On Our Radar: Fashion Designer Taessa Chorny

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In the over-saturated fashion market, a few years ago, fashion designer Taessa Chorny left behind her career as an architect to develop her own fashion collection focusing on a still immature small niche – jumpsuits. After giving birth to her daughter and struggling with the mixing and matching fashion rules, Taessa found jumpsuits the perfect piece to save time yet look gorgeous for every occasion.

Timeless silhouettes and fabrics that feel almost like a second skin  aren’t only Taessa’s signature but also her secret weapon to highlight that confidence that every woman, no matter what her body type is, needs to feel beautiful.

First of all, I would like you to tell me a little bit about your story.

My story about all of this, it began when I had my daughter because the idea of mixing and matching clothing was very frustrating to me even that I’ve done clothing before. Therefore, I came up with the idea of the jumpsuits because, as a mom, if you just have to put one thing on, it’s way easier and convenient and you still look fabulous. For me, a jumpsuit was like a miracle piece of clothing plus, I also noticed that there wasn’t anyone focusing really on the jumpsuit.

How did you develop your passion for fashion? Is it something that you’ve always wanted to do? Or was it something that happened in a more organic way?

Well, my background is in Architecture and I think design is fairly similar to it so, once you know balance, proportion and shapes, you can relate one to the other.

As an architect, I’ve helped to design buildings and interior spaces so I started doing this on the side and before I focused just on jumpsuits, I used to make cocktail dresses, bespoke, wedding dresses, and clothes for events.

Could you describe the woman who wants to wear your designs? What are your demographics?

In a certain way, I think most of designers design for themselves so, other than me, I guess it could be anyone. It could be you! I can totally see a woman who during the day goes to the office and after work she meets some friends for dinner or drinks. The good think about a jumpsuit is that it is a very versatile piece so the day to night transition works very well.

I think this woman is also conscious about fashion so she is interested in finding designs made out of good fabrics. As a designer, I think this is really crucial and that’s why I use organic fabrics for my jumpsuits.

I try to make timeless silhouettes so I guess the woman who is going to buy my designs wants to invest in staple pieces for her wardrobe so she can still wear them five years from now. This is the totally opposite idea of the ‘fast fashion’.

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Three words that define your signature are…

Feminine, timeless and comfortable.

You just mentioned that you try to use organic materials as much as possible, is this something very important to you? What criteria do you have in order to get the different fabrics for your designs?

To me, the way the fabrics feel is crucial because, of course, how a fabric does look is very important but when you are wearing any kind of piece you want to feel it good on your skin. The look is always there, it has to look good but the way it feels is as important and should make the woman feels comfortable.

When I pick the fabrics, I like to picture any type of woman wearing that particular fabric either if is fairy skin or super curvy.

What kind of materials or fabrics do you like to work with?

Tencel is my favorite fabric right now. I call it the ‘super fabric’ because it’s natural, it drapes beautifully, it feels gorgeous, it’s antimicrobial, it doesn’t wrinkle, there is UV protective in it, it is super durable, it doesn’t discolour, in terms of transpiration – it’s amazing, etc. It’s definitely the perfect fabric! Especially, if you are wearing this all day and night, it also ranges very well.

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You just launched your first collection. Did you have any fears when you decided to start working in it?

It’s not like I have any fears but I am kind of worried because there are so many women who think that a jumpsuit will never look good on them because of their body type. I think that every woman could look amazing wearing a jumpsuit so they just need to find the right one. Some women tell me “Oh! You design jumpsuits? I love them, but they don’t work for me!”. I guess it’s about knowing your body and finding pieces that highlight those parts that you feel more proud of, and minimize the ones that you don’t want to show.

Even though you design timeless pieces rather than super trendy products, do you typically look at what’s going on in Fashion Industry? Or is this something that you don’t care at all?

I don’t really care about that because I feel like if I follow trends, girls won’t want to wear my designs year after year. I totally want to keep making simple styles that women would want to have them in her closet for a long period of time. Also, I like to project a feminine vibe because I know that each woman has a different type of body and yet all of us want to feel beautiful and elegant.

Do you have a style icon or someone that you like to have as a fashion reference?

I have fashion influencers and people that I’d like to dress. So, as a fashion icon, even though my clothing isn’t necessarily for him, I would say Tom Ford because his designs have a retro vibe but yet classy and wearable.

