Toronto Dancer Creates Beyoncé and Rihanna Sweaters to Help Charities

Owner and creator of 1Club, Shawn Bracke says his 50/50 percent cotton/polyester sweaters are perfect for an active person, someone in a creative space. Photo by Sveta Soloveva

Whether he’s teaching a dance class or sketching in his notebook, Shawn Bracke always uses his art to support charities. Now he creates sweaters with faces of celebrities on them and donates 35% of the proceeds to a different charity each month. Founded in September 2016, his online clothing brand 1Club stands for the idea of “all for one and one for all”.

Sveta: Hi Shawn! It’s exciting to learn a new artistic side of you besides dancing. How did you come up with the idea of creating your brand?

Shawn: The idea was always charity, donations. But not all. I was sketching a lot for the last five years or so, and I started putting it on clothing myself. People really liked that. On top of that, I was donating once a month from classes that I teach to different charities. So I kind of just fused the two ideas together. I thought, instead of donating from the classes I would start a brand.

Sveta: Did you have any background in fashion?

Shawn: Yep, I used to be a stylist. I used to live in London, U.K. I was a stylist there for two years, mostly just like on set for music videos, TV, and films. So it’s not the most creative because you can’t do really much with film and TV — you literally give them like this template —, but I definitely had an understanding of the industry. Honestly, fashion doesn’t really apply to my brand. The whole goal for it is to be comfortable and wearable and easy.

Sveta: How does the design of your brand express its idea?

Shawn: We stand for all for one and one for all. So the goal of the brand is essentially to create all-inclusive type of company, something comfortable and supporting. Originally, they [sweaters] are just faces of people that really inspired me. People who are using their celebrity styles to make a change in the world. There are pretty big names, like Beyoncé and Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Victoria Beckham. They all are known for what they do either as musicians or designers, but I love all of them because they are affiliated with charities. And obviously, I know that people would love to wear a Beyonce sweater or Rihanna [sweater]. And I like that it’s all strong women. A lot of charities that I focus on are geared towards helping women.

Photo by Sveta Soloveva

Sveta: What are some charitable organization you work or have worked with?

Shawn: Right now we are with Red Door Family Shelter. We’ve worked with Covenant House. They are cool. They are like a shelter for the homeless slash for people who are distressed. So they help a lot of women who are in bad situations with their husbands or who are trying to escape.

Sveta: What is exciting for you about working with charities?

Shawn: I’ve always loved donating to charities, but as a dancer I would just do it with my credit card online. With the company there’s different formatting. You obviously have to build relationships with them [charities]. It’s been very cool to see their responses and meet different people within the charity. And also, knowing where the money goes is comforting. I was kind of nervous going into it, that these different charities wouldn’t be that interested and would just kind of take a donation, but they all have been so lovely and so caring. Just hearing the cool things they do to change people’s lives is awesome.

Sveta: Does anyone help you to run the business?

Shawn: Yeah, so the sketches I do myself, and then I have a company, actually, a friend, who prints all the clothing. He works in film and TV, so it’s cool we have that relationship. And I also have some friends who help me to run the company. Primarily, it’s just me, but we do a lot of events. We go to different markets, so I have a crew who sometimes writes the emails and does the administrating.

Sveta: What is the most difficult part of running a clothing company?

Shawn: I would say, continuously promoting our brand. The more promotion you do, the more you need new people. And it’s not even bad. The most difficult is the most fun in a weird sense. I think it’s just the nature of any creative person: anything that’s difficult, you like doing because you know that it’s a challenge for you. I don’t know if as a journalist and a dancer you can agree with me. I hope that answers the question.

Sveta: I think I agree with that. Would people who wear your sweaters be creative as well?

Shawn: Obviously, I would love everyone to wear the sweaters. The goal is to benefit charities and feel comfortable and cool, yeah? But, generally speaking, the people, who have been gravitating towards it, are people like us, who work during the day and take a dance class or a yoga class or go to the gym at night… Or maybe they just wanna have like a Sunday-cozy sweater to go to a brunch and go for a walk after. My mum and her friends wear it too. They wear it on Saturdays if they go out for a show or something.

Sveta: Do you have your favourite sweater?

Shawn: Right now the Beyonce-embroidered is my favourite just cause I haven’t seen anyone do an embroidered sweater and I just love the texture of it. I’m excited that my drawing can be transmitted into an embroidered sweater.

Photo by Sveta Soloveva

Sveta: How do you build your collections in terms of frequency, colours…?

Shawn: As we partner with a different charity every month, the goal is to do a new sweater every one to two months. The first collection is all white, and the second collection had like that salt-pepper and safari [shades]. And then for the next one we are gonna go back to straight one colour. I definitely want to keep them neutral. For me, as a dancer, rehearsing, I like to wear very basic colours or shades rather. And my clients love that kind of neutral shades, so… We might play with colours later, but for now we are gonna keep it.

