Local Designer: Trout Rainwear


Ashley McDonald and Jennifer Lancefield were on a beach in Florida when the idea for their company — Trout Rainwear — struck.

During yet another brainstorming session, which had been ongoing for years since they first decided to start a fashion line, the sisters realized they’d finally found their niche.

After coming up with the topic of rainwear, they realized existing styles were too sporty or were high-end trench coats, with nothing between.

“That’s were Trout found its core inspiration,” McDonald said in a recent interview. “It dawned on us that there aren’t any stylish, fashionable, functional rain jackets out there.

“We noticed a gap in the market and jumped on it.”

The name came from inspiration closer to home.

They chose Trout Rainwear, she said, because they wanted something Canadian that’s associated with water and is easy for people to visualize.

Debuting last spring at Holt Renfrew stores, Trout is a women’s rainwear brand featuring waterproof, breathable and stylish rain jackets in colours that range from classic neutrals to neon.

Baby Gila 5Cape 1

The jackets are made from an Italian double-faced cotton blend, and are sealed and bonded on the interior with seam tape, which creates a waterproof seal.

“We have a variety of carefully developed designs that bridge the gap between fashion and function,” McDonald said. “These jackets transition effortlessly from daytime to evening.”

Although the most popular item is the sporty Humboldt coat, McDonald’s personal favourite is the Sevan cape, a two-toned piece from the Spring Summer 2014 collection. Some pieces are also reversible.

“It’s fun to wear and different,” she said. “I love having the option of tucking your arms in or out.”

The outerwear company currently spans three cities: Toronto, New York and Vancouver. Based in Summerhill is McDonald, who has a background in retail and worked on the buying teams for Selfridges in the UK and Holt Renfrew in Canada. She runs the company’s day-to-day operations and oversees the business happenings.

With a background in finance and years of experience in the music industry, the team’s marketing guru is New York City-based Lancefield.

Their West Coast connection is designer Sarah Hopgood, a Parsons private art and design college graduate with experience designing for brands including Theory in New York City, Ports 1961 in Hong Kong and Hudson’s Bay in Canada.

“We’re a strong team, as we all bring something unique to the table,” McDonald said. “We maintain a good working relationship through email, phone and visits.

“It miraculously works.”

McDonald says she never tires of watching people try on items from their collection and receiving sample boxes from their manufacturer.

“It’s like Christmas every time we open those boxes,” she said. “Seeing all our selections and work off paper in an actual sample that you can try on is so rewarding.”

She stresses they’re also proud of the fact that the jackets are made in Canada, and plan on playing with new colours and introducing a new style each season.

As for the future, the hope is to expand to as many countries — and spot as many Trout’s on the street — as possible.

“I hope people feel good and smile every time they put on their jacket,” McDonald said. “There’s no better feeling than being dressed appropriately for weather, and then to feel stylish wearing it when it’s not the greatest weather is icing on the cake.”

Fashion: Dressed for the season

Style expert Afiya Francisco can regularly be found sharing her fashion expertise on Global News’ The Morning Show, CBC’s Steven and Chris and on Entertainment Tonight Canada.
With Christmas fast approaching, Francisco revealed her list of holiday must-haves to get through this busy time of year looking sharp and in season. Whether it’s an office party or a family celebration, the blogger behind The Style House and editor-at-large of Real Style magazine has got you covered.

1) A statement clutch. “Something shiny, bright and/or sparkly can add just the right amount of festivity to an otherwise simple outfit,” Francisco says.
Tommy clutch
2) A great coat. “Outerwear is often forgotten but it’s the first impression and should be chosen with more consideration than an afterthought,” Francisco says. “If it’s a second coat, chosen as an occasion piece, I suggest a versatile but surprising hue like red or cobalt.”
Paola Coatlula coat club mon

3) A tux jacket. “This piece is a cool and sexy alternative to the little black dress. Thrown over a dress or worn with trousers, a tux is an easy solution to holiday dressing.”
tux-jacket zaratux-jacket

4) Sequins. “A blouse, a dress or pants, a chic sequined piece is an instant dose of holiday cheer.”
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Extra holiday essentials:

SEEING RED: Nothing shows off holiday spirit in a stylish way quite like sporting the colour of the season.

GO FOR BOLD: A statement necklace adds a layer of interest to an outfit and takes a dress or shirt up a festive notch. Photo courtesy Sistaco.
By The Light

Gift Guide: Made in Toronto

This holiday season give a little bit from closer to home. We’ve selected 10 gift ideas, all created in the city you love. There’s something for family, friends and those hard-to-impress people — like the beauty buff, the foodie, the art collector, the beer connoisseur — on your shopping list.

