Interview with Lesley Hampton

Meet Lesley Hampton, a talented fashion designer and creative director based in Toronto, who established her label in 2016 after graduating with honours with Bachelor of arts from University of Toronto and Sheridan college. Although Lesley only launched her line last year, the young and ambitious designer has already showcased her collection at Fashion Art Toronto, Toronto Women’s Fashion Week, Vancouver Fashion Week, and was also featured in Elle, Vogue, and Glamour.

We met at Stylist Box, an exclusive showroom for fashion stylists, fashion editors, and designers, founded by Christian Dare and Gail McInnes. The modern space was filled with the designer’s pieces from her current collection. Lesley welcomed me with a smile. She is naturally charming and her personality shined through her honesty and confidence.I was amazed by her determination to focus on important issues in society, such as body awareness and breaking the rules of what considered the ideal female body. We spoke about her collection, current fascinations, and  goals for the future.

Liat Neuman: At what point in life did you decide that you wanted to express your creativity through design? 

Lesley Hampton: I did a fashion designer internship the summer before I started university, and I studied art and history, which definitely help me to make my way to fashion design. During my study at the university I realized that I definitely see myself working in the fashion industry.

LN: How being a fashion designer has changed your life and is it helping you to enhance your point of view on things you believe in?

LH: It’s definitely helped me figure out how people feel in clothing and how you can make them feel more comfortable or stronger based on what you dress them in or what they choose to put on their body. It helps me to understand that anybody can look beautiful and you don’t have to strive to be in a specific size. It is more about how fashion works for you and makes you happy

LN: Which materials are you using for the collection and how is it different from your previous collection?

LH: The materials for FW 2017 collection are made from sequins, including sequinned mesh, embroidered lace, and Palmira sequins lace and poly finish like poly cotton. It’s different from the summer ’17 collection, I was focusing a lot on sequins and sparkle,with floral printed crepe and stretch sequinned mesh. The collection before, which was shown at FAT, was called City Warrior and I used mailer pleating.

LN: Where do you find your inspiration? Does everyday life inspire your work?

LH: The colours of the collection was inspired by the golden hours, which is when the sky turns a soft gold, the hour before sunset or after sunrise. The golden hour is also a term used  in trauma cases, that is the most crucial period for treatment. Since the golden hour refers to a period of time that lasts for one hour, following tragedy or injury, I brought it into my runway people that experience the golden hour, like Adrianne Haslet, the dancer, who was one of the Boston bombing survivor.

LN: Who is your target audience?

LH: I like to say that my target market is any woman who feels comfortable in her own skin and wants to look strong and powerful when she is attending a red carpet event or an evening party. My target audience is mainly women between the age of 25 to 40, but of course I’m worn by women of all ages that feel comfortable in my design.

LN: What message do you want to convey through the creation of your design?

LH: The message I want to convey is to be comfortable with the body that you have and do it through clothing. Don’t feel like trends or body ideal should hold you back from wearing what you want.

LN: What motivates you?

LH: Every time I see someone wearing my clothing, it makes me happy and motivated. The energy and the excitement come when I see people wearing my designs. It helps me push myself forward and  to continue designing.

LN: What are your goals for the future?

LH: My current goal is focusing on production and be able to reach a wider audience. Right now it is definitely expanding and moving into sales. Another goal is to be able to inspire more people to feel comfortable with their body and what they wear.

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Fashion Destination

Summer is just around the corner, and for the fashionistas among us, it means we are gearing up for the perfect stylish getaway. Choosing a fashion destination from an endless list of options can be a challenging mission. How does one choose between a relaxing day in a tropical beach wearing a floppy hat, oversized sunglasses, and a tiny bikini, or following one’s inner bohemian soul to the heat of the desert in a maxi breezy dress and cross-body fringe bag, or being in a cosmopolitan city for the shopping sprees and coffee breaks in an elegant atmosphere. To help you find the destination that speaks to your fashion-loving soul, we asked five talented people from different fields in our local fashion industry, what their fashionable place for a dreamy summer vacation will be this year.

