Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation Opens

JCF Fashion Innovators | photo by Joe Fresh

Joe Fresh Centre’s 2016 Fashion Innovators | photo by Joe Fresh

As my regular readers know, I rarely use this blog to promote my own endeavours. In this case it’s unavoidable. Last March Jeanne Beker reported on a $1 million investment by Joe Fresh in Canada’s Fashion Future. Today that investment has been realized, and I’m proud that a team I’ve been working with is officially a part of it.

The new Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation opened last month at Ryerson University, modelled after the highly successful Digital Media Zone (DMZ). Six start-ups were chosen through a nationwide a competitive entry process, juried by top executives from Joe Fresh and the Canadian fashion/tech industry.

During a 18-month program, each business — StyleID, Klothed, Formen, Wear Your Label, Blanc de Noir and Love Winter — enjoys physical workspace in the new Centre, access to Ryerson University’s equipment and facilities, professional guidance and a chance to receive up to $50,000 in funding.

Klothed is where I come in — it’s a mobile styling and shopping app that enables users to quickly and easily create a personalized model that includes a selfie of their face, and a body shape and skin tone that resembles their own. Working with the founders over the past two years, we’re developing something I believe will sit at the forefront of the omnichannel future of retail.

klothed style at your fingertips

The first iteration of klothed caters to men. Users can swipe to virtually try-on clothes, tap to share their outfits with their social networks to get input and advice, buy items and plan what they’re going to wear – all from their mobile device. Check out the quick demo video on our website now. I’ll keep you posted as we move to the next stage of development.

Learn more about our friends and fellow innovators at the Joe Fresh Centre here. They are a fascinating and diverse group of startups. And stay tuned for more from the fashion innovation sector on the F-list — it’s a part of the industry that’s close to my heart.

Try NextIssue On Me

Do you remember your first magazine subscription? I do. It was Highlights magazine. Highlights was a beautifully illustrated kids’ magazine that my adolescent self highly anticipated getting in the mail every month.

Soon it was followed by Teen, Sassy, Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, SPIN, Vogue, Health, The New Yorker and so on. On and on my magazines piled up. My magazine subscriptions mirrored my diverse interests in life. Fast forward to now – great content is shared everywhere. I can’t keep up with my magazines, and why pay for something I rarely get a chance to read?

Thankfully my single subscription to Next Issue has solved everything.

NextIssue for iPad

Dozens of titles, one little iPad

I first heard about NextIssue from a friend last summer and immediately subscribed. Not only do I get access to magazines I already love, I can flip through any magazine any time I want. Even those I wouldn’t buy in print.

Let’s face it, sometimes you want to read a magazine for that one story.

If you love magazines, you’ll love Next Issue. Try out it for 60 days FREE on me – click here to claim this special F-List offer. Their regular pricing will run you $9.99 to $14.99 a month, which, considering cable bills today, is an entertainment bargain.

ThirdLove Starts Up a Bravolution

ThirdLove balconet bra

ThirdLove balconet bra

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’m a big follower of the fashion and tech start-up industry. So when ThirdLove, a San Francisco-based lingerie start-up, contacted me about writing a sponsored post, I had to say yes. They have been ones to watch on the e-commerce scene. It was barely two years ago that ThirdLove was nabbing a cool $5.6 million in seed money.

It’s not a social shopping experience, so it’s actually the perfect category to bring online.

Along with Brayola and True&Co, ThirdLove co-founders Dave Spector and Heidi Zak were early disrupters in the lingerie category. Moving bra sales combined with personal fitting services online makes sense. Zak explained to TechCrunch, in an article published at the time of their funding, “It’s not a social shopping experience, so it’s actually the perfect category to bring online.”

The Fit is the Feature

Before ordering from ThirdLove, I recommend downloading their sizing app to guarantee the right fit. This innovative mobile app walks you through how to take two photos of yourself wearing a bra and fitted tank top. The app uses an algorithm to identify your size based on the photos and matches you to the perfect size. It should be no surprise how ThirdLove married fashion and science – their app development lead is also a senior scientist at NASA. (The app is available on iPhone only, but an Android version is in the making.)

