It's our favourite time of year- when we get together with friends and family, eat delicious food, dance in our living rooms, and give thoughtful gifts. We've got lots of great things in store for everyone on your list and here are some gift guides to help you! Remember, you can fill out a wishlist and we will let your Santa know what you've been eyeing! Simply email us, DM on instagram or come by in person to get it filled out. And everyone will be entered to win their entire wishlist!
We celebrated our Third Year Anniversary this past weekend in style! I've always been captivated by the legend of the infamous "Blue Grotto Lounge" above Capri Pizza on John St so it seemed like the perfect place to celebrate! The party was such a hit that we're doing it all over again in two weeks for anyone who missed out!
Check out some party shots and read the info about or next dance party on Saturday May 21st:
In honour of our love for anything vintage, everything Hamilton and dancing the night away- step back in time to Hamilton in the 1960's. The infamous "Blue Grotto Lounge" was a hopping place for food, drinks and dancing. Designed to replicate the famous Blue Grotto on the island of Capri, the space was sealed off for years and only recently has been reopened.
We've got some special surprises in store and will be setting some serious vibes. Dance in a cave, drink 60s-inspired cocktails and take in the wonder of this amazing space!
9pm-1:30 am. 25 John Street North.
Tickets are available in store or online here.
Wow- apparently it's been a while since I've updated the blog! Sometimes it's hard to keep track of everything and the past few months have been jam packed! We had an amazing holiday season, were co-organizers of Hamilton Flea's Last Minute Holiday Market and threw and epic holiday dance party. Now, slowing down is never an option (sometimes I know I should…but…too many fun times) and we're excited to let you know about some upcoming events!
CITY OF HAMILTON: WINTERFEST AFTER DARK
It's an honour to be brought on by the City to help with some fun programming for their annual Winterfest. Last year you may remember we coordinated a fashion show…while great, I definitely learned that a fashion show outside in the winter comes with many a challenge :) This year we decided to shake it up a bit.
Movies are great. Canadiana classic movies especially. The past few years I've taken to hosting movie nights for my friends in the shop and have always wanted to do something bigger and better for customers. So in the spirit of Canadian winter, we're excited to announce a screening of the 1983 cult-classic Strange Brew on Saturday February 6th!
"Grab your toques and your parkas and take off, eh!
As part of the City of Hamilton's Winterfest Kick-Off Event, we'll be screening the cult Canadiana classic 'Strange Brew: The Adventures of Bob and Doug Mckenzie'. Originally a skit on SCTV, this film was shot in Hamilton, Toronto and surrounding area and acts as a time-capsule for all things Southern Ontario.
Come join Bob and Doug Mackenzie in their quest for the perfect beer…oh and attempting to save the world from an evil mastermind! Get yourself decked out in plaids, earmuffs and your coziest wares for our Hoser Costume Contest and Great White North photobooth! We'll have some special treats and more surprises in store.
$5 admission. Seating is limited so please arrive early. Movie starts at 8:30 promptly. Theatre is located in the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, behind the skating rink at Pier 8, and beside the restaurant Sarcoa. "
HAMILTON FLEA PRESENTS NIGHT MARKET AT WINTERFEST
In partnership with Hamilton's Winterfest, Hamilton Flea presents a Night Market as part of the exciting "Winterfest After Dark" programming.
Stay warm with hot cocoa and a curated collection of cool vendors in heated outdoor tents! Take in all the sights and sounds of this fun festival and do a little shopping while you're at it. You can expect some of our "Flea Family Favourites" along with some exciting new vendors. There will even be a marshmallow roasting pit- because who says you can only eat those in the summer!?
"In the middle of the winter?" you may ask. "Are they crazy?". Not crazy, just dedicated to creating some cozy winter vibes to get you outside enjoying the beautiful winter weather and exciting cultural programming!
Jelly Brothers (Hamilton Neighbourhood Maps) Crown Point Candles(Natural Handmade Candles) / Sweet & Simple (Small-Batch Candies and Sweets) / Wolf Dottir (Sassy Wares) / Group of 7 Billion (Vintage Collage Prints) / Shannon Gerard (Plants You Can't Kill and Crochet Wears)/ Canoe (Canadian-Made Products)/ Hamilton Popcorn Company (Small-Batch Flavoured Popcorn)/ SLO (Mittens and Cute Things)/ Perk Naturals(Body Scrubs)/ Steel City Crate Company (Handmade Crates)
Hope to see you guys there!
