styling a noble savage for a singles event in Mississauga

Laura Bilotta Styles a Noble Savage to debut Wing Woman Paint Night

Laura Bilotta, the matron of Ontario’s largest singles event company and speed dating enterprise, Single in the City tried something new on Thursday 5th April, 2018 when she teamed up with Julia Chatterji of The Studio Paint Bar to stage a womens’-only Paint Night in Mississauga.  All this was new to the firm;  an official ‘women’s only’ event has never before been attempted (with tickets sold online – Laura did once invite female members to watch The Bachelor at a bar in Oakville, but tickets were sold at the door). More significantly, Laura Bilotta has never before tried a Paint Night.

Without question, the event was an unqualified success.  Twelve ladies shared plenty of laughs while painting a jewellery clad caveman on a 16 x 20-inch canvas.  It was an interesting experience filled with creative instruction. The activity yielded immense satisfaction as the twelve ladies communicated their own perceptions of the subject on their canvases.

Martin waits to be painted at Paint Night in Mississauga

The male model was a young man named Martin Dasko, a semi professional wrestler who performs as The Latin Lover, and is also the author a popular student finance blog, Studenomics. He said afterwards that it was the strangest thing he’s done in a while, and it made him feel sexy.

paint night with Studenomics, Single in the City

Paint Nights are very stimulating for all participants. The simple act of painting a pretty picture tickles the primary motor cortex of the brain which makes friendly people even more receptive to social programming. Its Julia’s belief that this healthy activity streamlines the complicated act of making new friends. Painting breaks down barriers, and the people who came out that evening soon found themselves relaxed and having a good time.

The Male Model was Made More Adorable by Jennifer Turner of Modern Makeup

The handsome Martin Dasko of Studenomics was specifically selected to sharply contrast Laura’s distinctly feminine messaging.  This physic is inspirational and it seem hard to imagine how anyone could improve such a naturally beautiful man.  However, it happened. One hour before the show started, Martin was expertly groomed by makeup artist Jennifer Turner.

Martin being styled

It wasn’t enough to have an attractive man as the subject for this artistic exercise; Martin’s muscular body needed even more adornment. A chunky silver necklace, two solid silver bracelets, and a thick solid silver skull ring were lent to Laura for the show by an upscale jeweler she knows…

silver jewellery for paint night

Lent for one night to the production, the silver ornamentation was all handmade by On the Other Hand custom jewellery in Toronto.  It’s worth noting that the lustrous accessories had a trans-formative affect on our hero.  Wearing these resplendent creations made the man feel more confident, and more ‘adorable’. The high fashion silver jewellery literally ennobled the subject.  In this way, Laura created a ‘noble savage’ with great masculinity to contrast the theme of feminine solidarity in the manifesto she was set to debut later in the evening.

Martin Dasko of Studenomics at Paint Night

The bright silver ornaments were specially selected to contrast Martin’s well tanned skin and animal print apparel.

The animal print costume was part of the initial plan and made it through all stages of creative planning and acquisition. Here is an image Laura snapped while buying leopard print textile at Designer Fabric in Toronto.

buying leopard print velour at Designer fabrics in Toronto

Leopard print fleece textile was obtained at Designer Fabrics in Toronto and was waiting for Martin Dasko when he appeared at the restaurant. But it had not been cut into a costume yet, so the wait staff had fun trying their hands at styling the evening’s hero.

The leopard print loin cloth was fashioned on-site by many hands. Everyone had some idea of how the cavemen suit should look, and there was enough material to try several different approaches.  After some waitresses at the restaurant tried their hands, Jennifer Turner of Modern Makeup arrived and took over and styled Martin as a ‘couture caveman’ in a Fred Flintstone style frock which was initially conceived with a shoulder strap.

Martin was coiffed as a cute cavemen by Jennifer Turner of Modern Makeup

jenn turner with Martin Studenomics

Laura Bilotta was among one of the last people to arrive at the venue, and almost upon entry, she asked Jennifer to remove Martin’s shoulder strap.  This meant that Jenn would have to do the costume all over again, but I dont think she minded.  Laura insisted saying that the seat belt shaped strap covered the paint subject’s best feature, pointing out Martin’s well-developed pectoral muscles.

Jenn wrote a detailed account of styling the paint night on her Modern Makeup blog.  She wrote on how she “brightened the area under his eyes and hid a bit of redness. He had never had his makeup done before so he wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily he trusted me and I didn’t make him look ridiculous. Laura wanted me to oil Martin’s chest but instead I applied a little bit of extra shadow and highlight to showcase his muscles.”

Jennifer applied make-up to the entire top half of Martin’s body. She used her brushes to tone his face and accentuate his muscles. While many observers didn’t think Martin’s body could be improved, Jenn really proved her skills as the finished product, a perfectly coifed caveman, was even more compelling.

Single in the City’s very first Paint Night event began humbly with some opening remarks from Laura who introduced Julia Chatterji of Studio paint Bar and Martin Dasko the noble savage to twelve female painters. The assembly of eager artists wet their brushes with anticipation as they surveyed the subject waiting to be sketched and coloured on their canvases.

