Posts Tagged ‘Q&A’

Fashion Jobs – Q&A with Sarah Kennedy, Creator of SAK Bijoux

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Style Nine to Five - Fashion Jobs in CanadaSarahK

Creative, inspired by nature and a hardworking entrepreneur, these are just a few words to describe Sarah Kennedy, fine jewellery designer, and creator of SAK Bijoux.  Style Nine to Five had the opportunity to chat with Sarah to learn about how she incorporates her minimalist lifestyle into her collections and the hustle and bustle that comes along with flourishing a company.


SNTF: Let’s start at the very beginning. Can you tell us what attracted you to pursue a career as a jewellery designer? Did you go to school or work a position that helped you launch your business?


SK: I started making jewellery as a hobby. I loved finding interesting objects like charms and stones, then putting them on chains to wear for myself or to gift to friends. In 2014, a friend of mine, Kerry Lawrence, asked if I would be interested in creating a line that she could sell through the agency she worked for in Vancouver. I decided to go for it and that’s when SAK Bijoux began! Over that last three years, I have taught myself how to silversmith. I’m still learning everyday and each line shows my new and more advanced skills. I recently switched to precious metals and higher quality gemstones. I’m currently moving into fine jewellery, something I am very excited about.


SNTF: Owning your own business is huge! Have you faced any challenges along the way?  


SK: There have been many struggles along the way. Financially it was tough at the beginning, I have had a full time serving job while starting this company. Time has been a struggle for me as well. After a full eight hours of serving, it’s sometimes hard to motivate myself to head to the bench and feel inspired.  In the end, knowing that I’m working towards something I love, and makes me happy is what makes all those long days worth it.  


SNTF: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from the years of being in business?


SK: Don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes the fear of failure holds you back from doing anything at all.  There is a large chance you will fail but that’s okay. The lessons you learn from failure are invaluable.


SNTF: There are many fashion savvy people out there who have an urge to share their creativity. If you could give a solid piece of advice to someone aspiring to create a jewellery collection, what would you say?


SK: Be true to your vision. If you truly believe in what you are putting out there you will have a much higher chance of success.  Again don’t be afraid to fail, its part of the process.

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SNTF: What skills do you believe are essential for being a jewellery designer?  


SK: Expressing your creativity and staying motivated!


SNTF: Is there someone who acted as a mentor to help you get to where you are now?


SK: Kerry Lawrence, if it wasn’t for her I’m not sure SAK Bijoux would exist. Her belief in me gave me the confidence I needed to get where I am today.  I learned a lot about the industry from her as well, she helped me get my foot in the door.


SNTF: Where does your inspiration come from when you’re working on a new line?


SK: My inspiration comes from the rugged beauty of the west coast. I am so lucky to live here in BC, and call Whistler my home. The magical beauty of this mountain town gives me inspiration everyday.


SNTF: How would you describe your own personal style and how does that reflect onto SAK BIJOUX?


SK: My style is pretty simple and clean. Anyone who knows me knows I love wearing black. I’ve always loved accessorizing simple outfits.  One of the reasons I started making jewellery was because I could never find the jewellery I wanted wear, so I made it instead.  My new line is very minimalistic, which I think reflects my style evolution.


SNTF: What is the future of SAK Bijoux, what will we see next?


SK: I’ve expanded my line into precious metals (sterling silver and 14kg fill). My next collection will be fine jewellery, showcasing higher quality gemstones. I’m very excited to share my upcoming creations with everyone.


Sarah’s line can be found all across Canada at a variety of independent stores. To check out her jewellery head to SAK Bijoux or check out her social feeds on Facebook and Instagram.


Images Courtesy SAK Bijoux


By, Andrea Andino, Vancouver, @___andreandino

Fashion Jobs: Q&A with Gentle Fawn’s CEO Carla Hogg

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Style Nine to Five - Fashion Jobs in Canada12.01.17.GENTLEFAWN_CarlaHogg.jpeg

Passionate, hardworking, and inspirational are just a few ways you could describe Carla Hogg, GENTLE FAWN’s  President, and CEO. We had the chance to chat with Carla and ask her a few questions about her position, what it takes to land a career with the powerhouse brand and also receive some advice for those looking to launch their career in the world of fashion.


SNTF: First of all, can you tell us a little about you. Who you are, what your role is for GENTLE FAWN?


CH: My name is Carla Hogg, and I’m the President / CEO of GENTLE FAWN.


SNTF: When did you start working for GENTLE FAWN?


CH: GENTLE FAWN was started in 2003 by my husband, Danny Hogg, and I. Sold in over 650 multi-brand stores across Canada and the USA, we’re known for our effortless designs and thoughtful, handmade prints.  


SNTF: What makes GENTLE FAWN such an appealing brand to work for?


CH: Straight up: We’re growing. Aside from being an up-and-coming brand, our team is a group of creative, hard-working, driven individuals with big goals and determination.