For the past month and a half, I’ve been busy working away on one of my side-projects, the Hamilton Flea. You may remember our very first event in July that took place at the beautiful and historic Treble Hall. The idea for Flea happened when my sister, Erika and I were given the opportunity from Treble Hall owner, Jeff Feswick, to put on an event in his space. With Erika’s skills for facilitating events and cool happenings (she’s the founder of The Academy of All Things Awesome and most recently one-half of the brains behind Sous Bas) combined with my love of community, small business and all things retail, we made the perfect team! Because Treble Hall had been closed to the public in so long we decided that this would be our inspiration for this new joint-effort. Our main goal with these events is to open up spaces that are mysterious or have been unused for years and show their beauty and history off. The idea behind bringing vendors in is to infuse the spaces with the creative culture that is currently going on in Hamilton.
This time around we were excited to discover and open up a new location. One day when asking around about a location, Susie Braithwaite from the International Village BIA sent me the contact info of someone she had met who recently purchased a building at the corner of King William and Wellington. As soon as she mentioned the building, I knew exactly which one it was. It’s right in my neighbourhood and I had passed the building countless times and always wondered about it. More recently I had noticed that the old vacuum store that was there (and had been closed for ten years) had been cleared out and you could, for the first time in ages, see into the windows. The history-lover in me knew I had to get into the space and so receiving the contact info to the owner felt like a higher power shining down on me. I quickly emailed the owner and expected I’d have to wait a while to hear anything back. But to my surprise, I got an email pretty much instantly back from the owner, Kevin Wride, that said “YES! LET’S DO IT!”. We made a meeting for that evening and I felt that it was almost all too good to be true.
Meeting Kevin was a very memorable experience for me. As soon as I arrived at the space, he welcomed me with such warmth and excitement. Up until this point, the space hadn’t been seen by many people and had been a passion project he had been working on to get it fixed up. Kevin purchased the building with a partner and is still trying to figure out what he wants to do with the space. He started telling me about his dreams for the building as being something for the community and a positive space for the neighbourhood. I couldn’t stop staring at the building’s beauty with giant eyes (and maybe even my mouth hanging open in shock for most of my visit). I knew it was the perfect space for the next Flea. Kevin loved the idea and from there we started working hard to get the building fixed up and started looking more into the history of the space.
One of the coolest parts of this whole process has been learning about the history of the building. Most notably it was the business “Brown’s Tire Ltd.” through the 40’s and 50’s. One day when we were walking through the building we found a receipt book from the 50’s up in the rafters. But other than these small snippets, we didn’t have much concrete information. One day, Kevin came into the store, after a long day in the Library archives with some exciting news. He had tracked down one of the only photos of the building- and it was perfect! The image, from 1949, shows the beautiful old façade of the space with the Brown’s Tire lettering and the Firestone tire logo (they were a Firestone dealer when the factory was just down the street in Hamilton). Seeing this image made me so excited! Now all the stories I had been hearing were given such an amazing visual. I love the left side of the photo where you can see one of the workers entering the building. To imagine the buzz that used to go on through the walls of the building and all the people who were going about their business here. I can’t wait to fill its walls again with people for the event and feel it come to life all over again!
Kevin also found out some information about some of the other businesses that used to be there, even before Brown’s Tire. The first business dates back to 1925 and was “Farr and McManus Furniture Finishes”. From there, he found listings for “Bamford Tire Service”, “Classic Athletic Club”, “Wentworth Hall”, and “Wellington Tire Service”. While we’ve only begun to delve into it’s rich history, it’s obvious that this building is something special and has been such a part of Hamilton’s business community.
Being in the space, I've fallen in love with so many details- The beautiful peeling paint in various colours, the rich woods floors, the vaulted ceiling on the third floor, and the many artifacts discovered. We've had some amazing people to help bring the space to life. Dee, also known as "The Story Girl" is a sign-painter and calligraphy expert who did a wonderful job in beautifying two of the large boarded-up windows and drawing people's attention to the space. Craig and Lesley from Circa Projects were given the task of installing some window art and used some wonderful blown-up automotive-themed photos from their collection of vernacular photography combined with classic auto-shop bunting. I love how they interpreted the "Brown's Tire" history! I feel like everyone who has been working hard on the event is engraining a piece of themselves within the walls of the space. We feel so lucky to have been able to meet Kevin and bring the Hamilton community into this beauty of a project he’s working on.
