SHOP TALK: Textile hub + training centre EcoEquitable opens sparkling new space in Vanier

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven 

Since becoming involved with  EcoEquitable, Anouk Bertner looks at frogs in a whole new light. And by frogs I mean the current exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

“Every time I see that banner I think, ‘where’s it going?’ I want that vinyl!” she laughs.

Eco Equitable ... photo by

The EcoEquitable Boutique sells recycled fabrics and upcycled fashion accessories including totem bags and infinity scarves.

It’s one of the many ways that EcoEquitable transforms the way we think about clothing, consumption, and community.

EcoEquitable started in 2002 as an organization focused on helping immigrant women learn to sew. Informal groups honed skills on theatre costumes and children’s clothing. Four years ago, EcoEquitable launched a five-month course that provided new Canadians with skills that would equip them to work at an industrial textile facility, or as tailors, or even designers who create their own labels. Classes not only covered hemming and pleats, but also job hunting tools and basic literacy. 

But more than that, EcoEquitable opened up a space for women who spend much of their time alone — or with only young children. It created a community space through potlucks and a jovial, productive atmosphere.

That atmosphere, however, was a bit cramped and quite dark. Located in the basement of community centre on Chapel Street, it was tough to find and — despite all the laughter that was going on when I visited the space in 2010 — didn’t do justice to the great things that were happening.

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DRESSES! Rent Frock Repeat pop-up shop open until March 30

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven Sarah Fischer. 

A few years ago, we wrote about Rent Frock Repeat, a company that allows users to rent designers dresses for important events. It struck us as a cool idea and a fun way to have a never-ending supply of amazing dresses.

Rent-Frock-Repeat

One of my favourites, an Emogene Couture sheath, retails for $600 and rents for $90.

Then we heard of their expansion to Ottawa! Okay, for now it’s a pop-up shop in Gatineau, open until March 30. But when we heard they were bringing hundreds of couture dresses to a funky chalet across the river, well, we had to investigate.

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SHOP TALK: Oscar night style with Erica Wark

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven Sarah Fischer. 

From left: Lupita Nyong’o in Ralph Lauren Collection; Olivia Wilde in Gucci; Naomi Watts in Tom Ford; Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé; Robin Wright in Reem Acra; Zoe Saldana in Prabal Gurung; and Margot Robbie in Gucci at the 2014 Golden Globes.

Ahead of Oscar night this Sunday, SHOP TALK catches up with Erica Wark on what (and who!) is standing out on the red carpet. If you haven’t seen her on the side of a bus or on the OFW runway, Erica is the resident fashion expert on The Social, a fashion contributor on Marilyn Denis, and a regular fashion expert on eTalk.

SHOP TALK: Who are you most excited to see on the red carpet and what do you think she will wear?
ERICA WARK: That’s a toughey. I’d have to say Lupita Nyong’o, Cate Blanchett, and the ever-glamorous Sandra Bullock! I’m hoping Lupita will continue to knock our fashion socks off and rock something big, bold, and beautiful! She’s been wearing colour like nobody else … let’s hope this colour train continues. As for Cate? Well, she’s got haute couture down pat. But she’s a major risk taker, where the risk is ALWAYS worth the reward. I’m hoping she’ll wow us in something from Balenciaga, Lanvin, or Prada. Sandra is a wild card. Her normal “classic” sophistication has been thrown out the window. She’s been far more daring and a lot more fun – maybe a Prabal Gurung or Marchesa?

Jennifer Lawrence in a ho-hum strapless Dior gown.

Jennifer Lawrence in a ho-hum strapless Dior gown.

ST: Who has been the biggest disappointment on the red carpet so far?
EW: Hands down Jennifer Lawrence in Dior, Dior, Dior. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fashion house and I understand she’s under contract, but I’m so sick of the strapless boring dress they keep putting her in! She’s so young and has such a bold personality; it would be nice if her Oscar gown emulates that.

ST: Which man’s style will stand out the most on the red carpet?
EW: It’s a tie between Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. They’ve not only been cleaning up the awards for both best and best supporting actor, they’ve also been nailing the red carpet scene. Looking forward to seeing what they pull off on Sunday night.

