By Lydia, Miss Teen Halton Region 2017
I see fashion as a strong form of expression. Your choice in what you wear each day is what you’re presenting to the world, and what you’re allowing pre-judgements of you to be based on. Variety in the fashion industry introduces individuality and ensures everyone gets to choose what they want others to see of themselves. From fancy gowns to ripped jeans to boho skirts, there is something out there for everyone. Having the freedom to express yourself through fashion is perhaps the richest opportunity out there, because it is entirely up to you what you want to portray yourself as on any given day. It is a lot of fun being able to step into a different life through different trends and styles, and I got to do just that with my sister and a friend on Brant Street in Downtown Burlington, Ontario.
Brant Street shopping district stretches from the heart of Burlington all the way to the pier by the edge of Lake Ontario. It is home to coffee shops, restaurants, banks, Tim Hortons (Canadian, eh?), fashion designers, tattoo parlours, and even a mini movie theatre! All the business owners I have approached on Brant Street have a love for the Burlington community and have shown me endless support through my journey to Miss Teenage Canada. On Wednesday afternoon, my two gorgeous models and I visited two stores on this scenic street, Forever Summer and Mirella’s Ladies Boutique, to showcase Burlington fashion.
Forever Summer sponsored me with a gorgeous two-piece swimsuit, supplied by a New Zealand brand, Piha, for Miss Teenage Ontario. Forever Summer truly captures the essence of the “beach life”, and every time I walk into the store I feel like it’s time for sun, sand and surf — never mind the actual weather outside. The owner, Valerie Dow, always goes out of her way to pursue the perfect summer look for anyone searching.
My sister Hester, the first model of the day, is 18 years old. She grew up in New Zealand living by the beach, so beach wear is very familiar to her. Hester is an expert when it comes to “slaying” on the beach! Her look consists of a woven bag — perfect to carry all your beach gear — a thin cover-up, a wide brimmed white hat, and a gorgeous striped bikini from Seafolly Australia.
Natasha, the next model of the day, is 18 years old and grew up in Dubai. She is fun, compassionate, and beautiful inside and out. Check out her look! She has a nice mini woven clutch, super chic round sunglasses, a black and white striped bikini and stylish black lace pants. Natasha was so excited to be wearing the outfit she picked. It made her feel confident and fierce. Fashion is powerful!
When I put on my chosen beach outfit, I felt as if I was instantly transformed into one of the beach models featured in magazines. It was so much fun to pose for pictures in the elegant and sleek black romper from Rapz and broad pink hat.
Mirella’s Ladies Boutique on Brant Street, was the second destination of our modeling trip. And just like, in seconds we were transported from the beach to an evening gown extravaganza. Mirella herself was there to greet us and was excited to hear about the upcoming pageant. Mirella’s boutique sponsored me with my evening gown, cocktail dress and interview wear for the Miss Teenage Ontario pageant, and for that I am truly grateful. Mirella’s customer service is absolutely exceptional and she never lets anyone leave the store without going out of her way to help them find what they’re looking for.
Natasha and Hester both found the perfect dresses they wished they had known about at prom! Hester modeled a gorgeous, slim bright red gown and Natasha posed in a black and white evening gown. They loved the dresses so much that they couldn’t resist taking a selfie for Snapchat!
I wore a nude body tight gown by J S Collections, the same brand as my white evening gown from Miss Teenage Ontario. The gown was exquisite, perfect for a gala or fancy dinner event.
Our trip to Brant Street was exciting, adventurous and extremely fulfilling, but the fun didn’t end there. We made our way to one final destination, Glamjulz where Monica, the owner of this unique jewellery shop is the most positive and outgoing person you could hope to meet. Her whole business runs off her bright aura! She never fails to wow Canada with her julz. She is providing me with all the jewelry for my entire week in Toronto for Miss Teenage Canada! Her jewelry takes any outfit to the next level, and the best part is she makes custom designs! She is modeling one of her amazing looks.
Our Wednesday fashion excursion underscored how strong of a personal expression fashion really is and how much an outfit can speak to others. The girls and I went from beach girls, to princesses, to bling divas, all in one afternoon on Brant St in Burlington.