And I’m so thankful for everyone who has supported Flea thus far, though still in it’s early stages. I love what I do with the shop, but this event has become such an important part of my life. Working with other creative visionaries to put something together for our community is not only fun but has taught me so many important lessons. I can’t wait to share the space with all of you and the amazing vendors! This time round we've got some special out-of-town vendors coming in, combined with some classic Hamilton favourites. You can expect vintage and retro-wares, handmade objects, art work, records, yummy treats, plants and more! Big thanks goes out to everyone involved. A special shoutout to our presenting partners and sponsors: Young Lions Music Club, VarageSale, Kevin Wride, SoBi Hamilton.
Check out the event flyer and RSVP here.
Growing up, the country fair was synonomous with thanksgiving. Every year I'd go to the Rockton Fair with family or friends and it was really when all the fall feelings would start. The combination of the fresh country air, sweet funnel cakes and the demolition derby meant that my favourite season, fall, was here. That's why I thought it would be the perfect place to shoot our Fall lookbook. The team at the Rockton Agricultural Society was so helpful and accommodating and gave us free reign over the fair. There's such an overall friendly feeling at the fair whether with the farmers, the event organizers or the entertainers, and so many of our shots couldn't have been captured with a little help from these new friends.
Our team was made up of Hamilton-based creative women and we had such a fun day together. Our lovely photographer, Kate Benfey brought her usual chipper demeanour and did a great job at thinking on the fly for each shot. This was our first shoot together in such a busy place and it required lots of creative quick-thinking, but with Kate's calm way of working, everything was always under control. On hair and makeup, Brenda Beltran of Vibrant Beauty did an amazing job creating some soft and fresh looks. The inspiration was natural beauty and she focused on rosy cheeks, dewy skin and effortless hair. She's so good at thinking of ideas quickly and her braiding skills were top notch!
It was so exciting to get to work with model Delaney Stone again. She's really been with Girl on the Wing from the beginning, as a customer and model, and she's just part of our little family now. We always have so much fun shooting together and she brings so much beauty and personality to every thing she does. My friend Mariah Hamilton came to assist for the day and it was great to have her help. Her energy is truly contagious and she got some beautiful shots for our first-ever behind-the-scenes video! As for styling and art direction, I was inspired by classic country looks mixed with touches of femininity and quirkiness. The wonderful team mixed with the perfect setting made my job easy.
We can't thank the folks at the Rockton Fair enough for all their help in capturing this season's lookbook. I'm already counting the days down until next year! Check out some behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot and we're excited to share the final photos with you next week!
Kicking off on Thursday our Ten Dollar Sale is back! We love these days because we get to thank you all for being such great customers. All vintage clothing is just $10 a piece.
It’s been a busy summer for us here at the shop- we celebrated our two-year anniversary, co-organized the first ever Hamilton Flea and been on serious personal-life event duty (bachelorette parties, weddings, birthdays, the good times never end!). My favourite thing to do is our seasonal lookbook shoots and the time passing,without a summer photoshoot, was weighing on me so heavily. But thankfully after a busy month, we were able to get an amazing team together and produce one of my favourite shoots to date! We’re just going to call it our “Late Summer Lookbook”. Excited to unveil the photos and late-summer vintage collection at our “Summer Never Ends” shopping party coming up on Thursday August 6th.
Here are some behind-the-scenes shots before you get to see the final images!
We shot on a beautiful summer day in the east-end, close to the shop. I wanted to focus on the beauty of Hamilton and how so much of what some people first see as “run-down” is actually so historic, beautiful, inspiring, interesting and what makes Hamilton the unique and wonderful place that it is! The majority of the shots were taken just off of Barton Street in an amazing alley with endless locations. In the few hours we were there we experienced such classic Hamilton characters and the vibe was just full of all the charms that this city is known for, and what I have come to love about where I live.