The gender specific event concept corresponds with something else Laura has been working on for a few weeks, something she calls The Wing Woman Collective. This is a new archetypal behaviour model that is defined in part by a central Wing Woman Code of Honour.

Laura Bilotta Used the All-Female Audience to Debut her Wing Woman Collective

In the shadow of the #MeToo movement, and in connection with our society’s reaction to powerful men preying on younger women, Laura unveiled a code of conduct for Wing Women.

What is a Wing Woman? A Wing Woman is a charismatic female who helps both boys and girls meet new people romantically while not actively seeking companionship herself.

As the ladies painted their pictures, and while Martin stood silently listening, Laura listed the Ten Rules in the Wing Woman Code of Conduct.  This will certainly be its own blog post on Single in the City at some future date, but until then you can see some of these commandments listed in order in the photo opposite (which expands when clicked).

After a relaxing ten-minute break in which some delicious appetizers were served, the ladies returned to their brushes to put the finishing touches on their masterpieces.

When the evening wrapped up, and participants were starting to get a little antsy; the painters were waving their canvases around to dry the paint enough for travel. It was at that moment Keith Travers appeared in the restaurant with an armful of empty picture wooden frames.

Keith Travers is the builder behind Eastview Homes, Oakville, Burlington building contractor. Being an artist himself,  Mr Travers really enjoyed himself as he joined Laura and Julia  traipsing around the paint studio selecting the best images to win the walnut frames.

Everyone came away with something. All the participants who came out that night got SWAG bags stuffed with cosmetic samples, skin moisturizing products and gift certificates from Mississauga hair salons and beauty bars. Plus, they all got to keep their paintings of course, and the five best works-of-art got frames.

More importantly, this unique Paint Night experience marks another milestone in the continued evolution of Single in the City’s premium event management service. This is how Laura Bilotta maintains her reputation for pioneering new formats, pushing the envelope of creativity, while maintaining a safe environment for clients making lifelong connections.

Alice Li crowned Miss World Ontario 2018 - 21 Jan 2018

Alice Li Crowned Miss World Ontario 2018

On Sunday, January 21, 2018, after two days of competition and at the end of three hour show, Alice Li was crowned the new winner of Miss World Ontario 2018.

Miss World Ontario is the provincial qualifier to Miss World Canada, the official preliminary to Miss World.  Fifty contestants from all across the province were judged on a wide range of criteria including interviews, charity work, evening gown, swimsuit, and photogenic.  Alice Li, the winner of the competition is a 24 year-old graduate from the University of Toronto who studied business for her undergraduate and graduate programs.

What does it take to win a beauty pageant? We sat her down our new Provincial queen to ask her some questions.


Photo: Joshua Best Photography

Why did you decide to compete in a beauty pageant?

From what I can see, beauty queens are jacks of all trades, but masters of none. What I mean is, the winner is always someone who is well-rounded, but doesn’t necessarily need to score highest in every single category. That’s exactly what I do. I know a little bit of everything, but I don’t consider myself an expert in any one particular thing.

Did you think you had a chance at winning?I believe that healthy sportsmanship means going into a competition aiming for your personal best. You have to set yourself realistic goals and define your own meaning of success. Success could be finding the courage to walk up on that stage, or finding confidence in a swimsuit, etc.

My personal goal was to place in the Top 3.  With over six years of experience competing in beauty pageants I obviously believe I have what it takes. To me, finishing Top 3 would be a personal win, but look what happened. I did not expect to place first! That’s also why half of my crowning moment photos did not turn out well because I was so in shock, I suddenly didn’t know what to do or where to stand.

At Street Chic, we are all about fashion. Tell us more about your wardrobe for the competition!

This year I went with more of a pink theme. There were fifty contestants there so and anything that makes you standout is worth the effort.

In the morning, showed up to rehearsals in this super adorable Ted Baker dress. Although there is no dress code for rehearsals, I still like to put a bit of effort and feel like myself. After all, fashion is a way to express your personality and I thought this dress was so “me”.










My interview outfit was also pink and I went with a fitted, sleeveless Calvin Klein classic. You can’t go wrong with Calvin Klein for a modern, elegant look.

I went simple with the accessories and wore these gorgeous pearl earrings from The Modern Princess. So my approach to the beauty pageant and the classic dilemma of  ‘What should I wear to the interview?’, was to dress business casual with a pop of style.



For my evening gown, I took a risk and wore a pink tulle ballgown from Mac Duggal. In beauty pageants, big ballgowns are typically not as popular as sexier styles.  The top bodice is embellished in rhinestones and features a low waist. It was an interesting silhouette because the accentuation was on my hips instead of my waist. I’ve never competed in a ballgown before but it was fun to feel like a princess on stage! I guess it all worked out in the end, and perhaps that means pink is my best color.

Photo Credit: Charlie Lam Photography

We heard it was also your birthday? Happy birthday!
The competition date this year actually fell on my 24th birthday. Out of fifty girls, I was the 24th contestant, with a last name starting with “L.” I didn’t plan any birthday celebrations because my mind was completely focused on the competition. However, all the girls were so supportive throughout the weekend and after my crowning onstage, everyone actually started singing Happy Birthday. I could not have imagined a better way to celebrate.

