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!
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!
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.
This past weekend was made up of all my favourite things: good friends, good finds, good food and good times. The past few months I was quite busy with different events and things happening at the store. I love these times because I get to work on so many different things and work with all types of amazing people. But sometimes I need a weekend to get back to basics and step away from the shop a bit. Owning a business has so many amazing sides to it, but after you've been doing it for a while, like anything, it starts to become a routine. It often takes me stepping back to remember why I started Girl on the Wing in the first place. For years before the shop, I was collecting (err…hoarding) old stuff. Every weekend you'd find me at my local antique market or scouring thrift stores. It was, and still is, my favourite thing to do…in the world. This past weekend felt like the beginning of the summer antiquing season and I'm excited to share some of my favourite finds!
Saturday I was in Guelph fulfilling some maid-of-honour duties for my best friend's wedding, happening this summer. We took a little trip downtown to check out the shop Outpost Vintage and Thrift. Owned by the lovely Carolyn Fielding, I first found out about this shop when she followed GOTW on instagram. I was excited to check out her stuff in person and was so happy to see her cute little shop. She had everything displayed so nicely and had such a great selection of pieces. Her store was bright and fun and I scored an awesome vintage team shirt. I always love seeing how other shopowners display their stuff and enjoy experiencing their styles and finds. This gal has such an amazing eye and Outpost is a definite must-visit next time you're around the Guelph area.
On Sunday, my antiquing partner-in-crime, Chelsea, and I headed to our favourite Aberfoyle Antique Market. Chelsea and I met just over a year ago at last year's Vintage Marketplace, which is hard to believe, cause we've already become so close. We are pretty much neighbours, each have such a love for anything vintage, both have two kitties, are from the same hometown and are addicted to 50's and 60's style. It isn't odd for us to both spot the same exact thing from across a crowded room- but luckily for us, we (rarely) have to fight over who gets to buy it. There's nothing more fun to me then a day with this gal, scoring adorable, girly finds, chowing down on burgers and ice cream, and having giggle fits. She truly is the Betty to my Wilma. Anyways, we were excited to hit up Aberfoyle and get our summer antiquing underway.
It was such a perfect day- the sun was out, there was a perfect breeze, and because it is still early in the season, it wasn't overrun with people yet. I of course found a million things I wanted, and felt so inspired. There's nothing that makes me feel more like myself then these days surrounded by old stuff and beautiful illustrations of the past. As always, Chelsea was modest with her buying, picking up an adorable 70's Playboy ashtray. I, on the other hand, stocked up on some of my favourite things: patches, knick-knacks, costume pieces and more!
I had two things that were my absolute favourite finds of the day. The first was a little creamer jug from the 1960's by designer Turi. I collect these pieces and buy them anytime I find one. These are from Norway and I am a sucker for anything Scandinavian. I actually started my love for these designs when I was on a trip to Scandinavia before opening the shop and I hope to one day own the entire collection!
And then the piece de resistance was this beautiful hand-emboridered 1937 Coronation pillow. Two of my favourite things to find are anything regal or illustrated, and this pillow merges both of those! I just love the way it looks and it's so beautifully made. All the colours are hand painted and there is the sweetest, most delicate, embroidery around the edges.
Another special shout-out goes to this amazing captains hat with the embroidered name "Ismailia".
All in all, I had a great weekend of getting back to my roots. Girl on the Wing encompasses all of my loves and I look forward to countless more antiquing adventures! Also had the loveliest weekend soundtrack provided by this sweet man:
Whenever someone asks me what my favourite part of my job is I say, without hesitation, the lookbook photoshoots. Nothing makes me happier than compiling my favourite looks for that season and working with an amazing team of creatives to make my vision a reality. This past weekend we shot our Spring Lookbook at Low Key Studios, located in the Empire Times building on King William in Hamilton. I really love working at this studio and you may remember it from our Fall 15 shoot. For spring, I wanted to show off soft, feminine pieces and since it's our two-year anniversary this weekend I decided a party theme was in order! We filled the studio with balloons, champagne, noisemakers, and party dresses. As always, the team that was responsible for the finished product was made up of some amazingly talented women.
Katie Benfey was our photographer and I was so happy to work with her again, after the last fall shoot. The best thing about Katie is her calm and collected way of working- as soon as we arrived it felt like we were all just hanging out and playing dress up! Katie's got a great eye for composition and her aesthetic matches so nicely with that of Girl on the Wing. Plus she's just all-around lovely and easy to work with. I feel like I've seen her work evolve and get even better in the few months I've know her and I can't wait to collaborate with her again and see all the amazing work she will produce.
