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Paper Dolls
Written by Fresh Vancouver   
Play up your personality with a pop of colour

woman with paper doll cut out shirtPhotographed by Erin Crooks
Makeup by Holly Decker
Hairstylist: Cheryl Regal
Wardrobe Designer: Laurie Brown
Models: Hannah, Jade, Brianne, AND Jenna (Edge Agency)

woman with paper doll cut out in front of her



Azures and ceruleans signify loyalty, wisdom, and truth—but it can also exude confidence and fun!

woman with paper doll cut out in front of her



Traditionally known as the colour of royalty, this sexy hue also represents ambition, creativity, mystery, and magic.

woman with paper doll cut out in front of her



Think twice before dismissing this as a “prissy” colour—pink symbolizes joy, passion, and is proven to stimulate action and confidence.

Interview with Nicolette Lang-Andersen Founder of NLA Designs
Written by Crystal Carson   

model wearing a black dressHaving spent the majority of my styling career dressing real women, from high-profile personalities to the girl next door, the struggle of finding a dress that fits all body types has been real. When I learned that a friend and fellow stylist Nicolette Lang-Andersen was launching her first collection of dresses NLA Designs “a vibrant brand designed with every woman in mind,” I had to find out more about it.

Why are you creating this collection, and how did you get here?

I’ve always been interested in fashion and how clothes can transform a person’s look and self-esteem. Being a Fashion and Personal Stylist for more years than I can keep track of, my female clients brought up the same complaints time and time again. The challenge of finding that perfect dress that fits in the all the right places, difficulty in finding something that worked for them but was still on trend, and finding something that worked for their in-between size. I can’t remember exactly when I had my light-bulb moment, but as soon as I decided I wanted to create a solution to this problem I had the idea to produce a single design, that works on most body shapes, works for women across the ages, accommodates the in-between sizes and is adaptable for almost every occasion.

How does the dress work?

model wearing black and white dressThe main highlight of the dress is that it accommodates many different body shapes and sizes. With a unique and flattering waist tie, the dress changes for the wearer’s body shape, hugging it and accentuating at all the right places. Each size accommodates two sizes, for example, the size small will work on a size 4 and 6 or anything in between.

The message I want to send with the dress is to keep things fun and simple and to make women feel good in their own skin. It’s not about covering up what they have, but working with it and embracing it. It’s not about following trends, it’s about wearing something classic but still fashion forward.

Being a new mom with a somewhat changed silhouette, I know first-hand the challenges this can create and the utter joy of having an item of clothing that has worked pre-baby and post-baby, lovable lumps and all.

How and where is your collection made?

I strongly believe in being a socially responsible consumer and designer. Creating job opportunities and helping to push forward the retail and fashion community in Vancouver especially, is something I have always taken very seriously. Every aspect of the dress is made in Canada. The fabrics are sourced in Montreal, labels and buttons are sourced in Vancouver and my trusty seamstress, who helps with overflow is also sourced locally. This whole process has certainly opened my eyes to the challenges that designers are faced in Vancouver and Canada in trying to maintain their beliefs and creating something that is ethical while trying to keep production costs within budget and sell price of items affordable. However, I feel that there is a strong movement in Canada where consumers are becoming wiser in their purchase choices and more at ease at spending that little bit more on something made responsibly and of quality.

Where can this dress be bought?

The event launch will be taking place in mid-June and dresses will be sold online at and in-store at Fine Finds in Yaletown, Vancouver.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Paul Behm / Designer/Stylist: Nicolette Lang-Andersen / Model: Andee (Key Model Management) / Makeup & HAIR: Elizabeth McLeod / Stylist Assistant: Tessa Russel

Women in Business
Written by Fresh Vancouver   

Jessie McGrath

It took a call from her doctor warning her that her heart condition could kill her to change McGrath’s health habits. But now, Jessie is a Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of Restoration Fitness.

After a journey that involved dropping from a size 18 to a size 6, Jessie began to regain her confidence, asking herself questions like: “Who am I? What do I love? And what’s important to me—really?” She got a divorce and started a business—and a whole new lease on life.