SNTF: What kind of skills or personality traits are you looking for when interviewing candidates?


CH: When interviewing, we’re looking for someone who is a genuinely nice person with a great ‘can do’ attitude and proven work ethic. Someone who is charismatic with a positive demeanor.  


SNTF: What would make someone successful in a position with your company?


CH: To be successful at GENTLE FAWN, we’re looking for someone who is proactive, strategic and works in alignment with the company goals. Being solution-oriented is key.


SNTF: Do you offer any mentorship or internship programs for those looking to break into the fashion industry?


CH: Instead of a formal internship program, we host design and marketing students who want to volunteer to gain an understanding of how the industry works, and what the different job opportunities look like in a clothing company. Internally, all of our staff have the opportunity to use an education fund, where we encourage everyone at GENTLE FAWN to take advantage of going to conferences, taking courses or attending industry events.


As an example, a few members of our team are attending the Create + Cultivate Conference in LA next year, where we will be attending seminars and workshops that tackle topics from branding, to content creation and number crunching.


SNTF: How can a candidate ensure they start off on the right note at the beginning of an interview?


CH: We wear our hearts on our sleeves – if you’re hitting all the right notes, you’ll know. We know what we want when we find it, and don’t drag out the interview process. Our time is precious, and we know yours is too.


SNTF: What would you say is a typical day at work like for you?


CH: Whether we’re strategic planning or viewing SMS samples, no day is the same at GENTLE FAWN. The best thing about working for a growing company is that you get to work on many cross-functional projects with a wide scope.


SNTF: What are the overall goals your company works towards daily?


CH: At the end of the day, we all work towards our vision of designing easy to wear trends with a flattering fit for a stylish individual who wants to leave a lasting impression.


SNTF: Can you describe the work culture or atmosphere at the GENTLE FAWN head office?


CH: We’re a tight group at GF HQ. We have team activities and lunches and connect through slack on the daily. We’re a creative and welcoming bunch.


SNTF: What advice do you have for someone looking to join your team?


CH: Be confident, and be yourself. Whether you’re a fit now or in the future, we’ll never let someone slip by. Ask questions, be curious, and show interest.


SNTF: There are certain positions within a fashion brand that are widely known such as marketing intern or graphic designer; however, there are many other industry jobs that are not as widely publicized. Are there any jobs within your brand that our readers may not have heard about to consider?


CH: Product Development – you understand the product inside-out and backwards.  You are analytical and have your finger on the pulse to understand what the needs of the market are and how to translate them for your muse.  You may also run the product calendar – a critical lifeline for any brand!


Customer Service Administrator – you’ve got the power to ensure our customers have the best experience possible. You’re great at mastering relationships, and holding everyone accountable – from our warehouses to our sales team. It’s an opportunity to be the link between our team and our customers. We’re currently hiring for Customer Service Administrator, apply now!  


Fabric Specialist – You are on the design or production team.  You understand texture, drape, and set the stage for inspiring the designers to dream up silhouettes to fit every occasion.  You are extremely organized, tracking costs, communicating with fabric mills and stocking a great library of reference fabrics.


SNTF: What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the fashion industry?


CH: Jump in! Start doing your research; look at highlights from online news sources and blogs and attend industry events (there are plenty going go to, and it’s a great opportunity to get to know people).  Vancouver is a small city, and the fashion industry here is even smaller.


SNTF: Finally, where do you see GENTLE FAWN headed in the future?


CH: We’re gearing up for big growth at GENTLE FAWN. Now more than ever, it’s a great time to join the team. The possibilities are endless, and we see no end in sight!


To follow along with Carla’s journey with GENTLE FAWN make sure to give her a follow on Instagram.


By: Avery Lafortune, Toronto

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Fashion Jobs – Q&A With Danni Simmen, Founder & Creative Director of Pepper B. Design

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Style Nine to Five - Fashion Jobs in CanadaPepper B - Danielle Simmen - Designer headshot -3

Creative, inspirational and a home décor vixen are just a few ways you could describe Danni Simmen, owner and creative director of Pepper B. Design. We had the chance to chat with Danni and ask her a few questions about her brand and also receive some advice for those looking to both launch their own business and a career in the world of design.

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SNTF: To get things started, can you first tell us how you broke into the home décor business?


DS: I studied textile design in university at OCAD U in Toronto, and Winchester School of Art in England. And then worked in the home decor design industry for about five years before taking the leap to start out on my own.


SNTF: What was it that sparked your interest in the field? 


DS: When I was growing up I would constantly rearrange and redesign my bedroom, and luckily for me, my parents were very supportive of all my creative interests, even when that meant endless trips to home depot for another can of paint or supplies for a DIY project. It wasn’t until my first year of university that I realized how much I loved working with textiles. I was enrolled in the drawing and painting program at OCAD and started to feel a need to create art that was also practical and useful for everyday life, so I switched into the Material Art and Design program and loved it.