What was the hardest part about the competition?

One of hardest part about the competition is staying focused because so many different thoughts run through your head at the same time. For example, when walking onto stage for evening gown, you’re trying to walk up the stairs elegantly without tripping over your dress. At the same time, you’re smiling and making eye contact with the judges. In your head, you’re reminding yourself of the choreography so that you don’t walk the wrong way. Cameras are flashing from all directions while you’re blinded by the stage lights. But to showcase your true personality, you’ve just got to take a deep breath and let everything flow naturally.

Photo Credit: Charlie Lam Photography

As the ambassador for Ontario, what is your goal this year?

I believe that the most valuable asset we own is time. You cannot buy time or trade it with others. That is why I want to dedicate my time volunteering within my community. I have many charities and nonprofit organizations that I will be working with this year, including the Good Shepherd Ministries and Children’s Wish Foundation. Such an amazing start to 2018 and I look forward to this new journey!


Photo credit: Joshua Best Photography


Fashion Meets on Mercer 24 jan 2018

Toronto Fashion Meets at Buonanotte on Mercer

Buonanotte, the night club at 19 Mercer St in downtown Toronto is where fashion meets, and When Fashion Meets is a monthly free networking meetup that’s filled with some of the brightest local lights in fashion, beauty and bling.

This meetup happens here and on some level it probably does help the fashion industry, but I think its done more to help the club.  Buonanotte lives on borrowed time.   The boxy three story building that contains this lounge business and the one beside it, and another on the same street will all be demolished later this spring to make way for more tall residential condo towers.  So in many respects, the When Fashion Meets event is just a moment in time…. look around people this space won’t exist in a few months.Hello from the organizer.  This author has forgotten your name.  Its the opposite of what’s supposed to happen at this event.  People come here to get and record phone numbers and work out creative ways to help each other.   This meet and greet is for monthly networking & brand building and socializing.

This platform gives creative people in commercial art, fashion, and beauty industries an opportunity to network with each other and promote their existing products or launch new goods and services.  The free networking event is open to all fashion industry entrepreneurs & professionals such as models, clothing designers, clothing or personal stylists, hair stylists, make-up artists, fashion bloggers, all manner of photographers, beauty brands, buyers, casting agents, fashion and beauty retailers, and of course media-makers and fashion lovers of all stripes.

Below is Jessica who runs a modeling agency talking to Jim who is a dry cleaning magnet.  Jim was dressed business casual, and Jessica was dressed fashionably unique and that was indeed the dress code request in the meetup description.

The free event begins at five pm and goes till nine.   There are few rules.  You can’t be camera shy and you really should bring business cards.  This author has more or less abandon the idea of business cards as being ‘old fashion’, but they are necessary or you end up explaining why you don’t have one all night.  When you first walk in the dance club, the lady at the door asks you to put a business card in the bowl. It is from this vessel that a special guest or VIP speaker will pull your business card at the end of the event. If your card is pulled then you will be declared a winner, and will take home a prize. Jim the dry cleaning magnet won the prize.

The meetup is perfect for new product launches, and indeed each month a new product or brand is selected (from all that apply) to launch and promote their wares; they can speak and be amplified, or even put on a slide show.  At this event young designers and fashion industry entrepreneurs of all stripes can introduce their work to what is becoming a large receptive live audience and active following.

Toronto Fashion Industry Meet Up Group: Toronto Fashion Industry Meetup.  Don’t go if you’re camera shy as there are plenty of people (including this author)  taking photos & videos during the event.  Photos are published on their social media pages -follow on Instagram, @torontofashionindustry

sharp knit vest When Fashion Meets – The Banker’s Vest

Now let me tell you a story.  The young man you see here on the right wearing a brown fedora is a Bay St banker.  He came to the event originally wearing all black. I came to the conclusion early in the evening that he was kinda boring; his account manager job and TD bank lifestyle is not interesting, and consequently he’s rather dull himself. So the story begins with this boring guy on his way out the door.  He had accompanied another chum to this meetup, and that guy had gone off somewhere, and now he found himself alone and was leaving.  But on his way out, wearing all black, he was literally in the right place at the right time. 

The incredible red & white & black vest, a garment hand-knit by a lady you will see later in this photo series, was at that moment just being raised up into the air to be photographed by a group of admirers.  And its heavy you understand, and the senior-citizen creator couldn’t hold it up long enough to be photographed. And there he was just walking by, exiting the club because he was so boring just as she was holding it up.  She needed a mannequin, and here he was wearing all black – it just happened.  He put it on and wore it around all night. That’s right – he stayed at the party for another hour or more because now you see suddenly he was fashionable, and original, and cool.

The piece is unfinished, in case you’re wondering.  The lady who knit the work, Aneth, hopes to attach sleeves and giant black buttons that are cross ties? and not round buttons at any rate.  Below when you see the lady who knit the garment (not Lily, but Aneth below) you get the idea that anyone, at any age and from any walk of life can participate in a fashion movement and ‘move the needle’ in terms of human perception to redefine what is attractive? and what is ‘chic’?