Our photographer was the lovely Katie Benfey. She previously shot our spring 2015 and fall 2014 lookbooks in-studio so we were excited to get outside and do a natural-light shoot together. She’s always such a joy to work with as she has the best eye for shots and the sweetest/calmest demeanour. I feel like every shoot we work on together is better than the last and her refined style comes through in every shot. It was cool to shoot in her “backyard”- err, back alley and her location suggestions really made the shoot.
On makeup we had Sara Height of Face It I’m Pretty. I feel so lucky to have met Sara and been able to work with her on various photoshoots, fashion shows, and even her doing my personal makeup for a special event! She is so talented at creating classic and beautiful looks that are the perfect amount glamorous and natural. Apart from being amazing at what she does, she is the sweetest gal and she really lights up any shoot. We always laugh when she’s around and sometimes I forget we’re working. She’s available for weddings, personal makeup and shoots and I would recommend her in a second to anyone!
It was exciting to work with Brenda Beltran of Vibrant Beauty for the first time on this shoot and she did a wonderful job on creating some feminine summer hair looks. She started with a beautiful loose summer wave that with time got pinned up into a retro 70’s look and eventually ended in a fun and cute ponytail. I loved all the looks because they were well-done but also inspiring for everyday summer hair. She was great on set and had lots of great thoughts on shots, lighting and it’s always nice working with other collaborative and creative personalities. She also does weddings and events and while she was strictly hair on this shoot, she is also available for makeup.
Our lovely model was Hamilton born and bred, Delaney Stone. I was shocked when Delaney said she was available for the shoot as she had just returned home from a few months of professional modeling in Asia. We first met in the shop and she has walked in various fashion shows that I’ve produced so I was so excited to finally be able to work on a photoshoot together. She was amazing and obviously her time away gave her so much experience that her posing was instantly on-point. It’s been such a joy to get to see her progress and growth in the modeling industry. We have such a blast together and her attitude is so laid-back and earnest, she really has it all- beauty, brains and an amazing personality. Can’t wait to see where she goes in her career!
Styling was done, as always, by me, Whitney McMeekin. I was inspired by the late-summer vibes of the 70’s. I tried to focus on vibrant colours, bold prints and fun pieces. Summer is the best season for being playful with your clothing and I love mixing stand-out pieces with simple and minimal styling for the season.
We also had a few friends at the shoot. Dave and “Popper” were two of our biggest fans. They were hanging out in the alley that afternoon and kept stopping by to show us lots of fun stuff; kittens, 70’s camper vans and vintage signs. They were a completely unique element of this shoot and it really added to the Hamilton vibe.
Can’t wait to share the photos with you on Thursday at our “Summer Never Ends” shopping party!
Whenever it’s time to do a new Girl About Town post, I get so excited. There’s nothing more fun than thinking about which cool and talented woman to feature next. This month’s was easy for me because from the moment I first met this lady I knew I wanted to feature her at some point. Anna Wiesen is an all-around marketing genius with a quick-witted personality, the best taste in music and clothes and makes a truly lasting effect on anyone she encounters. We first met in the shop and had lots of friends in common, which gave us an instant familiarity with eachother. Over the next few months we bonded on our love of dance parties, community and bringing people together and how many cheeses we could possibly eat in one sitting. The more I got to know her the more I learned that she does- and it never seems to stop! She’s one third of Young Lions Music Club, an all-encompassing group that puts on great community events, and also keeps busy with various contracts and freelance marketing jobs.
Anna and her partner Bobby moved to Hamilton this past winter to set-up house in a smaller community and focus on their various projects. I can say with full confidence that Hamilton is so lucky to have them as part of our community. One thing I’ve noticed about everything YLMC touches- it’s always fun, inclusive and well thought-out. As a fellow organizer, I truly appreciate all that they do and see how amazing they are at it. This Saturday they’ll be set up at the Hamilton Flea, dj’ing some sweet tunes and meeting all of your sweet selves! Anna and I spent some time in the Flea’s location, the historic Treble Hall, chatting Hamilton, the challenges of moving to a new city, style and the Flea itself!
How did Young Lions Music Club start?
Young Lions Music Club started back in 2011 in my boyfriend Bobby’s basement apartment in Toronto. He had recently quit his full time job in music marketing and had been throwing dance parties where local bands would come on board as guest DJs.