PEPPER B - 2017 Collection - 005

SNTF: You’re the founder of Pepper B., an incredible home décor brand with a focus on patterns and products designed in Canada. When did you first get the idea to start your own business?


DS: I had always imagined starting my own business, but I didn’t have a clear idea of what it would be. So years later when I was designing home products for other brands, part of my job included styling product and setting up company e-commerce sites. I thought I should really do this for myself with my own designs, and the idea grew from there.


SNTF: Would you say that it’s your passion for home décor that has grown Pepper B. to the brand that it is today?


DS: It’s a passion for home decor, but also for patterns! I love the impact patterns have in a space and how they provide a perfect finishing touch.

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SNTF: And we have to ask, what’s the story behind your brand’s name! 


DS: It’s a play on naming different colourways of a pattern, for example, a red version could be “Pepper A”, and a purple version of the same design could be “Pepper C”.


SNTF: What would you say are some of the benefits and challenges of running your own business?


DS: I love creating my own schedule and having the freedom to work when I’m feeling most productive. I’m not a morning person, and I get the most done in the afternoon and evening. On the flip side, it can be challenging working primarily on my own and not having another person to bounce ideas around with and share the workload.

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SNTF: Have you had any mentors to help you navigate along the way?


DS: I haven’t had one person in particular, but I have had a lot of support from family and friends. Their encouragement and support have been amazing.


SNTF: Since launching Pepper B. in 2015, has there been any major obstacles you’ve experienced along the way or mistakes made? If so, how did you overcome them and move forward?


DS: I’m lucky not to have experienced any major obstacles, but there have certainly been many bumps along the way! I’m a nonconfrontational person so when issues arise, it is tempting for me to just move on and not to address it. I’m learning I need to stand my ground and make sure my voice is heard even if it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Recently when I placed an order for new fabric, my printer used the wrong colour for one of the designs and when I pointed this out to they did not want to take responsibility for the mistake. In the end, they did reprint the entire yardage but it took a lot of pushing, and persistence on my part.

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SNTF: What’s a typical day like for you?


DS: I like to start the day with a big cup of coffee, listen to a podcast, and take my dog for a walk. The rest of my morning is generally dedicated to emails and any design work or website updates, and in the afternoon I pack and ship orders, or visit my seamstress to pick up items to ship the next day. Sometimes I’ll also be photographing products or styled shots for social media or visiting with potential stockists. It’s always changing but it certainly keeps it interesting.


SNTF: Where would you say you find your day-to-day inspiration? Do you have any tricks for when you hit a creative slump?


DS: What works best for me is taking a break and giving my brain a new focus for a while so I can come back refreshed. If I’m feeling motivated I’ll go for a quick run, but sometimes taking a walk and picking up a coffee can do the trick.

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SNTF: For those interested in starting their own company, what’s one piece of advice they need to hear?


DS: Don’t wait, just do it! You will never feel 100% prepared. But you WILL learn as you go, and you won’t regret putting your dreams into action.


SNTF: Do you have any tips for tips for maintaining a work/life balance while growing your business?


DS: It’s tempting to keep working away until a long to-do list is tackled, but I’ve learned that if I schedule personal time in advance, I’m more likely to take a breather and get away from my desk.


SNTF: And finally, what would you say gets you excited each morning? What is next for both you and Pepper B.?


DS: I love connecting with customers, and meeting new people who are doing great things in the creative industry. Next up we’re planning on adding some new product categories to our collection, and we’ll also be at the One of a Kind Show at the end of November at Exhibition Place in Toronto. Come say hi!


To follow along with Dani’s entrepreneurial and creative journey make sure to give her a follow on Instagram.


All images provided by Ruby Social Co. 


By Ainsley Smith, Toronto, @ainsleysmithy

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Fashion Jobs – 5 Cold Weather Outerwear Styles

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Style Nine to Five - Fashion Jobs in Canadacoats inspo

Layering season has officially arrived and before you know it the coats will be coming out. We always put ourselves through the process of deciding if we need a new winter jacket, or if last years will do. Canadian weather puts us in jackets for most of the year, and while some of us enjoy the weather, the other half is struggling on how to look chic and cool while walking through snow. Yes, it gets cold but that doesn’t mean we have to give up our sense of style. We have rounded up our favorite outerwear styles we will be trying come the winter.

wrap coat

Wrap Coat
We love the ease the wrap coat brings to our lives. It’s elegant, classy, and sophisticated, and must reside in every woman’s closet. It’s the-to coat when in doubt, and has an overall effortless vibe. Whether it’s an occasion or a casual outing the wrap coat will elevate your look and you will get great wear out of.

Shop the Look: Lenoria Coat, $450, available at Club Monaco

shearling acne

Shearling Moto Jacket
Think of this jacket as your winter leather jacket. Same idea with the motto belt and edgy hardware but in a suede fabric, lined with shearling. It definitely reads an edgy, retro, biker style but it will keep you warm and on trend.