Below is the knitwear vested banker with Lily Liao the founder and matron of Street Chic.
Now the sharp and confident banker in his knit vest is trying to make stitches with another sweet lady at the party, a young fashion designer at Ryerson.  Can you guess how that worked out?  You’ll have to, as this author doesn’t know. I left before he asked for her number, but to make my story more profound I’m going to choose to believe that he did ask and he did get her number, and the only reason she said ‘yes’ was because of his colourful apparel.

This is the lady who knit the vest.  Aneth. She is amazing.  This lady is hard to understand due to her accent (Eastern European? but where exactly ?) and its doubly hard to make out her words in a loud echoey dance club.  Regardless she’s an incredible talent and her work is high quality because she’s very passionate.

Aneth Plesea ? Is that her name? Its a cryptic brand.

Matty makes lip balm.  He is always so happy.  He is so sickeningly pleasant this author just wanted to punch him, and give him a fat lip.  He was okay with that.

That was last month’s When Fashion Meets.

Let StreetChic tell you about the romantic story of winter and colours

A new year has come, and Toronto’s winter has just kicked off to a cld start. Do you feel the pity of not having enough time to experience the gentleness and romance of early winter? Now that cold air has entered the city, bringing the boring Canada Goose as everyone’s winter wardrobe for the next 3 months. Don’t be. Fortunately, colours are still an option for weather like this. If you are a positive-minded fashion lover, and you want to fight a bit more against the all-black winter doom, read this article and see colours brighten up your winter styles. Let’s talk about the romance of winter and colours.

PANTONE announced that ultra violet being the ‘colour of the year’ of 2018. The fashion community has been crazy about this new colour trend, and couldn’t hold back to put on purple items which was considered to be sooo difficult to pair.


We understand that purple is a tricky colour to style with, but with the right technics, you can pull it off like a piece of cake.



The easiest way is to try a purple jacket. When everyone else is wearing black, white or grey down jackets, a purple is considered to be very bright, bold, and colourful. And it doesn’t matter what you wear beneath that. It’s the outside that counts. A purple jacket definitely makes you stand out from the winter crowd.



Not to mention how fashionable and in-trend Red  is, just the tone of the colour brings lots of warmth into this season. It is the best cure for SAD (seasonal affective depression) Usually, being winter elegant means a lot of typical black and white. However, it doesn’t rule out the expectance, which, in this case, red.



Of course red trench coats are the best way to go with. It’s stylish, yet classic, which means that a red coat will last in your  winter-first-choices for several years.



Also, you can also style a red coat with the most in-trend elements, like blazers and furs.



If we say that green is a beautiful colour, we are sure that nobody has doubts. However, it is not the easiest colour to style with. Like purple mentioned above, with the right method, you can achieve a very fresh look in winter with green pieces.



With yellow in the undertone, green is easily attached with a filthy feeling. But if you wear it with white or grey, the style gains much freshness in it.



If you are not afraid of taking some risks, wear your green coat with metal colours (not too much though). You will look extremely stylish with that.



Try these popular colours in your winter wardrobe and give yourself a chance to live a more colourful winter in 2018.


*Just a heads up, Street Chic is working on with our partners to create a platform to provide necessary sponsorship and mentorship for Toronto startup fashion designers, in order to help and develop fashion industry in Toronto even more. Stay tuned!*


Street Chic’s Guide to Smart Shopping & Managing Money

In Toronto, with sophisticated urban shopping complexes like the Eaton Centre and Yorkdale and the boutiques along Queen Street West, Distillery District and Yorkville, there are so many places to spend your hard-earned cash on cute outfits, accessories, and whimsical fashions. It’s almost too easy to get lost in the thrill of finding the perfect pair of boots and spending more money than you can actually afford.  So we’ve created a list of tips to help you shop smarter so you can still enjoy the many perks this great city has to offer without maxing out your credit cards.

Know the Ins and Outs of Your Finances

The best thing you can possibly do is to make sure you know exactly where you stand financially. How much money do you owe in total across all of your credit cards, loans, and lines of credit? What is the minimum payment for each of those accounts? Can you focus on paying down or paying off any of those debts before adding new debt?

If you’re uncertain where to start, we suggest ordering a credit report from one of Canada’s two credit bureaus – Equifax and TransUnion. It’s actually best to order your report from both of them because the information they have might differ slightly as the two companies generate their reports independently of each other. This is your opportunity to get an overview of your financial situation as a whole and to understand what your FICO score is and how it will affect your likelihood of being approved for any loans in the future.

Your FICO score is a three-digit number that reflects your financial history and tells lenders whether you’re a trustworthy borrower or not. Much like a grade on a report card, lenders use your FICO score to decide whether or not they should lend you money. This is also your chance to correct any errors you find in your report to ensure the information is as accurate as possible. Even one minor inaccuracy can negatively impact your score. If you find that you’re still overwhelmed and uncertain how to best start paying down your loans, another option to look into is debt consolidation.