Annie, Fashion Designer and owner of Annie Tompson

Fashion Destination: Berlin, Germany/Tel Aviv, Israel

My most recent favourite fashion destinations are Tel Aviv and Berlin. Street style in both Berlin and Tel Aviv are thought provoking. I love Berlin for the arts and culture. I enjoy art scenes with grit and Berlin definitely has grit; textures and colours in paintings, in window displays, in historic and modern architectures.

Photo: WWD: Kuba Dabrowski

Modern fashion and fashion accessory design in Tel Aviv seems unique in its own aesthetics and fodder for my own inspiration. I happened upon great footwear design while in Tel Aviv/Jaffa last April. We proudly display these designs in our Toronto Studio and have made them available to all who love interesting fashion.

Photo: WWD – Miri Davidovitz

Anna Laskin, Jewellery Designer at vimeria.co

Fashion destination: Tulum, Mexico 

My favourite destination would be Tulum, Mexico. It’s a tropical artist hub to unwind in and be inspired at the same time. Located on the same shoreline as the popular Playa Del Carmen, the resorts of Tulum are far more reclusive and private. The rustic stone architecture highlighted by cotton rope hammocks is the perfect spot where linen dresses can be worn with strappy leather sandals and, of course, some gold accessories.
Photo: The Vivaluxury

Nick Joly, Food, Lifestyle, and Travel blogger at Inspired by Nick

Fashion Destination: The Amalfi Coast- Italy

Having summered on the Amalfi Coast for my honeymoon, it quickly rose to the top of the ranks of my favourite summer fashion destinations. Italy is arguably the fashion capital of the world, and while I make an effort to dabble in interesting Italian menswear from time to time, the Amalfi Coast is a major source of inspiration for me. It’s the cross between a relaxed Californian style and an upscale, prim and proper Italian fashion. There’s no other place like it in Italy. Making a mandatory stop in Amalfi & Positano would be non-negotiable for my heart mate and I for every upcoming trip we would have to Italy.
Photo: Peace Love Shea

Eileen Lazazzera,  Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger at Yesmissy 

Fashion Destination: Ibiza, Spain 

I’d say my Summer fashion destination would be Ibiza. I’ve never been, but I can imagine it would be amazing with it being a top destination for both fashion and music fans alike. The Ibizan style scene is all about expressing yourself with a bold hippie chic vibe. I love music festival style and Ibiza has a bit of that same vibe, a fuss-free laidback cool with light weight fabrics and bohemian prints.
Photo: Bartabac (stylelovely.com)

Charlie L , Fashion Photographer: sircharlie

Fashion Destination: Tokyo, Japan 

It’s definitely a tough decision choosing between so many great fashion cities. I love bright colourful and edgy fashion and am really drawn to the neon lights of Tokyo, the city which breaks all the rules when it comes to colours and textures. I would love to experience the street fashion in the famous districts of Harajuku, Shibuya, and Ginza, where old tradition meets trends.

Photo: Vogue, Japan
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Tried and Tested- Reiss Summer Offerings

As the weather heats up, it’s time to refresh your wardrobe with new easy breezy summer pieces. I decided to checkout the popular London-based fashion brand REISS, which landed in Canada two years ago. REISS is well known for it effortless and elegant style with unique and sophisticated designs, which set them apart on the street.

The perfect summer styles that’s also up to date and flattering at the same time is a challenging task, but luckily REISS offers a variety of collections with a recent trend guide from tropical palm prints to breezy dresses; and of course tailored pieces that never go out of style and can suit for any occasion.

Here are five options for the hot season that will also bring on the sun to your wardrobe:

Ladylike Silhouettes

Step into the sun with a pretty lace dress that embodies the fresh feel of early days of summer. This dress is the perfect choice when you can’t decide on what to wear for a wedding or a rooftop cocktail party. The dedicated lace details in a shade of thyme green makes it a one of a kind piece and evoke an elegant femininity and playfulness. It’s not just that the lady like shape flatter almost any body shapes, but also that the lace texture will photograph beautifully for your social media.