Shop the Look: ACNE STUDIO Velocite Leather Jacket, $3380, available at FWRD

fur topshop

Fur Jacket
We always want to try and touch the fur pieces but never dare to wear them because they are extra. But we all need that faux fur jacket in our closet to unleash the inner diva and take a walk on the wild side. Not only will this jacket keep you exceptionally warm, but you will turn heads and have compliments thrown at you.

Shop the Look: Long Marabou Jacket, $325, available at TopShop

puffer zara

Puffer Coat
We love that the puffer coat is coming back in style with a sophisticated sporty edge. Not only are they the warmest jackets, but the colours and fabrics the jacket has been introduced in will have you wanting to buy one ASAP. We personally love the oversized style in a brighter hue to brighten our days in the winter.


Shop the Look: Short Quilted Jacket, $129, available at Zara

check ASOS

Checkered Print Coat
We have seen the check print on major runways and we love the masculine touches it adds to a feminine outfit. If you’re used to wearing a classic black coat, a checkered print is a subtle way to change it up but still have a coat that will go with your work attire as well as casual weekends.

Shop the Look: Vero Moda Check Coat, $174, available at ASOS


Inspiration Image:
Image courtesy of The Bare Bones of It

Product Info:
Lenoria Coat, $450, available at Club Monaco
ACNE STUDIO Velocite Leather Jacket, $3380, available at FWRD
Long Marabou Jacket, $325, available at TopShop
Short Quilted Jacket, $129, available at Zara
Vero Moda Check Coat, $174, available at ASOS

By Ivana Pavkovic, Toronto, @iforeveronvacation

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Fashion Jobs – Q&A With Leah Kirsch: Fear of a Female Planet

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017


Style Nine to Five - Fashion Jobs in CanadaLEAH KIRSCH

When college senior Leah Kirsch started Millioneiress in 2013, she had no clue that this part-time project would grow into the women’s streetwear brand that it is today. With features in Nylon, Hype Bae, Elle and other top style publications, the brand is beyond up-and-coming but still continuously evolving, just like Leah.


Leah relaunched the Millioneiress brand this month, now under Leah Kirsch and expanded her selection of graphic tees, two-piece sets, and accessories with her first drop under LK. The new collection features reworked vintage pieces, accessories and this season’s hottest print: camo. Did I mention that Sarah Snyder was recently seen wearing a pair of her pants on Instagram? Yeah, #CoolGirlsClub


I had a chance to pick Leah’s brain to hear more about her journey with the brand, life in NYC and her plans to take over with a Female Planet!

Fear of a Female Planet

MJ: When did you start Millioneiress? What inspired you to start the brand and choose the name?


LK: I started Millioneiress the summer before my senior year in college, and officially launched October 2013. I was going through a lot of changes in my life before Millioneiress and felt I needed to channel my independent side. I was able to do that through clothes. Millioneiress was originally inspired by Pharrell’s ‘Billionaire Boy’s Club’ because, at the time, there was no girls club. So Millioneiress became that for me in a way. Granted, now there is a billionaire girl’s club, but you see what I’m saying.


MJ: How did Millioneiress evolve throughout your journey with it?


LK: When I started, I was so young and still growing into the person I am today. As I got more in touch with true myself, I was changing a lot of things in my life, including my clothes; so as I evolved with my style, Millioneiress did too – because I’m not going to sell something that I wouldn’t want to wear.



MJ: When did it occur to you that your creativity was shifting directions and it was time to end one project to begin another?


LK: Ah, that’s so hard to say…I can’t tell you how many times I battled with the idea of the name change and went back and forth and back again. It was very stressful and overwhelming because no one is telling you what to do, you really have to listen to yourself and trust your process.


MJ: How is the Leah Kirsch brand different from Millioneiress?


LK: Leah Kirsch is all-encompassing, to everything and everyone, and more definitive. Millioneiress was dope, but it was a test run that I was so lucky to have.


MJ: I know you’ve been working long and hard on this new line, what is your must-have piece?


LK: Definitely the regular green camo and white camo pants.

Leah Kirsch Camo

MJ: Living in one of the best cities in the world, New York City, what do you like to do on your spare time?


LK: I love to shop. I do much less of it now, but I’ll still take a day to walk around and look at new collections and new pieces/windows. I also love to make random things, it’s how my denim collection got started. I will test out a bunch of ideas I have written down or think of at that moment and then one will stick and I can get it produced, or sell it as a one-off. Living in NYC, when I have some spare time, I love a good meal with some good people – that’s my favorite.


MJ: How do you stay inspired?


LK: Talking with friends and new people and learning about new things, new point of views, new perspectives; learning anything new. And also hanging out with my friends. I struggled with girlfriends in the past so having such solid friends in New York is very inspirational for me.


MJ: What do you see as the next steps for Leah Kirsch? What can we expect to see?