As for women that I would love to wear, probably, Kate Hudson would be the ultimate for me because she has this kind of bohemian style that I feel would definitely be a good fit with my designs. However, given that my jumpsuits are pretty simple, I think maybe Gwen Stephanie would also look amazing with one of them.

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Would you eventually like to sell your designs in a renowned boutique or even retailers such as Acne Studios?

For me, honestly, the dream would be Holt Renfrew because I think it is the dream for every Canadian fashion designer. I’m sure you never feel like you are good enough for selling your clothes there but you should definitely give it a shot!

Have you started your Fall-Winter 2015 collection?

Actually, Fall 2015 is ready and now I’m working on the Spring-Summer 2016 collection, which is inspired my background. I’m Ukrainian and in my country, during special occasions we wear traditional clothes like blouses and dresses with handmade embroidery. For my collection, I wanted to modernize it so I’m going to include that technique in but with my own modern interpretation and, again, try to design something that any woman would want to wear.

What do you think a woman needs to look and feel beautiful?

You can’t deny that clothes play a big role in it and help to ease the sense of self-consciousness. Women, we are in general kind of insecure so when we find a piece of clothing that makes us feel comfortable and feminine we can gain that confidence.

Is this something that you try to achieve with your designs?

Yes, for sure.

On Our Radar: Ela By Ela Handbags

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Photo Credit: ‘Ela By Ela’ Website

After coming across Ela By Ela‘s website, I automatically knew that they would become a reference to look at in the Canadian fashion landscape. I haven’t yet had the pleasure to meet its co-founders Ela and Martin Aldorsson in person, but given how much I admire their vision and brand philosophy, I wanted to include them in our list of influential people that we’ve been featuring throughout the month of May for ‘On Our Radar’ series.

Both coming from very entrepreneurial families, husband-and-wife duo Ela and Martin embarked on a fashion adventure and founded ela. This is a Canadian, Toronto-based handbag and accessories brand, which is positioned and defined as humble luxury by its own co-founders and creative directors.

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M.I.L.C.K. CLUTCH – BLACK STUD: 11”x7” – 100% Lambskin Leather

The asymmetrical flap and custom closure are their main design signatures. Plus, all of the products are exclusively handcrafted in Spain with premium leathers.

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EDITOR’S POUCH WHIPSTITCH – BLUSH & GREY MICRO PERFORATED: 11.25”x8.75” – 100% Lambskin Leather

Once again, the ‘less is more’ becomes a crucial fashion rule to follow.  They have captured a simple yet sophisticated silhouettes that make their timeless designs a staple statement piece for those who look for labels that care about small details on every product, yet don’t project a pretentious vibe.

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MINI M.I.L.C.K. CLUTCH WITH CHAIN – BLUE MICRO PERFORATED: 8″ X 5.75″ X 1″ – 100% Lambskin

As expected, the strong and coherent brand identity of ela has already got deserved recognition in the fashion industry. Now, we can find these handbags and accessories in specialty stores and retailers across North America and Asia including Saks Fifth Avenue, Harvey Nichols, and Holt Renfrew. Even some celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift and Keira Knightly are added to ela‘s fan base.

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D/N BAG CLASSIC – GREY MICRO PERFORATED: 11.25”x7” – 100% Lambskin Leather

 

Shop All Weekend (Menswear Edition): Light Weight Bomber Jackets

Bomber Jacket Main Picture
Photo found on Pinterest

When it comes to menswear, nothing beats solid outerwear options that can be worn on multiple occasions and paired with various pieces in your wardrobe. Whether you’re a menswear enthusiast who always looks to keep up with the latest and greatest style trend, or a menswear novice who rather not spend too much time thinking about what they wear – but still care enough – a lightweight bomber jacket is one piece for spring/summer outerwear that caters to all men, no matter where you lean on the sartorial scale. The jacket which is deeply rooted in the military, first made it’s debut on the fighter pilots of men in the American Air Force, in World War I. These days you definitely don’t have to be a conscripted to the army or learn how to fly a fighter jet to wear a bomber. Finding a well cut bomber is easy in 2015, with a  plethora of options in a wide variety of price points and styles that will please no matter what you’re style is. Here is a breakdown of some of this season’s best bomber jackets.

