Saturday, October 27, 2012

A look into Toronto Fashion Week

This post was written by Chloe Stelmanis - Freedom's new intern.
Thanks Chloe ;)

Model on the on the runway and audience at Melissa Nepton.

Last night I was given the opportunity to attend a showing of Melissa Nepton's Spring 2013 collection of womenswear at Toronto Fashion Week. Although I found myself in awe of the utter coolness of the event, both on and off the runway, I was of course most taken with Nepton's collection. In its innovation and beauty, Nepton impressively encapsulates the season of "Spring," while also embodying the perfect balance between elegance, comfort, and cool.
Photograph by: Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press
Montreal designer Melissa Nepton's collection is incredibly inspired by movement and fluidity which compliments her target audience, the urban career women, perfectly. The presence of horizontal stripes and ultra cool, sheer, breezy pant suits reflects upscale, seaside comfort. Nepton's ultra chic, ready to wear creations move down the runway with ease and comfort, while maintaining intense levels of luxury and sophistication.
Nepton kept accessorizing her collection to a minimum, and the collection was mostly black and white, with accenting beachy tones like blue and orange hues. This worked well, since the design of Nepton's pieces were incredibly loud and outspoken on their own.
This black mini and this white and black pant suit are both perfect go to outfits for any bold, edgy fashionista attending a black tie event. Both photographs from
For day wear, Nepton included to die for textured 
separates such as this dominating sweater paired with a sheer black skirt. This was one of my favorite looks of the night.
Photograph from

Inside David Pecaut Square. From left to right: event guests, wall mural, and the DJ booth.

Another notable designer that debuted her Spring 2013 collection yesterday at Toronto Fashion Week is Paidemoyo Chideya of DeMOYO. Paidemoyo was born in Zimbabwe, raised in Sweden, London, and a bit of Paris- giving her credit to an understanding of various cultures and countries, two of which are recognized internationally as fashion capitals. Just this slight knowledge into Paidemoyo's upbringing allows one to assume that Paidemoyo is probably a super talented, creative individual... and one would definitely not be wrong in assuming this!

Here are some of DeMOYO's looks from Toronto Fashion Week yesterday: 

All photographs are from
Paidemoyo clearly has a nuanced undestanding and appreciation for vintage fashion, evident in the vintage elements she infused with innovative and contemporary design in her Spring 2013 collection. What I love most about Paidemoyo is that not only is she an incredibly talented designer, but she is also ecoconscious: "This designer not only has a vision, but genuinely works on infusing help into the infrastructures of suffering economies. Being ecoconscious, she has also created jobs where they are needed right in the heart of the problem, sourcing locally in Africa" (

- Chloe Stelmanis

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Looking for Interns

Freedom Clothing Collective (a non profit cooperative that promotes Canadian artisans using environmentally sustainable practices) is looking for enthusiastic self starters to join the team.
Must be able to contribute at the store at least one day a week from the hours of 1-7 pm. (excluding Saturdays)

Responsibilities can include and are not limited to:
- research new vendors for the store
- write blog posts
- create online marketing ads
- organize photo shoots
- organize and run instore events
- network and collaborate with local stores, communities, organizations etc.
- look into craft shows and events the store could participate in or with
- research grant opportunities and write grant proposals
- some store admin work

Interns are encouraged to go beyond and come up with interesting and creative ideas to support Freedom’s mission.

Here is your opportunity to meet and interact with some local artists in Toronto and Canada. Freedom is supported by and collaborates with over 100 Canadian artisans.

The store is located at 939 Bloor Street west with business hours from noon until 7:30 PM.
If interested, please contact us at
We will be looking forward to hearing from serious applicants.