As other women can attest, sometimes “your girls” aren’t a true cup size – enter ThirdLove’s signature half cup sizes. And no matter your size, they’ve got you covered from the AAA to DDDD. ThirdLove also provides a Breast Shape Dictionary to help you define the shape of your breasts. For example, one being bigger than the other means “They’re Sisters, Not Twins.” Get it?! Their style chart will point you in the right direction based on shape as well.

According to Zak, women change bra sizes an average of six times in their lifetime.

While the shape of our breasts might stay the same over our lifetime, our bra size does not. According to Zak, women change bra sizes an average of six times in their lifetime. This rings true when you consider puberty, pregnancy, menopause and lifetime weight fluctuations. It also means we should be measuring ourselves with each bra purchase.

Photo by ThirdLove

Photo by ThirdLove

Let’s Talk About the Pretty

ThirdLove lingerie offers European-inspired lingerie in a small but solid selection of colours and styles. I chose the balconet bra in stormy lilac. It’s so pretty! Made with nylon, rayon and Spandex, the seams and fabric are both soft and comfortable. Their selection of panties, while a bit more basic in design, is quite broad.

Whatever interest they stand to lose on their selection, they’ll more than make up for in price and service. A perfect-fitting bra will only run you $45 to $70, while panties range $11 to $35 and – don’t forget – it’s a perfect fit with no changing room.

That’s something to love.

#TheDress that Broke the Internet

In the end it wasn’t this dress that broke the Internet.

Kim Kardashian on cover of Paper Magazine

Kim Kardashian on cover of Paper Magazine

As you must know by now, the Internet exploded last Thursday into a heated debate about the colour of #TheDress. Was it white and gold or blue and black? The differing opinions on the colour combinations took over social media at warp speed – over 16 million people shared The Dress article in the first five hours.

The idea that two people could see such wildly different colours in the exact same item shook our collective sense of reality to the bone. Who knew a $90 (CDN) dress could wreak such havoc on the world? #TheDress was mentioned 11 million times on Twitter with celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Anna Farris weighing into the debate. Seemingly every brand piped in hoping for their Oreo/Superbowl moment. Few were memorable, even the UK store Roman Originals who made the dress.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.21.45 AMBut, as Wired magazine noted, this fight is about more than just social media, “it’s about primal biology and the way human eyes and brains have evolved to see color in a sunlit world.”  So is colour just a matter of personal perception? As with most things in life, context is everything. Colour artist Nathan Fairbairn points out, “Color perception is weird, but the most important thing to remember is that colors don’t exist in a vacuum. Colors are all perceived relative to the tone, value and saturation of the colors around them. Contrast is the key.”

The Dress by Nathan Fairbairn

The Dress by Nathan Fairbairn

Pantone, the global authority on colour, confirmed the dress actually is blue and black. Soon colour could come down to pure chemistry or technology rather than biology. Colour change is just one of the concepts being explored by the fashion tech industry and people like Lauren Bowker.

Bowker recently founded The Unseen, a trio of London fashion designers using chemistry, digital technology and exquisite tailoring to push the boundaries of fashion. Prior to launching the collective, Bowker was developing inks for use in fashion that respond to light, heat and friction, changing colour as the wearer moved.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.52.41 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.52.57 AM

We can envision a time, not far in the future, where #TheDress can be any colour you want.

Decoded Fashion x TWG Toronto Meetup

Travel delays may have derailed Liz Bacelar’s arrival in Toronto, but it couldn’t deny her visit entirely. Bacelar arrived just in time to an event hosted by Decoded Fashion, the fashion tech event series she founded in New York.

