Where Toronto Eats: Chop Chop

Succulent dumplings and glistening stir fried noodles are by now a mainstay in many Torontonians’ diets — they are everywhere and affordable, unselfconsciously delicious despite their stints as American-Chinese food. In the precarious food world where trends bubble over, these classics seem somehow eternal. We’ll be slurping up versions of glistening noodles long after toasts become toasted bread again, terms of authenticity are redefined, and the kingdom come. And if there is a place to slurp, slurp as the world pirouettes out of orbit, Chop Chop on Dundas West is the place to do it.

The tall windows, the white walls, and the high ceiling of Chop Chop would put one in mind of a hip brunch place with colorful hollandaise sauce and ‘creative’ takes on French toasts, if it weren’t for the subtle nutty smell of woks being worked in a small open kitchen. The simple menu, divided into three short sections, ‘Dumplings’, ‘Appetizers’, and ‘Mains’, feels like a bridge between a menu at a corner takeout joint and one at a place marked authentic. Ginger beef, Shanghai Noodles, and General Tao chicken sit side by side with mapo tofu, Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, and spicy cucumber salad. The daily specials menu that includes braised eggplant and pig ears continue the theme. Chop Chop does not cater to the shooters in search of the authentic, nor does it fall back on the comforts of the simulacrum. It’s truly welcoming, in the way eating at a friend’s place is: Come eat what we like to eat.

If you luck out and find the pan-fried vegetable dumplings on the daily specials, start there. The thick and chewy skin that’s absorbed the nutty oil lead the way to the sweet fillings of cabbage and other veges I was frankly too absorbed in eating to decipher. The Shanghai noodles is unsettling as it reminds diners of how good this simple dish can be: vegetables sautéed to be soft with a hint of crunch, slivers of pork and small shrimps swimming in the tangle of oil-glistened, perfectly seasoned noodles. The mapo tofu, more mellow and tangy than it would be in a Sichuanese restaurant, is silky and comes with just the right amount of kick to offset its own sweetness. The braised eggplant makes the apostate believe in vegetables again.

Among the fortune cookie-like aphorisms written in crisp red letters throughout Chop Chop, every syllable of “Happiness begins from within your stomach” rings true like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

SANDY LIANG SS18 Collection

In her 10th collection, Spring/Summer 2018, designer Sandy Liang continues to approach her brand’s downtown roots with new, playful interpretations of nostalgic narratives and elevated experimentation with shirting and all-year transitional outerwear.

Liang also introduces color-blocked oversize knit polos, floaty eyelet and lace paired with her hallmark statement leather jackets and neck-cozying shearling.

Piece by piece and collection by collection, Liang builds strong thorough lines in her clothes that reveal a consistent understanding of her girl, as well as the riffs and subversions that make her girl reminisce and smirk.

 

 

For more information on Sandy Liang and the designer’s ss18 collection visit WWW.SANDYLIANG.INFO

10 must-have items for Spring

With Christmas dinner barely digested, we are already thinking about spring.

This is not our fault, though, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it since brands put their spring collection in store in January. Even if you are not the kind to go crazy for the winter sales, you may have seen some spring items online or even on the streets. Yes, some of us are trying to avoid winter with wishful thinking. Anyways, if you are getting tired of winter clothes, this article is for you.

What’s in this spring? Here are the 10 must have items for the next season.

 

1. The brand logo T-shirt

If you think that sportswear style wouldn’t be a thing next spring, you are wrong. The ’90s style still a trend. You can play with it even more than you did in 2017 because brand logos are back and will turn our boring clothes into catchy must-haves. This FILA t-shirt from Topshop is the kind you need to look cool and stylish.

2. The little black dress

Every season should have its own little black dress. For this spring, we found the perfect one from Laisure. It’s actually difficult to find a black dress that doesn’t make you look overdressed or too formal. For this season, this one will give you the fresh look you are looking for this spring.

3. The lavender lipstick

Remember the last makeup trends? Zigzag eyebrows, snogging lipstick… weird right?! Well, this season won’t go that far. Seen on the runways at Victoria Beckham, Michael Kors, and Bottega Veneta’s fashion shows, lavender is going to be the next it-color and we thought it will be even trendier to wear it on your lips. We found this Barry M matte lipstick on Asos.

4. The cabbie hat

Already seen last season, the cabbie hat is still fashionable this spring. We really love this trend because it makes you look like a supermodel and gives you this fancy twist even if you are wearing a pair of jeans. If you didn’t have the occasion to wear one during the cold season, or if you preferred wearing a warm beanie which is understandable, spring will give you the chance to give it a shot. Get this one at Forever 21.

5. The pair of mules

Again, this piece is not a new trend but wearing mules in 2018 is going to be a must!!! Almost every shoe brand has one in its collection. Make your feet ready and do your nails because your toes are going to need to show-off. This season, we have so many choices, different colors, materials and shapes. Whatever you like wearing during sunny days, you will find the pair for you. You will find this satin one with pearls at Le Château.

 

6. Flower printed accessories

Prints are really interesting this season. Unlike past years, the bigger the better! Brand logos, stripes, but also tartan and dots, we have seen everything on tge runways. Because it’s not easy to wear them, we suggest you to go for floral print on accessories. Choose between big ’60s floral prints, soft floral prints, or micro floral prints: Yes, you will have the choice. We found this perfect handbag at Nine West.