Create a Budget

Once you know where you stand financially, you can create a monthly budget for yourself. Start off by figuring out how much you owe in credit card and loan payments each month and put aside enough money to – at the very least – cover all of your minimum payments. Next, add up how much money you’ll need for rent or mortgage payments, utilities, car payments, cell phone payments, groceries, etc.

Figure out exactly how much money you’ll have coming in each month, how much money will be going back out again to cover your bills and other expenses, and finally how much you’ll have leftover.

Of the money left over, decide how much you want to put aside into a savings account and finally, how much expendable income remains. Whatever is left is yours to spend as you please!

Practice the 24-Hour Rule

Just because you know how much expendable income you have available to you doesn’t mean you should rush to blow it all in one place or on one item. As tempting as major sales can be, give yourself permission to really think about any expensive purchases before handing over your money.

This is where the 24-hour rule comes in handy. Essentially it boils down to giving yourself 24 hours to think about a large purchase before coming to a decision. Walk away from the store or exit the browser tab and sleep on it. If you still want it just as badly after 24 hours, you’ll feel better about your decision and less likely to regret it than had you impulsively charged it to your credit card.

Keep Your Receipts

There’s nothing worse than buyer’s remorse and feeling like you’ve just thrown your money out the window in exchange for something you don’t even want anymore. This is why it’s a good idea to get in the habit of keeping your receipts. Whether it’s a new dress or a microwave, so long as you still have the item in the original packaging (or in the case of clothing, haven’t removed the tags), you can almost always bring it back to the store and either get a full refund or store credit.

The same often applies to online shopping. Amazon makes returns easy (and you don’t have to pay a cent when sending back items) but you’d be surprised by how simple it is to return the items you’ve purchased online from other retailers too. Get in the habit of reading the return policy before making an online purchase to be safe, but generally speaking any online retailer with a brick and mortar location will let you return the items you purchased in store rather than having to ship them back.

Get Perks and Rewards for Shopping

If you’re going to spend money, you may as well be rewarded for it, right? From cashback to travel points and access to exclusive events, most banks and major credit cards offer a variety of perks that are absolutely worth taking advantage of. If you’re a frequent shopper at a specific store or chain of stores, it’s worth looking into any loyalty programs they may offer as well.

When you live in a city like Toronto surrounded by an incredible array of great shopping options, it can be tricky to control your spending. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable you’ll find shopping when you know that you’ve got your spending under control.

Top 5 Unusual Holiday Gift Shopping Ideas For Torontonians

The 2017 holiday season has officially arrived with snow and dramatic temperature drop. It might be cold and freezing, however, winter never gives GTA’s fashion lifestyle less shine, since stores and malls are always open for you to choose the perfect gift your significant someone. Here, on Street Chic, let’s talk about the top 5 gift shopping ideas here in Toronto. No more nagging, let’s get into it!

01. Deep Sea Sand Art

You want to give something unusual, and every time when someone points at it and you can proudly say it’s given by you?? Try this gift! Bring a calming presence to your office with this desk sculpture that forms natural landscapes with sand. Place this magical beauty on a bookshelf, desk, mantel, or coffee table, rotate the glass ring, and watch as delicate drifts of light, dark, and glittery golden sand shift into deserts, mountains, clouds, rain, oceans and smoke, all ebbing and flowing into one another. Check it out here.



02. Candles

Holiday is the best time for anyone to get cozy and relaxed in the sofa, doing nothing for the whole day! You definitely want that someone to be able to relax in a soothing and refreshing aroma this holiday season. Candles are always a great idea when it comes to a chic lifestyle. It brings the special holiday vibe to home, and of course, a great aroma to the rooms. Check out Diptyque

Or, try something less common: These hand-poured soy wax candles offer a remedy for homesick senses — Homesick Candles.


03. Green Herbal Tea Kit

A cup of tea is more than just a handy hot beverage. The warmth soothes your body, waiting for the tea to steep gives your mind a moment to rest, and the different herbs used can calm, stimulate or relax. This holistic tea set by Julie Pedersen invites you to sip from an array of nine herbs and three varieties of green tea from Japan, India, and Sri Lanka (there are two tins per type of tea).


Steep the loose leaf teas and herbs in the included, reusable tea bags made from biodegradable corn silk. Kit assembled in Canada.


04. Face Wash Device – Foreo Luna


If you are giving a gift to a beauty and makeup savvy, this is something that she/he will LOVE the most among all the gifts. Foreo Luna is a face washing device that rocked the the internet the whole year and has been dearly loved and adored by everyone based on the product reviews.


The unique combination of T-Sonic™ pulsations with silicone touch-points gently exfoliates dead skin cells and unclogs pores of makeup residue as well as 99.5% of dirt and oil, enhancing the absorption of your other skincare products. Foreo Luna comes in 3 different models, with cleansing brushes tailored to specific skin types. So, definitely give this to your ‘skincare expert’ friend, she will LOVE it!