LK: For Leah Kirsch, the brand will drop more limited edition collections, while selling the staples that helped grow the brand (Ladies is Pimps Too, Fear of a Female Planet, etc). I think there will be more consistency and cohesiveness with Leah Kirsch now that my mind is more clear – the clothes will reflect that.


Watch the new Leah Kirsch campaign below and shop the drop at WWW.LEAHKIRSCH.COM.


Use code MJ15 at checkout to save on your order!


This Q&A originally appeared here.


By M.J. Elle, Toronto, @TheMJElle

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Fashion Jobs – Q&A with Truc Nguyen

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Style Nine to Five - Fashion Jobs

Calling all aspiring fashion journalists! Truc Nguyen, Teen Vogue and FLARE Magazine veteran gives us her insightful (and let’s face it, crucial) advice on how to make it as a fashion editor that you just can’t miss.


SNTF: As a writer, it is important to have a unique voice that allows you to stand out from the crowd. What advice do you have for aspiring editors who are looking to find their voice?


TN: It can take a long time, maybe years of working, to figure out your personal voice, tone and area of expertise. In the meanwhile, read great writers whose work you admire, critically analyze their writing to see what draws you in, and do the best that you can to play up those strengths in your own work. While having a voice is important, make sure that as a writer you’re working from a solid foundation of good grammar, punctuation, and other technical skills.


SNTF: I’ve always been told that one of the best ways to improve your writing skills is to read as much as possible. Which magazines, blogs or books would you recommend that have inspired you or helped you improve your writing? Are there any other tips you would give future editors to help refine their writing?


TN: As a fashion editor, I love reading a mix of traditional news publications (The New York Times, The New Yorker, WWD) and industry websites (Business of Fashion, The Cut, Refinery29, Fashionista) on a regular basis. But I actually find reading fiction much more inspirational in terms of improving my vocabulary and syntax. I love everything from chick lit like Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, to historical fiction such as Lily King’s Euphoria, to all of Canadian-Vietnamese writer Kim Thúy’s amazing novellas.


SNTF: Having hired many of your own interns, what do you find is the best way to make a positive impression on your employers?


TN: The best interns that I’ve supervised have been enthusiastic about the internship, eager to learn, and incredibly hard-working. I think the best way to make a good impression during your internship is to work quickly and efficiently, learn to anticipate the needs of your supervisor and help them problem solve, and to be consistently reliable.


SNTF: Internships are very important for gaining experience and networking purposes, however, it is sometimes hard to know the appropriate way to keep in touch with those contacts. How should one go about re-connecting with past employers and maintaining the relationship?


TN: I think it really depends on the personality of each intern and editor, but as a general rule it’s nice to keep in touch semi-regularly with your employer via email. Reaching out when you have professional updates is always a good idea, and just saying hello is fine too as long as the sentiment is genuine.



SNTF: Many writers are now choosing to freelance, do you feel as though is it essential for hopeful editors to have freelance experience? Also, in your opinion, is full-time freelance a more difficult path than working in traditional publishing?


TN: Freelancing is a great way to build up your portfolio and network of contacts, especially if you’re just starting out. I don’t think there is such a thing as a standard path anymore in fashion and media, but I can tell you that getting a job in print or online publishing is, unfortunately, a rare event these days. There are both pros and cons to both types of jobs, but keep in mind that most editors today will probably find themselves on both sides at different points in their careers.
SNTF: What do you find is more valuable to employers who are looking to hire fashion editors, lots of internship and volunteer experience or a portfolio with plenty of great clips?


TN: Can I say both are important? It really depends on the specific job, but in my personal experience internships and volunteer gigs while I was in school really launched my career because I didn’t have any family contacts in the industry or any exposure to the business growing up.


SNTF: Looking for jobs, especially for the first time post-graduation, can be intimidating. What is the most important thing to keep in mind when applying for jobs in the fashion industry?


TN: I think my best piece of advice to a young job-seeker is to not take it personally, and be persistent. There are hundreds of applicants sometimes for an entry-level job at a coveted company, and many times the deciding factor is not something that you could’ve controlled. My second piece of advice is to be prepared and to really do your research. Make sure that you have the right background and experience for the jobs that you’re applying for, otherwise you’re probably not going to get an interview or be a good fit for the role.


SNTF: Lastly, is there any advice you could share that you wish someone had given you about working as an editor in the fashion industry?


TN: I wish someone had told me early on to always embrace change, especially in terms of how technology has impacted our industry. I loved working at legacy publications during the course of my career, but sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if I had pursued certain digital opportunities that had come my way over the years!