The night, sponsored by Fashionotes, began with a networking hour where guests could also experience interactive Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard stations. A fashion tech accessory called Voye shared prototypes of their new clutch. The purse is designed to hold an iPhone with easy access to keypad and camera lens, plus ample room for lipstick and keys. It was stunning work, but these have been on the market for a while, sold by massive brands like Michael Kors (I reported on it here). It’s not yet clear how Voye plans to compete with them.

The session began with an in-depth conversation between The Coveteur and Olivier Van Themsche, Founder of The Cools. That was followed by start-up presentations from John Coombs, Co-Founder CEO of Rove; Bryan Gold, Founder of #paid; and Karn Saroya from Stylekick – great practice for those honing investor pitches.

Finally Liz, fresh from the airport, welcomed the crowd. She has been one to watch since she founded Decoded in 2012. Her enthusiasm for the industry is contagious and everyone wants a piece of her. I had a chance to catch up with Bacelar after the event, here’s what she has to say.

What are your impressions of Toronto’s fashion/tech scene?

I have met an array of founders with solid ideas, strong teams and the smarts on how to scale globally. Canadian startups fit all kinds of success stories – from seed to IPOs. And some are quite inspiring – like Indochino, experimenting with popup customization and Frank and Oak, disrupting the seasons with monthly collections.

The amount of support for fashion/tech related start-ups in NYC is impressive. How did the community rally the support from both brands and the city?

What you see in NY is the openness from brands and retailers to partner with entrepreneurs who can solidly sell a good idea. They recognize that R&D can’t be solely done in-house and the best way to stay ahead is to leverage the ingenuity and the passion from the startup community.

This year Decoded Fashion is an official partner of SXStyle at SXSW. What are you looking forward to most?

SXSW is an ocean of people, talks, places to go. At Decoded Fashion Mentorship Hub we want to give startups, brands, retailers and investors interested in the space a home for their worlds to cross – for the delicious SXSW serendipity to take place – while guaranteeing some great networking. These spots will be opened to the general public next week via an application foudn at our official SXSW site.

Venue, The Working Group
Photos by Chris Mudiappahpillai

From the Front Row

World MasterCard Fashion Week may be winding down to its last days, but the crowds haven’t waned a bit. Hundreds cram into the runway room on the hour, every hour, and the front row fills with some of the city’s most stylish denizens. There are some rocking outfits on display, but I’ve been taking note of those carrying more serious accessories – a camera.

This recurring feature catches up with some front row photographers to find out, what are you shooting with?

Hawley Dunbar, SidewalkHustle.com

Hawley has her freshly manicured finger on the pulse of all that’s current in music, fashion and technology. Turns out she’s also pretty handy with a macro lens.

What are you shooting with?
A Canon EOS 60 D. I flip between a 100mm Macro lens and a 50mm Macro depending on my location in the front row.
 
Do you share the photos? How?

I post them on my fashion and music blog, SidewalkHustle.com.

 
What’s your favourite feature of this device?
I can do a lot with my 60 D because it’s a professional level body. I love the sport setting for shooting runway because it captures the model no matter how fast they might be strutting.

 

Chris Howson, radio & TV host

 

Chris claims to be the “current owner of Brooke Shields eyebrows,” but this humble morning show host and producer at Toronto’s ProudFM radio bears more of a resemblance to Chris Noth. Think Chris Noth’s much, much younger brother.
 
What are you shooting with?
I’m using the Nikon D5200 DSLR burgundy edition. 
 
Do you share the photos? How?
I’m shooting for the Men’s Fashion Insider show Twitter account. It’s a show on OUTtv that I host. I also use the photos for Dose.ca and Dailyxtra.com.
 
What’s your favourite feature of this device?
I love that fact that it also shoots broadcast quality HD video. I’m a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ in this industry so I’m glad my camera is too!
Catch up with the rest of my From the Front Row series here.

From the Front Row

Now that Toronto’s official fashion week has kicked into full gear, the number of shooters sitting in the seats – as opposed to the media pit – has multiplied to extremes.  Beyond the iPhones and Androids, there are serious cameras in play.  I check in with those sitting front row and ask, what are you shooting with?

