Novella X Chris Smart- TOM FW15 Street Style Day 2

On the second day of Toronto Men’s Fashion Week, we spotted many great styles outside of the TOM*FW building. As expected, layering, mixing and matching were the biggest elements taking over the street. There were styles ranging from preppy to effortless chic. However we didn’t expect to see fashionistas rocking mainly darker shades. Chris Smart captured some street wear exuding some gray blues.

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Photos: Chris Smart 

Follow Chris Smart’s instagram @CSmartFX for more street style photos.


Model Citizen: Chris Taylor

After we first spotted Toronto-based musician, bartender and freelance model Chris Taylor on the runway of the inaugural launch of  Toronto Fashion Week, Novella immediately knew that we had to work with him. Fate lead us to bumping into Chris at a Blue Jays game and since then he has walked the runway for our launch party and modelled for our Winter Issue.

After several years as a touring drummer, his recent entry into fashion already includes modelling for Boathouse Stores, a feature in Missy/Ink Magazine shot by Matt Barnes and shoots for numerous designers. One of his shoots for Joao Paulo Guedes appeared in this week’s Toronto Star feature on the FW2015 Toronto Men’s Fashion week. Chris will be walking for seven designers this season and on top of that, he’s unveiling a new band called Catalyst.

How did you get into modeling?

I’d been told I should give modeling a shot many times before but music had been the full-time priority. Once I got off the road, I attended a casting call for Toronto Men’s Fashion Week last summer on a whim, hoping one or two designers would take a chance on a rookie. I was quite surprised to wind up getting booked for 10 shows, and everything has flowed from there. I’m still gaining experience and building my portfolio but it’s a lot of fun if you stay humble & professional but don’t take yourself too seriously.

What has been your favorite job to date?

The Missy/Ink Man-Ups shoot was a blast. The concept was shooting guys in a light satire of traditional pin-up settings- tea parties, strip poker, laundry, kittens. I was knitting, holding the needles like marching drumsticks as an extra little in-joke.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Currently most of my time is focused on getting my new band Catalyst off the ground. Most of my previous projects were established bands I joined along the way. It’s been challenge, but a fun one, to start from complete scratch. After many years only on drums I taught myself guitar, tracked demos, and put out an ad seeking members. The new lineup is doing our first press photos this week then tackling a single and music video. It’s been a long time coming and I’m incredibly excited.

What are you currently listening to on your iPod?

Plenty. Periphery, Architects UK, Thrice, Letlive, Hands Like Houses, Intervals, Night Verses, Snarky Puppy, Paramore, Dirty Loops, Pierce The Veil, Underoath.

What has surprised you the most working as model?

I expected the self-esteem and body image issues I struggled with when I was younger to come roaring back and then some, comparing myself to all these Adonis type guys, but I’ve found a new and extra level of self-acceptance through it all. Who you really are can include, but is so much more than, just what you look like. I think my much younger self would be pretty happy to see where his struggles would bring him.

Fill in the Blank: I could not live without _____________

True friendship and connection… and brunch.

Chris Taylor can be found on Facebook and Instagram. 

(Photo credit by order image is shown: Lane Dorsey, Matt Barnes, Courtney Michaud, unknown, Bernardo Fernandez.)

Novella X Chris Smart- TOM FW15 Street Style Day 1

The second edition of Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (also known as TOM) kicked off yesterday at 444 Yonge Street. Not only did many talented Canadian designers showcase their FW15 collections on the runway, a handful of street style stars also rocked their own runway hitting the streets like it was no one’s business. Known for his amazing yet unexpected street style captures, Chris Smart snapped plenty of stylish winter looks from day one outside of TOM.


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Photos by Chris Smart

Want to see more street style photos from yesterday? Check out Chris Smart’s Instagram at @CSmartfx. Stay tuned for Day Two of TOM.