Sara Height was our makeup artist and she did a lovely job at highlighting the model's beauty, without being over-the-top. I met Sara when her company Face It I'm Pretty did the makeup for the Vintage Marketplace's fashion show I coordinated, and I was so excited to ask her to be a part of the shoot after I saw how good she was at what she does. Makeup is one of those things that I am always unsure of what direction to take it in, as I've never been one to play around too much with it. Luckily, Sara just knew what would look best and she did an impressive job of creating a bold and dramatic look that was still soft and appropriate for any occasion. Her positive attitude and laughter kept the whole team in good spirits. I actually don't think I've laughed this much on set before!
Chelsea Compton was our hair stylist and I love what she did! I met Chelsea when I first opened the shop two years ago and she did my hair for my opening night party. She works out of Bent Hair Design, a salon just a few doors down from the shop. Chelsea was amazing to have on set and had lots of great hair ideas. Everything she did was soft and feminine, with hints of retro styling. She was also a huge help in coming up with ideas for the set and shots, and her energy really added to the team. Another thing I noticed about her was how quickly and efficiently she works- I couldn't believe the beauty she would fashion up in only a few minutes! Check her out at Bent, she does great haircuts and dyeing as well!
Amanda Leal was in charge of props and set, also known as "the balloon lady". I've known Amanda for almost ten years and we met at Ryerson Univeristy where we were both in the Fashion Communication program. Throughout our friendship we've worked on a few shoots together and our creative styles work so nicely in unison. Whenever I shoot in studio, as opposed to on location, I always worry that the photos will look too simple and try to rack my brain for ways to enhance the setting. Chatting with Amanda we came up with the idea for a party theme and on the day of the shoot I supplied her with a BAZILLION balloons and just let her go with it. She ended up creating some beautiful pieces! My favourite was a lovely balloon arch she made that we hung across the backdrop. Although she spent most of the day tirelessly blowing up balloons, it's always nice to have someone on set who you've known forever, and it was great having her help.
Ailish Kennelly was our beautiful model and you may remember her from the Fall 15 shoot. She is always such a joy to work with as she has an amazing spirit and such a lovely demeanour. We originally met in the store and I just knew she had to model for the shop. There's something about her that is so representative of how I envision the girl on the wing. Classic beauty, a sense of humour, smarts and a grace beyond her years, Ailish looked amazing in all the outfits (though I can't imagine her looking bad in anything). She was also so fun on set and when you see the photos of her laughing, those are real giggles, I swear! Even though I've only known her for about half a year, I feel like a proud mama bear when I see how much she has grown and developed in only a few short months. She was great in our first shoot together, but she really shined in this one- her quirkiness was so perfectly captured and I can't wait to see where this girl goes in life!
And as always, I was in charge of wardrobe and art direction. We started with a softer, more day-worthy look and slowly transitioned into evening and party pieces. I wanted to epitomize the freshness of spring, and stick to classic looks that are time irrelevant. Some of my favourite pieces were included and I couldn't be happier with the results or the team of amazing women I was lucky to work with.
The photos will debut at our TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY/CUSTOMER APPRECIATION PARTY this Friday night from 6-9pm. We'll have treats and drinks, special deals and discounts and some special prizes for you! I'm so thankful for all my customers and that I get to do stuff like this for my job.
girl on the wing
We had a great time shooting our Winter Lookbook at the end of January with an amazing team. The beautiful and historic Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts served as our shoot location, and it was such a dream to shoot in such a remarkable space! Founded in 1897, the Conservatory is rich in Hamilton history and current owner Vitek Wincza has done an amazing job in restoring and maintaining the building. The space was ideal for a winter shoot, as we all stayed warm and cozy and had fun exploring the various music rooms, dance studios and art spaces. The theme of the shoot was "Arts and Culture" so you can only imagine how perfect the Conservatory fit in with this.
Our wonderful photographer, Vai Yu Law, has been a constant collaborator since Girl on the Wing's beginning. This was our fifth lookbook shoot together and her skills never cease to amaze me. She's also one of my favourite people to work with because of her calm and professional demeanour on set and her ability to make any model feel instantly comfortable. She had lots of fun working with the numerous rooms and studios and did an amazing job at adapting to the varying lighting situations and spaces.
On hair and makeup, Leesa Arsenault of Pinch Cosmetics did a beautiful job. It was our first time working together and it was amazing how quickly she understood and responded to the Girl on the Wing aesthetic. She transitioned so smoothly between looks and focused on simple, yet dramatic looks. Leesa is truly a master of bringing out her client's natural beauty and it was such an honour to be able to work with such a talented woman. Plus, her three year old daughter Ava was so fun to have on set and kept everyone's spirits up throughout the day.
The beauty behind this season's lookbook is the amazing model Haruko, represented by Spot 6. Haruko has an instant positive energy to her and she encompassed the most important Girl on the Wing qualities; grace and poise, fun and spirited, and smart and sophisticated. It was such a joy to see how she interacted in the different scenes and she is a natural born performer! For a fairly new model she is extremely talented in her posing and such a natural in front of the camera.