Jessie believes everything begins with thoughts, then radiates out to your food choices, and then to your exercise habits. She helps women work their way through these patterns, creating customized approaches for each client. Having “done the work,” she knows what it takes and is able to hold her clients accountable.

If you want to start taking care of you, check out Restoration Fitness at

photo of Jessie

Bobbie Long

When Bobbie Long sees a man looking good and feeling confident in a suit that she styled, she knows she’s on the right path. For most men, the process of finding the perfect suit is stressful and time-consuming. That’s when Bobbie swoops in like a suit-sourcing superhero.

Her company, Haberdasher and Co. helps men elevate their wardrobes to their fullest potential and take their suit game to the next level. She has deep roots in the men’s fashion industry as a certified expert in tailoring, personal style development, and closet organizing. That means she knows exactly how to help men look their best, whether it’s in the financial district or walking down the wedding aisle. Best of all, Bobbie helps men get back to business and pleasure quicker.

If you want the clothes you wear to work for you or if you know a man who could use a suit-sourcing superhero, book a complimentary consultation with Bobbie. Visit

photo of Bobbie

Rose Kaech

Rose Kaech came up with the idea for Stardust Generation, her kids’ line of teething and sensory jewelry, after struggling to find a suitable solution for her son’s sensory needs. Rose’s son, Levi, is 5 years old and has autism, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, and severe anxiety. He loves to chew on things to keep him calm but most of what is available is geared towards teething babies. But Rose had a solution in mind.

Stardust Generation caters to kids like Levi with an extensive line of kids’ jewelry made from food grade silicone that is safe to chew on. The sensory products have done so well that Rose now sells popular mom and babies teething products as well. She has a unique design sensibility that is funky, fun, and popular with moms, babies, and kids. In addition, portions of all her proceeds are donated to the Canucks Autism Network.

To shop for Rose’s unique brand, visit Use the code FRESH20 to save 20% off your entire order until June 30th 2016.

photo of Rose

Reenie Marie

Reenie Marie has been involved in the fitness industry in one way or another for her entire life. As the owner of Mysfit Fitness, her focus is on women’s health and wellness at any age: mind, body, and spirit. Mysfit Fitness is all about the journey to excellent health and wellness through self-discovery.

Mysfits classes and services are conduits for her clients to reconnect, increase their level of fitness, eat and sleep better, have more energy, reduce stress, achieve individual goals, and so much more. Reenie always feels blessed to be surrounded by the support of so many wonderful women as they share their journey with her studio.

The core of Reenie’s approach is to teach, inspire, and transform women by teaching the “why” behind the “what” of fitness transformations. Her years of experience have taught her that we all exceed expectations when we have the right tools and are allowed to be part of the process.

To learn more about Mysfit Fitness, visit

photo of Reenie

Renee Switzer

Renee Switzer, owner of SwitzerCultCreative, has more than 25 years of management experience in the high-end furniture design industry. Her passion is to build and maintain business relationships between the designer, the craftsman, and the client. Her expertise focuses on honouring these relationships, allowing each part of the team to create their own success. She says, “What drives me is the opportunity to help talented designers gain success in the market.”

SwitzerCultCreative’s mission is the discovery, promotion, marketing, and development of modern, original designs for living. In their new Vancouver Showroom and Gallery they express their passion for showcasing both established brands and new innovative collections of furniture, lighting, accessories, and textiles.

The SwitzerCultCreative goal is to provide home furnishing products that help people create personal environments that provide peace, tranquility, and positive energy—all while supporting high-quality products that are eco-conscious. They place the highest importance on knowing about every detail of the products they promote.

Find out more about Renee and SwitzerCultCreative at

photo of Renee

Christina Weizmann

When Christina Weizmann moved from South Africa to Vancouver in 1994, she embarked on a robust marketing and communications career in the travel franchise industry. Yearning to be an entrepreneur, she opened a successful design and marketing studio and operated it for over a decade. Now, as the Diamond and Custom Jewelry Consultant for her family business, Passion Diamonds, Christina taps into her design and sales experience when choosing perfect diamonds and creating beautiful custom jewelry.