05. Google Home

Struggling to find a gift to HIM? It’s not that difficult! Try something technical. Google home is one of the most talked and celebrated technical home device in 2017. It talks with you, and assist you to control your other home devices once you connect them. Thanks to Google, this Google home device is definitely a great idea for guys this holiday season.


shoe man dan at Parkdale Flea

Daniel Charkow is @Shoe_Man_Dan on Instagram

Last Saturday (09 Dec 2017), Street Chic met 17yr year old shoe designer, Daniel Charkow of Charkow Shoes. Daniel is a design prodigy now gaining popularity on Instagram as @Shoe_Man_Dan.  Let it be known that at the time of this writing the young shoemaker has but a thousand followers, and this author was #1001. But Street Chic predicts that by December 2018 this prolific young craftsman will have several thousand followers, and that number will climb to a quarter million devotees by the time he’s age 19, at which point he can legally celebrate. Why? He’s an interesting young fellow well focused on making high fashion footwear from found materials.

When an artist works with found items its because they glimpse something in these objects that nobody else can fathom, and when a clever kid can turn clutter into couture, its newsworthy.

On that Saturday morning we met Daniel near Queen and Dufferin and went for a tour of the Parkdale Flea to see if the young cobbler could find some crafty ingredients for his next creation.

Shoe Man Dan at Parkdale Flea, Queen and Dufferin

Street Chic thinks Daniel is pretty cool – we’ve got an eye for wild style and confident clothing arrangements. When Dan showed up for our meeting he was rocking a faux fur jacket and well-altered converse running shoes over monogrammed socks. The tape across the tongue of his shoes says clearly ‘do not reuse this bag’!

shoe man dan on Instagram

Inside the Parkdale Flea, Saturday 09 December

At each vendor’s booth, Daniel would invariably look at the footwear for sale, and small shoe racks were like super magnets for this young designer.

shopping for shoes at Parkdale Flea in Toronto

Occasionally, and only after some prompting, Shoe Man Dan would share insights on the makes and models available on the shelf.

camo pattern pony hair bootsat Parkdale Flea

A fashion paradox, these size 6 green Jungle pattern camo patterned ladies heeled boots had pony hair fronts but braided leather backs with studded metal rivets. The vendor wanted sixty dollars, but this author reckons a crisp fifty-dollar bill would have secured them, tax free.

pony hair boot braided leather backs with studs, rivets

At this point in life, having only been a sentient being for a few years now, Dan is still sponging up knowledge about shoes. He scrutinizes all types of footwear looking for manufacturer’s secrets.
Already Daniel knows more about shoes than anyone else his age. He’s pursued shoemaking at the Art and Sole Academy in Toronto under the guidance of master instructor Jennifer Alison, where he took his skills to the next level and learned how to make shoes from scratch.

Last summer, Daniel completed the 2016 Summer Design Program at Parsons School of Design in New York City, and afterwards worked with the Brooklyn Shoe Space creating a comfortable men’s sneaker.

When shopping for shoes, the craftsman in Daniel looks at how the bottom is affixed to the top.  What holds the body of the shoe to its sole? Is the upper part fastened to the bottom inside the shoe with a Blake Stitch? or a Goodyear stitch? Or is there exterior welting to bind them together? Or were the shoes simply cemented together? as above. Daniel showed us examples of all types of modern manufacturing, and pointed out shoes that are very high quality but low design, and others that are flashy but destined to fall apart relatively quickly.

Inside the Parkdale Flea, which had only just opened its doors, and where the only other occupants were other vendors setting up their booths, Daniel led Street Chic on a quest for shoe crafting components and shared some little know facts about the business of making and selling footwear.

Roamer handbags at Parkdale Flea
Daniel Charkow is serious about sustainability and likes recycling old kitsch into new kicks.

old dining chair at Parkdale FleaIn the top corner of another vendors booth, or more accurately in the permanent workspace behind the temporary retail table, Daniel spotted his first real find of the morning. He pointed out an old dining room chair that was ‘showing us its heels’.

Inside Public Butter in Toronto

Next it was off to Public Butter at 1290 Queen St W, which is one of the finest vintage stores in Toronto. This shop is right around the corner from the flea market and easily spotted by the heap of rusting bicycles opposite the front door. At this venue Daniel got a second chance to shop for shoe-making ingredients.

fushia leather jacket at vintage store in TorontoPublic Butter has a vast collection of vintage clothing all organized by ‘type of thing’ and generally not sized or sorted into any subcategories. That makes the store rather ill-suited for hunting specifics, but perfect for finding surprises, and Daniel’s eyes were open.

finding surprises in vintage store in toronto

In here, Daniel palmed antique textiles while contemplating their potential as shoes. He handled dresses, suit jackets, sweaters and thick vinyl overcoats, but didn’t get too excited until he hit upon an old leather jacket in the back of the store.

Daniel Charkow at Public Butter

Buried deep in the back racks, a decades old Mount Allison high school football jacket caught Daniel’s eye. The deep burgundy jacket was in bad shape with the inner lining torn to shreds, and it was priced to sell at $20.

