New business aims to bring high fashion to Sarnia

Sarnia’s Christina Quek Slipacoff has many passions in life, but two that have always been ever present have been an undying love of fashion and a fondness for shopping.
The transplanted Torontonian has always carried a torch for chic, contemporary clothing and says she used to spend countless hours gazing through the windows of some of Toronto’s swankiest stores, checking out the latest and greatest in fashion when she lived in that city.

„Back in my Toronto days I worked downtown so every chance I got – whether I was walking to the subway or going to Yorkville – I was window shopping all the time,” she said, smiling. „I am a definitely what you’d call a shopaholic.”

When Quek Slipacoff moved to Lambton County a few years ago, she bumped into a kindred spirit, Leanne Andali, who not only shared her passion for fashion, but also a predilection for entrepreneurship. The pair quickly came to the conclusion they wanted to bring in a bit of haute couture to Sarnia, but also versatile, functional and fashionable clothes that could be worn by women at all stages of their lives.

„Leanne and I really love fashion – the variety, the way you can dress to your mood and how much fun you can have with it,” she said. „One of our favourite shops was Forever 21. But as time has gone by and we grew older, we’ve both changed and so has our fashion sense. The type of clothes we wear now has definitely changed, but we still want to be fashionable and stylish. And that’s really hard to find these days.

„There are some very nice, very cute shops in Sarnia where we shop, but we thought that there was a little bit of a lack in the market, especially at a certain price point where you can keep up with trends,” Quek Slipacoff continued. „Being in Sarnia, and with Sarnia being a border city with great access to suppliers in the States, we decided to take a look at changing that.”

So, the enterprising pair high waist bodyshaper put their heads together earlier this year and came up with a business plan for a e commerce clothing store by the name of Lace Charm. With an easy to navigate, visually appealing website, a wide selection of colourful, contemporary, California inspired fashions for women of all ages and ambitious plans for the future, the dapper duo launched their online business in May.

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why the women who wear the clothes give fashion its power

Donna Loveday, co curator high waist bodyshaper of Women Fashion Power, wants to get one thing clear from the start, when we meet at her office in the Design Museum: this is not, repeat not, an exhibition about power dressing. „I have deliberately avoided using that term. I don’t feel it represents either the way women think, or the way they dress” she says.

Power dressing it may not be, but this is undoubtedly a timely show. The discourse around how women in positions of power and influence dress has never been more fractious. In July, coverage of the appointment of new female cabinet ministers that labelled it the Downing Street Catwalk whipped up a media firestorm. But – as befits a show dominated by such figures as Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel and Joan of Arc – this is no passive taking of minutes on the contemporary argument. Instead, it is an exhibition with a strong agenda.

That agenda is to frame women as the protagonists in the story of what they wear, rather than the victims of fashion. Loveday talks a lot about „how women use clothes”, a format that places women in a dynamic role in their relationship with fashion, rather than seeing them as bound and enslaved by it. And there is another, deeper subversion. Fashion has become a popular subject for museum exhibitions, which tend naturally to place the designer in the spotlight, as artist and hero and creator. In this show, „the women are the heroes, not the designers”, says Loveday. How do designers – traditionally portrayed as the originators of new ideas in fashion – fit into this new picture? „Designers are looking at women. Women are the muses of fashion, and designers are responding to what they want and need, and particularly to changes in those wants and needs.”

Loveday wants the exhibition to be „the start of a conversation”, one which will nudge the discussion around women, power and fashion into a more positive light. After all, the phrase power dressing is inextricably linked to a specific look – the huge shouldered, Dynasty boardroom suit – which represents a moment in history when women were breaking into traditionally male roles at a rate never seen before. It seems to link these suits to dressing up box costumes: there is a whisper lurking somewhere in this expression that power dressing is suspect, that women are dressed for roles they cannot or should not do.

By talking about women, clothes and society rather than about power dressing, Loveday wants to leave behind some of that negativity along with the words. As she says, „fashion is a language, after all”. The concept for the exhibition „came from a team meeting – I can’t take credit for it”, says Loveday. Her co curator is the fashion writer and historian Colin McDowell, and the exhibition is designed by Zaha Hadid. The show will be officially unveiled by Anne Hidalgo, the first ever female mayor of Paris.

