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!

mwc

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.

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.

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.

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!

 

Fur

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.

Equestrian Fashion at Royal Horse Show in Horse Palace

Equestrian Fashion at the 2017 Royal Winter Fair

Royal fashion is still on display and very much in vogue among competitors at the annual Royal Winter Fair – Horse Show in Toronto. On Friday November 3rd 2017 Street Chic went inside the Horse Palace on the Exhibition Grounds to get a glimpse of the people inside North America’s foremost indoor equestrian event.

The Horse Palace is a modern stables complex built around an indoor riding ring, and this sand bottom arena is one of four competition venues at the show.  The two-story building is cut into rows of stalls and accommodates about three hundred and fifty horses. Various riding stable businesses set up shop to buy and sell hay, riding gear and the same horses for sale in Horse Canada magazine. All through the building visitors can spot celebrities including our nation’s past and present Olympians, and other top caliber riders and their celebrity horses. The Royal Horse Show offers these professionals the highest level competition in Equestrian sport – specifically Show Jumping, Indoor Eventing and Dressage.

Below is Dee Scott from Forest Hill Farm wearing her riding attire. Her outfit may look uniform to the untrained eye, but equestrians are particularly stylish people and seek brand labels and the latest fashions just like other athletes.

Forest Hill Farm - Dee Scott

This young rider is wearing Tucci Boots, Struck Breeches and an R.J. Classic riding jacket.

Equestrian Fashion at Horse Palace

Boots are necessary on slippery floors inside the Horse Palace

Struck Apparel are leaders in the search for more comfortable riding clothing.  This rider told us that these were her favourite riding pants because of the fit.  The company sponsors many equestrian riders and competitions to help research better products and they were among the many exhibitors with goods on display and for sale in the Exhibitor hall opposite the Ricoh Coliseum..

R.J Classic Jacket Softshell Collection combines traditional styling with athletically inspired fabrics to create the ideal show coat for riders of all levels. The machine washable lightweight softshell fabric is soft and stretchy. The garment has a mesh body lining for additional comfort. This style features three front buttons, double vented back, and two front pockets and retails for approx $75 CAD.

Dee was wearing her Tucci Boots and they aren’t cheap – even used riding boots can cost over $1000Tucchi Boots - leather riding boots at The Royal

 

This rider’s Sam Shield helmet would cost approximately $150 retail.  The Shadowmatte Pro is made of a fancy poly-carbonate composition with a reinforced chin strap. The entire outfit would retail for between $1800 and $2400 with the boots being the most expensive ingredient.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair takes place every November in the City of Toronto.

Horses exercising at Horse Palace

Even though this venue was the scene of an intense competition, some of the riders on the teams were dressed for more recreational riding. Traditional tweed jackets look great when hacking, and pair up perfectly with a classic pair of jodhpurs. Men and women wear coloured ties to finish off their outfits.

Some of the more prominent equestrian fashion retailers at the show included Cavalier Equestrian, Greenhawk, and Pleasant Ridge.  All of these stores are essentially the Canadian wholesale distributor of English and Western equestrian equipment, most of which is made in other countries and the best stuff is usually handcrafted in Europe.

Carly Corbett - Whistle Jacket

Below is Linda with her daughter Kerry Lin Mercer wearing her Tredstep Symphony Style Show Competition Jacket – Navy which cost $210.61 CDN when purchased new on their website. She also has Tredstep Solo Pro Riding Socks, which are CAD 16.19 and Tredstep Dressage Pro Competition Gloves – in black which are CAD 58.92 new.

rider coats and boots at The Horse Show

 

The red poppy broach is not compulsory, but omnipresent all the same. The red poppy has been used to commemorate fallen soldiers (among the Allies) since World War I, and although its not part of the official dress code  (it would lose all meaning if it was obligatory), the poppy is seen on EVERY competitors’ riding attire because horse culture is inextricably intertwined with martial rituals, AND because it looks terrific on navy coloured wool riding coats.

fashionable lady at The Horse Show
The horse owners come dressed for success and wear designer clothes at all times – even when getting their horses’ shoes changed for competitions, at the farriers shop on site.

horse owner is very fashionable - horse as fashion accessory

Equestrian is a lifestyle as much as a sport.  The riding arena is filled with fashion items from Arista Equestrian, F.O.A.L Equestrian, Greenhawk Vancouver Island, and Victoria Saddlery.

Here is a story published in Toronto Guardian which explores the sunshine and good vibrations inside the Horse Palace during the annual Horse Show.

Save

Raymi the Minx with Sabrina Melendez at On the Other Hand jewellery

Raymi at On the Other Hand Jewellery in Leslieville

Street Chic was there on Weds Oct 25th 2017 when Raymi Lauren met Karen MacRae and Sabrina A Melendez inside On the Other Hand Jewellery at 1015 Queen St E. in Toronto.  It was epic afternoon as the OTOH jewellery designers spent their lunch hour laughing and playing dress-up with their jewellery. Together all three got in the act of Show and Tell with their own creations and pieces from other artists for sale on consignment in the store. The impromptu dress-up party was conceived with the intention of giving away pieces that Raymi the super blogger can wear in photos and at parties forevermore.