Cake Beauty

CakeBeauty Set

Now available in stores across North America, including Kohl’s and Sephora, Toronto-based founder and owner Heather Reier started the Cake Beauty line in her kitchen in 2003. This holiday season the makers behind those bath and body products in delectable fragrances teamed up with fellow Canadian brand Nella Bella to offer the “It’s in the bag” gift set, which includes three velveteen hand creams in a metallic wristlet. Added bonus: the lotions smell delicious. $30. cakebeauty.com

Coach House


In addition to offering a variety of sweet (dark chocolate and fleur de sel, cranberry) and savoury (cheddar and chipotle, gorgonzola and pistachio) shortbread cookies, Carl Stryg, owner and baker of Coach House Shortbread Company, is offering an assortment of gift baskets featuring artisan goods like Bobbette and Belle’s caramel corn and Henderson Farms Preserves jam and jellies. The shop also has a timely sugar plum shortbread, made from dried apricots, raisins, plums, almonds and spices. Ingredients are soaked for four months in rum before cinnamon, cardamom and caraway are added. $12.95–$189. http://shortbread.ca

Collective Arts Brewing
Local grassroots craft beer company Collective Arts Brewing offers an artistic twist on beer. Bottles of their extra-pale ale Rhyme and Reason, available at LCBO stores, are adorned with labels featuring emerging and seasoned artists, musicians, poets, photographers and filmmakers, including Toronto-based bands Poor Young Things and The Strumbellas. $13.95 for a six-pack. collectiveartsbrewing.com

Kosoy and Bouchard
Michelle Kosoy and Pierre Bouchard are the artists behind St. Clair Avenue West’s Kosoy and Bouchard design studio, which specializes in elegant, handmade clay and glass works of art for the home. Pieces include vases, bowls and trays in beautiful patterns, and sophisticated colours like celestial blue, antique pewter and ivory. $30–$160. kosoyandbouchard.com

Jennifer McGregor and Alanna Cavanagh
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After a three-year stint in Florence, Italy to study and paint, artist Jennifer McGregor chose Toronto as her home base. The midtown resident’s watercolour paintings are one of many local artists available at Forest Hill’s Art Interiors. The shop is currently running its annual Festival of Smalls exhibit, offering an array of one-of-a-kind works between $55 and $250. Another artist featured in the gallery is Toronto-based Alanna Cavanagh, who has made a name for herself as an illustrator and printmaker. Her pieces have been featured in many design magazines. Watercolour, $80 unframed, $185 framed. artinteriors.ca. An Empty Belly print unframed, $125. alannacavanagh.com

Live Beautiful
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Live Beautiful co-owners and best friends Laura Hart and Alison Nasmith offer handcrafted jewellery made with ethical, recycled and reclaimed materials sourced from small suppliers. Their classic collection includes staples such as the elegant Audrey studs made with sustainably sourced Herkimer diamonds, which can also be purchased as a set with a necklace and bracelet, and limited edition items like the Alex ring, which is made from a thick, double-rope chain. $25–$208. livebeautiful.co

Nadege Patisserie
Nadège Nourian, a fourth-generation pastry chef from Lyon, France and founder of Summerhill’s Nadege Patisserie, is known for her delicious and skillfully crafted macarons. Available in flavours like salted caramel, Iranian pistachio and cappuccino, the patisserie now ships gift parcels from coast to coast, making these sweet treats a perfect gift to share with loved ones near and far. $26.50–$54 for 12–25 gift pack. nadege-patisserie.com

Nicole Tarasick Studio
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Nicole Tarasick’s fondness for Canadiana is apparent in her collection of pillows and tote bags, which stylishly depict screen-printed images of maps of Canada and Ontario, the Great Lakes, our nation’s wildlife (including bears and geese) and our airport code, YYZ. Tarasick’s work has been featured in many publications, including The Globe and Mail, Canadian Living and Chatelaine. $24–$95. nicoletarasick.com

Still Life Home
SLH pillows
Created by a costume designer, Still Life Home is a collection of decorative accent pillows in trendy prints and patterns that are handcrafted in Toronto. Tree ornaments and pillows from the collection are available this holiday season at midtown’s Wildbird and Freedom Clothing Collective. $17–$42. etsy.com/shop/StillLifeHome

Tuck Shop Trading Co.
Summerhill resident Lyndsay Borschke’s Tuck Shop Trading Co. collection features cozy yet fashionable pieces, including luxe cashmere scarves. The Toronto-based company also has a subsidiary line called City of Neighbourhoods, featuring toques representing different neighbourhoods of Toronto so family and friends can show off their hometown pride in style. $35–$315. tuckshopco.com

Local Designer: Tuck Shop Trading Co. & City of Neighbourhoods


The idea stemmed from a coat.

