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The Goods

Shopping

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Toronto designer Laura Siegel shows us that ethical fashion doesn’t mean ugly hemp hippie clothes

(Image: courtesy of Laura Siegel)

(Image: courtesy of Laura Siegel)

Most people hear “ethical fashion” and think fair-trade Birkenstocks. How do you combat that crunchy granola image?
I focus on design. “Ethical” is a standard that has nothing to do with aesthetics.

So what makes clothing “ethical”?
Two things: the effect it has on the environment and the effect it has on other human beings. You want the people making your clothes to be happy people.

Your clothes are made by artisans all over the world. How do you find them?
The sustainable design world is strangely close-knit. My last collection was made by craftspeople from the Kutch region in India. I met them through a woman who runs an artisan collective there, and I met her through a sustainable shop owner in Vancouver.

(l to r) Siegel’s scarf is woven with scraps of recycled sari fabric. $135. This two-toned clutch consists of hundreds of interwoven leather strips. $225. The pattern on this silk caftan was created using an ancient form of tie-dye called bandhani. $435.

(l to r) Siegel’s scarf is woven with scraps of recycled sari fabric. $135. This two-toned clutch consists of hundreds of interwoven leather strips. $225. The pattern on this silk caftan was created using an ancient form of tie-dye called bandhani. $435.

I have to ask: how much do you pay the artisans?
It depends on the craft. For dye work, it’s $16 to $40 per metre. For weaving, $5 to $30 a metre.

You made a documentary, Traceable, about a work trip across India. Most memorable moment?
There were some tricky times. We had to leave one community because the leader wasn’t happy we were filming. The people there had never seen a camera like ours, and all the kids got really excited. I guess you could say it caused a ruckus.

How do you get people to pay $150 for a scarf when H&M hawks knock-offs for a tenth of the price?
I’m not telling everybody to go out and buy my clothes. But people need to consume less. Often it’s like, “Oh, I don’t really love this, but it’s only $15.”

It’s tough to resist a bargain.
It’s so hard! And confusing, too. Everything is billed as “sustainable,” but is it really? The fashion consultant Julie Gilhart has a word for that kind of talk—she calls it “sustainababble.”

Bottom line: why should people care about this?
Because it feels good to care. It’s a nice way to live.

The Goods

Homes

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Tiny Town: four Torontonians who are living large in micro-condos

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The Goods

Shopping

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Street Style: Toronto Men’s Fashion Week attendees sport their most sartorial looks

Toronto Men's Fashion Week attendees show off their most sartorial looks

(Images: Kayla Rocca)

Now in its third season, Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (a.k.a. TOM*) has become known for celebrating both the classic and experimental sides of men’s fashion—with a healthy dose of the straight-up strange. Off the runway, it attracts a hyper-trendy crowd looking to show off chic ensembles. This week, guys went to extremes: we spotted gents dressed to the nines in dapper suits complete with pocket squares, while others succumbed to sweltering temperatures and donned ripped denim shorts or oversized graphic tees. The few women we saw were equally well-dressed, flaunting their own sartorial flair. Here, 25 of our favourite looks.

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The Goods

People

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Ten things Tyrone “T-Rex” Edwards can’t live without

Ten things the Toronto-loving Much and E! host can’t live without

Tyrone Edwards

(Images: Erin Leydon; Life courtesy of Tyrone Edwards)

1
My lucky mug
My daughter made it for me. She’s four, and her name is Life. On the day she was born, I was hosting a live special for RapCity, and I had to race from the hospital to the MuchMusic studio to shoot the segment. She’s everything to me.

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The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: everything you need for the perfect bar cart

The best bar cart accessories

Ever since Mad Men made the martini cool again, home-owners and apartment dwellers alike have been obsessing over a single piece of functional decor: the bar cart. Beyond stocking your preferred piece with the fanciest bottles of booze you can afford, outfitting the cart is practically an art form—and it includes all manner of accessories, from the edible to the purely aesthetic. Here, 14 finds to make your portable liquor dispensary as pretty (and practical) as possible.