Yes it was a gift show, but not really, as Raymi the Minx was signed up to promote the store and that’s worth something. Raymi is a name brand blogger in Toronto with thousands of Instagram followers and a huge active audience that both loves and hates her blog antics. Raymi’s portal and online persona has opened many doors but closed a few too in her personal life.  When she decides to write about a business it does help the website get found by more people; the site performs a little better on the web because of her witty prose and her legacy somehow ennobles the pictures and expands the presence of the business.

Raymi with fashion jewellery book at OTOH in Leslieville

Just like each piece of high fashion jewellery in the store, Raymi’s blog posts also last forever.  Her photos and contextual anecdotes are stored in many places online and her personal brand has many channels inc Instagram Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube of course, but also Pinterest, Tumblr and Ello.

Laughter erupts! Put three charismatic ladies in a room full of jewellery and just watch the fun happen. This author and photographer should have rolled video.

party at OTOH in Leslieville

When they did get serious about matching Raymi’s different looks with various OTOH luxurious accessories it was intense; despite being a small shop, there’s too much to look at and learn about in an hour long lunchtime visit.  And there was a lesson taught about matching clothes with colourful bling.

bling inside On the Other Hand jewellery in leslieville Toronto

Jewellery has a purpose, and it goes to work every hour its worn in public

What is jewellery and what ‘work’ does it do?  Karen and Sabrina believe that jewellery goes to work on your behalf the moment you walk outside the door of your home. Every minute you spend outside you’re making a statement about who you are and it should be a fashion statement. Owning and wearing a good wardrobe and being able to coordinate clothing is the key to success for many cutthroat professions. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do (think lawyer, business executive, college teacher), looking sharp will improve how others perceive you and TRUST you with more responsibility.

While most good jewelry does not require coordination, if you really want to dress to impress, you must be pickier with your gemstone jewelry. OTOH offers an array of beautiful jewelry with vibrant colors.

Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, citrines and amethyst gemstones have a distinguished flavor and appeal that can be easily added to everyday fashion clothing styles. For best results, the red to gold jewellery always looks best when worn next to cool colors such as blue jeans and powder blue, light green or light purple blouses, or white T shirts.

Gold jewelry and onyx work beautifully with with black or white dresses.  Show me a lady that doesn’t own a black dress, and most Canadian women today have white dresses in storage for special occasions in the summertime too.  These are classic looks that never go out of style and their timeless appeal can always be accentuated with the right jewellery.

Gemstones can be seasonal?  This is an interesting idea as they are of course minerals and as such they know no seasons, but all the same colorful gemstones can mirror the seasons. Light green emerald earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings  can set off a spring dress, while darker emeralds represent a more mature summer season. Rubies, topaz, amber and even garnet look great with fall coloured clothes and lastly cold blue sapphires and icy diamonds in silver settings can really celebrate winter.

Sabrina A Melendez gave Raymi a silver ring inlaid with Bocote (wood)

Some of the most recent works of art to be created at OTOH in Leslieville are Sabrina’s silver rings with Bocote wood inserts. Bocote is a hard, dark wood from South America that’s often used for making knife handles and musical instruments.  Sabrina uses it to make jewellery and has written an informative OTOH blog post about using unconventional materials like wood to make jewellery and that includes ‘breaking the mold’ by using semi-precious Bocote.

Sabrina is a Swiss trained metal worker who has somehow perfected the art of cutting the very hard and brittle Bocote wood into perfect circles to fit inside silver rings which are then seamlessly folded in such a way as to hold the attractive black wooden insert into place.

Raymi Toronto wears her Bocote wood and silver ring made by Sabrina Melendez at On the Other hand jewellery.

Raymi wears her Bocote wood and silver ring made by Sabrina Melendez at On the Other hand jewellery.

It is quite a remarkable ring, and neither Raymi nor this author could figure out exactly how Sabrina gets the Bocote wood into the ring’s interior. It remains a Sabrina Melendez trade secret.

And then at the end of her lunch hour adventure, life got even better for Raymi as Sabrina doubled down and gave the blogger a special silver tube necklace on a thick Japanese cord and clasp.
raymi gets a necklace from Sabrina Melendez
Raymi with Sabrina Melendez at on the Other Hand jewellery
There are a lot of places in Toronto that offer custom jewellery, businesses like the Devil’s Workshop, Anice Jewellery, Courage My Love, Strada Jewellery, Made You Look Jewellery, Fair Trade and Zarla all have unique qualities, but On the Other Hand Jewellery is the whole package when it comes to designing and making custom jewellery to suit your personal brand.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save