After receiving an old buffalo check jacket from her mother-in-law, Lyndsay Borschke started thinking about creating clothes that embody both city and cottage life.

“I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if this coat were a little bit more updated and it could have more street value so you could wear it downtown,” says Borschke.

The resulting cottage coat is one of her favourite pieces in her newly launched label Tuck Shop Trading Co., a line of ready-to-wear men’s and ladies’ casual clothing and accessories.

Her line includes toques, scarves, jackets and bags made with fabrics like cashmere, fur and leather. She had already been involved in designing lines of clothing for summer camps and schools when she decided it would be “fun and a little bit of an adventure” to do something with more luxurious fabrics while still being influenced by “that outdoor lifestyle.”


A major inspiration for the collection was the time spent at Algonquin Park growing up. She also worked as a business director for a summer camp there, and now spends summers with her family at a cottage on Canoe Lake that was originally leased by her husband’s grandfather.

Historical pictures of his family, who in the 1940s would travel by train to the lake and were, in her words, “always superbly dressed,” are incorporated into the company’s hand tags and website.

The idea for the name springs from onsite tuck shops where summer campers can get necessities and clothing.

“I thought, well it’s sort of like a tuck shop at camp but then I was also thinking fur traders bringing fur to the old trading posts and then that filtering back down to the city,” she relates.

Borschke has a subsidiary line called City of Neighbourhoods, which allows people to proudly display their neighbourhood pride — on their toques. Midtown neighbourhoods represented include Summerhill to the Annex and Yorkville, Rosedale and Forest Hill to Lawrence Park.

Leaside will be part of the latest toques added to the collection, which will be available this month. Other additions are St. Clair West and Christie Pits. Sweatshirts and t-shirts featuring the neighbourhoods are also available.


To celebrate Tuck Shop Trading Co.’s debut, Borschke held an official launch party at the Big Crow on Dupont Street near Davenport Avenue on Oct. 1.

“It was great to have all the products on display and it looked woodsy and like a tuck shop,” she says. “It had a wood background, but then there was also this wonderful smell of wood smoke and we were serving Canadiana-themed food.”

Although Borschke is already looking ahead to a brick-and-mortar location, which she would like to see in the Summerhill area, both her collections are currently available online at tuckshopco.com and select local stores, including The Narwhal and Over the Rainbow. She also hopes to expand City of Neighbourhoods to major cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Sydney.

“Since the launch the response to the neighbourhood hats has been fabulous,” she says. “It’s great to see how people are responding to them on social media and posting pictures of themselves wearing the toques, and also just how they’re asking for different neighbourhoods and how they want to represent their own neighbourhood has been really great.”

All images by Ann Ruppenstein

Local Designer: Live Beautiful

DESIGN DUO: Live Beautiful’s Laura Hart, left, and Alison Nasmith show off pieces from their Rough and Tumble collection at Aime, a Yorkville boutique carrying their line.

DESIGN DUO: Live Beautiful’s Laura Hart, left, and Alison Nasmith show off pieces from their Rough and Tumble collection at Aime, a Yorkville boutique carrying their line.

While taking a jewellery-making course, Laura Hart and Alison Nasmith ignored their instructor’s design advice, which proved to be a key step in starting their own business.

The wide band ring — made much bigger than their teacher saw fit — wound up being the first piece they sold upon launching their jewellery line Live Beautiful online nearly two years ago.

“Someone from Australia bought it and it was really exciting,” Hart says.

“It was amazing because at that point we had this little Etsy shop and maybe our friends and family would buy things but it was like somebody bought it from Australia!” Nasmith adds. “It was cool and she got it and she loved it and to make something for someone and to know that we’re a part of their life in that little way is great.”

In contrast to poorly made, cheap and mass-produced items, the pair hope to challenge the marketplace by creating unique, handcrafted and sustainable jewellery using recycled materials, found objects and vintage pieces.

“We try to find ethical stones and small suppliers so we’re trying to put a positive product out into the world that still looks great,” Nasmith says. “We offer jewellery with a conscience so a big part of our brand is making everything by hand.”

In April Live Beautiful’s most recent collection, Rough and Tumble, debuted at three stores in Ontario including Aime boutique on Davenport Road, where they held a launch celebration in early May.

