Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boho Accessories

Lynn is a photographer and also works at My Sister's Place.    The organization had a table set up at The Metropolitan Artisans' Market featuring items for sale that were made by some of the women who use their services.  I like the overall boho style she has going on, from the feather necklace to the chunky rings and bracelets and lace-up boots.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Independent Downtown Business Bites the Dust

I learned this week that Apocalypse, a cool little store located at 355 Talbot Street, is closing its doors.  The owner, Bryan Ramsden, has tried to make a go of it over the last year, and it's been difficult, as it is for a lot of downtown independent businesses.  I've mentioned his store in a few of my blog posts, and even though he carries primarily men's clothing and accessories, I would stop in to have a look and a chat, and see what he had on display in the gallery space at the rear of the store.   I purchased my much-loved Palladium boots there.   His store is located in the same block that is home to Frilly Lizard, Commander Salamander, From Mars, and the excellent restaurant Kantina.  Often I will get asked by colleagues who live in the suburbs where I buy my clothing and when I've tried to explain where these stores are located I'm met with a blank stare.  It is the sad reality of London that while we are told that Downtown is on the upswing, and more new businesses are starting up, the majority of the population live in the suburbs, and spend their money in the suburbs, except if they happen to work downtown, attend an event at the JLC, or, they make their annual pilgrimage to Victoria Park for Sunfest.  People I work with have said to me, "I never go downtown.  Why would I?"

As someone who has lived, worked, and shopped downtown for the last 25 or so years, and makes a point of promoting businesses and activities going on downtown on this blog, it makes me sad to hear things like that.  Ladies and gentlemen of City Hall, there is something seriously wrong here that no amount of brightly-coloured metal trees or two hours free parking on Saturdays is going to fix.  I wish I had the answer.  

But, back to my original theme, which is the closing of a store that added another element of funkiness to downtown.   Bryan is closing the doors this Thursday (June 30th), and everything in the store is 25% off, with a larger discount if  you're paying cash.   Stop in and have a look around, say hello.  There was still a good selection of cool kicks, hats, watches and shirts when I was in on Saturday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

At the Fringe

Continuing with the theme of guys showing some personality in their style--caught these two as they were leaving the Spriet Theatre in the Covent Garden Market after seeing a play that is part of the Fringe Festival.  You can't tell in the photo, but the shoes on the guy on the right are striped blue and white. 

If you haven't "Fringed" yet,  you still have until Sunday to see a play, or maybe two.  My favourite so far has been "Earshot", starring London's Justin Peter Quesnelle--an amazing one-man show that is smartly written, well-directed and superbly acted.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Outside the Diner

Lately I've noticed a few more guys downtown that are taking some risks and doing their own thing style-wise.  Jodhpur leggings and metallic docs may not be for everyone, but this guy pulls it off with aplomb.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Seen on the Street During Nuit Blanche

This performer from HerciniArts Collective did not choose the most flattering place to drape herself, but she looked very pretty doing it.
"A Gaze Returned", by artist Charles Vincent (whom I remember from when he used to go by "Chaz") was installed in the window of the Metropolitan Artisans' Market
Facepainter extraordinaire, Lindsay, showed off her wings
While Marina demonstrated her dexterity with a hoop
AudioForge, which was a combination of metal and music featuring Blacksmiths/metal artists Scott McKay (in photo above) and Jeff Werkmeister, and musicians Jeremy Hobbs and Tom Heyda.  The combination of the music, the rhythm of metal striking metal, and the sparks from the welding torches had a hypnotic effect and many people stood for a long time in the warm night entranced by the spectacle outside the John Labatt Centre.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Art and Culture Overload!

Anyone who is visiting the Forest City for the first time this weekend would most likely come away with the impression that London is an undiscovered hotbed of cultural activity.  Car Free Weekend, The Fringe Festival, Nuit Blanche, BealArt show, Kid's Expo, K.D. Lang, and, even Snoop Dogg.  The mind boggles.  I tried to get to as many of these as possible (missed K.D and the Kid's Expo), and while I did not see Snoop Dogg, I, and anyone else downtown last night, certainly heard him.  Many of us wondered what happened to that 11:00 pm noise bylaw that requires an amazing band from Chile to stop performing at Sunfest precisely at 11:00 pm but allows Snoop Dogg to carry on long past midnight.  But I digress.....

