NA­TIONAL TREA­SURES

Toronto Life - - National Treasures - Meet the de­sign­ers at toron­to­life.com/nord­strom

Canada’s best de­sign­ers have some­thing in com­mon with Nord­strom—they know that style is per­sonal, whether your vibe is head-to-toe glam­our, or jeans and sneak­ers. Here, some of the most cel­e­brated names in Cana­dian fash­ion de­scribe their style ethos, and what hav­ing their la­bels at Nord­strom means to themu

ON SEEK­ING CON­TRA­DIC­TIONS

Over the years, Biko has be­come about a con­trast of shape, tex­ture, line and pat­tern. I love mix­ing the sleek, re­flec­tive na­ture of luxe met­als with a ham­mered tex­ture, or mak­ing pieces that are wavy. I love play­ing with ma­te­ri­als that are fluid against some­thing a lit­tle more sharp and jagged.

THINK­ING OUT­SIDE THE SEA­SON

Jew­ellery is a time­less thing. Trends come and go, but jew­ellery is with­out sea­son. I make pieces that feel con­tem­po­rary, but also like lit­tle heir­looms—things that you’ll want to hang on to over the years.

HOW I BUILD ON THE PAST

I’ll use an el­e­ment from a pre­vi­ous col­lec­tion in a newer piece of jew­ellery— like build­ing off a ham­mered metal com­po­nent I last sea­son to make some­thing that looks and feels com­pletely dif­fer­ent. I built the busi­ness aound the idea of found ob­jects with sto­ries to share, and I love see­ing th­ese sto­ries evolve and shift over time.

WHY I LOVE CANA­DIAN DE­SIGN

Be­ing a Cana­dian de­signer is won­der­ful. Canada is di­ver­sity—al­most ev­ery­one here comes from some­where else. I was born in Canada but I’m also Greek and Pol­ish. To me, Canada is about the in­flu­ences of many dis­tinct cul­tures be­ing brought to­gether to feel like home.

THE NORD­STROM AD­VAN­TAGE

When Nord­strom opened here, they jumped on board with Cana­dian de­sign­ers. Work­ing with Nord­strom has def­i­nitely opened up a lot of doors for Biko.

OUR GUID­ING PRIN­CI­PLES

Matt & Nat stands for “ma­te­rial and na­ture.” We’re proud to be a ve­gan com­pany that pro­duces beau­ti­ful, con­tem­po­rary ac­ces­sories with­out touch­ing leather.

THE POWER OF ETH­I­CAL DE­SIGN

For about 10 years now, we’ve part­nered with an eth­i­cal fac­tory in Tai­wan to cre­ate a lin­ing for our bags. It’s made from 100-per-cent re­cy­cled plas­tic bot­tles. It looks amaz­ing, and it’s eco-friendly. Really, the whole mar­ket is chang­ing. In fact, the world is chang­ing. There are so many fac­to­ries in Europe now pro­duc­ing beau­ti­ful polyurethane— it’s ve­gan, and more biodegrad­able than PVC. The qual­ity is amaz­ing. The look is amaz­ing. More and more com­pa­nies want to pro­duce some­thing great-look­ing with­out harm­ing an­i­mals.

OUR AR­CHI­TEC­TURAL IN­FLU­ENCES

When­ever I travel, I take a lot of pic­tures— I’m an ar­chi­tec­ture freak. We’re just about to launch a new col­lec­tion called Stu­dio 901. It’s a bit more lux­ury, and all the pieces are based on the shapes and lines of ar­chi­tec­ture.

OUR CANA­DIAN EX­PAN­SION

We just opened a store in Aus­tralia, and one in Soho in New York. We’ve been in the U.K. since 2004, and sales are grow­ing there. We’re also in Ja­pan and Ger­many. It’s very re­ward­ing to be a Cana­dian brand and see how we’re ex­pand­ing world­wide.