I was so excited that my employee Haley could witness and be a part of this shoot, as it's her first since starting at the shop. She was another great energy to have on set and helped keep us all motivated, and also entertained little Ava like a pro. An integral part of the team, it's always great to have her around!
And as always Styling and Art Direction by me, Whitney McMeekin. The space was like a dream come true, having so much space to lay out my wardrobe and more than enough location options. I love what I do and these days are definitely the reason I do Girl on the Wing. Can't wait to share all the photos with you guys this Friday January 13th at our winter " Galentines" shopping party!
Well this week started with a snow storm and I must say, it officially feels like winter now. After the holidays, it always takes me a while to get adjusted and back into the swing of things. January often passes with it's challenges and the realization that most of the sparkle is gone and now it's on to a few months of hibernation. And although we still have a ways to go, I also find inspiration and comfort in the month of February rolling around. To me it signifies a cozy, fuzzy, rosy feeling and the return to normal life. There's a few exciting things coming up over the next few weeks that are contributing to my love of February. This Saturday marks the City of Hamilton's annual Winterfest; an arts and culture week-long affair! Art installations, family fun, and special events around the city help bring a bit of warmth to this cold season.
I was honoured to be asked to coordinate and contribute to a fashion show as part of the festival's opening ceremony! Teaming up with some of my favourite local shops and designers, including the Eye of Faith, O's Clothes, Hawk and Sparrow, Volver and La Bichette, we'll be showcasing some winter looks that represent each of our shops/labels. The wonderful Rachael Henderson aka "DJ Donna Lovejoy" is signed on to be the emcee and dj of the event and each scene will be set to music by our favourite local musicians. It's all going down at 6:00pm this Saturday February 7th at the Pier 8 Skating Rink, down by the waterfront. It's sure to be an interesting show as we roll the red carpet out on the skating rink and send some local models down the runway.
My collection is inspired by the "Apres Ski" lifestyle; think cozy ski-bunny looks, figure skater approved outfits and all the wooly plaids you can imagine! Very excited to showcase this collection and hope to see you all there!
Link to the Facebook event here.
Over the next week I have about 3 different Christmas gatherings and I'm planning to pack in as much sparkle and festive colours into my wardrobe as possible! Wanted to show you some of my favourite pieces in shop right now that would be great for any holiday gathering!
vintage Eaton's knit cardigan- would look great with some trousers or over a party dress!
vintage beaded cardigan with velvet party dress.
vintage lace crop top, vintage plaid skirt and crystal pendant necklace.
vintage knit candy striper top with velvet mini skirt.
the perfect vintage red velvet dress with wild moon statement earrings.
vintage beaded poinsetta dress.
be a lady in this 1960's green party dress and then a temptress in this vintage red negligee.
ho ho ho!!!
All Items Available at Girl on the Wing.
As the holidays get closer, we tend to stress ourselves out about finding the perfect gift. Sometimes you feel like you just want to escape to another planet! But hey, while you're there, why not do some shopping? These spacey gifts are out of this world and will make you the best gift-giver in the whole universe!
Collage Print by Sean Gadoury ($15), Live Long and Prosper patch ($12), Le Petit Prince sweatshirt by Out of Print ($54), Goodnight Moon onesie by Out of Print ($24), Cosmic Light Calendar by Apak ($20), Sleepy Tea ($10), Galaxy Cuff by Dea Dia ($48-54). All Available at Girl on the Wing.
Also have you SEEN this NASA backpack we are carrying?! Totally out of this world!
Backpack by Red Canoe ($75).
This year we've got lots of goodies in store for all your gift-giving needs! I've spent the past few months searching high and low for an extensive collection of giftware's, for everyone on your list! Grab one of gift guides, in store, for some gifting inspiration! Last year's popular Out of Print sweatshirts are back and there are some great new designs like "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Le Petit Prince". Also, another favourite from last year, the soaps and teas by Honey Pie Hives and Herbals have already been flying off the shelf! On top of those we've got some great new lines, including vintage-inspired Canadiana bags by Red Canoe, locally made body scrubs by Perk Naturals and some amazing new jewelry lines!
My personal favourite for this year is the vintage-inspired onesie pyjama- they're hand-dyed in the US, then we've sewn some vintage ski patches on them to give a real apres ski look! We'll be sharing some of our favourite items over the coming weeks, organized by theme. To begin, we've got "Cozy Cabin". Think nights by the fire with a mug of hot cocoa, snuggling up with your favourite book- or favourite cuddle partner ;)
Onesie ($64), Vintage Plaid Blanket ($52), Stay Home Club Pennants ($14 each), Moonrise Kingdom Patch ($12), Red Cap Cards ($5 each), Twin Peaks Patch ($12), CBC Backpack ($64), Smash Poster Prints ($40), Lightfoot's Shave Soap ($8)