Christina and her team source some of the world’s finest diamonds. They are ethically mined, cut, and polished at the best wholesale prices on the market. They offer exceptional service with hands-on diamond education, design inspiration and top-notch workmanship. It’s why they have such a successful client referral rate.

Christina loves seeing her customers return as they celebrate all of life’s special occasions. She has a beautiful diamond awaiting you whether it’s for an engagement ring, wedding bands, a pendant, earrings, a bracelet, or for redesigning a precious family heirloom.

To find out more about Passion Diamonds, visit

photo of Christina

Lisa van Reeuwyk

As a coach, speaker and workshop leader, Lisa van Reeuwyk is wildly dedicated to helping women in business to smash the statistics and create their own opportunities.

Part media maven, with a background in television (Discovering Great Towns, Wings Over Canada), she brings a refreshing zest of mindfulness and a generous pinch of leadership, business development, and strategy know-how to her client’s lives.

During the recession of 2008, she lost her father to cancer and was restructured out her dream job—all in the same week. Finding inspiration in her dad’s entrepreneurial spirit, Lisa launched Bloom Business Development in 2009. “Women must be comfortable putting their hand up for what they want as they work smarter, not harder,” says Lisa.

Lisa’s training with some of the best thought leaders in North America has motivated her to confidently take action to be the change she wants to see in the world. In addition to her coaching, Lisa volunteers with the Vancouver chapter of the international non-profit Dress for Success.

To find out how to work with Lisa, visit her at

photo of Lisa

Lisa Greene

For the past decade, Lisa Greene, R.Ac RYT, has been helping her patients overcome physical and emotional pain at Greenetea Acupuncture.

Lisa began her journey into Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences in beautiful Nelson BC. Since then, she’s built a thriving practice in South Surrey.

As a mother of three daughters, Lisa has learned that patience and understanding are the keys to connecting with others. She uses this wisdom to treat her patients’ problems, which can include fertility, stress, menopause, migraines, arthritic pain, digestive disturbances, or insomnia—to name a few.

Lisa loves learning about other specialty fields and healing traditions. For example, in 2015, she received her yoga teacher training and includes its gentle movements in the treatments she gives patients. Currently, Lisa is specializing in facial acupuncture. It has fantastic anti-aging benefits and can help to refresh and rejuvenate the body and skin naturally.

To learn more about this treatment or Greenetea Acupuncture, head over to, or call 604-783-7337.

photo of Lisa

Kylie Mattu

Kylie Mattu’s Stage Lab is having a big 2016. As directors for The Front Line Music, Stage Lab is now directing and filming music videos for performers on the Vancouver label’s roster.

Kylie started Stage Lab in 2013. At the time, the company was running slow motion video booths. After a few years, Stage Lab became known for its photography, and then its videography. The company currently produces music videos, YouTube channels, comedy shows, and corporate photography and videos.

Kylie loves the fact that each project is completely different. When you go from shooting a corporate headshot to a music video, you’re never bored and always learning. Her clients value the fact that Stage Lab always delivers—even if the project involves something that Kylie’s never done before.

Stage Lab is already expanding to Edmonton, Alberta, but Kylie dreams of taking even more of her beloved city of Vancouver by storm. She and her Stage Lab colleagues are working hard to make that happen.

Check out Stage Lab at

photo of Kylie

Samantha Lenz

A big presence in a growing town, Samantha is a freelance writer based out of Abbotsford, BC.

In the past, Sam has interned for CTV News Vancouver, written for ValleyBuzz in association with VancityBuzz and other media outlets. Currently, she writes for Surrey604, is an Access Producer for Shaw TV in Chilliwack, a blog contributor for the SuperDate as well as the Honeybeemom blog, and works with many individual clients based on their specific needs.

On a personal level, Samantha is a strong mental health advocate and believes it is extremely important to educate others on the stigmas behind depression and anxiety.

Sam’s passion for writing began at a young age; through networking she would love to connect and collaborate with more like-minded individuals. She is currently working on launching her own single-mom’s blog and novel, stay tuned.

To find out more about Samantha, get in touch with her via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also connect with her through Twitter @SamanthaLenz or Instagram @snlenz

photo of Samantha

AJ WoodWorth

AJ Woodworth was inspired to start her business, The Glamoury, when she recognized an opportunity in the beauty market years ago.