This month will also mark the release of the company’s bridal creations, which along with their other pieces are created in their Annex office near Bloor and Bathurst streets, featuring statement pieces that incorporate embroidery, beads and vintage lace.

“It’s very special to be part of somebody’s day and to create something old,” Nasmith says, adding a lot of their bridal work is custom made and she also designed her own wedding ring. “I love using pieces from people’s collection like working with their grandmother’s broach and turning that into a bib necklace. It’s personal and beautiful.”

Prior to this endeavour, Hart and Nasmith became fast friends while attending university in Kingston, where they fittingly worked together in a jewellery store and would constantly critique newly arriving stock.

Several years later they decided to take a jewellery-making course to spend more time together and to do something creative.

WHAT'S THE STORY? Laura Hart and Alison Nasmith create jewellery with a conscience made with materials sourced from small suppliers. Many of the pieces have a back story like the Herkimer diamonds, which are from an Amish farm in upstate New York.

WHAT’S THE STORY? Laura Hart and Alison Nasmith create jewellery with a conscience made with materials sourced from small suppliers. Many of the pieces have a back story like the Herkimer diamonds, which are from an Amish farm in upstate New York.

“We just kind of realized that we had a talent for it, as we were making stuff in the class, we were like this is something that feels right, it feels natural,” Hart says. “It was coming from us organically, like we weren’t really trying to do things but they were just coming out really cool.”

With varying skills and aesthetics, the pair say they bring different things to the table and complement each other well.

“I have maybe like 700 ideas and maybe three of them are good,” Nasmith says. “I just try a bunch of different things and lots of our designs are kind of accidents. I’m trying to do something else and then I’m like I don’t like it like that but maybe if I do this instead and there’s things I’ll do half way and Laura will come and tell me how she sees it.”

While their personal favourites of the current collection include the large Roxy studs and the bullet shaped Presley earrings, a popular draw are several pieces made with Herkimer diamonds they carried over from a previous line.

“A big thing we do is work with people on Etsy, we just feel like it’s a great community and they’re all small businesses all run by individuals and we want to support that,” Hart says. “The Herkimers are great on many different levels. They are beautiful pieces, people really respond to them aesthetically but they have such a great story.”

With a background in academics, Nasmith devotes a lot of time to researching where the materials come from, the story behind it and making sure everything is conflict free to see if the items suit their brand.

While investigating a batch of Herkimer diamonds, she learned they were from an Amish farm in upstate New York.

“The story just totally captured my heart,” Nasmith says. “They kind of come naturally through soil and they’re quite tough and the farm has horses that plow the fields and the stones were bothering their hooves so they let one miner very infrequently come to the farm and clear them out so its easier plowing and that’s where we get the stones. We paired them with 100 percent recycled metals from a supplier where our purchase goes towards animal welfare organizations. It looks great and it feels great, it’s like a lovely ethical piece and it really embodies what we’re trying to do with the line.”

As the business venture continues to grow, Hart and Nasmith hope the values of the brand will resonate with customers who also like the designs aesthetically.

“A big part of what we’re trying to do is create something that has a story,” Hart says. “It’s creating something that is different and hopefully they’ll want to invest in something they can keep forever and pass on to future generations. That would be the greatest thing if we could create something that people wanted to keep forever.”

Local Designer: Niki & Lola

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Angie Tingas and Michael Proteau’s children inspired their jewellery line — both literally and figuratively.

Named after their daughters Sophia Niki and Alexia Lola, the idea for Niki & Lola came about because they brought the girls to life.

“When I had them I thought, if I can make those, let me see if I can make other things too,” Tingas says. “I went to school for fashion but fashion management and people used to say, ‘Do you design?’ and I would say, ‘Oh no, I’m not artistic.’ So they actually inspired a want to try and do more.”

While Tingas conceptualizes the jewellery designs, Proteau develops the ideas and executes them into finished products made from raw metal and sterling silver.

“My highlight is when Mike actually interprets what I draw and makes something really, really beautiful,” Tingas says, adding they had a third daughter while they launched the line earlier this year. “I’m more like I want this out of the pieces and somehow he figures out how to make my ideas happen. Sometimes you don’t think your ideas will translate and they do.”

Early Nomad, their first collection of one-of-a-kind and handmade earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets is available online at nikiandlola.com and designed and crafted in their home studio near Danforth and Jones avenues.

