Denim is a wardrobe staple, there’s no denying that. Whether as jeans or a jacket, intact or distressed, it’s an iconic textile that the fashion world will continue to reinvent. Who would know that better than Kealan Sullivan of 69 Vintage? An avid collector and enthusiast, Sullivan’s collections spans decades. It’s no surprise that she chose denim as a medium for expression in her runway collection entitled “Wild Child” which debuted at Fashion Art Toronto last year.
In part one of my interview we discussed her fashion background, the success of her long-running vintage store, her passion for human connections, and her journey to finding confidence. Now in part two we’ll discuss her designs, her inspirations, and what’s next for the self-described “OG wild child”.
Hey guys! I apologize for being gone for over a week now. If I told you everything I’ve been working on then you’d completely understand. From working a ton lately (including a music video for a certain pop superstar I mentioned on IG), to celebrating All-Star Weekend/Valentine’s Day in Toronto, to now finding myself in NYC for the second half of the Fall/Winter 2016 season of New York Fashion Week. This is my first time here for NYFW and I really wanted to make the most of the shows and events I was able to get access to.
I love free stuff so discovering the TRESemme Runway Studio at Spring Studios in Manhattan was perfect for me. At first I wasn’t even planning on getting anything done, I just wanted to take a look around. However, after meeting the photographer there who expressed an interest in wanting to shoot me, he convinced me to change up my ‘do. I came in with two cornrows I had hurriedly done on my way out the door and left with four neatly plaited rows expertly braided by a very friendly hairstylist named Kiki.While she worked we chatted about where each of us is from (She’s from Boston but lives in Florida now), the recent airing of this year’s Grammy Awards, and her favorite types of hairstyles to do on clients. Check out my collage below for the play-by-play pics.
As you guys already know, I like to do a little modeling every now and then. Sometimes it’s fun to work with someone else’s vision and try to bring that to life. A few months ago local fashion designer Godfrey Mensah reached out to me through Instagram and asked if I would be interested in modeling the Spring/Summer 2016 collection for his line Keniya X Label called “Raw Hype”. I had seen his unisex garments gather attention at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week and was intrigued by the aesthetic so I said yes.
It’s been my pleasure to shine a light on Canadian design talent like Mary Young and Mani Jassal. There’s so many great things happening here in Toronto and I really want to make an effort to share the beautiful work of as many emerging designers as I can so please meet another one of my favorites: Beaufille.
What do you get if you mix the work ethic of Karl Lagerfeld with the design aesthetic of Alexander McQueen and season to taste with a dash of BadGalRiRi? A bold, young bridal designer who’s one part Indian, one part Canadian and all parts #GIRLBOSS.
Mani Jassal and I are sitting in a busy, cramped Starbucks in downtown Toronto on Queen Street West. With celebrities like R&B artist Ashanti to singer Miguel’s longtime girlfriend Nazanin Mandi wearing her designs, it’s nice to catch up with another fellow Ryerson University School of Fashion alum who is quickly making a name for herself only a few years post-graduation. I imagine it must have been a bit of divine intervention that has put her where she is today as Mani tells me about how she almost took a different career path.
Turns out Mani and I have some things in common. We are both immigrants of ethnic backgrounds who came to North America when we were young and grew up with traditionalist parents. She tells me about how her South Asian parents had wanted her to be an engineer or a doctor and at the time it was something that she had accepted for herself. She applied to the University of Toronto’s aerospace engineering program, the University of Waterloo’s chemistry program, and then the wild card, fashion design at Ryerson University.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that back when Drake and Future named their joint mixtape they were on Mary Young‘s web site anticipating her now released Fall 2015 collection. And rightfully so. With cosigns from Refinery 29, Teen Vogue, and other major fashion media, Mary is steadily positioning herself as one to watch both locally in Toronto and abroad.
In the world of lifestyle lingerie, most brands are either hyper-feminine or super sporty, but Mary positions herself right in the middle of the two styles. A quick browse in her online store reveals cozy basics like triangle bralettes, high waist panties, skinny-cut sweats, and knits made from the softest bamboo fibers in light and neutral palettes. It’s lingerie meets loungewear. Loungerie ©, if you will.
“Design itself inspires me,” Mary says. Give her a well-curated space with white walls and rustic wood or metal elements and her creativity will flourish. An average day in her life can involve anything from sketching, pattern-drafting, and sewing samples to managing her e-commerce store, packing and shipping orders, attending industry events, or taking meetings like the one we are on now over coffee at one of her preferred spots, RSqaured Cafe on Queen Street West.