AJ, who had been named the British Columbia Country Music Awards’ Female Artist of the Year three years in a row, struggled to find a Vancouver salon with flexible hours, a focus on both hair and makeup, and exceptional customer experience. But suddenly, a light went on for this award-winning musician. The concept for The Glamoury was born.

“I wanted to create a space where women would feel comfortable to be themselves, with beauty looks tailored to each personality,” she says. “My goal is to make women feel pampered from the moment they walk in the door.”

Opening this month in Yaletown, The Glamoury offers luxury makeup and hair services with an unparalleled commitment to quality. The Glamoury brand also includes a line of makeup that is Canadian made, paraben free, and not tested on animals.

To learn more about The Glamoury, Check them out at

photo of AJ

Danielle Scheven

Danielle Scheven is passionate about living a healthy, balanced life and helping empower women to feel beautiful in their skin. So when she and her mother, Donna Scheven, decided to go into business together, opening the online lifestyle boutique Carolily Finery in 2015, she knew exactly what her motivation was. She and Donna both wanted to inspire women and help them to live more beautiful lives.

Carolily Finery specializes in vintage-inspired jewelry, homewares, and accessories. Danielle and Donna lovingly design and create all of their pieces in their Lower Mainland based Design Shoppe. Currently, their customers can purchase these Carolily treasures online at or at in-person events. In February 2016, Danielle and Donna began hosting pop-up style tea parties. ‘Carolily’s Tea Time’ is a way for these passionate creatives to meet their customers and it’s a way for their customers to see and appreciate the quality of the pieces while having fun trying them on. They look forward to releasing a bridal jewelry collection this spring, and a homeware and accessories line soon thereafter.

Check out Carolily’s beautiful offerings at

photo of Danielle

Jennifer Wosk

The original inspiration for Jennifer Wosk’s Soulshine Jewelry and Yoga is her talented grandmother, who had her own jewelry line. With the gift of the beads and pendants her grandmother collected on her world travels, Jennifer continues her legacy with a collection of unique heart-centered jewelry. Throughout her own travels, Jennifer acquires inspiring materials to include in her work. She loves creating custom pieces of wearable art.

Through the yoga side of Soulshine, Jennifer brings her students the skill and patience gleaned from a decade of personal practice. Her intention when guiding a yoga practice is to provide space for deep healing to occur, customizing sessions for the benefit of each individual. For Jennifer, yoga has been an essential part of her journey of self-exploration, and she wishes to share that gift with others. She provides group or private yoga and guided meditation sessions.

To learn more about Jennifer and Soulshine, visit

photo of Jennifer


Mainka Cheema

Global West Montessori founder Mainka Cheema got her start inspiring young children in the most natural way—by caring for her younger brother. This experience sparked the “learning and playing philosophy” that is the hallmark of her company.

Inspired by the possibilities, she completed a certificate in Early Childhood Education and a Montessori Teaching Diploma from North American Montessori. After years of teaching experience, she founded her own daycare, Global West, with locations in Tsawwassen and Abbotsford. She is currently adding a third school to her Global West Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten brand.

Mainka’s goal is to help each child build a strong foundation to help them thrive in their future, both academically and socially. In addition to the Montessori Curriculum, she offers weekly classes in Science, Cooking, Yoga, Music, French, and Creative Arts.

To learn more, contact Mainka at or at 604-763-4439.

photo of Mainka

Nerissa Allen

Nerissa Allen is the owner of Heavenly Lox, an online retail boutique of luxury human hair lace wigs, human hair extensions, and modern chic women’s apparel. She has also recently expanded her business to include a multi-label line of modern, sleek women’s apparel. Inspired by a love for fashion and personal styling, Nerissa is personally invested in the satisfaction of all her clients, and this has led to loyal clients from all over the world.

Nerissa’s line of luxurious fashion wigs and extensions caters to a wide range of clients, from women just looking to update their styles to individuals with medical conditions requiring a more customized approach. She is particularly proud of her work with clients suffering with Alopecia, customizing units that suit their individual needs and build their self-confidence.