A Bomber Jacket for a Man on the Corporate Grind  

Golden Bear X Club Monaco
Photo Credit: Mr. Porter

If you’re working in the concrete jungle, you probably have to wear a suit jacket most days, but if your job allows to dress down on certain days of the week, it’s time to ditch the suit jacket and opt for a bomber jacket instead. This Golden Bear X Club Monaco Twill Bomber Jacket  keeps things simple, cut slim, made from twill and finished with black leather trims. Pairing this clean bomber with a clean white dress shirt, and a knit tie will definitely help you stand out (in a good way) at the office. While the jacket is office appropriate, it can definitely be worn with your casual attire on the weekends.

Where to Buy: Club Monaco 157 Bloor Street West

A Bomber Jacket for Streetwear Enthusiasts

CMMN SWDN bomber jacket
Photo found on Pinterest

Long before bomber jackets became a trend, streetwear enthusiasts have been rocking the military inspired jacket with graphic tees and sneakers. It has become a wardrobe staple for many who are into this genre of menswear. The beauty of bomber jackets is to see how much they’ve evolved from their first bomber in WWI to 2015. No longer just offered in traditional olives and blacks, bomber’s today are given new life by brands using different fabrics and colours on traditional bomber. The CMMN SWDN bomber jacket keeps the traditional bomber silhouette but flips everything else upside down using neoprene fabric, and making the bomber in a monochromatic white. If you’re looking to turn heads wherever you go this summer, or just need a jacket that goes great with your classic white sneaker, this is the bomber for you.

Where to Buy: Nomad 819 Queen St. West

A Bomber Jacket for High Fashion

Alexander Wang
Photo Credit: Jonathan+Olivia

Everywhere you look, the bomber jacket is everywhere. If you have any high fashion taste and aspirations, The T By Alexander Wang Bomber Jacket  is for you.The bomber features black and navy tech nylon, ribbed trims and a bright orange lining.

Where To Buy: Jonathan Oliva 49 Ossington Ave.

 A Bomber Jacket for Style Rookies

Marshall Artist
Photo Credit: Marshall Artist

There are plenty of men out there who really don’t want to be bothered with keeping up with the latest trends in menswear, but they still care enough about their appearance that they just want a few investment pieces that will last, can be worn without much thought and can last multiple seasons. If you’re that guy, The Marshall Artist Bomber Jacket is for you. This classic bomber features a ribbed mini shawl collar, and is constructed with premium cotton/nylon blend. The plain black bomber makes it easy to wear and it’s compatible with almost everything in your wardrobe. Plus this bomber is sharp enough that you get a easy style upgrade whenever you have it on.

Where To Buy: Uncle Otis 26 Bellair

5 Music Festival Essentials for Men & Women

Very soon, the city will be booming with amazing music with some of the hottest music festivals in town including Field Trip, WayHome, NXNE, VELD and if you’re venturing outside of Toronto, then Osheaga never disappoints as well. With a weekend full of stellar performances, drinking and fashion, we’ve rounded up our top 5 fashion essentials for both ladies and gents, which will guarantee comfort all while looking as if you are a part of the band.

Stylish Hat

Because a hat can be the ultimate accessory to ‘make’ the outfit and more importantly it’ll protect your head from the long sunny days.

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For her: This classic braided straw sunhat – The Fedora Holly Hat – from Lilliput Hats is a staple piece for any outdoor event, especially for these occasions where we want to look casual yet stylish.  For him: If you want to rep Toronto at whichever music festival you’re attending this summer, you can’t go wrong with the Capsule X New Era Toronto Snapback.

Where to buy: Lilliput Hats-462 College St & Capsule-#104 Yorkville Ave.

Sunglasses

You can definitely make a fashion statement by rocking the perfect pair of sunnies.

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For her: These pair of Raspberry sunglasses from Cutler & Gross are handmade in Italian acetate with a hand-polished finish, and are fitted with 100% UV400 absorbing lenses. For him: To stand out of the crowd of un-aesthetically pleasing shades, opt for something more classic such as Bailey Nelson Strauss aviators. At $145.00 their well made, affordable and you won’t have a broken heart if you lose them while having too much fun.

Where to buy: Cutler & Gross-758 Queen St. West & Bailey Nelson-387 Queen St. West.

Flowy Dress/Shorts

When you’re going to a music festival this summer, comfort is going to play a big factor in what you wear.

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For her: The ‘Niort Dress’ by Wilfred from Aritzia is a minimalist and delicate design. This simple piece will definitely add an elegant vibe to your festival look.  For him: You can’t go wrong with these Nike Tech Fleece shorts. The stretch waist & extra front bonded slit pocket will ensure your comfort all weekend plus the pockets will allow you to carry your essentials with you at all times. The all over dot print strikes the perfect balance between subtlety and standing out.