JR Bernstein | Fashion Photographer

What are you shooting with?
I change cameras all the time. As an official Fujifilm X-Photographer, I have access to all the professional Fuji cameras. Right now, I’m trying out one of their latest offerings, the Fujifilm X100S. This camera is sold out everywhere, so I’m really lucky to have it.
Do you share the photos? How?
I use the photos in a number of ways.  For one, I’m writing a review of the camera itself, so some of the photos will make it into my review.  Other photos are for publications I shoot for, and some are just for my own enjoyment. As a photographer, I’m constantly shooting.
What’s your favourite feature of this device?
I’m seriously loving this camera!  It’s hard to choose just one feature I like best — its cool retro look and feel, tactile manual controls, fast auto-focus, compact size or great image quality.  But I think my favourite feature has to be the hybrid optical-electronic viewfinder.  It has the best of both worlds.  It really is a camera-geek’s dream.  You get all the advantages of using a real optical viewfinder (so you’re not looking at a screen) with as much, or as little, digital information as you want superimposed on top.
Check out JR’s photography at jrbernstein.com.
 
Sarah Francis | Blogger
 
I ran into Sarah at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards announcement on Monday, just before the tents opened.  This new awards show debuts in February 2014 to bring recognition to established and emerging designers across the country.  For more information and a list of confirmed CAFA nominees, click here
 
What are you shooting with?
I’m old school-ish. I use Canon Rebel XSi Digital.
 
Do you share the photos? How?
The photos go on my blog but are mainly for inspiration. I’m more of a writer and stylist than photographer, so my goal in the next year is to hone my pic-taking skills.  
 
What’s your favourite feature of this device?
I have a feeling this camera can do much more than I’m capable of at this point. However, I do love my zoom lens – it makes me feel powerful.  Until I run into someone like George Pimentel, that is.

From the Front Row

 We’re barely into Toronto’s fashion weeks and I love this new feature, From the Front Row.  (Thanks for the great feedback!)  It’s been quite fascinating to see what those with a front row vantage spot use to shoot the runway.  

Last week I ran into Kimberly and Nelia at the shOws. 

Kimberly Lyn | Blogger

What are you shooting with?
I’m using two devices; the first is my Canon PowerShot SX50 HS, a fabulous high-quality point and shoot camera that has many of the bells and whistles of a professional DSLR. The second is my newly acquired iPhone 5, I just picked it up the other day and beats using my ancient iPhone 3G.

Do you share the photos? How?

I’ll post the photos on my blog The Souls of My Shoes, as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 
What’s your favourite feature of this device?
I love both of my devices!  My Canon camera gets me up close to the action on the runway and delivers spectacular image quality.  I’m very much in the honeymoon phase having just upgraded to a new phone, right now I’m inseparable from it.

Nelia Belkova | Blogger
 
What are you shooting with?
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 – the world’s smallest and lightest DSLR!
 
Do you share the photos? How?
I select the best photos, edit them, and post them on my blog, Styleblog.ca, as well as share them on Twitter and Instagram.
 
What’s your favourite feature of this device?

I love the quality of photos I get when I shoot with Canon.  Having a professional camera makes the world of difference.  I’ve used the brand for over five years now and have never been disappointed. 

I only recently started to take photography lessons, but even on Auto setting Canon produces wonderful images…it’s a no-brainer.  EOS Rebel SL1 also has the ability to shoot videos and add creative filters to photos on the spot.
 
Read more From the Front Row hereThis feature will be back next week with more from World MasterCard Fashion Week.  Follow along!

From the Front Row

 Welcome to the second in my new recurring feature where I discover what’s going on with the front row’s snap-happy guests.  Last week at The ShOws I interviewed Nolan and Nicole.