The dance parties were growing in popularity and at some point Bobby decided he wanted to do other types of music events and somehow turn all this fun into a “full-time” job for himself. In those early days there was a lot of throwing around ideas and concepts, and I remember specifically the moment when we were lying in Bobby’s bed at night when he came up with the idea to create physical membership cards and then the whole idea took shape. I guess I’ve been involved with YLMC since Day 1 as the first ever member, and also as the person that would listen to Bobby’s ideas and help them take shape. The official soundboard, you could say.
I wasn’t really “officially” a part of it for a while, except that I was Bobby’s girlfriend, would go to every single party, and came up with ideas. Bobby sometimes calls me Young Lions Music Club’s First Lady, which seems to be appropriate. I had my own stuff going on – managing a singer and pursuing a career in marketing.
Fast forward to 2014, and Young Lions Music Club was planning the first of several Stanley Kubrick themed parties. This one was themed after The Shining. It was a couple of months before the party, and I asked Bobby “so…how exactly are you going to make this party feel like The Shining?” …he didn’t really know. That’s when we started assembling a team of insanely talented artists ranging from painters to set designers to lighting and projection artists to bring this party to life.
The party ended up being incredible, and changed the way Bobby looked at planning Young Lions events. When people started asking how we made the theme come to life, that’s when we dreamt up the idea of Young Offenders: a collective of artists from different disciplines that we would represent to try to find them work. I was able to apply my experience and passion for working with and managing artists, and Bobby could leverage his Young Lions relationships to find these artists some work. Bobby and I launched Young Offenders together as co-founders, and Young Lions exists as a separate entity, though the two companies work together all the time.
What’s your favourite part of YLMC/Young Offenders?
The best part is coming up with your ideas and bringing them to life without having to go up a chain of command. On the Young Offenders end, I love that we can find really great artists opportunities that they might not have found for themselves. For example, our painter Sarah got to work on a large-scale live painting piece for the Field Trip festival last month in Toronto for thousands to see. I’m proud that I could facilitate that exposure for her, and help her make money off her craft.
What was the most memorable event you’ve been involved with?
Tough question! I’m a huge fan of The Smiths, and one time Andy Rourke from the band DJ’ed on a boat for a Young Lions Music Club party and asked to borrow my headphones. That was a big deal to me.
But probably the most memorable was our Young Offenders launch party. We wanted to invite everyone we knew to see what the Young Offenders are capable of. So we got a warehouse, sent people cryptic invitations in the mail, and got all of our artists involved in some capacity to throw a party in the middle of February fit with a slingshot range, murals, and a giant eyeball installation that projected live surveillance camera footage from the party.
What are the upsides to working freelance/for yourself/from home, etc? Downsides?
The flexibility to work when it feels right and don’t work when it doesn’t is invaluable. Sometimes we get on a creative kick at 9pm and get a bunch of work done, but then we have our fair share of later mornings when we take time to make a nice, big breakfast. I also like being able to test and execute my own ideas.
The downsides are mostly financial. It’s hard to get used to not getting a regular paycheck. Money and projects come sporadically, so it’s important to stay organized and budget myself properly.
Where are your favourite places to go/hang out?
I love doing work at Johnny’s Coffee and grabbing lunch at the Green Smoothie Bar. I do a regular visit to Newold’s, Hawk & Sparrow/Eye of Faith, Girl on the Wing & Out of the Past since I have a vintage clothing addiction that can’t be tamed. I also enjoy hanging at Dundurn Park with my dog Charles and exploring all the parks and trails around Hamilton. I grew up in the country, so I love that Hamilton has so much nature in such close proximity to downtown.
Is there a specific moment that you can remember where you thought “I love Hamilton” for the first time?
I remember my first trip to Ottawa St to go check out some antique shops. I took Barton Street across and was completely enamored with the abandoned storefronts amidst a city that was developing in other areas so rapidly. Because I come from Toronto where everything is hyper developed and established, I see so much potential in many parts of this city, especially Barton St. It’s sad to see the ghosts of failed businesses but exciting to be here in a time when many people are starting new businesses and seeing Hamilton rally around them. It’s an inspiring place, and there’s a certain feeling of soul and community that is often missing in larger cities.
How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Vintage, colourful, comfortable
What’s your favourite thing you’ve found at Girl on the Wing and why?
