Amanda Lee Shirreffs
A compendium of the latest store openings, hottest parties and runway shows and all the buzzy fashion gossip. Sign up for the Style newsletter for weekly updates
Amanda Lee Shirreffs
Designer and stylist, 44
Photography rep, 31
Senior communications manager, 38
The Bata Shoe Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Here, 10 things its founding shoe fetishist can’t live without
It’s suddenly possible to go online and buy a hand-hammered necklace by an artisan group in Jaipur, or a pair of lapis lazuli studs made by an Afghan jeweller working out of her home. A wave of noble new businesses, many of them based in Toronto, are connecting master crafters all over the developing world with customers itching to pay for their artistry. Here, eight beautiful baubles.
Dannijo creates ornate bib necklaces in partnership with Indego Africa, a non-profit supporting the financial independence of women in Rwanda. $624. Holt Renfrew, various locations, 416-922-2333.
Torontonians flipped out when the insanely popular Japanese retailer Muji landed at Yonge and Dundas last year. Now, according to Retail Insider, the chain is opening its second Toronto store in just a few months. The new location—in Mississauga’s Square One—is great news for shoppers west of the 427, who will now be able to get their hands on the brand’s trend-defying products without making the trek downtown. (For anyone who isn’t familiar with Muji, it sells functional apparel, accessories, bedding, toiletries, apothecary, furniture, kitchenware and school supplies—and basically everything else you never knew you needed, like this.) More good news: the new location will be almost 1,000 square feet larger than the Yonge and Dundas store, with additional space for children’s clothing, food items and a substantially larger furniture section (and maybe even its brand-new line of monochromatic kettles and rice cookers).
The newly unstoppable Blue Jays are hauling around their heaviest bandwagon since 1993. (If you just started paying attention, see here.) With baseball enthusiasts both new and old shelling out big bucks for tickets, we decided to head to the Rogers Centre to see how fans are showing off their Blue Jay pride. We noticed ticket-holders wearing team colours in plenty of creative ways: our favourites involved vintage jerseys, cornflower-blue baubles and indigo hair dye. Here, 25 high-five–worthy outfits.
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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.
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.
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.
Ten things the Toronto-loving Much and E! host can’t live without
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.
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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