To learn more about Heavenly Lox, visit and To keep up to date on Nerissa and her work, follow her on Instagram @heavenlylox or @adornbyheavenlylox; and like her on Facebook @adornbyheavenlylox.

photo of Nerissa

Roni McMillan

Roni McMillan heads up a marketing team for a manufacturing company in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. Her team is comprised of women who, in the past, have enjoyed corporate income but due to family priorities, career downsizing, etc., prefer to work from a home office.

After starting a family and wanting more flexible hours, Roni gave up a corporate career with the Federal Government to run her own business. With the use of e-commerce and the growth in the green movement, Roni’s business now generates more that a million dollars in sales annually securing her a strong six-figure income working half the hours she put in with the Government.

Roni is passionate about helping other women create or re-create six-figure incomes. A marketing background is not necessary but being self motivated and having the desire to succeed is paramount, as schedules and work hours are managed by each individual woman.

For more information, call Roni directly at 778-882-6586 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

photo of Roni

Would you like to be featured in Fresh Magazine's Women in Business? Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for details.

Ask the WOW Lady
Written by Christine Awram   
From Worthless to Woman Of Worth: Empowered Leadership

The leadership of women is a diverse topic, and can still bring to mind old-style masculine thinking that includes C words like control, command and clout. This article starts to explore more inspiring, effective and compelling C words that include collaboration, community, connection and celebration.

Where this story begins

As Bryan Adams once sang, “It was the Summer of ’69, oh yeah... those were the best days of my life.” For me, the Summer of ’69 included some of the worst days of my life.

I was nine years old, and I was severely beaten. In public. On Broadway. In broad daylight. What I clearly remember is cars driving by without stopping, and pedestrians crossing to the other side of the street. All I remember thinking is, “I’m not even worth saving.”

Fast forward to now

That childhood experience led to a downward spiral and it negatively impacted every area of my life. Teenage runaway, abusive relationships, drugs, alcohol, you name it. But zoom to the present and I’m the Founder of WOW, an organization that’s been empowering women worldwide for over a decade.

This article briefly shares two key elements that I embraced on my journey, which allows me to inspire and influence others. They form part of the foundation that makes WOW a forerunner in the empowered leadership of women.

Collaboration, Community & Connection

In this era of the so-called Superwoman, our capes get donned right along with the Pantyhose and Prada. We do it all, and do it exceptionally well.

But at a price.

When you put yourself on the fast-forward fast-track and ramp up the stress, burnout is right around the bend. It’s not healthy or inspiring, and it’s just not a powerful place to lead from.

Be the leader that magnetizes and inspires. Women are fabulous collaborators, and we’re genetically wired for it. Let go of the Lone Ranger. Embrace your network of extraordinary women—they’re your community, not your competition. Share resources. Ask for help. Women create miracles together when joined in a common purpose. Plus, it’s a lot more fun!


We all became familiar with the Law of Attraction once it hit Oprah. Whatever you put your attention on, that’s what you get more of. Positive or negative, the law of physics doesn’t distinguish between what’s good for you or bad for you, it’s just obedient, and follows the energy.

Celebration is like putting the Law of Attraction on steroids. You create a hyperfocus when you celebrate. It revs up the energy so you receive even more, and then it starts infecting everyone around you. The energy of celebration is like a powerful rocket-booster. It inspires your team, and it feels fantastic. I’m personally a fan of the Happy Dance or throwing my arms in the air and shouting “YAY” when I’m celebrating, but everyone’s different so develop your own style.


Celebrate with your community. From this day forward, when you’re out connecting and collaborating, avoid the standard “How are you doing?” greeting. Every time you pick up the phone, send an email or engage in a conversation, ask instead the Empowered Leadership question: “What are you celebrating today?” Then watch the magic unfold.

That’s part of your WOW Factor.

Hats Off to CAFA
Written by Liberty Craig   
With the third annual Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards, CAFA has hit its stride.

Vicky & BrittneyPhotographed by Paul Alexander
Produced & Styled by Crystal Carson

Makeup & Hair Team: David Allan Jones and Brodine Naugle for Judy Inc.
Stylist Assistant: Melanie Hayes
Location: Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto

This past April, Vicky Milnerand Brittney Kuczynski pulled it off: the third annual CAFA awards show, which cemented the event as the Canadian fashion industry’s ultimate gathering ground—and soon to be its pinnacle of achievement.

