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!
This past weekend was a special one for me as it marked the two-year anniversary since I moved back to Hamilton. I must admit, it feels like it’s been much longer than that and this city feels so much like my home that I can’t imagine living anywhere else! Here’s my story of what I’ve experienced in the past two years, why it was the best decision I could have made and what I’ve learned (with some of my favourite photos of the shop, Hamilton and people I've met).
In the late summer and fall of 2012 I had been living in Toronto for six years and had quite a nice life there. All my best friends were there, I had various companies and people I was collaborating with and freelancing for, and was living by myself for the first time in the perfect apartment in the Distillery district. My plans of opening my own shop had gotten more serious that past year or so and along with my Bachelor of Design from Ryerson’s Fashion Communication program I had also completed some small business courses at George Brown. My ideas and thoughts were starting to take shape and I was gearing up to put them into motion. The only thing was that when I thought about opening up in Toronto, it just didn’t seem right. For most people this is because of the higher rents and overwhelming nature of a bigger city. That was part of my reasoning but it was also that the vision I had for the store didn’t match where I was living. Growing up, I lived in a small town and my dad ran a bookshop, where he knew all of his customers.
I always imagined my own business following this same model- forming personal relationships with my customers and being a part of the community. Though I grew up in the outskirts of Hamilton, I traveled there every day for school from the ages 5 to 16. Most of my thoughts of the City were formed by my dad who had always been heavily involved in the community there. My parents met at McMaster and I’ll always remember my dad telling me the happiest days of his life were when the two of them were newly married and would bike to Mac together every day. But in terms of more recent opinions of the City, I didn’t have many, except that I kept hearing how much it was changing and improving.
The biggest factor for my decision to move to Hamilton was the fact that I felt I needed a dramatic change in my life in order to fully focus on my business and put everything into it. Hamilton’s art and design scene was well-known, it was far enough from Toronto but still close enough, and it was where I had family and historical roots. At the time, I was in a relationship, and my partner and I decided to move to Hamilton together to make the transition easier, which was another exciting part of the move! The first few months were hard on me and I was worried I’d made the wrong decision. I kept wondering why I would leave Toronto, where I had such a network and so many connections in the fashion and design world, for a place where I knew close to no one. On top of that, my relationship started coming apart at the seams as we were realizing we wanted different things. All in all, I felt pretty lonely and naïve to think that I could just start up in Hamilton without any connections.
But then things started changing. I started meeting with Rob Belchior at the Small Business Enterprise Centre located at City Hall and he really inspired me to just go for it. I stopped pitying myself and set out to make as many connections as possible and get my dream started. And this is when I learned my favourite thing about Hamilton: everyone I met was so friendly, welcoming, supportive and wanted the best for the city. I remember having a moment of revelation about four months after I moved where I was just driving through the City and looking around I realized just how much I loved it, my insides were all warm and gooey and everything just felt right, for the first time in a while.
Shortly after, my relationship ended and I was positive that this was the end of my life as I knew it. I had been putting more energy in envisioning my life with this person than focusing on what I wanted to accomplish for myself. It all happened with the craziest timing; the day I found my store location is the day I also suffered my first broken heart. The next two weeks I cried the most I think I ever have, while managing to direct my hired contractor on all the renovations that needed to be done. It was such a crazy up-and-down part of my life, but in a weird way, I can’t imagine it any other way. I always say that the pain I went through was so necessary because it allowed me to put all that negative energy into something positive and build something beautiful out of it. And in a hilarious way, it was like I had moved from one serious relationship to the next; my store was now my best friend, my boyfriend, and my baby. It’s cheesy to say, but it’s so true. I’ve always been a believer in everything happening for a reason, and the six months before I opened the store was proof of some higher power telling me everything was going to be ok.
