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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Tonic Blooms

Tonic Blooms is a Toronto-based online flower delivery service offering a curated selection of seasonal and affordable bouquets, delivered on-demand in as little as two hours. Tonic Blooms sources its flowers from local growers, ensuring they are of the highest quality and freshness to maximize longevity. Bouquets start at $39 and come packaged in Tonic Blooms’ signature denim wrapping, which includes a built-in hydration pack allowing the bouquet to stay fresh before making its way into a vase (great for sending to an office). The focused, online-only selection keeps both waste and expenses low, passing on savings to the customer.

Tonic Blooms Website

Hot List: Club D’Elite Spa

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We found our own private oasis just outside Toronto and it’s called Club D’Elite Spa. It sincerely feels like you’re on vacation – not too shabby for a 30 min drive outside the Toronto core. They proudly boast that they’re the biggest spa of its kind in Ontario, so you’re going to have to put aside a few hours to fully enjoy everything they’ve got to offer. They’ve got a massive co-ed whirlpool beside a freezing cold dip pool that refreshes you to near enlightenment. This place isn’t your typical spa either – they’re open until 2am and offer an awesome all-you-can-eat buffet with their treatment packages. Pro-tip: Snack on fruit plates, while getting your feet rubbed all while watching your favourite Netflix show on their big screen in the lounge area.

Hot list: Paese Ristorante

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Italian-inspired with distinctive made-in-Canada twist, Paese Ristorante, located on 3827 Bathurst Street, offers a wide range of Italian favourite eats including authentic appetizers, homemade pizza (with gluten-free and vegetarian options), and a variety of pasta dishes with homemade sauces. The space is dimly lit, creating a cozy and intimate atmosphere. 

I brought along my coworker, Jen Lee, to the tasting and we were able to try a variety of Paese favourites, which included the soup of the day – asparagus with garnished goat cheese, grilled octopus for appetizer,  grilled shrimp linguine and their daily special Ontario lamb chops for mains, and lastly, cioccolato for dessert.

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While waiting for our dishes to arrive, we started off with their homestyle bread and hummus, which had a nice taste with the right amount of spice that didn’t overpower.

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Asparagus with garnished goat cheese in veggie stock was the soup of the day. I’ll be honest, I’m not really a huge fan of goat cheese, but the cheese really mixed well with the asparagus soup. It added a rich creamier texture with the right consistency.

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The grilled octopus was the next dish we had. It was lightly grilled with a bedding of grilled capers, vegetables, and potatoes. I can tell you that not many people are a fan of overly “fishy” aftertastes when eating seafood; however, the minimal seasoning on the octopus, you can barely taste the “fishy” flavour, which is a definite plus.

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After our appetizers, came main course. Jen ordered the grilled shrimp linguine, and I ordered the daily special – Ontario lamb chops. Everything about the linguine tasted very fresh – the jumbo shrimp, pasta, and the sauce. Since the sauce was freshly made, you can taste the fresh basil in it with tomato chunks – a nice balance between rich and light.

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My lamb chops  came with a side of mashed sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. It was perfectly cooked to medium rare, lightly sauced, and juicy. The mashed sweet potato evened out the taste of boiled brussels sprouts. It might not look a lot at first glance, but it was extremely filling,

img_7053 As if we haven’t eaten enough already, and have been experiencing a severe cause of good food coma, we couldn’t leave without trying their dessert. The cioccolato (dark chocolate terrine with white chocolate mousse, Nutella and hazelnut brittle) was not too sweet, with lightly whipped white chocolate mousse in between.

Our delicious tasting put us in a ‘food coma’, which is a sign that I truly enjoyed my time at Paese Ristorante. Make sure you try them out when you get the chance!

Phone

416.631.6585

Website

 paeseristorante.com

Facebook

www.facebook.com/PaeseRistorante

Instagram

@paeseristorante

Tom Jones Steakhouse

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The Tom Jones Steakhouse building has stood since the early 1800s and embodies such an old-world charm that you and your guest will forget the world at your intimately hidden away table for two. The candle light, the tuxedoed servers, and the live piano will make you feel like you strolled right into a romantic evening from the 1920s.

Location: 17 Leader Lane, Toronto

Website: www.tomjonessteakhouse.com