An aquamarine blue raincoat. Whitney described it as “the coat your mom would wear in the 80s at Niagara Falls” and man do I love sporting that look on a rainy day on a walk with my dog. The colour cheers me up on a dreary day and the pockets are big enough for a ball and dog treats. Perfection!
What can we expect from YLMC at the Hamilton Flea?
Bobby and I DJ together under the name Summer Fling. We’ll be DJing and also selling some special YLMC merch. You can also find out more about Young Lions and sign up to be a member if you aren’t yet.
Who/what are you most excited to do, see, etc at the Flea?
I’m really pumped to eat some donuts from Donut Monster! I’m also hoping to find some vinyl from Roly Poly Records & Retro, and meet some more Hamilton pals.
Sunglasses: from a sunglass vendor at Austin Psych Fest
Top: Out of the Past
Jeans: Levi’s - Girl on the Wing
Sandal: American Apparel
This Saturday kicks off the first official Hamilton Flea! A curated collection of 20+ vendors, the sale aims to bring new life to old Hamilton buildings by infusing them with the creative spirit that Hamilton has become known for. I'm so excited to be one of the organizers of the Flea along with The Academy of All Things Awesome and Historia Restorations. The sale came up very organically and honestly at the perfect time. I'm one that thrives on being busy- and the more things I have going on, the better I am at all of them. Girl on the Wing is my passion and first love but it's always nice to work on other projects that fit in with the GOTW brand and style. I specifically love getting to work with other creatives and entrepreneurs, and the Flea has been the perfect excuse to partner with some businesses I admire.
Treble Hall was built in the late 1800s and has been home to a performance hall, the Pagoda Chop Suey House, apartments in the 50s and most recently the mixed-use boutique/cafe/bar Moulin Rouge. The owner of Moulin Rouge has a vast collection of designer samples and beautiful pieces that will be available for purchase at the Flea at huge sale prices. Along with her collection, there will be vendors selling vintage clothing, records, housewares, artwork, zines, patches, tshirts and more!
I was so excited to sign up three brands I admire to travel to Hamilton for the sale. From Toronto, No Fun Press and Yo Sick will be here slinging their awesome wares. And my absolute favourite, Olivia of Stay Home Club will be traveling here all the way from Montreal. Her stuff has been in the shop since we first opened and has always been our best seller. It's so exciting that she will be here in the flesh and I can't wait to check out her full collection. The Flea will be an awesome mix of amazing products, amazing people and an amazing place!
Treble Hall hasn't been open to the Public for ages and is a spectacle in itself. I've been having a total love affair with the building while working on getting it set up for the Flea. The peeling paint, the Art Deco carpeting, the amazing artifacts scattered throughout the space and all the history lingering in the walls. It's truly an amazing place!
Hope to see you all there this Saturday between 11 and 6! You enter the sale through "The Secret Door" and the vendors will be spread out over the 2nd and 3rd floors. On top of the amazing shopping, there will also be donuts by Donut Monster and snowcones by Sweet Ice Snow Cones, two Hamilton treat staples. My friends at Young Lions Music Club will be providing a sweet soundtrack for the day so maybe an afternoon shopping dance party is in order! See you there!
I'm happy to be back with another installment of our Girl About Town series. With these blog posts I like to focus on cool women in Hamilton doing cool things…and looking cool while doing them! This month's gal is a special one to me. I first met Jen Anisef at the shop when she was searching for a dress to wear to last winter's "Moonlight Desires Prom Party" at the Spice Factory. There was something about her that I instantly liked but it wasn't until the following week, when we spotted each other at the Prom party that I truly fell for this lady! I remember being in awe of her dance moves and thinking how cool and confident she was. Fast forward to now and I consider her not only a great friend, but also and inspiration, collaborater and motivator.
As Cultural Projects Specialist in the Tourism & Culture Division for the City of Hamilton, Jen is a coordinator to some of our City's biggest and best events. She's currently working away on the Hamilton Arts Awards and has lent her professional touch to countless other events in this city. We got our first chance to work closely together on this year's Winterfest. You may remember the fashion show I produced in partnership with Jen, and she was also the coordinator for the entire festival! Working on that project together is what really opened up my eyes to her talents and I couldn't have imagined a better person to work with. She's got such a unique and collaborative work style that is so inclusive and she is so great at bringing people from all over together to build a successful community event. I really admire her for how hard she works and how dedicated she is to supporting local design and talent. I could go on for hours about how inspirational she's been to me in the short time we've known each other, but I can't fail to mention her awesome style.
