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!
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)
We’re back with our second installment of our monthly girl about town blog series. Last month, we focused on someone who was born and raised in Hamilton. This month, we look to an inspiring woman who wasn’t born here, but is now at home and happy in Hamilton. Ciara McCann is such a treasure and not only loves Hamilton, but loves her job at Joseph Brant Hospital as Web and New Media Coordinator, her creative husband and local wine. We first met at the Vintage Marketplace in 2013 and instantly hit it off. When I opened the store, Ciara and her husband Andrew were living in International Village and excited to have a new shop in their hood. Now living on Locke Street and in the midst of a Hamilton house search, this couple is all about their city. You may remember them from our Valentine’s photoshoot last year that we did in collaboration with O’s Clothes. Ciara attended Mac and has called Hamilton home for the past ten years.
Ciara instantly came to mind when I was thinking of who to feature next in our girl about town series. Not only has she accomplished so much professionally, she is also one of the sweetest, and most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. She’s truly one in a million! Here we talk about her job at Joseph Brant, her love for social media storytelling, her current “Collective Hearts Burlington” campaign and of course, her favourite places to go during her off-time in Hamilton.
What’s the best part about your job?
At Joseph Brant Hospital there are great things that happen every day and I have the honour of sharing some inspiring stories about our patients and staff with our online community. Recently, I shared a story about a patient in our Complex Care unit who was dying of lung cancer and one of his last wishes was to see his daughter get married. Family, friends and hospital staff came together to make his dream come true and his daughter and her fiancée were married in our chapel. It’s wonderful to see people coming together to make amazing things like this happen.
Tell us about the campaign you’re currently working on:
Collective Hearts Burlington brings 10 local charitable organizations together to celebrate giving in Burlington and to encourage Burlingtonians to give their time, treasure and talent at home. The campaign started at the beginning of November and it runs until December 2 which is Giving Tuesday – a day dedicated to inspiring people around the world to give. This is an annual campaign and we invite more organizations to join us next year. People can learn more about the campaign and share why they give at home by visiting www.collectivehearts.ca.
Where are your favourite places to go around Hamilton?
There are so many gems but these are my top three right now: Two Black Sheep for vintage cocktails and charcuterie, Democracy for relaxed weekend vibes, lattes and the best brownies in the Hammer and of course The Casbah – my favourite place to see local bands.
What inspires you- in your professional life and normal life?
My husband inspires me. He is the most driven, passionate and thoughtful person I know. Professionally, I’m inspired by new and creative ideas.
How would you describe your style?
Girly tomboy – kind of an oxymoron but that’s the only way I can describe it.
What is on your Christmas list this year?
The book, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, the latest Alvvays record and Porridge soap by Lush.
What's your favourite piece you've found at Girl on the Wing?
This coat of course! You know those special moments when you find a vintage piece that’s not only beautiful but it’s also a perfect fit and it’s pretty much meant for you? That’s what happened with this coat.
What She’s Wearing:
Vintage winter coat
Stella Bella knit hat
Vintage plaid scarf
all available at Girl on the Wing.
We’re so inspired by all the good that this girl does on a daily basis- and may we add how cute she looks while doing it! Check out Collective Hearts and give where you live!