Sveta: Are you planning to add more items to your collections in the future?

Shawn: In September we have few other things coming. T-shirts and some other stuff, which I’m gonna keep secret.

Sveta: Were you thinking about creating 1Club physical store?

Shawn: Right now it’s an online-brand. I think we are gonna keep it there for a while. I don’t really have any goals to make it a physical shop… like in the near future.

Sveta: What does 1Club mean to you personally?

Shawn: 1Club for me is a nice escape from the dance world [we both laugh]. That sounds terrible! I couldn’t live without it [dance]. It’s like who I am, but there’s so many sides of me. Just like there’s so many sides of you. So it’s like a break from always focusing on like, Oh, I need to do this with dance. I need to focus on this with dance. For me it’s to meet different types of people with 1 Club that I would never be able to meet in the dance world.

Continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Going Bandanas

Thinking out of the box is the perfect way to express our individuality. Now that summer is here, don’t be afraid to push your limits and unleash your inherent creativity. Let the accessories speak up for you!

With the summer festivals in action, the bandana, which was inspired by the 90s hip-hop music, is making a great comeback. This cool trend caught our eye as we have been spotting bandanas everywhere, both on men and women.

This hip accessory was originally made as a functional item when cowboys used to cover their faces to protect themselves from dust in the Wild West. Nowadays, the bandana is a key piece to add a stylish touch to any outfit.

Here are five creative ways to wear your favourite bandana:

Choker is back

A conventional way to wear a bandana is to tie it around your neck, but you can also wear it as a choker. Think about all these it girls like Chiara Ferragni, Gigi Hadid, and Lily Rose, who brought back this cool piece resembling 90’s grunge. To rock this trend, keep in mind to tuck the unwanted ends in the back to make it appear as a choker and not a tie neck.

WTF choker
Photo Credit: Honestly WTF

It’s all in your hair

For those who find vintage style appealing, wearing the bandana as a hair accessory creates a retro and playful edge look. You can wear the bandana as a headband by folding it into a triangle and rolling it up around the hairline, or you can tie it under your hair and knot it in front of your head or on the side.

hair
Photo Credit: Oracle Fox

Cool hands

A bandana bracelet can definitely make a statement and create this cool effect. Open up the bandana into a large square, then fold it into a triangle. Next, wrap it around your hand and tie the ends into a knot. To complete your own signature look, add few bangles nonchalantly in between the bandana.

hand
Photo Credit: Collage Vintage

 Bare shoulders

It’s time to show some skin! Bare shoulders are the hottest trend this summer, and it’s an excellent way to evoke your femininity. The paisley square piece can function as a strapless top- just fold it in half, then tie it around your torso and make a knot with the upper edges of your back.

top
Photo Credit: Oracle Fox

Trick or treat

You can create a whole new look with a few customizations. Give an old bag a new life by wrapping a bandana around the handle and knotting both ends. If you want to add more edge and bold contrast, twist the handle with two contrasting colours.

bag bandana
Photo Credit: Collage Vintage

Stylist Q&A with Kim Appelt

kim_appelt

Growing up in South Africa and being the personal stylist at a young age to her younger sister and friends, celebrity stylist Kim Appelt not only has an eye for style and loves making people look their best, but accompanied with years of experience the fashion maven also knows the ins and outs of the fashion industry. By mixing a sense of personal style with charm and overall experience, Appelt takes herself from client to client and offers her edgy aesthetic to complete a sought after look.

First catching the fashion stylist bug at the age of 14, while being a model and staying behind after shoots to help the stylists with their duties, Kim knew that the fashion industry had more to offer. Not only her at the time, by being a model, but also the behind-the-scenes aspect of the fashion world that tied every editorial, fashion show and event together. Wanting to perfect her craft, the budding stylist began to work under heavy weights in the industry in New York and acquired skills, traits, and overall do’s and don’ts of the fashion world.

After much practice, and referrals, Kim Appelt is definitely at the top of her game in the industry and continues to lend her talents to music artists and actors/actresses. Wanting to share her years of experience with budding stylist and fashionistas alike, Appelt talks to Novella about the fashion styling industry and gives tips on how to make it in the now popular and ever growing business.

front4

Aliecia Brissett: What’s the most difficult part about styling?

Kim Appelt: I don’t find it difficult, it’s the pressure I put on myself for everything to be perfect. That’s hard on me because I feel a great responsibility. For example, when I’m getting hired to do an artist album cover, I take on that stress, and I need them to look perfect. So the most difficult part is me on myself and just wanting everyone to be happy and blown away. It can’t just be good, it has to be amazing.