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The Goods

Street Style

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Street Style: beach bums show off breezy looks at Ashbridge’s Bay

(Images: Kayla Rocca)

(Images: Kayla Rocca)

Ashbridge’s Bay, the east-end park that includes an expansive (if slightly pebbly) beach, is one of the best ways to escape soaring city temperatures without hitting the highway. It was no surprise, then, that on a sweltering mid-August Sunday the place was packed with swimsuit-sporting sunbathers, sweaty volleyball players and picnicking families. (The only area that was noticeably absent of bodies was the lake itself.) Beach-goers tried hard to flaunt their most effortless sand-and-sun attire, whether that meant a brightly patterned sundress paired with an equally bold headpiece, an airy cover-up complete with quirky shades or a triangle bikini topped off with delicate body chains. Here, some of the best hot-weather looks from Ashbridge’s Bay.

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The Goods

Shopping

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Rosedale has a new (relatively) affordable boutique for people who like change

(Images: shopthursdays/Instagram)

(Images: shopthursdays/Instagram)

Thursdays is a new boutique in Rosedale that’s focused on immediate fashion: the store brings in new stock once every week (on Thursdays, of course). Owner Rita Benzacar, who opened the shop with her brother just over a month ago, believes shoppers want new things all the time. “If you have repeat customers, it gets kind of boring seeing the same thing every week,” she says. And unlike some of her pricier neighbours, she doesn’t focus on super-expensive labels. After more than 25 years experience in in the distribution industry, she’s able to suss out the coolest styles from top designers (Helmut Lang, for instance) and find them on the cheap. (Here that means somewhere between $50 and $300.) The result is a mix of trendy pieces from a wide roster of relatively unknown brands. We were drawn to a sophisticated white sleeveless sweater, a flirty fringed frock and a boho-inspired off-the-shoulder look—but since shoppers can expect a whopping 30 new styles this Thursday in preparation for fall, chances are our favourite items will be long gone by the end of the week.

1130 Yonge St., 647-351-7111, instagram.com

The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: 12 cute clutches to complete summer looks

the-find-compact-clutches-summer-looksOn the hottest days of the year, hauling around anything larger than a hand-held fan can be a burden. Still, leaving the house without lip balm, credit cards and an iPhone at the ready is pretty risky. Instead of weighing down a breezy summer outfit with an oversized tote, swap it for a miniature envelope, pouch or wristlet—stuffed with only the essentials, it can be kind of freeing. Here, 12 incredibly compact clutches.

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The Goods

Street Style

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Street Style: Drake fans dress to impress at OVO Fest

(Images: Becca Lemire)

(Images: Becca Lemire)

It wasn’t just city councillor Norm Kelly that got charged up last weekend: Drake fans from all over represented The 6 as they converged on the Molson Amphitheatre for the sixth annual OVO Fest, and they did it in style. From Raptors jerseys and owl-branded apparel to matching tracksuits and statement accessories, concert-goers blended casual comf0rt with high fashion for the final night of the three-day festival. Here are 14 looks that even Drizzy himself would deem worthy.

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The Goods

Homes

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The Passion Project: an extreme Rosedale reno inspired by an out-of-control art collection

great-spaces-the-passion-project-rosedale-reno-art-collection_illustrationCheryl Atkinson and Don Schmitt were running out of wall space; they’d been collecting artwork for years, and their Trinity Bellwoods semi was starting to look more like a storeroom than a sanctuary. Both practising architects, they were also itching to design their own home—a bright, contemporary space they could share with their cats, Smudge and Eldridge, and their 25-year-old son, Sam, a Concordia fine arts grad who’d recently moved back home. In the spring of 2013, they happened upon the perfect blank slate: a run-down Victorian in Rosedale with a red-brick façade and three sprawling storeys. It needed work—the building had been duplexed, and the interiors were gloomy and outdated—but the couple tackled the reno with relish. They opened up the back of the house, turning five cramped rooms into a soaring, light-filled atrium; carved out airy workspaces for themselves and Sam on the second and third floors; and, as a centrepiece, installed a twisting snow-white staircase that melts into the surrounding walls. Now there’s sufficient room to showcase all their graphic prints, intricate sculptures and prismatic oil paintings (including a few Sam Schmitt originals). The space is barely recognizable, except for the dining room, which they left almost untouched—a wood-panelled ode to the home’s 125-year history.

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The Goods

Best of Toronto

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Best of the City 2015: this year’s guide to all things excellent

Best of the City

Toronto’s appetite for material delights has never been so voracious. Suddenly, we’re snacking on $35 tins of Spanish cockles, checking our pets into four-star resorts and hiring TSO superstars to serenade us in our sitting rooms. We’ve got a million ways to spend our time and cash—which is great, but also stressful for those of us susceptible to FOMO. Our team of expert testers spent weeks plumbing the city’s nichiest of niches, unearthing new options for dining, drinking, shopping and other hedonistic pursuits. Here, your indispensable guide to the best of absolutely everything in 2015.