One thing I've always noticed about Jen is her fearless sense of fashion. She wears what she wants and can pull anything off because she has the confidence and grace to make anything look amazing. The way she mixes and matches her eclectic wardrobe is always great to see and she reminds me that fashion is about being true to yourself and dressing in what makes you feel good. Her closet is filled with pieces that all have stories; whether it's something made by a friend or designer she admires or a totally unique vintage piece, or an article from a distant land. Colours and patterns are what she does best and I can't help but ask her questions about everything she's wearing anytime I see her. We chatted style, what and who inspires her and this fine city of Hamilton.
Occupation: Cultural Projects Specialist in Tourism & Culture Division, City of Hamilton
Years Living in Hamilton: 4 years
Describe your style: Conversations between colour, texture, pattern & form.
What sort of stuff inspires you? Discussions with friends and strangers, vintage and contemporary textiles, people who break the matching rules well, travelling to new cities and exploring Ontario, collaborating with smart people on new projects.
Who is your fashion icon? No one person (my style is too fickle for that!), but I often think of my friend Serene Daoud from Montreal who is extremely experimental with her style. I remember thrift shopping with her and her pulling out things that made no sense on the hanger but totally worked when she put it on. Lots of found textiles from other cultures, plants turned in to temporary brooches, etc. She’s not at all concerned with trends and her eyes are wide open to everyday beauty in a way that’s pretty inspiring. Also, I can’t wait to see the AGH film fest film “Iris” about Iris Apfel, the 93-year-old style hero. I often daydream about getting old and really kicking out the jams with accessories, headscarves, caftans, etc.
What’s your favourite part about working for Tourism & Culture Hamilton? This really is my ideal job – I’ve been active in cultural programming and community organizing for years, and this is the first time I’ve been able to do that for a paycheque! There’s lots I love about it, but I’d say my favourite part is creating opportunities within the arts and culture community for creative workers to share their work and get paid for it. It’s almost a cliché now to talk about Hamilton’s “vibrant/thriving/insert your adjective here” arts community, but it’s pretty cool to be working in Culture in the City at this exploding cultural moment. I feel lucky to have a voice in this conversation, and strive to make it a respectful one that honours the major contributions that creative workers are making to Hamilton.
Who’s one creative in Hamilton that you admire? Aw jeez…Just one? I don’t think I can do it! I’m going to cheat and say the ladies of the Beehive Craft Collective [Roisin Fagan, Courtney Lakin, Thea Haines, Hollie Poscai, Meg Makins, Kate Hunter, Liz Simpson] (of which I am a member). There are so many things I admire about this group of textile artists, entrepreneurs, shop proprietors, garment sewers, engineers, natural dyers canners & picklers, quilters, moms, babes, etc. but I would say that their deep DIY spirit is what inspires me most. Plus they are all pretty snappy dressers!
Where are your favourite places to hang out in Hamilton? I’ve recently discovered the “park bed” – where you bring a blanket and pillows to the park and hang out under a tree for hours on a hot day. So park bed in Victoria Park will be my Hamilton Hot Spot this summer! Vertically, I really enjoy the Brain for cocktails, Needlework for working on sewing projects, walking or biking the Waterfront Trail, and hitting up Aberfoyle for beautiful junk on the weekends.
Favourite piece you’ve found at Girl on the Wing and why: Definitely the embroidered denim shirt I’m wearing in the shoot aka my Spirit Shirt. It reminds me of a traditional quilt pattern and is a bit psychedelic, which is totally my jam. Thanks for bringing it into my life!
Thrifted high waisted wool skirt with burgundy suede church sale belt.
Knit leggings acquired at a Berlin flea market, with Target (RIP) tennis ball yellow socks.
Samantha Pleet x Wolverine lace up boots with stacked wood heel – investment boots, zero regrets!
1950s burgundy cashmere cardigan with brass buttons from Courage My Love.
Block printed made-in-India quilted jacket gifted to me by a dear friend who gets me.
Gold earrings by Oregon-based maker Tiro Tiro.
Yellow enamel studs by White Feather Designs from White Elephant.
Embroidered denim shirt from Girl on the Wing.