Shorts and bright

The warm weather season welcomes loose-fitting shorts and a rich colour palette. Therefore, these shorts are on my list of Summer must-haves. They are lightweight and super feminine, which goes to show that shorts can totally be sophisticated. The beach-inspired hues create the perfect summery outfit that also works as an evening look. On breezy nights, just add a soft jacket and a pair of heels for a classy take on the ultimate summer staple.

When in doubt wear culottes

Culottes are the ultimate solution for achieving a chic and sophisticated look while feeling comfy. The breezy and light fabric will allow you to wear them all summer long. This pair, which hang right below the knee in a blush hue, was balanced perfectly between a tailor silhouette and an effortless vibe, which makes them look smarter yet playful. To avoid looking too girly, I teamed it with a black top that is also work appropriate. To take this look from day to evening, just add a fancy bag and a pair of heels and a vivid colour like red.

Tropical getaway  

Palm tree print is one of my favourite looks for the summer. The traditional tropical leaf usually comes in bright colours but Reiss’s maxi dress in soft pastels caught my eyes immediately. There is something about the light green, pink, and blue hues that can take your mind to sunny places even on a gloomy day. This maxi dress is a stylish and defiant take on the tropical trend and will look amazing with nude accessories.

Walking work of art

This watercolour dress is the simplest way to be chic yet effortless this summer. For me, fashion is a form of art — the rich colours along with the abstract prints look like a walking work of art. The feminine silhouette with the long sleeves will be suitable for chilly days. Keep in mind and let the pattern do the talking and pair it with simple accessories that won’t steal the focus from the dress.

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One Month, One Style: Fringe

Although Coachella, the heart of “festival season” is already over, there are many other music festivals upon us, like Governors Ball in NY, Glastonbury in Pilton – UK or Osheaga in Montreal. There is no denying that these festivals are shaping the face of the fashion trends, therefore we decided that the month of May will be all dedicated to the bohemian look.

There are some elements that reflect the ultimate festival look. Think lace, crochet, flower prints and fringe. One of the major trend this season is the playful fringe, that added a lot of movement and fun vibe to any garment or accessories.

Music festivals are no longer the only place to channel this bohemian free-spirit look. Here are several ways to incorporate fringe into your daily wardrobe:

Just a touch

Add a touch of hippie boho feel by carrying a fringe bag on your side. Since handbags can speak much about your personality, without being too risky, it can be the first step in building your relationship with this flirty accessory. Fringe or tassels bag can be worn with anything, from formal outfit to a free spirit one and can make a fancy dress look more casual.

Photo: Emillio Pucci , Vogue

The Wild Wild West

While it’s still chilly outside, a fringe jacket can be a great way to welcome the wild west into your wardrobe. For S/S ’17, it’s clear to that designers had the festival season on their minds, by showing a collection that perfectly capturing the boho western vibe. Rodarte features a cream leather fringe jacket on his collection, as a modern update to the cowgirl sexy look, or Roberto Cavalli’s with a blue suede leather with fringe details all over it,as part of his hippy ’70s collection. For a casual day look, opt for fringe crop jacket with a skinny jeans, or add a pair of cool sneakers, for an unexpected combination.

Photo: Anna Sui, Imaxtree

100% boho look

Fringed kimono is the most identified component with the bohemian style and the most popular piece in any music festivals, but if you think it’s only appropriate for certain event, think again. Kimonos can totally be an integral part of your day to day wardrobe.  Try to wear this bohemian topper with a t-shirt and skinny jeans or layered over a denim shorts for the ultimate weekend look. Do you Feel the urge to refresh your classic office look? simply wear it with a midi dress and add a belt, that will give the whole outfit a polished touch.

