might think that a “shop local” voice like mine would sometimes find our prairie-city-with-a-small-town-vibe to be a frustrating place to find the fashions that I desire, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many seem to equate “a stylish city” with one that has many H&M locations or uber expensive department stores. Let me give you a different perspective of a stylish city. MY view of the fashion available to us in our home town.

While pouring over the not-to-be-missed September issue of Vogue for fall fashion, I felt instantly inspired by not only the images I saw but by what I knew to be happening in our own, local design scene.

I knew I could take the inspiration of these ads by the likes of Burberry and Gucci and translate the same feel and attitude using local designers, vintage pieces, thrifted finds and, with a little help from my own sewing machine. And I knew that Winnipeg photographer, Ian McCausland could help me realize my vision.

The first impression I took from the magazine were the rich colours and textures. Florals and brocades, ruffles and embroidery. Edgy yet royal. A modern renaissance.

You’re going to see me in all the ruffles this fall and winter! Perhaps it is the recent look back at the lives of style icons, Prince and David Bowie, that brought these feminine yet rockstar details to the forefront once again. I’ve found a bunch of them at The Salvation Army Thrift Store along with the Indian, embroidered, silk vest. Brocade tails are from Vintage Glory. Peach floral blouse came from EMK Clothing. Black pants by Voilà. The choker is a vintage broach pinned onto a ribbon.

Items by EMK Clothing are comfortable, pretty, and easy to wear. I knew I would find some suitable florals, like this sweater, to add that lush layer to my vision. Italian wool, one of a kind, cape by Voilà.  Corset belt by Lennard Taylor. Ruffled blouse from The Salvation Army Thrift Store. Leather and zipper detailed pants by Szoldier. Fur “tiara” from Bill Warb Furs to complete my modern day princess.

Gah! There is something about a man in uniform! Even if it’s just a part of one. I knew Vintage Glory had a fair collection of colourful military and marching band jackets and I couldn’t wait to dive into them. I added more embellishments to this red one to complete the maximalist feel I was going for. Highland belt, also from Vintage Glory. Vest and shirt from The Salvation Army Thrift Store. Pants from Szoldier.

I noticed, in those glossy pages, prominent shoulders and colourful fur. Elements of androgyny whereas women’s wear had masculine structure and men’s wear had feminine details.

This bamboo skirt by Voilà is elegant and ridiculously comfortable! Quite like everything Andrèanne creates. Once you put on one of her pieces, you do not want to take it off! Like…ever!

I loved going all out on the richness scale with all of these wonderful jewel tones. The colourful, embroidered jacket (that is meant to be worn with a sari) was found at The Salvation Army Thrift Store. I honour and appreciate the culture of India for being so liberal with their colour combinations. Purple, orange, gold and emerald combined in one piece? Yes please!  Orange coyote scarf is from Bill Warb Furs.

Whenever I have pleasure of speaking with Greg, designer of Szoldier, I tell him how amazed I am with what he can do with a sleeve. I hope he doesn’t get tired of hearing it. His work is impeccably detailed, starting with this leather jacket with fur collar.

This Szoldier jacket was the first piece that I desired to showcase when planning this shoot. Ruffled blouse from The Salvation Army Thrift Store. Steampunk necklace By Blackbird Designs. Pants by Voila. Holsters by Lennard Taylor.

Lennard Taylor uses some beautiful brocades in his fall/winter collection. Chunky infinity scarf and distressed jeans also by LT. Military sweater from Vintage Glory. Vintage broach from my own collection so more than likely thrifted.

Reno, who assisted me on this shoot called this set Gypsy Royalty. I like it!

And then this happened!

Although I payed a visit to Szoldier in search of the jacket above, it would’ve been impossible for me to not look around. I am me, after all! This entirely unique skirt with leather panelled details struck me speechless. He took high waisted to new heights, angling up to a peak, mid back, mirroring the hem.

I needed to showcase this work of art and decided to pair it with a simple bandeau and created the neck and wrist ruffs to carry the trend that I’m rather obsessed with.

You know what is the best part of shopping directly from a designer? It’s the thrill that you’re taking home a piece of their art. It’s like meeting the artist of a favourite painting or thanking the chef at a great restaurant. You feel awestruck by their talent and privileged that you got to be a part of the experience.

On the practical side, you can ask them about the fabrics they chose, the fit of the garment and alterations that might be required. When it comes to Szoldier, every piece is custom, and my favourite jeans were custom made, for me, by Lennard Taylor. If there are any future issues, you can be assured that the creator of that design is going to feel extra compelled to make sure you love it. The payoff of shopping local is far more rich than the effort!

Feel proud, Winnipeg! We have a great pool of inspired yet accessible designers. Many more than I’ve mentioned. Click on those designer’s links above and learn more about who they are and what they do.

Oh, and you’ve got a stylist who loves nothing more than to take these individual works of art and create images that inspire you. I want you to recognize what you love from each look and incorporate that into your own wardrobe.

Big thanks!
To Canadian Footwear for providing all of the fabulous boots and shoes for the shoot!
To my models, Madeline Brandt and Zach Foster
To Reno Johnston for assisting

Much love and fashion pride,
Style Hunter Fox