Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thrifty Thursday

Time to hop on the sweater train this week! I love looking through the racks of sweaters at Value Village: you could almost spend an entire trip just there. On this trip, I found sweaters with all kinds of cool embellishments, from elblow pads to spikes to metallic threads.

There won't be any cuddling happening with the sweetie in this sweater! Other than the fact that the metal spikes are a little cold on my shoulder through the knit, this sweater is awesome. Ones like this are easy to spot on the clothing racks without even moving the hangers around: you can spot those spikes from a ways away!

Store: Value Village
Brand: QED London
Store Section: Sweaters
What I Paid: $9.99
What it Costs New: ?

I've always wanted a sweater with elbow patches, and this week I found two! 

Store: Value Village
Brand: H&M
Store Section: Sweaters
What I Paid: $3.99
What it Costs New: ?

You've already seen this sweater on my Christmas Look of the Week, It's always nice to find such good quality sweaters in Value Village, and I was drawn to the metallic look: a good choice for the holidays!

Store: Value Village
Brand: Banana Republic
Store Section: Sweater
What I Paid: $14.99
What it Costs New: ~ $95

Happy Styling! xo


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Outfit Inspiration: Valentine's Day Under $150

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and if you're not sure what to wear, I've got some cute, sweet, and sexy outfits to give you some inspiration! Whether you're celebrating with a single's party, a girl's night out, an afternoon date, or a dinner date, you can find the perfect dress...for under $150:

Single's Party / Girl's Night Out

For those spending V-day with friends, a fun & flirty dress is the perfect way to have some fun. Use the day as an excuse to wear some pink or red, if you don't usually, and choose between cut-outs or soft pleats depending on your mood.

Afternoon Date

If you're headed out for an afternoon of fun with your date, you'll need to wear something a little more versatile than a dinner date dress. Florals are a great way to keep things sweet and casual, and picking a fit and flare dress will allow you to race around comfortably, more-so than a bodycon dress.

Dinner Date

If you and your sweetie are planning a romantic evening date, you'll most likely want to pick an outfit that is both sexy and classy. When I was looking at dresses, the ones that caught my eye all had something sexy & intriguing about them: lace, sheerness, cut-outs. They must also balance out with a touch of classic femininity: peplum, flared skirts, and sweet prints.
A Little Something For Underneath

Even if only you know it's underneath, it's amazing how lingerie can up your confidence! Here's some of my top picks, including adorable tights that match your chosen dress perfectly.

What are you plans for Valentine's Day?

Happy Styling! xo


Monday, January 19, 2015

Look of the Week: Chic Winterwear

I definitely feel like a snow bunny in this outfit! Where are the snow-capped mountains?? Maybe I'll finally be able to use my snowboard at least once this season if I'm lucky, in the meantime, I'll have to make do with outfits like this.

Of course, there had to be a little sparkle here somewhere, so I pulled out my embellished Aldo beanie, and my Nobis & Grey statement necklace: even my thrifted sweater has sequins on it! In the second to last photo, you'll notice I even added some sparkly new earrings from Nobis & Grey that I am currently obsessing over. Isn't the design cool?? They're called ear jackets, and can come in all kinds of different designs from pearls to spikes.If you add one new accessory to your daily look this year, it should be these!

If you're planning on an outing to the ice rink, this would be the perfect outfit! (You'll notice my little booties from Zellers even look the part). 


Outfit: Vest - Aibotianni (similar) | Sweater - Old Navy (thrifted) (similar) | Earrings - Nobis & Grey (similar) | Necklace - Nobis & Grey | Hat - Aldo (similar) | Jeans - Urban Planet (similar) | Booties - Jules & James (via Zellers) (similar)

Beauty: Liner - Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD | Mascara - Annabelle Big Show | Lips - NYX Butter Gloss in Meringue | Nails - China Glaze

 Happy Styling! xo


Saturday, January 17, 2015

John Casablancas Institute: Champagne Grad Fashion Show

If you've never been to a grad class fashion show, but are interested in fashion, these are a great way to see some amazing local emerging talent! In November, I checked out the John Casablancas Institute's Grad Fashion Show 'Champagne', which included an awards ceremony celebrating their top students in a variety of classes, as well as a photo booth and silent auction with proceeds going to Covenant House.

Some of the shows were styled, while others were designed. Who knows? Maybe we'll be seeing some of these designs on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week soon enough!

You can check out JCI's video of the Champagne fashion show, to see for yourself how the designs come to life...