Since the focus of my blog is what people are wearing on the street (or what I'm wearing), today's post features a couple of recent purchases from local artists.  Yesterday, I happened upon a booth set up on Dundas Street near the Central Library featuring the designs of Hazel Jane (this is the name on her business card--I have no idea if her name actually is Hazel Jane).  Along with some very pretty silk tops and skirts were some fabulously funky skirts and belts made from recycled leather.   I came away with this:
It has a bit of a "Xena, Warrior Princess" kind of thing going on, does it not?  Aside from that, the colour combination is gorgeous.  Each of her belts are one of a kind, and I could have easily picked out more than one if the budget had allowed.  Hazel Jane has a page on Facebook, and the booth will be there today for Day 2 of Car Free weekend.  Tell her the Forest City Fashionista sent you.
Some of the recycled leather skirts by Hazel Jane

Another artist who was camped out in the street this weekend is Matthew (of the Connell Family according to his business card).  His jewellery line is called Proper Copper, and he can be found some weekends at the Metropolitan Artisan's Market.  He designs unique and beautiful copper rings, bracelets, necklaces and abstract metal work, and is a fascinating guy to talk to.  He has been able to do what many artisans only dream of, that is, living strictly off of his art.  Mind you, in order to do so, he has scaled back his living expenses to a level that most of us would call "spartan", but you can't deny the appeal of spending your days doing what you love, and talking to people who are interested in your work.  I would never be able to simplify my life to the extent that he has (I love my clothes and shoes too much), but I admire his commitment to living an eco-friendly, art-driven life.  
Matthew Connell doing what he loves
The neckpiece I purchased from Matthew a few weeks ago

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's All About the Socks

So even though I encourage people to wear less black and more colour, especially in the summer, it appears that I am ignoring my own advice.  In the case of the outfit above, it was all built around the socks, which are one of my favourite things right now.  The socks are from the Uber Cool Stuff booth at the Metropolitan Artisans' Market.  They have just enough lycra so they stay up where they are supposed to be all day, but not cut off your circulation.  I swear that the pattern on them looks like the Atari Space Invaders video game creatures, although the store owner thinks they're supposed to be skulls.  I'm voting for the Space Invaders, which makes them way cooler than skulls (which have been done to death, ha, get it?)  Take a look at the closeup below-- tell me those don't look like little space invaders?
As for the rest of the outfit:   El Naturalista heels available at From Mars (very comfy, and they have ankle straps!), my favourite standby skirt, a t-shirt from the Balisi outlet store, sweater from Frilly Lizard and a scrabble tile necklace from Pieces of Me Pendants.  I purchased the necklace at the Handmade Festival, but you can also get them at their etsy shop here, and at the Metropolitan Artisans' Market.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blue Belle

When I first saw this young lady in her many shades of blue, it was from the rear, and she caught my attention because of this:
COOKIE MONSTER!  And how amazing is it that her shirt matches his colour exactly?  After I got past the initial delight of the backpack, I realized the rest of her was just as adorable.  I love her hair, which she had just got done, and her armloads of colourful bracelets.  She was out shopping for some high top converse with her aunt, which, in my book, only adds to her budding fashionista cred!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chic Alternatives to Sandals

Now that summer is upon us, we can finally abandon the scuffed and salt-stained boots and bring out the cool and colourful footwear.  One of my personal faves of the shoes I've seen so far are these dove grey wingtips from John Fluevog.  Not only do they have great perforated leather detailing, but they are also lined with electric blue leather (I was not going to ask her to take her shoe off to prove it, but she did anyway).  The pale grey colour makes them a perfect summer shoe when you want something more substantial to wear with jeans and a crisp tailored shirt.
These ankle-strapped, low-heeled shoes are such a pretty colour, and the low heel makes them a practical, but feminine choice to wear with a little summer dress

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Flash of Yellow

The first thing that caught my eye about this man was the flash of sunny yellow between the cuffs on his jeans and beautifully polished oxfords.  I like seeing men wear coloured socks when they incorporate them like this--they aren't the focus of his outfit, he's not matching them to anything else he's wearing; they are just another interesting element in a very sharp, stylish look.  His style reminded me very much of Alex, who most recently appeared on my blog here.