Jelena and Karen

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Latest Poppy

Latest that I photographed at least - there are a few other ones, either ready to be eternalized in picture or just about to be ready. The biggest problem I am faced with in general is finding a good spot with good enough lighting to snap pictures and make them look good, so I only get to photograph the ones that end up at Freedom. I really wish for a decent studio space that would offer enough room for work but also some spare square footage to make pretty and photograph finished pieces. Unfortunately, for now this will have to make do. Not complaining, just putting the thought of a suitable studio space out there...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dot Dot Dash

Tonight from 7-10 PM
Where: Freedom Clothing Collective, 939 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Who: Leah Gold
What: Leah's latest drawings and prints

I hope to see you there
Refreshments will be served

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Booties are Beauties

I happend to have found myself downtown the other day, not something that happens often as my life revolves around my home studio, antique markets and shows and my store.
So since I happened to be there, I decided to take a mini trip down the memory lane and visit the shoe store that often offered retail therapy sessions when I used to work in that neighbourhood.
I walked in with a firm decision not to buy anything and to just look. M-hmmm - of course that is what happened. First thing I noticed was a pair of bright blue half boots. Maybe I will just try them on, just to see how they feel and if they fit, I would get them in the spring when they come on sale.
Do I need to spell it out? They fit perfectly, but bummer, they didn't have my size, not in that store, but they did in another.... and so the story went, I could not imagine my fall fashions without them.
I handed over my credit card and the next day they arrived in the mail, perfect, gorgeous and bluer than summer skies.

They came with a personalized note from the store manager

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Carrillos and me

This post was originally written by Karen Carrillo and was published on our blog Freedom Reconstructed

Every now and again we should do things for ourselves! Or, our friends and families. 
My parents (Karen) needed a console for their living room and had a truly tough time finding something that matched or was the right size. We stumbled upon the beauty below and bing bang everyone was excited! My parents were thrilled to finally have a piece that fit and Jelena and I were excited to have a new project to work on together. It was narrow and long enough for the space and had the potential for greatness. 
Before shot 
Sorry guys, I forgot to take a decent before shot and these were the only ones I could scrounge up
 The original plan was to paint the whole thing turquoise but after my dad sanded off, with great gusto, the depressing finish it came with, a wonderful wooden base was revealed. My family is a huge lover of wood grains and it was going to be too painful for us to just cover it up again. So, we decided to stain it turquoise instead. Stain comes in a myriad of superbly brilliant colours and what better way to add colour to a space while preserving the natural quality and look of this precious wood?

super sanded with a turquoise stained top
I'm not usually afraid to try new things, but I was absolutely feeling the heat while I was about to stain this perfectly sanded raw wood for the first time. Staining is not for the faint of heart. In essence you cannot make a mistake, otherwise you'll be sanding and sanding for days and or having to cover up the botched job with opaque paint. Thankfully it took! I think it went well because it was an exceedingly humid day so the stain stayed wet longer and didn't leave any visible streaks. Phew!

Jelena working her tape-off magic

Jelena came to paint the base with a very soft white latex, which was actually two old paints mixed together (we never waste!). She began by tapping off all the edges and was done in one morning! Amazing!

super sanded and awaiting paint 
drying in the breeze
We spruced up and used two of the original knobs and found some jazzy combinations for the rest.
Pretty certain it's very happy in its new location, we are definitely happy with it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New This Week

This was a super busy week on so many fronts, but I managed to finish and photograph a few new pieces that are now available on Etsy and some through Freedom Clothing Collective.
I am hoping to be able to squeeze a few more in the week to come.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Something to Look Forward to

Last week Karen and I hit the road and headed  East to visit some of our Montreal based designers and pick some of their Fall/Winter collection for Freedom. The trip was short but sweet as a pie. Not only did we get the chance to see our friends from Quebec, we also treated ourselves to some fantastic shoes by a Canadian brand Fluevog that are destined to make this transition from Summer to Fall a whole lot easier. Karen opted for a two toned pair of timeless ladylike shoes and I went with a pair of ankle boots that will match my casual fall look perfectly.
All the brands mentioned in this post (with the exception of the shoes) are available at Freedom.