MANDALA: Designed by Janell Bye & Katelyn Bauer

Styled by Kayla Bottiglieri

Designed & Styled by Manipulated Mind Associated

ROH Designed & Styled by Joshua & Alex

Three Fawn Doe Designed by Asia & Brandy Thorpe-Doubble

Three Fawn Doe Dress by Mariah Pinyon

Outfit: Shirt - (thrifted) | Necklace - Olive + Piper | Skirt - H&M (thrifted) | Heels - Spring (thrifted)
Makeup: Lips - Covergirl Lip Perfection in Divine, Nails - Revlon Gel Envy in High Roller
Happy Styling! xo


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thrifty Thursday

I think it's safe to assume you'll see quite a bit of  plaid on Thrifty Thursday for a while...I can't keep my eye off it!

This is actually quite an interesting piece. Upon researching the rather oddly named label 'Super Lucky Cat', I've discovered that this skirt is one-of-a-kind, made from cast-off clothing from thrift stores. And having found this skirt in a thrift store? Well, that just completes it's circle of life!

Store: Salvation Army
Brand: Super Lucky Cat
Store Section: Skirts
What I Paid: $5.99
What it Costs New: ?

I must say, after all the Calvin Klein pieces I've thrifted over the years, I've really come to love their quality. The heaviness of the fabric is always perfect, and hugs the figure just right. The lovely gold zipper and leather trim detailing doesn't hurt either!

Store: Salvation Army
Brand: Calvin Klein
Store Section: Shirts
What I Paid: $6.99
What it Costs New: ?

 I know this is probably a nightgown, but I can't help picturing this with a light brown leather belt & leather riding boots. What do you think?

Store: Salvation Army
Brand: Tommy Hilfiger
Store Section: Dresses
What I Paid: $9.99
What it Costs New: ~ $52

Happy Styling! xo


Monday, January 12, 2015

Look of the Week: eShakti Custom Dress

A while ago, I had the opportunity to take eShakti's custom clothing website for a spin. Not only can you personalize your dress from head to toe, but the dresses are all retro-inspired for the modern woman: a perfect fit for Vancouver Vogue!

I do quite a bit of shopping online nowadays, but there are always those uncertainties with ordering clothes online. There's really nothing worse than total indecision when trying to pick the right size. "Am I really a 4? Will it run too small? Should I have ordered a 6?" And then there's those little tweaks you wish you could make... "I like it, but can't I just add pockets? Remove the sleeves? Lower the hemline?" eShakti literally solves all of those issues. Best online shopping experience ever? I think so.

I decided on this adorable peter pan collared black dress, and punched in all my measurements, then had the option of choosing pockets (hell yes!), to remove the sleeves (I don't like the look of those cap sleeves on my arms), and I decided to keep the hemline the same (just past the knees, perfect!). When it arrived in the mail and I slipped it on....needless to say, it fit like a glove! For the price, it's insane how cheap it is to order a custom dress!

eShakti also has a new adorable peter pan collared dress in retro nautical colours: I would totally recommend this one! So cute for spring. (Psst, a little birdie told me if you register on eShakti right now, you'll get a $25 coupon!)

Dress - eShakti (in blue) | Cardigan - Joe Fresh (thrifted)(similar) | Gloves - Winners | Earrings - Nobis & Grey | Heels - Nasty Gal (similar) | Hairtie - Goody
Happy Styling! xo


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Designer Spotlight: Green Embassy

It’s Not Easy Being Green!

An interview with Green Embassy Australia founder and head designer Zuhal Kuvan-Mills

photo credit: Benhamin Sommabere

In Australia, just outside of Perth, lives a Turkish-born visual and textile artist who creates glorious ‘slow fashion’ to the delight of international audiences in Vancouver, London, Seattle, Beijing, Paris and New Zealand.

Being the first GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) certified fashion designer in the world, Zuhal Kuvan-Mills feels the pressure of maintaining her company’s elite status and traveling the world to share her couture collections with the world. Not only does her farm have to operate under strict organic guidelines, all Green Embassy seamstresses must be paid a living wage and in Australia this is $30+ per hour to sew and all studio water used in dying and wool processing must also be recycled.

Being organic is so much more difficult than our perception that it reflects lack of pesticides on produce. Organic status also applies to farming and animal production. Even the land she raises her herd of alpaca on must have an allotment put aside for displaced wildlife to live on with appropriate shelter provided and maintained.

In the studio all items used in garment production must also be certified organic. Every button, zipper, lining and complimentary fabrics (cotton, wool, silk) must be sourced from companies that have the GOTS certification. If there is not a supplier in Australia, these items must be imported from other countries at great expense. A last minute run to a dollar store to grab a zipper would be enough to cause the loss of the GOTS certification.