The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) was brought to life by Vicky (president), Brittney (founding director) and their partners to “recognize, celebrate, and promote established and emerging talent within Canada’s fashion community.” The duo didn’t understand why the established but fractured Canadian fashion community had no overarching support system—and worse, no celebratory awards program.

At the moment they are only three years old, but be prepared: that CAFA award is poised to become the most coveted item in Canadian fashion.

The Canadian Fashion Industry: Before

Vicky: Before CAFA, the Canadian fashion industry had all kinds of different initiatives, everybody doing their own thing provincially, without a broader national community to bring everyone together. There was no cohesive organization whose sole purpose was to bridge all existing initiatives, but also seek out new opportunities to elevate the industry and create a larger international spotlight. There was also nothing to celebrate the industry —similar to the Juno Awards for music, or the Canadian Screen Awards for film and TV. The fashion community is comprised of amazing artists. If we want others to pay attention, we need to make some noise. We need to celebrate our creative talent and create a platform for that global attention.

Brittney: The Canadian fashion industry has always been a hidden gem, not widely recognized or celebrated by a mainstream audience. There was nothing connecting regional initiatives coast to coast; nothing to generate discussion about the future of the Canadian fashion industry, and how we can really take it to that next level.

The Canadian Fashion Industry: After

Vicky: CAFA provides a collective voice that can represent the industry globally. With an awards show, we get a lot of media attention. This enables us to generate interest, and to build relationships year over year with sponsors, stylists, designers and bloggers, and leverage those relationships to create more opportunities for the fashion community.

Brittney: CAFA is more than a celebratory dinner for the fashion industry: it’s a high-profile platform that connects regional markets to the broader Canadian and global marketplaces. It indicates a paradigm shift in how we’re thinking about the growth of businesses—not just celebrating but growing.

Highlights from the Third Annual CAFA

Vicky: Having Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau be part of the event was a huge highlight for me. She’s been a great advocate for Canadian fashion designers, and her support garners so much attention. To have her be part of CAFA, recognizing the importance of CAFA by presenting an award, is a huge deal for us. We hope to continue that relationship in years to come. Having Elle Macpherson there was great, and Kim Cattrall—every year we have more and more amazing people. CAFA has cemented itself as the fashion event for the country. Each year we’ve surpassed the last. This is the Canadian fashion award show—if you’re in the industry, you need to be at this event.

But, to me, the best part is when people find out that they’ve won an award. It’s such a powerful moment—in a room full of peers, business owners and leaders, being acknowledged in such an important way. It’s very meaningful and inspirational – I get goosebumps just talking about it.

Brittney: When Lucian Matis dressed Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau for the US State Dinner, everyone was gawking about this Canadian designer and it was so exciting for the industry. At the CAFA awards, it was the same thing: so many influential people in the room, and everyone wearing Canadian. My favourite part of the evening was watching the red carpet, seeing everyone come dressed in Canadian fashion to show their support. I think that has an enormous stimulating effect, especially for emerging businesses!

Haute Technology

Brittney: On the morning of the event, we co-hosted the CAFA Tech Talk with OMERS Ventures, a top venture capital fund in Canada, in collaboration with Qasim Mohammad, an aficionado in the digital retail space.

The industry has changed so much. It’s not about making a little black dress and shopping it around to brick-and-mortar retailers anymore. There’s so much capability online. The talk included topics like innovation in technology-enabled shopping, merchant infrastructure, retail optimization and enhancement, and payment platforms. It was a great opportunity for designers and industry enthusiasts to hear coveted insights from senior management in some of the fastest-growing companies in Canada: Shopify, BRIKA, Knixwear and Hubba. It was very exciting. What’s the point of celebrating Canadian talent if labels can’t monetize all the buzz they receive?

Outside the Box

Vicky: We’re launching a contest this summer in which two designers will have the opportunity to design a men’s and women’s capsule collection that will be sold at Real Sport Apparel to mark the 100th anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2017. We’re doing this amazing initiative in partnership with the Leafs organization. Our goal is to create more traditional and untraditional partnerships in other sectors, to spread awareness of Canadian designers.