Karen and her Fluevogs with a fantastically u- cycled lunch tote by Freedom Reconstructed

My Fluevogs paired up with pink Atelier b lyocell and wool tee

Checkered shirt by Betina Lou, felt and leather purse by C Comme Ca, wool hat by Julie Sinden

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bloorcourt Street Fest

During the past Saturday our store participated in the second annual Bloorcourt Street Festival. Artists and artisans from all around town occupied booths along the Bloor Street stretch to offer goods they so lovingly create. Here are a few photos from that day:

Cool shopping totes by Barbara from Sparrow Avenue

These shoulder purses are another delight that comes from Barbara's art studio

Totes by Orico

Kristen from Knotted Nest always has such happy and colourful disoplays

This framed embroidery by Knotted Nest is awesome 
Just in time for school Mule Mother has come up with new book and agenda designs

Add some spunk to you kitchen table with these fun looking salt shakers by rcboisjoli

Friday, August 17, 2012

Coming up this Saturday

Second annual Bloourcourt Street Festival is taking place this Saturday, August 18th, and we at Freedom Clothing Collective are very excited to be a part of it. So excited as the matter of fact that we are offering 20% off of, almost, our entire stock (fall merchandise excluded)!! Even Poppies at the store will be on sale.

On this occasion, Bloor Street will be closed for traffic between Dufferin Street and Montrose Avenue and will host a great number of vendors and street performers from 11AM until 10PM.

We hope that you will be able to come by and join us in celebrating our community's vibrant lifestyle.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Road Trip Follow-Up

I knew this mini roady was going to be loaded with fun, but did not expect it to be all that it was.
We got up at 5AM on Saturday morning and were on the road by 5:15. In order to save some on gas and leave a smaller footprint, we chose Kia Optima Hybrid for this trip. We left Toronto with a full tank and during our trip we only needed to gas once. The first tank lasted us for 1,150 km - quite impressive, don't you think?

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid - car that took us places

By the time we reached Columbus, OH, it was early afternoon and before checking into our hotel we wanted to see what local retailers had to offer. When I saw these New Balance shoes, I could not but take them home with me. They are not only comfortable but also my favorite color, a true winning combo.

The evening started off by meeting my friend in front of the Schmidt's Saussage House, the restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious meal, well worth the trip.

Marc and I in anticipation of our dinner

When you can't decide what to order, the easiest way is to go with the sampler plate

After treating our taste buds with local awesomeness, Marc returned to our hotel to catch up on some golf and the girls went dancing. I don't rally do that much, but when one of your best friends asks you to, you just don't say no. 
On Sunday we reloaded our car and hit the road Toronto bound. This trip was short and sweet and I can't wait for the next one to come, regardless of where it may take us.

Cheers - Ivana and I before hitting the dance floor

Friday, August 10, 2012

Taking a Roady

got this image off Pinterest, would love to credit the author, but can't seem to find who it is

yes, tomorrow and I can't wait.
It is a spontaneous thing Marc and I decided to do a week ago. We are off to Columbus, OH inspired by a food show to indulge in some beer and sausages from a local eatery. 

Coincidentally, my childhood friend, who now lives in Washington DC, and who I love spending time with will also be there. Happiness all around!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Time Flies

Pre-drilled plates waiting to become fully functional clocks

... and literally so, just last week at least 10 clocks few of our walls at Freedom Clothing Collective and into their new homes. This prompted me to start a search for a new batch as the time is approaching when I will have to direct a lot of my attention to producing crafty goodness for the One of A Kind Show that my friend and Freedom partner Karen of koocoo are participating at.
The stack of drilled plates on my kitchen counter keeps growing at a steady pace but there is still a lot more to get done.
Here are a few plates that actually made it to become clocks just this morning. My absolutely favourite one is the one with the whale - it started off by being just a plain bamboo plate. I experimented a bit with an image transfer technique and could not be happier with the end result. It was a bit labour intensive, but fun so I expect more of those come come out of my workshop soon.

This baby sold already and is on its way to Vancouver

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In the Works


In progress

Drawer with the woodgrain showing
Here is a little sneak preview of one of the few pieces that I am working on at the  moment. The reason this one made the cut is to show you how some unintentional mistakes can make an awesome finished look. Namely, as I was taping off the drawers to apply the white paint, I miscalculated the width and as a result, the wood grain is showing in random spots and adding that unexpected something. At first I wanted to cover it, but since every drawer seems to have the same "problem" i have decided to ignore it and make it a part of the design. Can't wait till this one is done and posted on Etsy. Hope you share my enthusiasm.