Green Embassy operates with the required 100% zero waste status which really means all ‘waste’ must be reused including threads, fabric ends, snipped off copper wire, everything! The ever resourceful Zuhal has developed a jewellery line fashioned from all the little bits leftover each day and these pieces accompany her designs on the runway.

The Green Embassy website is lush with information about the company, the organic process, the designer Zuhal Kuvan-Mills and their social justice causes including a burgeoning relationship with Sea Shepherd Australia.

I managed to squeeze in a quick interview with Zuhal after the Green Embassy showing at World Fashion Week in Paris and before she traveled back to Perth to prepare for a textiles exhibition in Europe in January 2015.

Green Embassy has shown at Vancouver Fashion twice now – F/W 2014 and S/S 2015 – how do you feel the collection was received?

There is nothing more thrilling than hearing the clapping of the audience and media as my models come down the runway! Model after model, the clapping continues. It makes my heart swell with happiness and I am very grateful that Canada has such a great understanding of fashion that is compassionate. The love I felt afterwards by everyone who participated in VFW from the founder to the models, the volunteers, fashion media and others in the fashion industry was overwhelming. It was an amazing night!

After the elation of the evening I am sure you mind turned to business. What interest did you receive from buyers and distributors in attendance?

Each of my designs is one of a kind so obtaining retail buyers for my Green Embassy line is not feasible. I look to individuals who are interested in custom designs and there were many in attendance at the show. Working with them will be the next step. My textile company, Atelier Zuhal, which creates beautiful alpaca and wool pieces, such as blankets, pillows and wall hangings will have a Canadian agent in 2015 with Helen Siwak of Kitsilano Kitty’s Closet.

photo credit: Green Embassy

You are the ambassador representing Australia at the World Fashion Week expo. How does showing at an international event differ from a more localized fashion week such as Vancouver and Seattle?

WFW is very professional, very businesslike at all time. There is great pressure on designers and buyers so sometimes the fun is missing. This is to be expected at an event that is based so much on the label in the dress. I prefer the closeness of the local fashion weeks but WFW is also important. I was able to speak on a larger scale to buyers from countries from all over the world and found that there is much interest from representatives in northern European countries such as Germany, Holland and Denmark. These countries place higher value on organic eco-fashion and are willing to support designers that make these fashions. This is important to me because no matter how amazing and great the design of a piece is if it is produced harming the environment and is not ethical it is not worth anything.

photo credit: Green Embassy (left & centre), Vogue UK (top right), Dominic Manea Photography (bottom right)

You have chosen two women - Skye Natasha Lintott and Amanda Oiom - as the faces of your collection.  Skye is a Vancouver based television personality most recently seen on the Real Housewives of Vancouver and Amanda is a rising young model and single mother. Opposite ends of the model spectrum yet both them walked for you in Vancouver and Amanda joined you in Paris for WFW.  What draws you to them? 

I adore working with Amanda. She is special, beautiful, elegant and extremely profession for such a young age. She impresses me on the runway and in editorials. Even more she is a great friend and so much like a daughter to me. After seeing all the shows in Paris I believe she was the best model. I am so pleased to have met her in Vancouver.

My darling Skye is a warm loving friend. She represents to me women over thirty years old and this is important especially the whole fashion world is youth obsessed. I was so happy when Skye agreed to walk the runway in Vancouver for Green Embassy. She is breath taking and walked beautifully and represents all the dreams of every woman in the audience!

With all the worldwide attention and whirlwind traveling over the past year related to the Green Embassy fashion line, how do you plan to enjoy yourself before you board the next plane?

My pleasures are simple! I want to have a fresh coffee outside on the terrace so I can watch my alpacas, dogs and chickens. To see Rooster Kevin strut about with his hens, listen to the cockatoos and when done I will go to the beach. That is the best morning!

photo credit: Green Embassy

Article by:

Helen Siwak is all about food, fashion and furry friends. She is the president and co-founder of eco-friendly local luxury fashion re-seller (offering shoppers classic designers like Armani, Versace, Dior to modern trendsetters such as Jeremy Scott, Kate Spade and Stella McCartney) and a plant-based healthy food advocate with food service. She and her partner Vlassis have three rescue pets, interns, a fridge full of veggies and a shiny motorcycle. Life is good. Twitter: @kitsilanokittys / Instagram: @kitsilanokittyscloset / FB: KitsilanoKittysClosetSiwak

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