Why Toronto Needs to Listen to singer-songwriter Jeff Beadle

Jeff Beadle Photo by Stefan Daub

The abundance of talent Toronto has amazes me. One thing we lack though is the support for all these incredible musicians. Many times talent from our neck of the woods have to leave the city, even the country, to pursue their dreams and passions. Why is that? Why do we allow our amazingly talented Torontonians share their talent and skills elsewhere? I’m still trying to figure out the answer to that question.

In comes Jeff Beadle a folk singer-songwriter from Toronto. All his music needs is an acoustic guitar, Beadle’s modern day Neil Young, Bob Dylan inspired vocals with a little bit of harmonica for that extra touch of classic folk. His music is summed up by just a man with his guitar pouring out his soul to an audience. Beadle has ventured off to Europe to pursue his dream of becoming a singer-songwriter because Toronto has been a tough market to break into. Now he’s on tour in Europe, where he plays sold out shows in smaller venues and has received great responses from the European audience.

After playing twenty-five shows (around Germany, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland) in twenty-three nights, Beadle and I talked about his music, his growing success in Europe and what’s next for the up-and-coming folk singer-songwriter.

Tell me a little about how you got into music and how learning to play guitar has been a crucial element to your songwriting.

I’ve been playing in all sorts of bands for years as a lead singer. Eventually, I wanted to start playing guitar in the bands too. I also started picking up the guitar just to write. I like to write music so guitar has been the best avenue for me to write on. So I started playing guitar and all of my bands broke up and I decided, well some friends pushed me, to record some of my songs acoustically and that’s how I became a singer-songwriter.

How would you say your European audience differs from the Canadian audience?

I don’t want everyone to hate me there [laughs]. I’m having a hard enough time in Canada. Basically there is a really big difference in my opinion. I don’t think it’s all of the fans in Canada but I’m a singer-songwriter so I’m playing a lot of smaller clubs and bars, I find that the crowd in Canada can be quite chatty. It’s more of an event when you go out and people are seeing old friends. You don’t get the response you get in Europe. People come here [Europe] for a concert and that’s what they want to see. It’s a show and they appreciate the music and the art here in a completely different kind of way. It’s a concert, it’s a show, it’s not chatty or about catching up with friends. People just listen…

They just zone out to the music right?

Exactly. And I’m a singer-songwriter so it’s important; it’s not a party, it’s storytelling. So it’s really nice for me and it works really well for me here.

When you go to Europe you play sold out shows, yet in Toronto the audience isn’t nearly as big. Why do you think that is? 

Obviously I’m still growing here in Europe, it’s not like I’m playing for thousands of people, but we’re playing perfect sized venues for me in the moment and it’s still growing. I think on this tour, out of about 24 or 25 shows, I’ve only played one slow night and everything else has been absolutely packed. So it’s great. I think Toronto, and Canada in general, is a tough market. It’s super competitive, not that it’s not here, but in Toronto there’s so many talented people. I just find there’s so many things to do in one night especially in Toronto and you can kind of get lost in the mix. That’s just Toronto. I’ve played in the West Coast and I find that it’s a little bit easier there to get something going but yeah I find Toronto and beyond east coast tougher.

Like you said, I feel like there’s so much talent here but we just don’t support them enough.

I agree and I don’t know if that’s a product of there just being too much or people just don’t care about the arts as much. I don’t even want to go as far as saying that because I know people that do, but yeah when I came over here [Europe] I was in shock. That’s basically all I can say. From the first show on, my first tour in August, I just couldn’t believe that people were listening to me.

Where Did We Get Lost (new album) released this month. What was the process of creating this album?