At the time of our meeting the show was yet to be installed, but it will open, says Loveday, with a section devoted to „identifying power through dress”, with images ranging from Boudicca and Elizabeth I to Hillary Clinton. This will be followed by a timeline, which is „not a history of fashion” but highlights key moments of political and social change from 1850 to today, as seen through the prism of what women wear. The choice of starting point is deliberate, at the height of the craze for tiny waisted corsets: a corset with an 18 inch waist is the starting point for the story of dress reform, and how incremental societal shifts, rather than seasonal trends, drove changes toward a loosened up silhouette.

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What’s Lingerie Clothing Collection For TopShop?

The Jenners are no strangers to the fashion world. The sisters are constantly shocking their fans with their outfits and new clothing collections, but this time is unlike any other. As Cosmopolitan found, Kendall and Kylie launched a secret lingerie line. The collection is out right now, despite the two not posting a single announcement on social media. The line itself is all about mentioning your unmentionables.

Even if you’ve been keeping up with the Jenners on all their social media platforms, there’s a good chance that you might have missed this launch. The women silently created a 37-piece lingerie line and simply waited quietly for the world to find out.

Although the brand name is similar to their already existing line, Kendall + Kylie Lingerie is a separate section of the TopShop site than their Kendall + Kylie clothing line. There are more similarities than the name though. The lingerie is meant to be shown — worn as clothing instead of hidden under clothing.

“Beautiful lingerie shouldn’t be completely hidden under clothes anymore,” Kendall and Kylie Jenner said, according to the website.

The once-secret high waist bodyshaper collection is filled with a selection of mesh and satin bras, underwear, and shorts. It also includes a completely mesh „catsuit” and a „sweatshirt” made of the see-through material as well. Add to that a handful of lace and you have a wearable, but statement making, lingerie line like no other.

 

 

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The Clothing Designer Bringing Traditional Indian Crafts to the US

Designer Anita Dongre opened her high waist bodyshaper first US store, Grassroot, in July in New York City’s Soho neighborhood — and just three weeks later, back in India, she debuted a new high-end collection at Couture Week in Delhi. “It’s always busy in fashion,” she says when we speak on the phone. And while things are particularly hectic for Dongre — she runs a fashion empire, after all — what keeps her particularly active is a commitment to working with artisans from villages in India to ensure their craftsmanship doesn’t get erased.

Dongre started Grassroot almost a decade ago, though her first brick-and-mortar store only opened less than three years ago. Now, there are two in Delhi and two in Mumbai, in addition to the new Soho location, and each makes the line’s central tenet clear: Grassroot exists to support India’s artisan clusters and their traditions.

Across India, the art of weaving and embroidery is dying off, and Grassroot works with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other organizations like Self Employed Women’s Assocation, a trade union, to sustain the crafts.

As the younger generation loses interest in the art, Dongre works with women artisans from villages across India and does what she calls “design intervention” — she helps them apply their talents to make more contemporary clothes, “recreating designs and color combinations” from traditional Indian garments for a modern, global shopper. “These skills are so valuable, and are passed down generation to generation,” she says.

While the designer — a household name in India — boasts three other brands that range from South Asian bridal couture to everyday dresses and other “boho-chic” clothing, Dongre explains that Grassroot has a different business model, “in the sense that it creates collections mainly to provide work to the artisans.” She and her design team go to the (literal) drawing board and sketch out ideas; from there, whenever they identify artisans that need work, they amend the designs to suit the group’s skills.

“The beauty is working within those parameters of what the artisan can do with the craft,” she says. “And then bringing in a completely new fashion, style, and contemporary feel to it to make beautiful clothes that women will enjoy — with the added bonus that it’s all handwoven or handcrafted. “

Here, she talks more about  how she incorporates traditional designs into her collections, the importance of comfort in fashion, and what’s coming up next.

 

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