Fast-forward to now, I’ve been living in this beautiful city for two years, the store has been opened for a year and a half, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s, in fact, hard to believe it’s only been a couple of years based on how completely content and comfortable I feel here, all the wonderful friends and customers I’ve met and how passionate I am about Hamilton. It’s very fulfilling to be doing something that I love all parts of-and to be building something that is such a reflection of myself. I really feel like I’ve put my heart and soul into Girl on the Wing and I can’t tell you how rewarding it feels to have such an amazing customer base and support system around me. I’ve learned from everything I’ve done and have been so lucky to meet countless amazing and inspirational people while doing it.
I got the idea for this little blog post/diary entry last Monday, the night of the Municipal election. This was the first election I’d taken part in since moving here and it was one that I was very excited about. There were two candidates I felt really personally invested in and excited about that had amazing ideas for the future of Hamilton. I tried to get involved and help spread the word on these candidates and open up the discussion of voting to my friends, customers and acquaintances. Come election night, I was feeling so emotional. I think because it helped me realize just how much I do love this City. Though some results were favourable, and some weren’t, I was very humbled by the amazing people surrounding me who feel the same way about Hamilton.
I’m floored by the generosity and civic engagement of so many people I’ve met here and it just goes to show there is so much in store for Hamilton’s future. At the end of the night, two of my closest friends and I went for a long drive around all parts of the City- the beautiful historic streets of Dundas, the vast fields of rural Flamborough, and the vibrant city streets of downtown. We all felt warm and giddy about our love for the city- and it’s a love that keeps growing every day.
After two years, I’m happy to say Hamilton is and will forever be my home. Thank you to everyone I’ve met who has been a part of my store life, personal life or community life. I love you all!
We’re excited to present a new monthly blog feature starring our favourite Hamilton women who are doing great things… and looking good while they do them! Through the shop I’ve met so many amazing and strong women that love what they do and are contributing to the growth and betterment of this fine city. It’s truly admirable to see someone putting their talents and passions into something that they love doing, and because ‘girl on the wing’ is a reflection of it’s amazing customer base, it’s time we highlight some of these gals!
This month’s ‘girl about town’ is the wonderful Molly Hayes. I first met Molly in the shop, but had already heard so much about her. Known for her work as a reporter for the Hamilton Spectator, she’s a true inspiration to young women based on how much she has accomplished thus far. Growing up in Hamilton, Molly was excited to move to Toronto to study journalism at Ryerson. Before she had even graduated she was offered a job at the Spec and decided to return to Hamilton. She’s been happy to see how much the city has progressed in the last few years and shares her favourite places to hang out, her first memories of style and what you can find in her closet.
What are your favourite things to do and places to be in Hamilton?
Going for a bike ride and picnic along the waterfront. Ideally with a new book- I’ve been getting mine from Bryan Prince, or the Hamilton Public Library, since I was a kid. Coffee and writing sessions at one of our many awesome coffee shops, Mulberry is an old favourite. Shows at the Casbah or This Ain’t Hollywood. I’m pretty useless in the kitchen so I like going out for dinner- Naroma, Brad Bar, Bronzie’s, the Ship and Rapscallion are my local haunts. Cheap Tuesday movies at Jackson Square, the list goes on…
What inspires you- both in your personal and professional life?
People, mostly. The best part of my job is that I get to meet new people all the time. It’s like a constant epiphany—always learning about new things from new perspectives. This city is so full of characters; there is no shortage of stories. There’s also nothing like a good book/podcast to remind me why I love journalism and writing.
How would you describe your style?
Hmm…I aim to wear something clean everyday. Haha.
What are some of your earliest fashion memories?
I had a lot of cousins so I wore a lot of hand-me-downs as a kid. Pretty much anything that came from my older cousins seemed instantly cool to me. I remember inheriting a pair of blue Modrobes (as well as a fleecy red pair…oh yeah) and I thought they were the coolest thing. Thankfully there’s no photo evidence.
What is your go-to outfit for fall?