Photo: Apiece apart, Vouge

I like to move it

There is no doubt that fringe skirt is a statement piece. The street style circuit have already become a big fan of this daring trend, which brings movement and liveliness to any outfit. You can take your fringe skirt from night to day and make it ideal for spring days. To dress it down, pair it with a graphic t-shirt and leather jacket. You can also add a pair of sneakers to give the bold look a casual twist.

Photo: Tory Burch, Imaxtree

Summer Flirt 

One summer accessory that you really need to own in your closet is a pair of fringe sandals. Whether it appears on suede lace up heels, flat sandals or come in a funkier version, it can bring a lot of fun you your outfit. The great thing about fringe sandals that it gives a bohemian hippie vibe to a city chic look, with no efforts. The good news that even if you are not a big fan of the retro 70’s trend, there are a lot of fringe variations to choose from.

Photo: Paul Andrew™ for J.Crew

One month, One Style – Bras Out

Its finally starting to feel like spring and we are more then ready to refresh our wardrobe for the warmer season ahead. Now is the time to say goodbye to all the heavy layers and be prepared to reveal some great amount of skin. Or, in other words, sun out, bras out.

The old days when you had to hide your bra from peeking out from your shirt is over. One of the seasonal highlight this spring summer included bringing out our intimate garments into the spotlight. Surprisingly there are several ways to wear the bra as part of your outfit without feeling too out there. It all depends on how you wear it. It is quite challenging to draw the line between the fashionable and the jarring. To help you find the right balance, here are five cool options:

Over Your Shirt

If you are still not ready to wear undergarment on its own, there is another way to rock this bold trend. Bralettes and bras, which have been seen everywhere lately, can be worn on top of your favourite t-shirt or, on colder days, on top of a light weight turtleneck. For a fashion forward statement, pair it with a strong-shouldered blouse. This is also a great way to show off your new bra in public without feeling that you went too far with this fashion forward trendy piece.

Photo: Kenzo, Vouge

With a transparent shirt

The sheer trend is still going strong this season, so here is your chance to combine between these two hot trends together and create a daring statement. There is no doubt that this trend is undeniably sexy and therefore we suggest to reserve it for off-duty hours. To make things more interesting and to create a bold statement, simply choose a colourful bra underneath any delicately transparent shirt.

Photo: Carven, Vogue

The power suit

One of the unforgettable moments of the ’90s fashion is when Madonna showed off her pinstripe suit with the iconic cone bra in her Blond Ambition tour. Well, nowadays this look is no longer guarded only for the stage or for the runway. It has been seen on the streets among fashion bloggers and celebs. alike. We all agree that a power suit creates a strong and powerful appearance, so to soften up the sharp look, a full coverage bra that peekaboos underneath is the perfect solution. We suggest to pair it with a waist-high trousers and a fitted blazer or with a silky suit for a feminine appeal.

Photo: Les Compains, Vouge

Just a hint

Bralettes can be visibly hidden under a low cut blouse, a buttoned-down shirt, or with a deep v neck sweater. Every kind of bralette is welcome here, from lacy bras to satin, corset or even frilly patterned ones as long as you don’t expose too much skin. Otherwise you are taking the  risk of looking inappropriate (too cheap). To make the look daytime acceptable, keep the rest of the styling minimal.

Nina Ricci – Vogue

Sporty spice 

Exploring the current street style leads us to one conclusion: the ’90s trend is as relevant as ever. The nostalgic references taken from the fashion icons of the ’90s like Spice Girls, Gwen Stefani, or TLC are proving that the sports bra is having a moment and that it’s a must have item to embrace the urban sporty look. The athletic bra is definitely less boudoir and therefore you should treat it as you would a crop top. To complete the effortless look, simply pair it with sweatpants and accessorize with cool sneakers, a statement clutch, or even with an oversized kimono in order to give your outfit a fashion-forward vibe.

Photo: Etro, Vouge

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