A.B.: Do you think styling has now become too commercialized? Seeing how everyone on social media claims to be a stylist?

K.A.: I’m a big promoter of women and their desires and their dreams, and I do think it has been commercialized. But you know what, if you want to be a stylist go for it, if you want to put it on Instagram, knock yourself out and maybe they’ll do something with it. To me it doesn’t matter, I think it’s great! I think it highlights the industry and hopefully some of those people will actually make it and can do something. So personally I don’t mind, I think it’s kind of trendy in the industry right now but it’s also good for the industry. It brings attention to the fashion industry which I think is good.

A.B.: How was the styling profession when it wasn’t known to the public?

K.A.: I didn’t really know any different. For me it was always something that I’ve just done, so it hasn’t made a difference to me whether it’s cool, or not cool, or known and not well known. I just have an extraordinary passion for fixing things up and making everyone feel good.

1297692537661_ORIGINAL

A.B.: Do you have any tips for people who want to start out in the fashion industry as stylists?

K.A.: I think the first thing you need is the desire to do it. My tips are you really have to put your head down and work hard. You can’t be a glory hound, you have to start out underneath people. I started out working for other people and doing for it years. You might do all the work, all the pulls, return all the clothes, you might have done the whole job but you can’t take credit for that because that wasn’t your job. The most important thing in the industry, and the biggest mistake I’ve seen people make, is not be humble and not knowing their place. Yes maybe you do all the work for the stylist but you would never have booked that job by yourself. My advice is to work hard, stay humble, reach out to people that inspire you. I had the most amazing assistant that emailed me last year and said, “hey I’m a big fan of yours and I’ve been following you for a while can I work with you?” and I was like, “ya!” she came at the perfect time and I took her on and she slayed it. So reach out, ask. If you want to work with someone ask them! You would be amazed at the amount of things that could happen if you just ask.

A.B.: What kind of styles are your celebrity clients more inclined to?

K.A.: My celebrities are very bold, from artists in the music industry, to soap opera stars, so it’s so different. But I find what happens is I’m a little more edgy. My artist for the Daytime Emmy’s last year I put him in a blue tuxedo, so if you’re hiring me, the artist is going to want someone who is willing to take a little more risks but still knows how to curate it. People hire me because they want to be a few steps away from where they’re at.

A.B.: What are a few pieces you gravitate towards when wanting to have an artist stand out?

K.A.: You know I have some people that I work with and some designers that I really like. For men, depending on what the event is, tailored suits. I’m into the shawl collar tuxedo in different colours. I’m always into leather jackets, T’s and jeans for guys.

For my girls, I like pieces that will accentuate the artist. If they have long legs I’m looking for pieces that will show that off. My go-to is very dependent on the event and the person.

 

YOUR HAIR GROWTH MIRACLE: VIVISCAL EXTRA STRENGTH

Everyone has different hair goals. Some women dream of long luscious hair, while others may opt for shorter styles. But one goal that I’m sure everyone has in common, is to have their hair as thick and healthy as possible. There are multiple ways to getting your hair thick and healthy, but many of them take quite some time till you see results. Popular hair serums and natural remedies are constantly promising the outcome that you want, but are they actually working?

viviscal-with-pack

Hairstylist, James Pecis, is a true believer in a particular hair supplement. Viviscal Extra Strength is a hair supplement that can be taken by both men and women. It’s had up to 20 years of research and promises to give you thicker, and fuller looking hair. This supplement is drug free and contains a multitude of active vitamins, minerals and their main ingredient, AminoMar C™ marine complex.  AminoMar C is produced with fish proteins, to aid with thinning hair or previous hair loss, and it does most of its work during the Anagen phase of the hair growth cycle.

viviscal

These round, little tablets are to be taken twice or three times a day. If you are a female that weighs less than 176lbs, you are to take one tablet in the morning, and another in the evening, for a course of four to six months. If you weigh more than 176lbs, you are to take one tablet three times a day for a course of six to eight months. The exact same instructions are recommended for men as well. Because these pills are used with fish proteins and have been in contact with soy, if you are allergic to those two ingredients, you will have to steer clear from trying this supplement.

NYFW-cropped

James has been using Viviscal for years, and uses them to prep his clients for different styles. One specific style he recently did for runway show by husband-wife duo, The Brock Collection for NYFW, definitely needed that extra luscious volume. The style is called the Whimsical Romance and incorporates a nice full braid. He started off by blowdrying the hair until it had fluff and volume, curls were then added to certain strands and finally, the braid was assembled with beautiful results. All of these steps plus the act of Viviscal, gave these models that thick and healthy glow to their hair. James definitely insists that Viviscal is, “the only supplement that works!”

If you’re Interested in trying this hair growth miracle, you can find it at any Shoppers Drug Mart or on the Viviscal website http://viviscal.ca.