And so it came to pass that this author bought the jacket and donated its burgundy body to the young lad to see what comes … He can keep and sell the shoes himself, however, I’d like to see them auctioned off on Street Chic.

Daniel Charkow custom shoes from football jacket

Just before we published this article, Daniel sent a sketch showing the shoes he’s making with the old Mount Allison High School football jacket.

shiny costume - street performers in Markham

Fashioning Superhero and Street Performer Costumes

This post is a bit of a departure from Street Chic’s usual look-book blog style, but superheroes are people too, and they are very much on-the-street and deserve some recognition for their fashion contributions. Talented people hoping to find success as street performers, or as superheroes must adopt costumes that accommodate their superpowers, but also their outfits must conform to loosely defined fashion principles which are proven to impact human consciousness.

Superheroes Make Their Own Costumes

Peter Parker homemade spiderman suit in movie Homecoming

Peter Parker’s first Spider-Man costume as seen in the movie Homecoming was a little rough around the edges.

Peter Parker’s costume-making episode and his first less-than-professional looking outfits as seen in the recent Spider-Man Homecoming movie was interesting and strangely indicative of the modern costume manufacturing marketplace.  The same spirit of costume making creativity is glimpsed in Kick-Ass in the scenes where Nicholas Cage and Chloe Grace Moretz, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl were still perfecting their homemade attire.  Costume making scenes transcend the central character’s story in the movie. These stories mirror the frustrations of modern-day performer who cannot find a suitable bodysuit or costume in their city or hometown. They must send measurements online. In the movie, there was a secrecy element, but in reality there are not many businesses who’ll spend any time creating outfits for street performers, or weapon encrusted gadget suits for superheroes. Oftentimes the performers themselves must fashion their own attire, and its with that in mind that we’ve created this post.

Both Marvel and DC Comics Superheroes Costumes are Colour Coded

On one level, bright colours generally represent the forces of good, while darker shades denote an evil orientation and purple suited characters are chaotic or just plain crazy. But more interestingly, truly good superheroes tend to choose the primary colours red, blue, and yellow, (think Superman, Spider-Man, and Iron Man) while villains are relegated to secondary colours green, purple, and orange (Green Goblin, Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor). The rule gets confused with characters who borrow from both ends of the spectrum (Magneto, Hulk, Sinestro), but fans would agree these characters do so because they are themselves morally challenged.

Superman made his Costume in the Great Depression

the original superman costumeThe very idea of a super hero or ‘supernatural hero’ shedding clothing to don a power suit really coalesced with Superman’s debut in 1938, and his costume set the gold standard for everything that came after. He had the powerful physique, the logo displayed proudly on his chest, and bright, contrasting colors – form, iconography, color.

Superman originally wore red trunks (that look like modern underwear) outside his pants and this evolved from the circus ‘Strongman’ characters’ costumes of the 1930s, and was adopted by creators to signify strength. The red trunks have shrunk over the years and are now just a red belt worn over a blue body suit. But there were no ‘body suits’ known to man in the great depression. The powder blue suit you see in the photo was originally made of silk or ‘hose’ as it was called when worn by men as leggings. The first such full body ‘jump suit’ appeared years later for paratroopers and civilian parachuting enthusiasts.

Superman didn’t have Spandex Vinyl in the 1930s

Modern street performers have a leg up on the classic superheroes of the 50s, 60s and 70s because they have better materials for their body suits. Spandex World here in Toronto sells stretchy vinyl that will spring back to shape after being pulled in one of two directions. Other Spandex textile isotopes will stretch in all four directions. The two-direction material’s non-elastic plane is handy for shaping parts of the costume where a constricting force would soon become annoying. But the downside of these many new materials is their flammability. They are practically made of oil, and as such no laminates will protect their wearers from these suits’ chemical volatility.

Isabella Hoops Chooses Cotton and Leather for her Fire Show Costumes

Calen Jackson as Pyromeo Isabella Hoops EntertainmentNight time costumes created for the Northfire show are made of cotton or leather as they are the least flammable material.” Isabella Hoops jugglers and acrobats are well known throughout Southern Ontario Festivals in part because of their distinctive costumes. “These are hand wash only, and their stitching and materials are inspected before every show.”

When this author asked, “Where did you get your costumes?’, Isabella Hoops replied, “All of the Spin Starlet costumes are made by Jessica Mary Clayton, a girl in our group. The Snowflake Kid’s costume(s) was made by my costume designer Missy Westgate of Faery Tale Designs. She is amazing and has been such a great help.”

Isabella went on to scold this author when asked about an online source for costumes, “You cannot shop online for street performer’s costumes! You wouldn’t want people to have the same costume as you would you? All of our costumes are 100% unique, and most were custom made for the character. Some outfits cost less than $100 to create, while others cost us $250 and more, it depends on the finishing.” And by that she means the level of quality and whether or not the suit was made to last, or was just created for one or two appearances at a theme show.Isabella Hoops street performer at Snaokflake Kid at markham festival of lights 2017

The recent Toronto Guardian article, Street Performers Ignite 2017 Markham Festival of Lights shows Isabella Hoops as the Snowflake Kid working her hula hoops and then returning in a black cotton bodysuit to join the cast performing their acrobatic Fire Show. Pyromeo is the male lead in the show, and he wears a commanding black leather commode with a double-breasted suit jacket vest underneath.