Brittney: We don’t just want to market fashion; we’re looking at forming unconventional relationships. Last summer, we collaborated with a group of women in mining called Women Who Rock. We were able to expose Canadian labels to female professionals in this industry—and market our organization to a broader group than is traditionally done in Canada.

The Style of Altruism

Vicky: What really motivates me is a huge respect for this artistic, creative community; and an interest in people’s stories. I appreciate fashion design and the process behind it, but I’m personally driven to create something long-lasting, a legacy of impact for the industry. So many talented designers struggle to succeed in this highly competitive industry. How do we create a framework to support these people—as a community, but also individually? How do we inspire and support the younger generation of talent? I spent a year doing research, meeting people and holding round-table discussions to find out what they need, so we could offer something truly valuable, and so the award really means something. I want winning a CAFA to symbolize a level of achievement, but also to be a vehicle for business development.

Brittney: My full-time job is in finance, working for a large global financial services institution. I was introduced to the fashion industry through my work as a philanthropist a few years ago. While I very much appreciate and enjoy the aesthetic part of fashion, I am a strong advocate for the business side. Leveraging the knowledge I have acquired from experience in capital markets, in addition to CAFA, I also play an active role in helping designers grow their businesses.

Complementary Opposites

Vicky: I appreciate Brittney’s business acumen. What does it take for fashion designers to grow their brands? She brings the mentality of looking at financial opportunity. Where I come in is connecting people, organizing, researching and planning. I know where CAFA is now and where I want it to be in ten years, and all the steps that need to happen in between.

Brittney: Vicky is the queen of getting things done and always follows through on the ambitious goals she sets out. I’ve watched Vicky turn into such an incredible leader; there’s truly nobody more passionate and well equipped to run such an enormous undertaking. We are fantastic friends, and complement each other professionally. I couldn’t be more proud of what she has accomplished running CAFA. We’re really having a blast and leaving an amazing legacy for this country!

CAFA in Ten Years

Vicky: We want to create year-round programming with CAFA to offer increased benefits and opportunity for the fashion community. In ten years, we’ll see the trajectory of great success stories: watching people from start-up to winning CAFA awards. We want to be part of people’s successes, give them that step that gets them to the next stage of their careers. We would also love to see government support. Right now we are privately funded through corporate and other sponsorships. I’d like the government of Canada to see the value in what we’re doing. When you invest in an industry, it comes back tenfold: job creation, manufacturing, consumer awareness.

Another goal is to create more programming for the weekend of the CAFA awards. So many people fly in for the event, so let’s expand the weekend with increased opportunities for people to generate business. We did the Tech Talk this year, and Swarovski did a presentation to emerging designer nominees. We want to do more of that: make CAFA the place to make connections and do business.

Best Canadian Designers for Fresh Readers

Vicky: One of my favourites is Lucian Matis, especially for formal occasions. He dresses women with women in mind: classy, but with a bit of edge and sex appeal. LINE is really cool right now—they have beautiful knit wear and also a leisure wear line. Greta Constantine and Wayne Clark are also big favourites. For emerging designers, Matthew Gallagher, Beaufille and Sid Neigum are all doing so well right now. For accessories, I really like Jenny Bird, Dean Davidson, Rita Tesolin, Alan Anderson. I could go on!

Brittney: We have a good scope of designers who cater to different age groups, a lot of opportunity to be fashionable, comfortable, professional and very feminine at any age. David Dixon has been around for over 20 years—I think he does a really good job of finding that balance between feminine and professional. Judith & Charles is a Canadian company. Also Smythe, to throw in a little edge. They have amazing jackets that last you a lifetime.

Cultural Fabric

Vicky: We’re not only helping the fashion industry; we’re encouraging entrepreneurship, creativity and culture. It’s easy to go to giant chain stores and buy whatever’s mass-marketed; it’s much more special to buy your own country’s products and help small businesses. That’s what supports our economy, creates jobs, puts food on our tables and puts our kids through school. Supporting your own is a philosophical approach that encompasses industry, culture, and the economy as a whole.

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