 

7. The denim jacket

You probably already have a denim jacket in your closet but this spring, this must have has to be oversize. You can borrow your boyfriend’s or go for this piece from Urban Outfitters. If you are still not convinced about the oversize trend and feel like it doesn’t flatter you, wear it with a skin-tight t-shirt and roll up the sleeves. Also, don’t be afraid to go for a denim on denim outfit, this will actually be the best way to wear it.

8. Tiny sunglasses

Sometimes, trends come from celebrities and not brands. This one in particular has been launched by Bella Hadid. After the stupefaction and after seeing them on every Stars as Kim Kardashian or her little sister Kendall, we finally agree that this trend makes you feel cooler than ever. Get yours at Roberi and Fraud.

9. The plastic jacket

Also seen on the runways, transparency jackets are one of the biggest season trends. No excuses, you can’t look ugly under your jacket anymore! This trend has actually been seen on severals items during fashion week. Simone Rochas, Burberry and Calvin Klein used the trend to create beautiful dresses and Emporio Armani played transparency on a cardigan. You will find this funny poncho at Topshop.

 

10. The embroidery dress

This last trend is probably the best. No need to wait for a proposal, we can now wear an embroidery white dress anywhere: Yup yup! Well, we still advise that you wear it as a cocktail dress but, anyway, put your heel on, grab your flower crown and be the most stylish girl of the street. Get yours at Zalando.

 

ZIN – Extraordinary Denim, made Extraordinarily

ZIN is a happy marriage of form and function.

Even in the middle of fashion’s sparkly courtship with the tech industry, ZIN stands out for its quiet specificity — dedication to making a technology-backed, safety-focused motorcycle wear.

There are no gimmicks here, no flashy indicators of a future neon-city, or a grave metaphor for the runway. Just demonstrably true practicality weaved — seamlessly — with denim aesthetics. There’s more than what meets the eye in the subtle technology of ZIN, though what does indeed meet the eyes are something detailed and rough, beautiful.

That a true protective gear should not only be wearable but also desirable and fashionable is such a simple idea that one would think it obvious. But the technical details that make wearing denim on a motorcycle going down a freeway something outside of a daredevil’s purview came after years of trials, errors, and detours.

ZIN Motowear was created by George Rabuzin, Mike Mulik, and Stephanie McNeil who is the creative lead of the brand that went behind the scenes of the behind the scenes of the textile industry to make it all happen. Finding Dyneema, the luxury brand name for ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene, was like a deus-ex-machina – a powerful fiber with a higher yield strength than that of high-strength steel became commercially available for the first time in the middle of ZIN’s search.

In other words, just as they were thinking of a way to make denim withstand a reasonable amount of damage in the case of an accident, a fiber that elevates denim into what one would have dreamed of as an imaginative sci-fi reader: ordinary clothes, extraordinary powers.

But that was just the start. Gaining access to Dyneema, traveling all over the world to find factories equipped and willing — both with machines and do-or-die commitment to craft — to work with Dyneema, testing out samples, and an array of details had to come first before the obvious idea became a real product.

ZIN’s form and function went through what can only be described as a saga before it ended up a cohesive whole. So, perhaps it is not true that all happy families are the same. Not all families can claim ZIN credentials of getting the best of both worlds, of both having and eating the cake, merging the yin and yang, or any other supposedly impossible feats.

Find out more about ZIN Motowear and ZIN Lab here

Six Standout Collections at London Fashion Week: Men’s

We are giving very little time to recoup after eating until our pants split and drinking way too much during New Year’s Eve before the madness of the many fashion kicks-off. London is the first stop to see what designers have in store for Fall 2018.  Here are several of the collections that stood out from the week.

Photo Credit: AITOR ROSÁS/WWD

Designer Samuel Ross took at the look at the juxtaposition of a raw and industrial worksite alongside a traditional art gallery for his fall 2018 collection.

The designer showcased both men’s and womenswear on the runway. For his men’s collection Ross experimented with fabrics by incorporating digitally printed wools and  technical nylons as well as leather.  The collection also included thermo-reactive nylons, exaggerated pockets and logos used as graphic details on jackets.

The womenswear pieces followed suit and included a sheer white button-down shirt worn with cargo pants with utility pockets and complemented the technical apparel for men.

Photo Credit: AITOR ROSÁS/WWD

Designer Edward Crutchley explored Western culture for his fall. The collection included  oversize silhouettes for both men and women and bold prints that featured a mixing people, animals and different shapes to create abstract patterns all seemed completely wearable and cool.

Photo Credit: Vogue Runway

One of fashion’s most innovative designers Hussein Chalayan drew inspiration from the tensions around immigrant. Chalayan was able to take a serious subject and created a collection of padded coats and raincoats, suiting, pants and shirts that are completely wearable

Photo Credit: Casely-Hayford

Designer Casely-Hayford trench coat cape is one of the items that I would be coveting for next fall. The collection offered elevated men’s staples including both slim and baggy trousers and sweatshirts that felt drew inspiration past but completely suitable for the modern man.

Wales Bonner continues to be one of Britain’s rising stars. One of few women designers doing menswear, Bonner continues to show why she was deserving of the LVMH Prize back in 2016. The collection mixed aspects of black male history and identity with creole sailors for fall 2018. Bonner continues to push the image of black masculinity from a women’s prospective.

Charles Jeffrey, winner of the Emerging Menswear Designer of the Year at the 2017 British Fashion Awards, knows how to put on a show. The designer showcased a promising mix of Britain club kid and queer eleganza. Jeffrey’s main inspiration for the collection came from The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World by the American clinical psychologist Alan Downs which he considers to be a must read.