By Sarah Said

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Fashion Jobs – Framework Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bria Lear Q&A

Thursday, July 25th, 2013


Armed with a degree in fashion design, experience as an assistant designer, and some big ideas for the publishing world, Bria Lear released the first issue of Framework magazine in May 2012. Fast forward to just one year later and the all-digital lifestyle magazine is still going strong and growing with every issue, and Bria still does virtually all of the writing, editing, and designing herself. With inspiring cover girls like presenter Tamara Taggart and actress Jodi Balfour, along with engaging fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content, Framework proves that magazines can still succeed in the digital age. I got in touch with the super-busy EIC to see what life is like when you’re at the helm of your very own magazine.

Style Nine to Five: What are some of the most important things to have in place before launching a publication?

Bria Lear: You absolutely need to know who your audience is. While this might evolve over time, knowing your reader’s lifestyle, interests, values, and taste will dictate so many important decisions for your business, and ultimately help you grow a strong, recognizable brand with a loyal readership.

SNTF: What are some networking tips for aspiring editors and fashion writers?

BL: Get out there and be curious about people. Genuine interest in other people and what they do will get you far. I’m not the type of person to go up to someone I don’t know and introduce myself out of the blue, which is why I love social media. Twitter makes it so easy to connect with anyone and everyone, and it takes the awkwardness out of meeting people in person. I can’t count the number of times people have introduced themselves using their Twitter handles, and I think it’s fantastic. If there’s someone you’re dying to meet, start interacting with them via social media, and once you’ve established a rapport ask them to meet for a coffee. Nine times out of ten, they’ll be thrilled to chat with you. (Also, a sincere, heartfelt compliment never hurts!)

SNTF: What are some of the benefits of producing a digital magazine (vs. print)?

BL: Besides the much higher cost of print, we are also able to be more eco-friendly and can adjust our editorial plan quickly to reflect any great ideas or leads that pop up unexpectedly. Spontaneity is a beautiful thing! We don’t have to work months ahead to meet print deadlines and we don’t have limits on page numbers, which means I can publish larger spreads, more photos, and create a publication that is beautiful on every single page. It’s also a lot easier to connect every part of our brand—from the blog to the social media channels to the magazine—offering readers and advertisers a comprehensive, completely connected experience.

SNTF: Describe a typical day as the Framework EIC.

BL: With so many things on the go, I try to stick to a daily schedule to keep me on task and organized. When my alarm goes off at around 7:30 I scroll through Instagram and check out my Twitter feed (more as a way to wake up my brain than actual work). I always cook a good breakfast, either a smoothie or toast and eggs, and then I spend the majority of the morning working on blog posts and social media updates.

Once Twitter and Facebook are updated for the day, I go through my emails and try to respond to the most time sensitive first. I’m also using Evernote throughout the day to keep track of any ideas for blog posts, store links to articles I want to read later, and cross things off my virtual to-do list. Having a place to store all those random thoughts makes it much easier to focus on each task.

The afternoon is usually spent organizing features and articles for the monthly magazine issues, editing submissions, product shopping, and creating layouts. I try to schedule any meetings around lunch or at the end of the day so they don’t interrupt my workflow. I try to squeeze in a quick yoga session a few times a week, and in the evenings I’m often catching up on more emails and setting up blog posts. And I’m also cooking delicious dinners to post on Instagram! Some nights I’m out networking at media events, or getting cozy on the couch with the latest episodes of The Bachelorette and MasterChef.

SNTF: What are the biggest challenges and the most rewarding parts of being an editor?

BL: One of the biggest challenges is balancing the business and creative sides of the magazine. It’s also hard to say no. I could easily make each issue 200+ pages with all the great ideas from contributors and amazing people to feature, but I have to remember that at the end of the day this is still a small company, and I alone will be creating the layout for each of those pages. It can take full days to finish just one of the bigger features.

The most rewarding thing about what I do is seeing the final result of each issue and hearing the excitement from Framework’s readers, contributors, and featured women. It’s amazing to know that you’ve inspired someone, whether it’s to change up the pillows in their living room or take a leap to change their career. At the end of the day, the relationships and connections I’ve made through Framework are priceless.

By: Sara Constantineau, Vancouver

You should follow me on Twitter @sara_rochelle.

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Fashion Jobs – Profile on Estate Family Guilds

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

I first became aware of Estate Family Guilds when I attended a joint pop-up shop for the brand a few months ago in Toronto. I was immediately struck by the quality of the garments, and the thoughtful structure to each piece. The line is mostly made up of basics – sweaters, tees and sweatshirts- but each one specially made with a special, beyond basic appeal. One of my favourite pieces from the collection was a hooded grey sweater, made from super soft virgin lamb’s wool. That extra craftsmanship is what sets Estate Family Guilds from other lines. I had the opportunity to ask Keith Mcleod, one of the co-founders of the brand, a few questions about the challenges and successes of starting a clothing line from scratch.