ST: If you could dress any celebrity, who would it be and what would you put them in?
EW: Ha ha! Wow… I don’t know, there are sooo many. I’m a huge fan of Diane Kruger – she’s a fashion maven. I also love Gwyneth’s style — and Lupita! She’s been a star this award season. I can’t wait to see how her style evolves.

ST: Who’s your favourite designer for red carpet attire?
EW: Can’t say a favourite, but I’m obsessed with the fresh designers out there like Prabal Gurung, Peter Pilloto, and Mary Katrazou. But I also love the classics like McQueen, Gucci, and Armani Privé.

ST: Who is the most daring celebrity on the red carpet scene and do you like the risks she is taking?
EW: I’d say it’s definitely Cate Blanchette. You can tell she dresses for herself and herself only. She oozes confidence and grace like no one else; and she’s always wearing something spectacular.

SHOP TALK: Getting serious about the headshot

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven Sarah Fischer. 

After a months-long, post-holiday, hibernation-induced hiatus, SHOP TALK is back! ‘Cause there’s nothing like a headshot to push us to examine our style, talk about clothes, and generally obsess about insignificant details and reveal our egomaniacal aspects.

For me, headshot update time is unnerving — not only because it means organizing another detail into the calendar, but also because headshots involve staring into a camera. This is something I’m very wary of — so much so that I elect myself event photographer at family functions. When I am forced in front of the lens I make a face that ruins the scene. But in my new role as editor I did want something that gave off a little “talk to me” vibe, rather than a “what you said, too funny!” that I usually go for. So that meant another photo shoot.

We get some great afternoon light in our office — and I was excited to ditch the tights, if only for a few minutes!

We get some great afternoon light in our office — and I was excited to ditch the tights, if only for a few minutes!

Luckily, people know this and rally around me come headshot day. Photographer John Kealey pep-talked me via email for weeks in advance and Sarah Fischer took me to Ça Va De Soi, where Francine coached me into different outfits (Francine is one of those amazing retail gems who acts as a pseudo-stylists and helped me to feel confident about my own personal style, not to mention my body).

When the day arrived, John met me at The Whalesbone on Bank Street with his entourage — assistant Matt Brunet and makeup artist Lauren Bartoli. I had a good feeling: Whalesbone holds such great memories and I was pumped from a morning run. I was ready to exude a more serious, earnest tone in my headshot.

After some MAC makeup magic I ducked downstairs to change. (Would you believe I even thought to put on my white top before my lipstick? Gotta thank my mom for making me paranoid of white clothing.) The outfit — white Anne top, beige Eve skirt — was an excellent and subtly surprising combo. I probably could have worn any white shirt and old blue jeans, but this outfit really elevated my spirit. It virtually transported me to a summer patio, which made smiling into the camera a whole lot easier.

Laughing shots are fun, but we managed to get a few serious ones in too.

Laughing shots are fun, but we managed to get a few serious ones in too.

We returned to the office to do some atmospheric shots — holding a magazine at my desk, looking out the window, etc. Here I wore the striped Tainac Ça Va De Soi dress and the amazing Koryne cardigan — which, I learned, can easily be worn as a top, no need for layering (which, for some reason, paralyzes me).

Headshots are always a weird experience that bring out my insecurities, but this day involved a lot of laughter too. I did try to keep a straight face — not a mock smile, or a laughing smile, but a sincere, interested smile. I thought of my daughter falling asleep on my arm, and I thought of my most recent interview subject, who commanded my attention and sparked my interest — something I’m hoping to do with the Editor’s Letter that will accompany the photo.

 

 

SHOP TALK: Tasty Tidings

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

 

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio

Gourmet Gifts
For the home chef on your list, nothing beats top-of-the-line olive oil in wild flavours to incite creativity in the kitchen. $32 for a 750-mL bottle. The Unrefined Olive, 151-A Second Ave., 613-231-3133. This wicker basket makes the gift-giving moment a beautiful thing. $95. J.D. Adam Kitchen & Home Accessories, 795 Bank St., 613-235-8714.  

Fair Fare
Divine chocolate bars are made with fair-trade cocoa butter, fair-trade sugar, and real vanilla to ensure a taste that truly is divine ($4.60 each). These lemongrass sticks are produced by small-scale organic farmers in Sri Lanka and India ($3.20 each). Himalayan salt, from Solay Gourmet, is a pretty pink colour thanks to 84 essential minerals ($10 for 227 g).  Ten Thousand Villages, 371 Richmond Rd., 613-759-4701.