Nolan Bryant, Blogger & Photographer

What are you shooting with?
“I use a few different cameras during fashion week.  I borrow a friend’s Nikon D5000 if I am shooting from my seat, when I’m backstage I shoot in black and white and use my ancient but wonderful Olympus E500.  It gives me the less then perfect look that I love.  For parties I tend to use a Samsung point and shoot that I’ve had for years.  It’s great when I don’t feel like schlepping a DSLR in the evening.”

Do you share the photos?  How?
“The photos eventually end up on my blog.  I post almost always black and white photos but during fashion week, when absolutely necessary I will post in colour.  The images that really speak to me will end up on Instagram and Tumblr.”

What’s your favourite feature of this device?
“I adore my Olympus E500 because of its simplicity and ability to capture the type of messy images that I like to see.  Crisp and clear images are terribly boring and leave little to the imagination.  My idea of a good picture is one thats a bit out of focus – I think it forces you look a little deeper.  As much as I love this relic of camera it would be nice to have something that shoots full frame.”

Nicole Wilson, DaintyGirl.ca

What are you shooting with?
“I’m shooting with the brand new Sony QX10 wireless camera lens connected to my iPhone 5.”
Do you share the photos?  How?
“I live tweet and Instagram the photos onsite and then I use them in blog features after the shows.  All fashion photos serve as inspiration for me.”
What’s your favourite feature of this device?
“I love that the Sony QX10 attaches to my iPhone and connects wirelessly through bluetooth.  I can snap photos using my iPhone screen with the 10x optical zoom on the Sony QX10 lens and immediately upload them to my social media channels.  It’s every bloggers dream device!”
Are you shooting from the front row?  What’s your preferred device?  Comment here and you may end up in a future post in my From the Front Row series. Catch the first post here.

From the Front Row

Now that the international fashion shows have finished, Canada’s fashion designers vie for their share of media attention. I hit Toronto’s fashion presentations each season, from the shOws to World MasterCard Fashion Week to independent, offsite shows. You can find me snapping away on my iPhone – mostly pics to share on Instagram and Twitter.  But I’m no pro when it comes to photography. No, the pros are piled up at the end of the runway, getting the shots we will drool over hours later.

But I wasn’t alone. Social media has turned all of us into documentarians. As our spring 2014 season kicked off this week with the shOws, I wondered what the rest of the front row was using to shoot the runway – and what did they do with the photos?

Follow my From the Front Row series this month as I share stories of bloggers, stylists and more in this new recurring feature. I snapped Roz and Stefania at The ShOws, held at Andrew Richard Designs.  The room – drenched in white with a runway that wrapped around the room – is a dream for anyone snapping pics from the front row. 

Roslyn “Roz” Griffith Hall, stylist

What are you shooting with?
“I’m using a Canon 7D and my trusty sidekick Leica D-LUX4.”

Do you share the photos?  How?
“I have an online ‘Look of the Day’ column for Zoomer magazine. Some shots will become part of my Stylist’s POV wrap up, a cool image post or as a random tweet.”  When in Paris, Roz also shoots for her own visual diary, Rue de Roz.  It’s a pictorial narrative of fashion trending on the streets.

What’s your favourite feature of this device?
“I’m still discovering what this camera has to offer.” 

Stefania Yarhi, street style photographer and blogger

What are you shooting with?
“I shoot with my Canon 5D Mark II.”

Do you share the photos?  How?
“I shoot for my own blog Textstyles.ca and also for inspiration.  As a photographer, I have worked with various media outlets shooting the runway from this angle.  I love that you see more movement in the clothes and it’s a different perspective than the traditional head on runway shots.”

What’s your favourite feature of this device, or what do you wish it could do?
My camera is a professional dslr [digital single-lens reflex], the best investment ever.  I love how sensitive it is to light and when you shoot RAW, the crispness and detail is wonderful.  I do wish it could act as my phone and then publish straight to Twitter and Instagram.  But I have to also shoot with my phone to do that IRL [in real life] during shows, which gets to be panicky.”

Check back this week for more From the Front Row.