Zoe: How did Estate Family Guilds start?
Keith: Estate Family Guilds was started in Halifax back in 2007 when BJ and I started a t-shirt line for the “Wearable Art Show” at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCADU).  I graduated from NSCAD with a Photo Degree, and BJ graduated with a jewellery Degree, yet, after we finished school, we were faced with figuring out how to create work that was both cathartic as well as accessible to the community at large.  To make the same art as we did in school is tough because people our age don’t readily have the money to purchase art and keep us creating.  As a result, we set out to stylize the t-shirt, and treat that as our medium to reach the masses.  We learned the basics of screen-printing in school as well, so we quickly fashioned our own printing machine in bj’s basement. Soled Out Sneakers, the first retailer in Halifax, pushed us into printing a collection of t-shirts to fill the void of home-grown clothing companies. The summer after graduation, we launched the first Estate Family Guilds collection, the proper way.

Z: What is the sartorial inspiration behind your line?
K: We are inspired by a lot of the things we grew up with as teenagers.  Skateboarding, Hip Hop, Metal, simple things like that.  But after high school we went to art school which showed us things that took us beyond those influences, and into a deeper understanding of the visual world.  Our style and influence changes throughout the seasons, but we have a great affinity for William Morris and Aubrey Beardsley, as well as Victorian stylings.  If you combine both what we love about hip hop and metal, and look at it through the eyes of the arts and crafts movement, I feel like you can see why we make the things we do.

Z: What are the challenges behind starting your own clothing line?
K: Building clientele is very hard.  Your friends will always support you and want to see you succeed, and they will be the foundation of your business, but for us, reaching out and making believers out of strangers is really hard.  Exposure through press, pop-up shops and social networking is a huge component to starting a clothing line.

Z: What’s your favourite part of the design process?
K: As a screen printer, the gratification of printing the first sample is always the most outstanding.  I can take my idea from my head and onto paper, but the end product is the t-shirt.  Seeing that t-shirt for the first time is often where my eyes can see what my brain was thinking.

Z: How long does it typically take for you to construct a piece from initial idea to finished product?
K: We try to curate our ideas into a mass collection every season. Every 4 months we release a product line which is a collection of like-minded ideas or a well-rounded collection of a singular concept.  With that we will have a pop up shop, look book, online and in store releases, press exposure and much more.  It’s a 4 month long process start to finish.

Z: What’s next for the brand in the next five years?
K: We are looking into a lot more cut and sew products, more serious and heavy duty product. I’m looking at Canadian and US retailers for the next while.  But ultimately, we will be working at creating more of the products we love to make.

All images courtesy of Estate Family Guilds. For more information on the brand please visit: or their Facebook page.

By: Zoe Alexandra Torell, Toronto

You should follow me on Twitter @blueauguste.

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Fashion Jobs – Interview with Danielle Da Silva

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I’ve known Danielle for a little while now and she was always one of those people who innately had a really specific vision and a strong drive for success. When not behind the camera snapping impressively beautiful fashion shots, Danielle heads up Photographers Without Borders, a Toronto based not for profit that aims to promote the arts as an effective strategy for sustainable development. Despite her incredibly busy schedule, I was able to ask Danielle a few questions about what inspires her creatively and personally, and what it’s like to work in the fashion industry.

Zoe: How did you get your start in fashion photography?
Danielle: I am self-taught and have derived my teachings from various sources, however I attribute a great deal of my success to the help of my mentors and just being resourceful. Developing and maintaining relationships is important. You never know where they may lead you!

Z: What do you like most about your job?
D: Being creative. Setting my own schedule. It’s awesome. The potential is so great.

Z: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
D: The other part of having your own business is all the backend work—the paperwork, the advertising, the production. It’s…a lot of work! But I asked for it and I love it.

Z: What would your advice be for potential fashion photographers wanting to get into the business?
D: Work hard, work smart, and build relationships. Some of the best advice I’ve been given is to always work with people who are better than you. You will learn a lot and your work will constantly be elevated upwards.

Z: Who would you love to work with?
D: With regards to designers–VAWK. I love their clothes. I’m also in love with Toxic Vision and wish I could fit into their pants! With regards to magazines, I’m impartial at the moment—there are so many I admire and would love to work for. I’d love to travel more often with my work though, so I’m always looking internationally.

Z: What inspires you?
D: Natural beauty of people and places, the planet, the universe, my family, silver linings, and women. I am incredibly inspired by women—I think they are the most beautiful things on the planet.

All images courtesy of Danielle Da Silva. For more information, please visit or

By: Zoe Alexandra Torell, Toronto

You should follow me on Twitter @blueauguste.

