All stories by Briony Smith

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Stressing about Mother’s Day? Check out our 20 amazing gift ideas for Mom

Help a mother out on Mother’s Day (Image: Saturday Night Live)

Buying something for Mom can be fairly difficult, since our instincts usually tell us she really needs one more silk scarf. For the kids who can’t shake this habit, we’ve found some good neckwear, but scouring some of Toronto’s shopping ’hoods, we also took stock of other great picks for cool and conservative moms alike (unsurprisingly, the tourist-heavy Queen Street West produced several perfect options). We think our guide to the top 20 Mother’s Day gifts will inspire an end to mom jeans, dead-after-a-day flowers and that pen we thought she’d use, but she just threw out (we remember). See our choices in a gallery below.

The Goods

Stores

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Introducing: Stacey Zhang, Queen West’s newest indie retailer

From Montreal to Toronto, Stacey Zhang seeks to outfit sassy nine-to-fivers (Image: Adam Moco)

The place: Independent retailers have struggled to stay in business on Queen Street east of Spadina, as most have been left cowering in the shadow of retail giants like French Connection and Zara. In a long-vacant space along this stretch, Montreal designer Stacey Zhang has opened a new location, hoping to lure her Toronto online customers and new fans with the shop’s airy high ceilings and Sex and the City colour palette.

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Introducing: Magwood, Dundas West’s latest vintage treasure trove

Owner Sarah Magwood knows how to pick ’em (Image: Adam Moco)

The place: West end clothing stores continue to move north from Queen Street, allowing the Dundas West strip—especially from Ossington to Sheridan—to morph into the next gentrified hot spot. New vintage store Magwood fits right in, located across the street from beloved subterranean hipster lair Unlovable.

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The Goods

Designers

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Designers versus bloggers: this edition’s showdown pits Jay “Strut” DeMaria against Wesley Badanjak

Left: Jay Strut, Right: Wesley Badanjak (Images: Strut, Spiro Georges Mandylor; Badanjak, supplied)

TODAY’S MATCHUP: Fame-hungry 20-year-old hipster bloggers who can’t write are the bane of Wesley Badanjak’s existence. The LOVAS designer has blacklisted many a young airhead from his shows—and he’s just getting warmed up. On the other side, we have Jay DeMaria, also known as “Jay Strut” of Satisfashion, who feels “entitled” to a front row seat (and will do anything to get one).

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The Goods

Designers

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Designers versus bloggers: this edition’s showdown pits Julio Reyes Cocka against Evan Biddell

Left: Julio Reyes Cocka, Right: Evan Biddell (Images: Supplied by participants)

TODAY’S MATCHUP: Julio Reyes Cocka of Fashionights has had a hard go of getting respect in this fickle industry, fighting near-daily battles to make Fashion Week ranks. His opponent? Beloved bad boy of Canadian fashion Evan Biddell, who wields his wit with withering precision. Take cover, because this will get messy.

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Designers versus bloggers: this edition’s showdown pits Anita Clarke against Label

Left: Anita Clarke, Right: Natalie Sydoruk and Shawna Robinson of Label (Images: Supplied by participants)

We’ve been wondering when the gloves would come off. Today’s showdown is a no-holds-barred cage match of feisty fashion plates. Designer Shawna Robinson of Label hates “garbage” blogs by “random people who know nothing” clad in “heinous outfits,” while blogger Anita Clarke of I Want I Got is sick of blog stars who take themselves too seriously. Let’s watch the fashionable fur fly.

TODAY’S MATCHUP: Outspoken fashion blogger and gal about town Anita Clarke throws down with straight-talking Shawna Robinson of Label.

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Designers versus bloggers: this edition’s showdown pits Danielle Meder against Juma

Left: Danielle Meder, Right: Jamil and Alia of Juma (Images: Caitlin Cronenberg and Juma)

Yesterday’s introduction of our series Designers versus Bloggers led to an interesting criticism of what makes a “Toronto Social.” As far as we know, it is a back-breaking endeavour, not at all led by self-congratulation, to present oneself as a Toronto socialite. That said, the fame-positive bloggers merely make up one segment of the on-line divides. As blogger Danielle Meder puts it, they are the “queen bees” in what we see as fashion’s very own Mean Girls, which makes today’s pairing a collective Ms. Norbury.

TODAY’S MATCHUP: London-based (formerly Toronto) fashion illustrator and blogger Danielle Meder squares off with Jamil Juma of design house Juma.

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The Goods

Designers

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Designers versus bloggers: this edition’s showdown pits Nolan Bryant against Kirk Pickersgill

Left: Karolina Kurkova and Nolan Bryant in Berlin; right: Kirk Pickersgill (Images: Nolan Bryant and Felix Wong)

The professional fashion scene in Toronto is made up of many members: designers, editors, PR flaks and, much to everyone else’s chagrin, bloggers. Once the awkward stepchildren of the scene, they’ve now risen to front-row fixtures. In the run-up to the runway action this month at LG Fashion Week, we wanted to check in with some of the city’s best designers—from the up-and-comers to the respected old captains—as well as Toronto’s fashion bloggers to ask some burning questions: are there rivalries? Secret alliances? Are they working together or falling apart? Read on for inspiring pro-fashion spirit and grudge matches galore.

TODAY’S MATCHUP: Blogger-cum-photographer and social butterfly Nolan Bryant squares off with Kirk Pickersgill of design house Greta Constantine

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