The Agny Spear

My personal fave: The Agny Spear

“There are a few people who get super excited about everything we do and they’ve been to every launch or media event and it just lifts your spirits and makes you feel like you’re going somewhere,” says Proteau.

Although Tingas had already started creating jewellery before they joined force, once she decided she wanted to go away from beads and into metal jewellery, collaborating was a natural progression since Proteau already had experience cutting, shaving and polishing metal.

“My background hobby wise has been in automobiles, cars, motorcycles so a lot of metal work was involved there,” he says. “As well I have some other hobbies that include electronics and that’s where the soldering came in.”

Inspired by simple geometry and a theme of early humanity, pieces like the shield ring symbolize protection while the astra bracelet, which has Swarovski crystals placed at random around the bangle, symbolizes the night

“I think it also speak to us, like we’re so different but somehow it meshed like our aesthetics,” Tingas says. “We get our inspirations off of each other like I’m more pretty and Mike’s a little more motorcycle-edgy
and somehow we try and blend those two.”

“It kind of goes with our name too,” adds Proteau. “Our two daughters, the one is like soft and sensitive and the other one’s like rough and tumble.”

The team behind Niki & Lola
The team behind Niki & Lola. Top image, the stylish and surprisingly light weight Polygonia Bangle.

Local Designer: Damn Heels


Hailey Coleman was backpacking across England, Spain, France and Italy when she had enough of her damn heels.

“I hobbled home barefoot after a night out in heels and I was like, ‘Why do women always sacrifice comfort for style?’ ” Coleman says from her home near Eglinton Avenue and Laird Drive.

Her sore feet inspired her to launch Damn Heels, which started off as a line of foldable ballerina slippers and evolved into a stylish line of everyday flats.

“The design inspiration for every shoe comes from high heels so you get the streamline sexiness of a stiletto with the comfort of a flat,” she says. “The flats are not only for women to take their heels off after they had
enough of their heels, they’re also just for women who want to still look and feel great even while wearing flats.”

Although Damn Heels are available online at www.damnheels.com and select retail locations including Blo and Alma Natural Spa on Yonge Street and Gussied Up on Bathurst Street, throughout October Coleman hit the streets of Toronto to offer her shoes from the trunk of a Smart Fortwo Coupe.
While one dollar from every pair of flats sold during the pop-up sale were donated to Rethink Breast Cancer, Damn Heels has donated over 1,600 shoes to other causes including Nellie’s and Dress For Success.

“These are organization that help disadvantaged women with clothing and giving them the skills to put together a resume or help them through interviews and they help girls out during prom season by outfitting girls for
prom,” she says. “So those really mean a lot to me to be a part of because they help women look and feel fabulous, which is exactly in line with our mission.”

Coleman, who is also putting together a jeans company, finds it fulfilling to watch women slip into her shoes and see a smile spread across their faces, she says.

Her shoes come in matching clutches, which can also be unfolded into tote bags.

“I really just want women to feel fabulous,” she says. “At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. I define it as looking great, feeling great and being comfortable.”

Local designer: Cheryl Gushue/Cascata Blu

Swimwear designer Cheryl Gushue still has Barbies in her loft. It’s not that she’s an avid collector or simply likes to play with dolls. Rather, the figurines serve as a reminder of her start in the fashion industry, sporting the first intricate swimsuits she constructed when she was a mere 10 years old.

“I still have them,” she says from her Leslieville home. “I guess I knew that was sort of my calling. I kind of live for the beach and my place is like a beach house.”

Although she’s been designing custom swimsuits for the past eight years and has been featured on **Fashion Television,** Gushue and her business partner Joan Kelley launched Cascata Blu, a resort-wear line of
swimsuits, cover-ups and body jewellery, at a fashion show on Sept. 8.

“I want to be able to cover as many body types as I possibly can and I just want women to look their best,” says Gushue, who studied fashion design at Seneca College and has also made a name for herself in the beauty
industry as a makeup artist. “I will always make something that I want to wear and something that’s comfortable. My fabrics are super soft, have lots of ties and are very adjustable.”

With a goal of hitting international distribution at beach boutique hotels and cruise ships, Cascata Blu, which is Italian for blue waterfall, is currently available online at cascatablu.com and at Kamalame Cay Boutique
Hotel on Andros Island in the Bahamas.

“Fashion design and fashion has always been an interest to me, that was always my first love,” she says. “It’s one of those lifelong dreams that I managed to do as a living and as a career.”

ON THE RUNWAY: A shot from the official launch of Cascata Blu’s 2013 resort wear collection at The Spoke Club on Sept. 8, for more images click here.