The Goods

Health and Beauty

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Weird Science: Hollywood-tested wellness treatments—and where to get them in Toronto

Magnetic therapyMAGNETIC THERAPY
Electromagnetic frequencies are pulsed through the body to treat pain, anxiety and even bad moods.
The Science Says: It’s a legit treatment for depression, injury and post-operative pain and swelling.
Who Does It: Suzanne Somers, NASA astronauts.
Who To Call: Bob Berman, the energy healer at Soul 7 clinic in Yorkville. $99–$200 per session. 17 Yorkville Ave., 416-847-6999.

Vampire faceliftsVAMPIRE FACELIFTS
Clients’ faces are injected with “platelet-rich plasma” (PRP), a colourless goo harvested from their own blood. Proponents say it smooths skin and plumps complexions.
The Science Says: It’s early days, but PRP may spur collagen production.
Who Does It: Kim Kardashian, Bar Refaeli.
Who To Call: The Visage Clinic. $1,600 per treatment. 179 John St., 416-929-9800.

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The Goods

Stores

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Find colourful clothing and artwork at Nuvango’s new Queen West concept shop

Nuvango

(Image: Nuvango/Facebook)

Nuvango got its start selling art-covered iPod cases (a.k.a. gelaskins) 10 years ago, and since then it’s evolved into an urban hub, supporting artists by turning their work into funky, wearable products (so far, it’s paid out over $2.5 million in royalties). Earlier this month, the organization opened a gallery-like flagship on Queen West. Upstairs is an  exhibition space, currently filled with works by local artists (prices range from $1,000 to $15,000), while the retail store downstairs sells colourful clothing and housewares (on this level, most items clock in at around $50). “We’ve always been art first,” explains marketing and communications director Dawn Laing. “But as a two-tier retail and gallery system, we’re able to bring more pieces to more people.” The company works with artists from around the world, but each in-store item is produced at its Junction studio. Bold tanks, T-shirts, leggings and throw pillows showcase a mix of cool graphic patterns and whimsical illustrations (plus this slightly terrifying pixelated wolf). For those who can’t shell out a few grand for original pieces, there are plenty of affordable framed prints, too—and with designs that range from minimalist cubes to fantastical landscapes, they’re sure to complete any Pinterest-inspired wall.

639 Queen St. W., 416-955-7986, nuvango.com

The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: twelve flattering sun hats for staying fashionably cool this summer

the-find-twelve-flattering-sunhats
Toronto’s winters may be ruled by the toque, but summer’s headwear options are far more exciting.  (That said, they don’t have to be this extravagant.) This season, it’s all about the bowler, bucket and wide-brimmed varieties. Whether you want to channel a glam St. Tropez vibe or a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas look, here are 12 sun hats to keep your head cool and your look hot. (A bonus? Hiding that humidity-induced frizz.)

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The Goods

Shopping

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Pop-Up Pick: get crazy-soft cashmere at Kit and Ace’s Muskoka shop (and then celebrate with tacos)

pop-up-pick-kit-and-ace-port-carling

(Images: Kit and Ace)

Lucky Torontonians who get to spend their summers in Muskoka have something else to be thankful for: the shopping scene up north is seriously improving, and options are no longer limited to Tommy Bahama. For summer, Vancouver-based cashmere maker Kit and Ace has set up a season-long pop-up in Port Carling in a re-vamped boathouse right on top of Frankie’s Surf Club (where shoppers can snag beach bags from Brunswick and Co.) and Grand Electric (where they can indulge in top-notch tacos and cocktails). Inside the temporary shop, cottagers will find the sort of ultra-soft T-shirts, tank tops and shorts that go perfectly with dock lounging and hammock reading. Subtle detailing, like on one of our favourite tops, means many pieces are also cottage cocktail–party appropriate. The brand displays work from local artists in every store: up north, the walls are adorned with custom hand-painted paddles from The Hunt Collective and photographs from Toronto artist Thomas van der Zaag.

Until September. Wednesday—Thursday, 12 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday—Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5p.m. 7-2 James Bartleman Way.