Where to buy: Aritzia-280 Queen St. West & Livestock-116 Spadina.

Purse/Bag

The biggest essential to any music festival is having a bag with you, one that can carry all of your essentials including a battery pack for your smart phone, water, towel, etc.

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For her: The Amaya Striped Crossbody Bag by Vincent Pradier from Anthropologie is handmade out of woven raffia straw. The adjustable strap tailors to your comfort so you’re only worry will be about enjoying the music! For him: The Cote et Ciel Meuse was designed for ultimate comfort, as the bag was designed to fold around your body. There is more than enough space with pockets and slits, so you won’t have to make several trips back to your campsite.

Where to buy: Anthropologie-78 Yorkville Avenue & Zane 753 Queen St. West.

Footwear

The most important thing to have with you at a music festival is a comfortable pair of shoes. A pair that you can wear comfortably all day long  walking from stage to stage and getting ‘jiggy’ with it once the music starts.

Shoes

For her: Hunter Original Short Gloss Rain Boots in Dark Ruby from Get Outside Shoes. Hunter boots are not only a timeless piece but also the perfect pair of shoes to fight the rain and muddy grounds. For him: The Ransom Field Lite Classic is a stylish answer to a comfortable pair of sneakers but still sleek enough that people at the festival will be asking you where you bought them. The upper part of the shoe is made from a breathable ventilated mesh, which is perfect for a hot summer’s day at the festivals.

Where to buy: Get Outside Shoes-437 Queen St. West & Stussy-1000 Queen St. West.

Which essential will you be bringing to your music festival this year? Tweet us @novellamagazine! 

On Our Radar: Needs&Wants Fashion Designer Sean Brown

Sean Brown
Photo found in The GQ Eye: The Style Blog

Toronto’s own fashion designer, Sean Brown, is making his mark in the men’s fashion industry. Brown’s NEEDS&WANTS clothing and brand story are the perfect remedy to overcome the geographical disadvantages (of not being from New York, London, and Paris), while letting the other larger  fashion destinations know that there is serious talent coming from the city of Toronto.

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Photo found on Needs&Wants website

Sean Brown’s humble beginnings started when he worked at the menswear retail store front Nomad, which eventually led him to create The Art of Reuse, an online and pop up store, which focused on selling vintage and thrifted goods. By then, Brown was already known and respected in Toronto but what took his name & brand to an international level is when he took his first shot at fashion design by creating his brand NEEDS&WANTS. NEEDS&WANTS offers a unique take on luxury sportswear. The brand’s core ethos focuses on essentials designed with understated taste and international sensibility. By taking the philosophy of only releasing a select few items, and not an entire collection, NEEDS&WANTS  became a hit outside the Toronto market including cities such as New York, before his home city of Toronto finally took notice. By designing an asymmetrical varsity jacket that felt like it belonged in menswear rather than feeling like it just belonged in the six. The jacket was a fresh take on the varsity offering a jacket that either featured one leather or suede sleeve or a varsity that features two distinct colours on the sleeves. The jackets hit the sweet spot right in between sportswear and high end luxury and, soon enough, Sean Brown & NEEDS&WANTS were on the radar by the menswear community regardless of location.

Fishtail Flannel # 1
Photo found on Needs&Wants website

Today Brown is known for more than his unique take on varsity jackets. He continues to introduce innovative designs in menswear that garner international appeal. In the past two years, the brand began to introduce other cut & sew pieces to their arsenal by introducing their unique fish tail flannel shirts, as well as fleece wraps, that sold out as fast as a highly anticipated sneaker release. Most items on the NEEDS&WANTS online store continues to sell out quickly every time it’s restocked. Culturally, Sean and his NEEDS&WANTS team keeps relevant by releasing mixtapes and a bi-annual print magazine.

Fleece Wrap # 1
Photo found on Needs&Wants website

While Brown and his NEEDS&WANTS team were presented with opportunities to offer their line at Holt Renfrew or show their collections at Toronto Fashion Week, Brown simply declined wanting to prove his worth on the global scale before settling back home. Even with all the international recognition, Brown still maintains his Canadian roots by keeping the manufacturing and production in Canada and has plans on potentially setting up a NEEDS&WANTS retail storefront in the city that raised him.

varsity jacket # 3
Photo found on Needs&Wants website