The best things made in Canada right now: 7 designers and beauty brands you need to know about
With so many labels to keep up with across the fashion capitals, it can be easy to forget that we’ve got some pretty stellar designers right here in our own backyard. Canadian fashion has been cultivating its cool factor for the past few years with a plethora of homegrown talent coming to fruition and launching coveted niche brands.
From soft, supple leather handbags, to premium t-shirts, to luxuriously blended organic skincare, Canadians know a thing or two about creating quality products. In honour of Canada Day we’ve rounded up some of our favourite local talents who are doing great things from coast to coast. So pull up a Muskoka chair, crack a brew, and enjoy the best that our beautiful country has to offer!
They say that eyes are the windows to the soul, but for women, we’re pretty sure a look inside our handbags would be way more revealing. Makeup, wallet, keychains, kids toys, doggie bags—the clutter can be endless. It’s a conundrum that best friend duo Alison Booth and Alison Lovell (yes, they share a name—the story writes itself) decided to tackle with their respective backgrounds in accessories design and art curation. The result was a practical and polished line of bags, which incorporate sumptuous materials like suede and faux croc, and are coated in a variety of colours, from bubble gum pink to tawny taupe. Designed and manufactured in Toronto, the bags feature signature oversize gold zippers, which in addition to making for a subtle hint of bling, also ensure that no matter how chaotic the contents of your bag are they’ll stay safely tucked inside its sleek and chic exterior.
A recent graduate of Ryerson’s Fashion Design program, Mary Young’s passion for knits led her to begin designing lingerie that was soft, sexy, and, most importantly, comfortable. That feeling of not being able to wait to take your bra off the minute you get home? Young’s hand-made collections are sure to throw that habit for a loop, as they are specifically designed for women who are on-the-go who want to enjoy their downtime without having to change into frumpy underwear. Using fabrics like jersey and details like relaxed elastics, Young’s pieces encourage women to appreciate their bodies’ natural shapes, while still maintaining a high level of quality and style. Now that sounds like an idea we can definitely get into bed with.
No stranger to the fashion circuit, Beaufille sister duo Chloé and Parris Gordon are taking their brand to the next level with a brand spankin’ new line of jewellery. Previously focusing on bold, statement pieces to complement their line of masculine-meets-feminine aesthetics, they’re now turning their attention to dreamier designs. The collection, perennial as opposed to seasonal, explores the realm of fine, delicate jewellery with materials indigenous to Canada. Gemstones in aquamarine and ruby hues are subtly affixed to cocktail rings and half moon earrings, with pieces like sterling silver triangular chokers making for more accessibly priced items. Whether you’re headed to the ballet or a BBQ, the Gordon sisters have got you covered.
Available at Satine, Augustina, and Gilding the Lily. For more information, visit beaufille.com.
It’s a widely accepted fact that the perfect t-shirt is an urban legend—finding a design with that coveted relaxed fit which is also made from quality material and that won’t cost you a small fortune is pretty much impossible. It’s an issue that friends Rami Helali, Benjamin Sehl, and Mackenzie Yeates, saw as an opportunity within the industry, leading them to found Kotn in pursuit of the perfect tee. Using 100% organically grown extra-long staple Egyptian cotton, they have expanded their operations to now include women’s styles, offering a classic tailored crew neck, low V neck, and long line tunic. With a price point of $35, these tees manage to not compromise on quality, cut, or comfort due to their farm-to-consumer approach to production. Expect us to be living in them all summer long!
Organic has long-since been all the rage for groceries, but it’s also begun to make its way into skincare. Working with high quality natural ingredients, Halifax-born founder Julie Clark started off hand blending small batches of beauty products out of her apartment to try and cure her own issues with eczema, asthma and allergies. With the ultimate goal of developing a holistic skincare regime that could be individually tailored to customers specific needs, Clark also often includes local produce and seasonal farmer-friendly ingredients into her concoctions. PA products are also packaged in recyclable and/or biodegradable materials with a percentage of yearly sales donated to the ‘Canadian Organic Growers’, ‘Canadian Honey Council’ and ‘1 % for the Planet’. Feeling good in your skin while also helping out the planet? Green beauty FTW!
Black is the new black? Montreal-based brand Noir Cosmetics thinks so, and they’ve created an entire line in various shades of the colour to prove it. From shadowy palettes to cat eye flicks, black makeup is the beauty equivalent of the LBD. Timeless, powerful, and a staple of any makeup bag, Noir’s products will carry you through from sunset to sunrise, not to mention their waterproof, extra long-wear eyeliner is a great option for those dockside afternoons.
Ryerson alum Leah Alexandra’s inspiration for her eponymous jewellery line came from the seaside views taken in on summers spent by the sandy shores of Cape Cod. Using such precious materials as Sterling Silver, 24 Karat Gold Vermeil, gemstones, and freshwater pearls, all designs are handcrafted in Vancouver just a stone’s throw from the beach. Spotted on celebs like Jessica Alba and Reese Witherspoon, the pieces have a timeless quality to them, such as these ear cuffs which are versatile enough to complement everything from jean cutoffs to a summer wedding ensemble.