Well today I am wearing a sweater of my boyfriend’s that I shrunk in the dryer (score) and boots. I pretty much wear a variation of this every single day in the fall. Mostly I just thank god I can finally put away the sunscreen.
What has been your favourite piece you’ve found at Girl on the Wing?
Levi’s jeans! I have been wearing the exact same type of jeans for years so I was excited to find out you’re carrying them right downtown. Lesson learned: the day you buy and break in new skinny jeans is not the day to also order Rolly Rocket’s for dinner to the newsroom.
What She’s Wearing:
High-Rise skinny jeans by Levi’s (available at Girl on the Wing)
Button down shirt and (shrunken) sweater from Club Monaco
Pleather jacket from TopShop
Bag and Earrings by Crownland Goods (designed by Amy Kenny, a fellow Hamilton Spectator writer!)
This is the epitome of a cute and classic look for fall...thanks to Molly for sharing her thoughts and teaching us a valuable lesson about breaking in your high-rise Levi’s (save your Rolly Rocket’s bbq feast for another day!). I look forward to seeing where this girl goes and Hamilton is lucky to have her! Keep an eye out for our next "girl about town" post- coming next month!
After a weekend full of turkey, friends, and fall hikes, I was excited to shoot the store’s Fall Lookbook as I was feeling more inspired than ever about the changing season. I was especially excited for this shoot because for the first time in Girl on the Wing history, it featured a team of exclusively Hamilton women. I love this city more and more every day and it was great to work with so many talented people! For this season’s lookbook I was inspired by a rich fall colour palette, lush greenery, cozy yet glamorous looks, and the little joys of everyday life. We shot at Low Key Studios which is housed in the Empire Times building on King William. I love this location and it served as the perfect backdrop to the various scenes and ideas we all had in our head.
Katie Harrison Benfey and Christoph Benfey run their studio out of the space and have such an inspiring workspace. Katie was our wonderful photographer and she did such a good job at capturing the mood I was hoping for. With such a calming presence, Katie was able to capture the perfect image in only a few clicks. She has such a beautiful vision within all her work and makes every moment way more beautiful that I could ever imagine! I originally met Katie as a customer in the shop and was so happy to get the chance to work with her.
The woman behind the lush greenery and romantic floral arrangements of this shoot was the lovely Jessica Hunter. We also met through the shop and have been talking about collaborating for as long as I’ve known her so it was great to finally be able to do it! Jessica Hunter is the founder or A Fine Medley, where she specializes in floral and event styling, which is set to be launched within the next few months. She is so incredibly knowledgeable about plants and flowers and did such a beautiful job in creating different scenes that complimented the clothing just perfectly. Her Instagram is one of my favourites to follow as everything she touches turns into beauty! @jessicahhunter
Justine McKnight was the hair and makeup artist for the shoot and she was such a joy to work with! She focused on a simple, clean makeup look with the perfect merlot fall lip colour. For hair, she did a classic Old Hollywood side part and loose waves, which was both dramatic, yet feminine. Later on, she continued the side part and created a cute and fun mod-inspired high ponytail. Not only was she a complete professional but she also has such a sweet demeanor that made her one of my favourite makeup artists I’ve had the chance to work with.
Our beautiful model was Ailish Kennelly. I met Ailish through the shop and instantly wanted her to model for the store one day. This was her first photoshoot and everyone on the team found that extremely hard to believe. She had such a quiet confidence on set and her stoic posing suited the mood and looks perfectly. This girl is far more than just a beauty and is currently studying International Development at University of Guelph. She’s definitely the epitome of the perfect Girl on the Wing: kind, intelligent, quirky, stylish, wise beyond her years and has a quiet grace about her.
As always, styled by me.
Can’t wait to unveil the beautiful shots this Friday at our Fall Collection Shopping Party! We'll have the first look at our fall collection, including the vintage pieces from the shoot, treats and drinks, special deals and lots of fun! Hope to see you there. Friday October 17th 6-9pm.