You can however buy costume components online

Here are the parts and pieces of a famous costume that come up as Suggestions in Amazon if you buy a specific pair of red cotton long underwear that has web-like lines printed across its surface. The same suggestions arise if you buy ‘Steam-punk’ welding goggles.

Spiderman costume component sold online at Amazon
More interesting are the gadgets available today. Wireless phone headsets used by office receptionists can be concealed inside headgear and used to send and receive communications that would astound yesterday’s superheroes, and of course these can also be used to give great advantage to street performers and sports mascots entertaining crowds.

Monster Muffin Clothing for Roller Derby Girls and Wrestlers

Monster Muffin - roller derby costumes in Toronto

Designer Lori Peltonen aka Monster Muffin or ‘Muffy’ is a product of Fashion Design at George Brown College in Toronto.  She’s a fashion designer turned roller derby star and so of course she makes costumes for her team and many other players.

Monster Muffin - Roller Derby costume

Monster Muffin skates with Team Ontario and Toronto Roller Derby All-Stars.

Monster Muffin Clothing and Lori Peltonen herself made quite a few appearances at 2016 Hogtown Wrestling matches in Toronto where her suits were worn by several athletes in the ring.  In every match Lori watched her homemade garments carefully to see how they performed.  In August 2017, the Hogtown Wrestling league was bought or otherwise acquired by Demand Lucha and now Lori is actively working with many of these wrestlers who are unique for having colourful Spandex suits with matching headgear. Lucha wrestlers commonly wear masks which adds another element to the design mix.

3D Printing at My3DAgency Tests Homemade Superhero Suits!

superhero suits 3D printing at My3D agencyGet your superhero costume 3D printed for the perfect design and aesthetic testing before appearing in the suit, or even making the darn thing.   In a the superheroes section of the My3DAgency website the copy reads, Using the latest in 3D printing technology, our site will allow you to 3D print yourself on a selected superhero body – all we need are photos and your body style preference. 3D printing is also known in many industries as rapid prototyping and that ‘s exactly what you’re doing when making an action figure wearing a neoprene jumpsuit.

Winter Fashion: Fur, Tartan, Oversize And More Trends for Canadians

In a word, winter is bleak in Canada. Once it makes its arrival, there are only months (almost half a year, actually) of darkness and freezing ahead. The only thing you may want to do is stay cozy in bed the whole day with hair thrown to the back and pajamas from top to bottom. However, finding pieces that make you want to leave the house and be a social human are an important part of, well, survival.


Let me make this easier for you. Street Chic has rounded up the 4 winter styles that Canadians LOVE from deep in the hearts, and have been applying every single winter, just because they work the best with an extreme weather here in Canada. Let’s get into them, and honey remember this, celebrities are not the only ones who can look fab in cold.



Unless you are allergic too furry things, it’s always a classic style to put fur on the body during winters. They can easily become your statement pieces and light up the whole look. Surprisingly, fur can really finish an outfit off, especially paired with a heavy sweater and boots (for a more mix-and-match feel).



Don’t we know all about tartans, as Canadians? The tartan trend has been coming back on fire in 2017. For reasons no one will ever understand, tartan tends to be pigeonholed as a “holiday” look. It shows off the chicness and sophistication of women and never falls out from the list of trends that are the easiest to style.



While traditional fitted styles have obviously earned a place among trends in the previous seasons, celebrities like Rihanna, and the Kardashians have definitely brought the oversize trend back in fashion. And they are ruling the fashion world with a special street style into them. Get a oversized piece (hoodies are the best) and chic your way up this winter!

Tips to rock that chic winter style in 2017

Ugh, that’s cold… Snow has finally arrived in Toronto. Cold weather is officially knocking at the door. Fashion lovers, don’t be afraid! We are not going to compromise on styles and fashion. Today, let’s talk about how to stay chic in 2017.  Remember these tips and fit them with your own personal styles. You will rock the winter fashion as a pro!



The key to a stay fashionable in cold seasons is to stay warm first. The furs are a great element to include in your winter wardrobe. They are comfy, warming and fashionable.


It keeps your neck warm, while looking stylish.


If you are afraid of looking too overdressed with this element on your body, you can simply go with a fur hood on your jacket or coat.


Military Green

Across social media and street styles, blogger and editors are seemingly obsessed with military green, using olive-inspired shade to add a utilitarian touch to their looks.

This is a great shade for winter, since it reminds people of the vivid atmosphere of spring and summer.

Also it adds an interesting (but subtle) tone to grey and black basics without making too much of statement.


Where to buy??

Canada Goose sounds like something you must have to survive winter in Toronto. If you still don’t have it yet, definitely get one!

If you don’t like this colour, you can always find some other colours from this brand.

You can basically get from everywhere, but we suggest Yorkdale, since they have the biggest selection of colours and choices. Or you can simple make it convenient to just order online.