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Fashion Jobs – Q&A: Jennifer Rade

Monday, March 4th, 2013

(Photo: Angelina Jolie via MrKate)

Behind every iconic look on the red carpet, on camera or an event is inspired by the creativity and dedication of a stylist. We chatted with celebrity stylist Jen Rade, whose A-list clients include Angelina Jolie, Pink and Kim Kardashian, for an exclusive Q&A about her coveted job as a stylist and even shared a few tricks of the trade:

There are so many people who aspire to become a successful stylist. What are some steps or experiences you think are essential for a career in styling?
Everyone’s past in styling is different and it is a difficult job and I want people to know that it’s not as simple as “I like clothes and I can put them together well.” I always say to become a great stylist I think that you have to love people and find something beautiful in everyone. You must be able to look at people and say, “you have beautiful eyes, beautiful shoulders,” everyone has something beautiful and as a stylist it’s your job to bring the best in people and personally as a stylist, it’s my job to make people feel better about themselves and more confident. When I say loving people, it’s about knowing whats going on in the world. Go to an art museum, read books, going to other parts of the world – it’s about being aware.

Fashion is a form of self expression, as a stylist, your job is to express themselves in the best way that they can. I’m also a union costume designer and the first thing that you learn, and what I love about costume design, is that the clothing speaks before the character says a word. Before an actor speaks a word, they enter into a scene and your clothing is already talking. its ‘talking about socioeconomic class, do you love about color,’ everything and its the same way wether your stlyisng or costume design, except in costume design is character but styling its a person. But either way its the clothing is speaking before the person does and I love that aspect of it.

What are some of the challenges of a celebrity stylist? How did you overcome these challenges?
For me, the main challenge is finding the right thing. On a very short period of time, often times we get called and for example, someone has an event on Tuesday and they tell you on a Friday. It’s about being resourceful and having great relationships. I’m respectful of designers, I return things quickly and I take very good care of things when I’m borrowing, so time is the biggest challenge. When you’re borrowing samples, a lot of brands only have one set of samples one at a time, so they might be in Milan or press and editorial are sharing one set of samples. It’s time and availability that makes it difficult.

Styling isn’t just about the clothes – every detail matters. What are other features stylists should take note of to complete any look?
I personally always think about a person’s hair colour, eye colour and skin tone because those are the things that help determine the right shade of, for example, peach. Peach would look good on one person or it can look sickly and sallow depending on your skin tone. When Michelle Williams wore that mustard yellow Vera Wang, one of my fave Oscar looks of all time, it was breathtaking because it was the absolute perfect colour on her skin. Sometimes, especially with blonde hair if it’s not the right blonde for their skin and eyes, if you just tone the blonde down, you can take ten years off your face. You have to think of the body type – what are you showing? If it’s a dip down back, then don’t make it about the leg. My motto is that everything can’t be something. You need a lot of nothings to make your something stand out. I think that every detail does matter, even to the point of taking things away and choosing.

What are 3 essential things you absolutely cannot live without when you’re styling?
I can’t live without double-stick tape, obviously I need to have pins. I can’t live without a sewing kit. I take it from every hotel I’ve been at in my life. You never know when you’re going to have to stitch something. On a day-to-day basis, I need my unsweetened iced tea. It’s my one antioxidant. I eat a lot of junk, i’m not a healthy girl, so I love to have my green tea. I also can’t be without a lint roller, absolutely, ever. And I absolutely need to have baby wipes and lanolin to wipe out stains.

What is one small thing that women can do every day so they can glow with confidence?
A smile makes a big difference. I’m working with Jergens, so I do believe every great moment, whether it’s a red carpet moment, office carpet or living room carpet, does start with having great skin. For example, Charlize Theron in her white Dior dress and short hair, if she didn’t have the right sun-kissed glow, that dress would’ve totally washed her out and she would’ve looked like a nurse. For everyday, you can take a simple body moisturizer like Jergens Natural Glow. Women are always on the go, we’re in a rush, we don’t need to add nineteen things to our beauty routine, so I like that product in particular because it moisturizes your body. Anytime you want to throw in  a bikini, short shorts or wear a little dress, I think everyone feels more confident when they have a little bit of color, especially for winter. You do it for you, so when you look in the mirror you feel like there’s a little color and everything looks a little better.

What is something that women constantly overlook when they get ready for a big party or event?
There’s a couple of things, like having the right undergarments. It’s called a foundation for a reason. I don’t think people realize what goes on underneath a red carpet gown, even a gown that looks draped on a body might have a sewn-in corset. People wonder how a celebrity wears something backless without a bra, but we just take a bra and we cut the straps and handstitch. I think women overlook the simplicity that your average drycleaner can do a simple alteration for $10 and can make things look better. It’s about having the right bra, right support, no pantylines, just the right foundation.

What’s new and different with the Jergens Natural Glow reformulated range?
There used to be an issue where people were afraid of self-tanning products because they had a self-tanning odor, but Jergens spent years in the lab developing technology so that there there is no self-tanning odor at all. It’s not being masked by overwhelming, flowery perfume stuff, it has scent but a nice, clean, pretty light scent. They’ve redesigned packing, for a sleeker, more metallic look. They also spent a lot of time developing a new odor, streak-free, easy to apply, different formulations – one for your face, body. So when you’re in a rush, like going on a vacation or you have an event in 3 days and you want to wear a mini dress, it’s easy to get that glow.

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