I've been a big fan of Caitlin Shearer's illustrations for a while now. Hailing from New South Wales, Australia, Caitlin is known for her feminine, nostalgic and playful style. Her prints combine sketching with marker and watercolour, and most often focus on beautiful women wearing beautiful clothing. What's not to love?
We have a limited edition of her work, check the facebook page for a complete list of prints available.
Prints are: 8.5x11 and $20 each
Well we're already 9 days into 2014 but let me officially wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2013 was a great year for the shop...I mean we opened! 2014 is going to be just as meaningful and we have lots of great stuff planned. Keep an eye and ear out for some exciting new product lines, new lookbooks, more events and an online shop!
2014 is the Year of the Horse, so I figured it was a great excuse to share some of my favourite vintage horse photos. I've always loved anything equestrian themed; from the lucky horseshoes hanging at my house to old riding competition ribbons, one of my favourite things to collect is anything horse-related. The year has started a bit slow for me (thanks flu!) and while I wanted to enter 2014 like Bianca Jagger entering her birthday party at Studio 54 on a white horse, it wasn't quite so glamorous. But the year is fresh and I'm so excited for all that is coming!
To me horses symbolize grace, tradition, strength, femininity, and sophistication. A life with horses seems like a quaint and dignified one, so I'm going to use them as an example for how I hope to model my new year, both personally and professionally.
Wishing you all a happy, successful year filled with good times with friends and family!
Girl on the Wing
Though the holidays are about giving to others, the one thing I can justify buying for myself is an awesome holiday party outfit! I love glittery seperates that can be quickly restyled into slightly different looks for all the various holiday functions. We just put out a bunch of vintage pieces that will be perfect for any celebration- come on by and check them out!
classic black and white can work for any party and worn for years to come! pair with a fur stole and festive turquoise and magenta accessories for a total holiday look.
stand out in metallic gold and bold cobalt. these seperates are great wardrobe pieces and can both be dressed up or down.
be timeless in this 1960's printed dress and hand-beaded cardigan.
this 1940's knit top would look amazing with a full skirt or high-waisted pants. the detail on the collar is sure to be a conversation starter.
if you have a really fancy event, this 1960's mint green ballgown is sure to make you the talk of the party...and generate a long line under the mistletoe.
the loly in the sky flats in the 'erika' style are perfectly paired with any holiday look!
all items available at Girl on the Wing.
Any creative type knows that inspiration can come from anywhere; an old movie, a beautiful building, a new city, even a conversation. I've always loved the concept of inspiration and am continually surprised by where my own come from. In Greek Mythology the goddesses of inspiration were known as the Muses and were considered the source of knowledge of literature, arts and science. Later on the term "muse" was used in popular culture to mean a person (usually a woman) that served as the main source of inspiration for any type of creator. Some of my favourite muse-creator pairings that come to my mind: Edie Sedgwick to Andy Warhol, Audrey Hepburn to Hubert de Givenchy, and Yoko Ono to John Lennon.
Women have long been muses and even the one's not recognized by popular culture have had huge effects on their subjects. It's with this idea in mind that stems behind an upcoming fundraiser for the Women's Centre of Hamilton. On November 22nd, Muse Fest will showcase local female artists and musicians in a night of entertainment. The event benefits the Women's Centre, which is a program run by Interval House of Hamilton. All the proceeds from the evening will go directly to the Centre which offers programs and support services to women in need at no cost to them. Organizer Annie Horton has planned an exciting event with great local performers and positive vibes.
We're excited to attend and support the centre and our friends at Interval House. To help raise funds for the event we'll be having a bake sale this Friday at the Art Crawl. Keep an eye out for us and our famous baked goods! Nothing like eating sweet treats for a good cause!
You can get your tickets for Muse Fest online here: Eventbrite or in person at Mixed Media. Hope to see you all there for a night filled with inspirational muses!