Wednesday, 9 October 2013

7 Things You Never Knew about Canada till You Read 'Fashion'

 Canadian Fashion gets Serious
Daria Werbowy on Fashion's October 2013 issue

According to my long-suffering cousins, the Canadians are a misunderstood bunch. Popular myths beyond the border involve igloo housing, lesser technology and the assumption that everyone speaks French (when the French-speaking population is mostly found in Quebec).  

Let's just say the last thing I expected from my recent visit was intelligent, intriguing fashion and beauty journalism from a Canadian perspective. 

Here's a few eye-brow raising facts I learned about Canada from its best-selling women's' magazine Fashion (October 2013), starring none other than Ukrainian-Canadian super Daria Werbowy.

7 Curiously Canadian Fashion Facts 

1. The shopping pages are divided by province (that's how big the country is) 

At nearly 10 square kilometres (the second largest country in the world), the existence of only 5 Louis Vuitton boutiques feels a bit mean. Besides high-end department stores like Holt Renfrew, Gravity Pope (the go-to for footwear), the rest are independent boutiques scattered across trendy districts in Montreal, Toronoto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, stocked with top international and local designers.

2. They're obsessed with all things British

"Maybe it's the class system, the stiff upper lip or the Queen, but something about the Brits makes them born to rebel."

While I don't completely agree with all of the above, there's little doubt of 'The British Invasion' in Canada. It was surprising to see the extent of it - from short hair ("British girls are more adventurous"), mod (Agyness Deyn's Dr Martens collab), punk, handbags (the Mulberry Bayswater finally arrives!), British models (Stella Tennant to Edie Campbell) and promising talents like Jean-Pierre Braganza.

3. But they put a Canadian twist on it obviously 


For example, London-based designers Jean-Pierre Braganza and Erdem were both born in Canada (in Toronto and Montreal respectively). 


Jean-Pierre Braganza A/W13

4. Canada's Got Talent 

Discovering Melissa Araujo (see dress below) was a weak-in-the-knees moment for me. Minimalist, interchangeable and affordable, her pieces offer serious wardrobe ROI. A selection of her designs are available to purchase on her website, which also showcases her brilliant fashion illustrations

Look#37 from Melissa Araju's 'Linear' collection

The magazine's 'Top Coats' Canadian outerwear special is also noteworthy, not least since freezing winters can drop below -40°. Serbian born, Toronto-based designer Bojana Sentaler Nikolic (of Sentaler) and her luxuriously tailored 40s wartime-inspired coats win my vote. 

5. Kick-ass Ads (starring fashion bloggers)

Christina Caradona's ad for Tampax Radiant

How refreshing to see New York model/Trop Rouge blogger Christina Caradona front a Tampax ad campaign with pride. It's a step in reducing the awkwardness of traditional faceless western ads. In southeast Asia (countries which are supposedly more 'conservative') celebrities as feminine hygiene product spokespeople are nothing new. Seriously, it's time to grow up. 

This also exemplifies the growing trend of bloggers becoming public print and TV faces of major brands.

6. Vichy is Canada's no. 1 skincare brand

Who knew? Known for its French thermal spring water formulations (sourced from the town Vichy) and diverse targeted skincare lines, mid-priced Vichy comes up on top. Available in the UK from Boots.

7. Danier Leather

Danier Bucket Tote
A vertically-integrated retailer whose leather collections are sold exclusively in Canada, Danier is probably the country's best kept-fashion secret. Classic styles, functional, high-quality leather clothing and accessories (for men and women) at purse-friendly prices that look every bit the designer. Visiting Canada soon? I highly recommend Danier's outlets for tempting bargains.

Image credits from top:,,,,


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