Time Out
Take a moment to unwind and refuel. Get Relaxed Tea, from The Republic of Tea, features calming aromas of lavender and rose petals, as well as chamomile and passionflower ($14.95 for 36 bags). Polenta crisps, in caramelized red onion and balsamic vinegar flavour, are low-fat crackers that are free of wheat, gluten, and nuts ($7.59). Ottawa Bagelshop and Deli, 1321 Wellington St., 613-722-8753.

Blush Bubbles
Celebrate in style with Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut, an elegant sparkling wine made in classic tradition. Sip by the fire for a refreshing and delicate holiday experience.  $29.95. LCBO, 275 Rideau St.,  613-789-5226.

Sweet Treats
For an all-natural warm-up that will satisfy your sweet tooth, try chocolate truffle hot chocolate by Vermont’s Silly Cow Farms ($7.99). Cocomira’s pistachio crunch combines Belgian dark chocolate with toffee and pistachios for a tasty treat that happens to be gluten-free ($9.99). Rainbow Foods, 1487 Richmond Rd., 613-726-9200.

SHOP TALK: Stocking Style

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Triangle Toes
Björn Borg cotton socks for men are the perfect way to add a festive pop of colour to a suit-and-tie affair. $18. Stroked Ego, 224 Bank St., 613-667-3008.

Toasty Toes
SmartWool women’s socks offer trail-tested comfort and exceptional tailored fit. Made from merino wool, these socks wick moisture away from the body and keep toes warm in any weather. $20.50. Mountain Equipment Co-op, 366 Richmond Rd., 613-729-2700.

Stripe Style
Those who love BabyLegs, the funky leg warmers for little ones, will love these socks by the same company. $8.95 for two pairs. Baby enRoute, 416 Richmond Rd., 613-695-3416.

Graphic Gift
Combed-cotton Happy Socks are designed in Sweden for colourful men and women. Reinforced toe and heel panels mean these accessories will be enjoyed for years to come. $12. Roadtrip, 24B York St., 613-562-0992.

Lipstick Legs
Inject a bit of frivolous fun with these knee-highs. The two-tone lipstick pattern and grey background mean endless wardrobe possibilities. $12.50. Fancy Sox, 50 Rideau St., Rideau Centre, 613-230-7439.

SHOP TALK: Best baubles for the jewellery-lover on your list

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Blue Heart
This oval pendant, which was handcrafted in Ottawa, features lapis lazuli — a stone prized for its unique, intense blue colour. $45. Strut Jewelry, strutjewelry.com.

Natural Beauty
Agate from Turkey is framed in gold, then wrapped with gold wire, for an embellished oval necklace. $68. Wunderkammer, 238 Dalhousie St., 613-860-3510.

Talisman Taste
This Georg Jensen pendant combines amethyst and silver for a festive look ($669). The Pyrrha Three Graces necklace is a simple way to give style — and luck — to a loved one (far right, $238). Magpie Jewellery, 430 Richmond Rd., 613-686-3989 (and two other locations).

Wrapped Up
In this stunning choker by Studio Gi, carefully crafted metal embraces a large semi-precious stone to create a dramatic piece sure to elevate any outfit. $135. Davidson’s Jewellers, 790 Bank St., 613-234-4136.

Exotic Elegance
These intricate earrings mirror ornate Christmas wreaths. Influenced by Morocco and the markets of Marakesh. $26. Urbanite Jewelry, urbanitejewelry.com.

 

SHOP TALK: Gifting is child’s play with these kiddie finds

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

 

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Pram Play
This clip-on stroller chain by German company Heiss features colourful interactive parts and sturdy craftsmanship. Plus, it’s hand-carved and non-toxic. $45. Chick Pea Children’s Boutique, 1395 Wellington St. W., 613-761-7600.

Bunny Love
Cuddle up with a cheerful crocheted bunny that is handmade of 100% organic cotton. She wears a pretty dress and is ready to join any tea party. Washable and non-toxic, she is part of the much-loved Anne-Marie Petit collection from Amsterdam. $62. Peek-a-boo Natural Toys, 92 Wellington St. W., 613-421-2329.

