Fashion

The Goods

Shopping

Comments

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

Street Style

4 Comments

The 20 best Toronto street style looks of 2014

Best Toronto Street Style 2014

(Images: Kayla Rocca, Jenna Marie Wakani, Barbora Simkova)

Torontonians were a seriously stylish bunch in 2014. Sure, models and fashion bloggers flaunted tons of daring looks over the course of two Fashion Weeks, but some of the year’s coolest outfits were a little more spontaneous—we saw them on laid-back weeknights on Ossington or during Ryerson’s frosh week. Wherever they were, our favourite ensembles combined fresh interpretations of the year’s trends with lots of individual flair. Here, the best we spotted in 2014.

The Goods

Designers

1 Comment

Slideshow: 36 shots from the celeb-studded Dare to Wear Love fashion show

Dare to Wear Love Gala

Last Friday, the Stephen Lewis Foundation held its fifth-annual Dare To Wear Love gala, a fashion show and fundraiser for HIV/AIDS relief efforts in Africa. This year’s batch of models once again included some familiar names, like supermodel Stacey McKenzie, The Social co-host Traci Melchor and songstress Divine Brown, who opened the show with a musical number. (Also spotted sashaying down the runway: condo mogul Brad Lamb, sporting a rather extravagant hairpiece.) They wore designs from Canadian talents like Mikael Derderian, David Dixon and the duo behind Greta Constantine. Altogether, the night’s festivities raised an impressive $270,000. Here, 36 shots of the colourful, feel-good event.

See all 36 shots »

The Goods

Stores

Comments

A new Prada boutique is now open at Yorkdale

black-color-Prada-Leather-bags-collection-2013Luxury goods conoisseurs can now head to the recently re-vamped Yorkdale to get their hands on Prada’s sleek ready-to-wear apparel, trendy footwear and signature structured handbags. The ultra-chic label joins Chanel, Gucci, Dior and Louis Vuitton in an ever-expanding list of high-end retailers opening shop in what’s steadily becoming the city’s swankest retail destination. The new boutique takes over 3,000 square feet of prime real estate at the front of Holt Renfrew, and prices are predictably steep—it is Prada, after all. Those who cringe at the notion of shelling out a few grand for a classic leather tote may still want to spring for more affordable accessories, like oversized Jackie O shades for $290. Unfortunately for style-savvy gentlemen, the new location only stocks women’ clothing, although menswear is for sale at the label’s flagship store on Bloor Street.