With support from online fashion heavyweights like Refinery 29, Who What Wear, Nylon, and the Zo Report, CurriculumShop.com is quickly making a name for itself in the world of digital fashion retailers. Since its start two years, founder Nicki Podvalej has been driven by her inspirations, entrepreneurial spirit, and the insightful advice of those close to her. Keep reading to learn more about her process and what keys to her success we can all apply to our lives.
Curriculum is more than just another online clothing retailer. It’s a destination where discerning shoppers with an eye for unique pieces come to experience fashion. It’s educational in a way, exposing shoppers to many small brands only available halfway around the world. Late last year I was lucky enough to meet up with the brains behind CurriculumShop.com, Nicki Podvalej, to discuss her retail philosophy, buying process, how she found her way into fashion, and so much more. Your crash course begins now.
Today is International Women’s Day!!! With events like The Women’s March on Washington in January and A Day Without Women going on today, women are truly making their voices heard. On a local level in Toronto I see many different female-focused creative groups like Gxxrls, Sophomore Magazine, and Her Collective creating a platform and safe space for women of all backgrounds to celebrate and support each other.
Back in the summer of last year I teased a preview from a pretty elaborate editorial collaboration I was working on and I’m happy to finally premiere it today. Best part? All female crew! #Girlpower for the win.
As you guys already know, my love for local Toronto fashion and lifestyle brand Untitled&Co runs pretty deep. I’ve always admired their fun, youthful style that is sexy, unique, and always empowered. I appreciate the way they engage with their community. I respect the social causes they align themselves with. I love that when I go to their physical store at 438 Queen St W in Toronto, it’s run entirely by other ambitious young people like myself.
So when they asked me if I wanted to do a shoot together again my answer was obvious: YAAAAS!
What do you think would happen if you gave 68 unique and different women one leather jacket to wear according to their own personal style? For the launch of their customized leather jacket collaboration, downtown Toronto fashion boutique Convey and leather design studio Namesake teamed up and did just that. And I was lucky enough to be one of the chosen ladies.
Remember when I said I had something in the works with downtown Toronto boutique Smoke + Ash? Well on the evening of April 7th, at the one year anniversary party, that project was revealed. I was so happy to be the muse for a fashion film celebrating their one year anniversary as one of the coolest fashion destinations in one of Toronto’s trendiest neighborhoods, West Queen West.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that right now I’m in Miami. What I haven’t mentioned yet is that right before I left, I was working on a special project for Toronto West Queen West boutique Smoke + Ash.
It came about in the most organic way. A follower of mine on Instagram (hey, hun!) tagged me in a post S + A put up calling for a model to “Be [Their] Beyoncé”. Without even knowing what that meant, a day or two later I sent them an email and a few days later I was meeting with the store owner, Jaya, and the rest of the production team. Soon after Jaya told me they had chosen me to be the lead in this secret project celebrating their one year anniversary.
I’ve always had an affinity for lingerie. Something about intricate lace, smooth satin, and delicate fishnets really puts me in touch with my feminine side. While walking in Toronto’s West Queen West neighborhood I found there was always one store that instantly stopped me every time I’d approach it.
The mannequins in the display window of Kallone Intimi have a sultry, mesmerizing quality about them. They definitely live up to the store’s name, meaning “beauty” in ancient Greek. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I decided who better to teach me a few things and get me in the spirit than store owner, Rachel Avery.
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.
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.