THE NORD­STROM AD­VAN­TAGE

When Nord­strom opened in Canada, I was per­son­ally grate­ful—they have great menswear! We’re also very proud to have Matt & Nat at Nord­strom. We’ve been part­ners for seven years and our part­ner­ship is grow­ing ev­ery year.

OUR STYLE ETHOS

Chloé: “Beau­fille” loosely trans­lates to hand­some girl. It ex­plores the con­trast be­tween mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine and also de­scribes the girl we’re de­sign­ing for.

Par­ris: We’re al­ways try­ing to de­sign un­der that idea—the ethos of bring­ing to­gether mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine, hard and soft. We’re think­ing of that in ev­ery piece.

ON BE­ING SIS­TERS

Chloé: We have an in­grained sense of trust in one an­other. Par­ris will never get up and walk away from a dis­cus­sion. We’re very dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but we bal­ance each other out, and it makes us well-rounded as a de­sign team. PAR­RIS: Our re­la­tion­ship makes work­ing to­gether eas­ier be­cause we have the same qual­ity stan­dards, back­ground and up­bring­ing. It’s great to have a part­ner who is also fam­ily.

OUR CANA­DIAN DE­SIGN PHI­LOS­O­PHY

Par­ris: As de­sign­ers, we al­ways try to cre­ate pieces that make peo­ple dream a lit­tle, but there’s an es­sen­tial prac­ti­cal­ity to Cana­dian de­sign.

Chloé: As Cana­di­ans, we’re more con­ser­va­tive and prac­ti­cal. When you go out­side of Canada to a fash­ion cap­i­tal, you see peo­ple wear­ing really crazy things. That’s not to say we don’t love to make a piece or two that’s a bit out there, but be­ing Cana­dian and de­sign­ing in Canada , we do have an un­der­ly­ing, even sub­con­scious, thread of prac­ti­cal­ity.

THE NORD­STROM AD­VAN­TAGE

Chloé: It’s a dream to see our work in Nord­strom. In­clu­siv­ity is a really big part of Nord­strom’s busi­ness and I think that’s an amaz­ing thing to be a part of. It’s great that a com­pany that sells high fash­ion is also push­ing for in­clu­siv­ity.

Par­ris: And Nord­strom, as a re­tailer, sup­ports so many sizes. They or­der such a wide size range from us, which I think is really im­por­tant. They def­i­nitely lis­ten to cus­tomer feed­back a lot and stay very cur­rent.

ON SEE­ING CELEBRI­TIES WEAR GRETA CON­STAN­TINE

Stephen: It’s recog­ni­tion, ap­pre­ci­a­tion and ac­knowl­edg­ment. For us, it’s a sign that we’re go­ing in the right di­rec­tion, and that the things that we do res­onate with peo­ple.

Kirk: We’re not star chasers—while we love find­ing out when they’re wear­ing our cloth­ing, it’s al­ways a sur­prise to us. We’re al­ways thrilled!

WHY TORONTO IS HOME

Stephen: Kirk and I both grew up in Toronto. We’re con­nected to the com­mu­nity here. We’ve never even thought about be­ing any­where else. In this day and age, you can be in Toronto and still have a pres­ence in New York or Paris.

Kirk: Peo­ple are so sur­prised when they hear that we’re from Canada, or that Greta Con­stan­tine is pro­duced in Canada. Our stu­dio is on a lit­tle side street in Toronto, and while ev­ery­one’s ex­pect­ing us to have a grand, fab­u­lous workspace, we’re just happy be­ing here. We’re proud to say that our gar­ments are made in Canada.

THE NORD­STROM AD­VAN­TAGE

Kirk: Be­ing at Nord­strom is a huge com­pli­ment. It’s so ex­cit­ing that they opened here. And when their buy­ing of­fice rec­og­nized us, and de­cided to carry us at The Toronto Ea­ton Cen­tre and York­dale, it was ex­cit­ing for ev­ery­body! It makes us feel like we’re grow­ing and get­ting bet­ter.

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