Okay so I released my first record [The Huntings End] through a label here called Butterfly Collectors and they kind of picked me up through bandcamp and the Internet. They were like “What are you doing?” and I’m like “Nothing” [laughs]. So we talked and they brought me over here to tour. So they released The Huntings End in August here and it did pretty well but we wanted a little bit more for when I came back from this tour that started around January 20th. So we were originally going to record an EP. Maybe just 4 songs or so but what happened was, I had a lot of ideas and I was trying to finish off the ideas and I wanted to have the best songs that I could have for this EP to bring on. So I wrote more than four songs; I wrote 7 or 8, when I sent it to the guys [Butterfly Collectors] here they were like well all of these songs are really growing on us maybe we can just release another full record. And I did, I put a lot of hard work into them because I wanted to impress them and I wanted to show that I could write and work on a deadline. So then we went into the studio and recorded in a studio, which didn’t work out and eventually we had to record the record twice. Since the studio didn’t work out we did it organically. I put my baby to sleep every night and recorded in my house and I would send it to the guys for feedback and did it that way. The album came out to be something like 31 minutes long so we had to write one more song. So it came out like okay if you give us one more song we can make it a full-length record. So then I wrote one more song for them and that was the process of how Where Did We Get Lost was made.

Where Did We Get Lost Cover Image by Springer Parker

What inspired it?

I never write in a really happy way. A lot of my music is very melancholy and deals with the pain that a lot of people feel, you know, and in difficult situations. I don’t write happy music well for some reason just doesn’t come out well for me. And on this record I was kind of feeling a little bit lost because I’m 32 years old, me and my wife just had a baby, we just bought a house right outside of Toronto and I had to quit my job cleaning pools in Toronto before I left on this tour to follow my dream basically. So I find a lot of the record, Where Did We Get Lost, is about being lost but in ways being okay with it. But at the same time it deals with a lot of the insecurities that come with the job that I do now. Music is such an uncertain thing, and it definitely isn’t your everyday kind of life but I think it’s okay and it’s what I love doing. I have a family that supports me fully.

How do you juggle everything with your family and playing these long tours?

Well my wife and daughter are on tour with me. And we had a lot of shorter drives on this tour so it was manageable. But before you go you’re like, this is going to be a fucking nightmare. But it actually turned out to be much nicer than I could’ve ever of imagined and I don’t have to miss my daughter and my wife and I’m living healthier, not staying out and drinking [says jokingly while looking at his wife].

What’s always iPod ready?

The Band and Ray Lamontagne. I’m a big Ryan Adams fan, not Bryan but Ryan [laughs], Van Morrison, a lot of Van Morrison. Yeah, so much stuff and we’re always looking for new stuff. I really like Timber Timbre. My friends’ band Sun K they’re about to release a record and I’ve already heard it and nobody else has and it’s outstanding. I always like the classics  too like Neil Young.

What would be your theme song?

The Log Drivers Waltz [laughs]? Everybody calls me a lumberjack over here.

What’s next? When are you in town for a show?

I’m playing in Toronto at the Silver Dollar on March. 19th at 10:45pm. Then I’m going to do a lot more touring and some writing and I intend to try to give this a real go and make it my career I hope.


Prints at TOM*FW – Day 1

For Fall/Winter 2015, designers are showcasing a lot of versatile prints this season. From modern cargo prints (Andrew Coimbra) to tartan fabrics inspired by the Middle Ages (Just Ta by Alan Ta), there are many whimsy unique pieces to please any shopper.

Photo by Celia Fernandez

Yesterday, Andrew Coimbra showcased an amazing collection that featured minimalistic crop-tops and emphasis on cargo prints with simple shapes. His lux layering pieces were a key element in keeping the proportion and balance for the entire collection.

Photo by Celia Fernandez

A crew of ‘dandies’ walked the runway wearing Garrison Bespoke’s collection. Tailored blazers with standout prints will definitely be one-of-a kind pieces to wear next season.

Photo by Celia Fernandez

Just Ta By Alan Ta had some medieval inspiration behind his theatrical collection last night. Oversized tartan scarfs and burgundy printed capes exuded a blend of retro meets modern.

Photo by Celia Fernandez

Emerging Menswear Design from Season One, Joao Paulo Guedes, did not disappoint. He returned to TOM*FW with a collection inspired by elements of the cathedral architecture and stain glass windows. Dark colours, warm fabrics and discrete textures were highlighted with outstanding printed pieces.