Starting Note
Give the gift of music with a xylophone that helps develop hand-eye co-ordination and reinforce a child’s natural sense of rhythm. The bars have rounded corners for safety, plus it’s made of chemical-free kiln-dried recycled rubber wood and water-based dyes.  $27.99. Mrs. Tiggy Winkles, 809 Bank St., 613-234-3836, (and four other locations).

Wooden Wheels
This charming wooden car will keep little ones entertained for hours. A single wire with five different brightly coloured beads is perfect for young toddlers ($22). An adorable wooden elephant can be pushed about by hand or pulled along by its red cotton cord. And it is a perfect set of wheels for a small doll or stuffed toy. Handcrafted in Germany, it’s made from solid alder wood, soft leather, and felt ($58). Nest European Toys + Home, nest.ca.

Show Time
A wooden theatre from Heritage Toys & Games includes a stage and five characters and is sure to bring some drama to Christmas morning ($28). Mixed pine pre-lit tree ($254.50). Tinseltown, 1096 Somerset St.  W., 613-680-7557.

SHOP TALK: Carolynn Lacasse brings Courage to Viens Avec Moi

Shop Talk is written by OM editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven. 

Photo by Zac Pantelone of Corpo Collective

Photo by Zac Pantelone of Corpo Collective

This time of year, SHOP TALK gets a lot of invites. I shouldn’t complain — actually, I wish we could attend more launches, trunk sales, and Christmas parties. But in addition to all the holiday merry-making, this is also an incredibly busy time at the office as we head to press with our annual Interiors issue.

Still, all work and no play make Dayanti + Sarah dull girls, and so we keep our eyes peeled for special events that combine fundraising with socializing, shopping with scene-covering. And when stylish scenester Carolynn Lacasse reached out to us about her Courage Brand launch on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Viens Avec Moi, we decided to get to know this new project — and attend the party tomorrow!

In talking with Carolyn, we learned that, from the start the Viens Avec Moi ladies have been super-supportive of her bracelet initiative, which raises money for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. For years Carolynn has been working with this great organization, and has had friends and family use their services. Plus, she was keen to keep the money in Ottawa and felt it represented the mental and physical bravery that her line is all about.

We also learned that she sold out in her first year with the brand, and that because the materials and printing costs are donated, 100 percent of the proceeds go the the ORCF.

Photo by Zac Pantelone of Corpo Collective

Photo by Zac Pantelone of Corpo Collective

For her second year, Carolynn has developed a new line of bracelets that stay true to her original version: they’re still unisex, minimalist, and stackable, with one simple washer that allows them to be adjusted for size and acts as a little token for when you need a boost of courage.

And to celebrate the second year with Courage, Carolynn and VAM sylist Renee Morra will be giving away a “closet refresh” consultation for someone who has been affected by cancer. Vote here by December 17 for your chance to win!

 Visit Viens Avec Moi on Tuesday, Dec. 10 to check out the line — and shop, socialize, et cetera.

SHOP TALK: Holiday scenes set the stage for a season of inspired gift giving

This story appears in the Winter edition of OTTAWA Magazine, on newsstands now. Click here to subscribe to the print or digital versions.

Product sourcing by Sarah Fischer and Erica Wark
Photography by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Photo by Marc Fowler/ Metropolis Studio.

Festive Foliage
A Kate Spade dinner plate, from the Gardner Street collection, adds a touch of nature-inspired whimsy to a meal. ($49.95). Leaf napkin rings continue the floral motif ($9.97 for a set of four). Linen Chest, 2685 Iris St., 613-721-9991.

Service Style
This porcelain dinner plate from Mikasa brings chic elegance to a festive meal ($25). Give your table a bold, timeless look with plates from GlucksteinHome’s Architectural Accent collection ($29.95 for a set of four). The Bay, 1200 St. Laurent Blvd., St. Laurent Centre, 613-748-6105 (and two other locations).

Beautiful Bows
A red plaid silk scarf by Lord & Taylor adds festive flair ($58). This Echo scarf, in a subtle burgundy paisley print, will bring warmth to chilly evenings ($40). The Bay, 73 Rideau St., 613-241-7511 (and two other locations).