My Heart Will Always Be In Guatemala

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I am a true millennial, with a love for travelling, bright colors, and the ocean.  Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies and is one way in which I can totally recharge and regroup my creative mind.  Living in a small town such as Fredericton often feels suffocating and debilitating.

I want a life of colour!  I want to live out of a suitcase and drive in a crowded sweaty van for hours with interesting people who I am just getting to know.  I want stories.  I want to try new things and push my limits.  I want to conquer my fears and be the best me I can possibly be.  I want to laugh.  I want to learn from those who have nothing, but yet have everything.  I want to be free.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” – Anita Desai

D.W.

 

 

 

 

Everything Is Just Beachy

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Blue Silk Dress
Photography: Dale Preston http://www.prestonphotography.com Surface Designer: Dee Wikie. Fashion designer : Adrienne Goodine Model: Athenais Testi

On this snowy day in Fredericton New Brunswick, let’s all take a minute to remember why we choose to stay on the east coast.

“Dream higher than the sky and deeper than the ocean.” – unknown

D.W.

 

#fashion #surfacedesign #inspiration #summer #beach #ocean #model #handdyed #eastcoast #designers #Canada #dress #croptop  #maxidress #blog #ootd #stylediaries

 

Feature Friday: Ripped Angel

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How did ripped angel start?
I was honestly looking for a new gym outfit one day, specifically workout tights with fun, funky prints. I was met with rack after rack of black leggings and decided that I was going to start my own company. If I wanted them, others must too, thus Ripped Angel was born! I have been involved in the fitness industry for years as a personal trainer, fitness competitor, avid gym goer and nutritionist. I live in fitness wear. Tights are an everyday piece of my attire. I wanted a brand that represented my love for fitness, but also could be worn by ALL women of all walks of life.

What draws you to the bright and bold colours and prints that you use for your leggings?
It’s quite funny actually. I do wear a lot of black. I love the basics of black white and gray. But for some reason I am drawn to bright colors and patterns for the gym. I have made some changes to the look of some of the styles, incorporating darker patterns and some solids for my customers that may not want such crazy patterns. It’s about attitude, expression and wearing what makes you feel energetic and positive. If you feel good at the gym, you will work harder. Leggings are so comfortable and easy to move in they are a staple in most women’s wardrobe. I am branching out in my collection with lounging everyday wear, athletic performance wear, chic clothing and also tops, sports bras, and gym accessories. I am really trying to create a brand that people want to wear all the time. I love my logo as much as the clothes, I mean I want it on hats, pants, tanks, shorts, water bottles, my car.. so that says something!

What has been the most valuable thing you have learned from running your own business?
Without hesitation, I can say one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to expect to have hurdles and find ways to overcome them. I have AMAZING people around me who believe in me wholeheartedly. My supporters, followers and customers mean the world to me. When a customer goes out of their way to send me a picture in their new tights to tell me they lost 5 pounds and my brand motivated them to do it, it warms my heart.  I hear all the time that when women wear my stuff it pushes them harder in the gym, that’s what drives me in business. Let’s not be naïve, I’m in business to make money and turn my passion into a productive business to support my family, but I truly get so much JOY out of what I do, you cannot put a price on being able to live your dream. It does take many hours, countless late nights, lots of coffee and assembling the right team, but it is amazing!

The other thing I would say is to support those who support you. Giving back to charities, donating items for online auctions and sports teams etc is important. Supporting local allows us small business people to survive and keep the money circulating in the local economy.

There are too many people to mention, but I truly have amazing people in my corner, my little “soldier angels” I call them.  I have taken advantage of free advice from business professionals in the area, taken part in entrepreneurial workshops, and asked MANY questions to those who have had the same business struggles I have.

What advice would you give other women in business?
You must not be afraid to fail. You have to accept you don’t know something, before you will learn anything! Believe in yourself, even when you don’t FEEL like you believe in yourself. Ask for help. Sometimes you can become so narrowly focused on an aspect of your business that just isn’t working, you think you are doing the right thing but you aren’t. Again, ask for help. I’ve never been good at this, especially in my personal life. For some reason I try to do everything, micromanaging and I think I am superwoman. (haha) Truthfully some days I am unmotivated, unable, and need to rest.  And that’s ok.

Which brings me to the next piece of advice. As much as you possibly can, FIND YOUR BALANCE. You must take care of yourself if you expect to have a great business. You need sleep, proper nutrition, active living and mental/emotional health to stay on track. I have 3 children, a husband and friends and family that also deserve my time. I’m not saying it’s easy, and I fall short a lot in this area. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to have a profitable business and as I mentioned I owe a lot of the success of Ripped Angel to my husband and family who help share the responsibility so I can grow my business. I am indeed blessed.

What has been your best experience so far?
Honestly, it has been so neat learning all of the sides of my business thus far. I graduated with a major in English and a double minor in Sociology and Philosophy, not a business degree. I have learned marketing, advertising, money management, design, web creation etc, all from those whom I have worked with to get Ripped Angel to this point. Being the sole decision maker in the business, I have the ability to control every image used, creative design element and decision with regards to the direction I want the business to move forward in.  I have to say much of what I have learned has been in the way of life lesson and trial and error. SO I would dare say to those who want to pursue their dream of starting a business/becoming an entrepreneur a business degree would be an asset but NOT a necessity. Do not let that stop you from chasing a dream.

What’s new for ripped angel?
Where do I start? So many exciting things are just starting to happen. On a business level I am hoping to have Ripped Angel across Canada in both a retail and online presence. The website should be live by the end of this month, I have many more apparel ideas I want to have developed. Ripped Angel will be featured in Oxygen magazine in the future, worn by an amazing athlete in the fitness industry of which I cannot disclose yet, its already been featured on a reputable website called BodyRock.com. I just landed a contract with The Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon where numerous athletes will be wearing a specially designed pant by myself and the heads of the marathon.  I have a few surprises to announce soon in terms of business relationships and partnerships this year.  2016 is my year! My dream would be to walk into stores and see Ripped Angel apparel on a rack, open a fitness magazine and see ads and models wearing my brand. Biggest of all I want to continue to inspire women, to do what I love and hopefully make my mark in the industry providing kick butt apparel.

 

DEFINE

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It’s funny how multiple people can get the same idea at once.  When this happens, I take it as a sign that we (the artists) are on track…whatever that means.  It feels, to me, like we are tapping in to something that is meant to be, something that is greater than us.   Wow! I have never sounded more like a hippy in all my life.

Anyway, back to the story.  Photographer, Lance Kenneth Blakney (who I have worked with before and hugely admire), and I sat at READS Coffee Shop talking about collaborations we were working on together and all things art related  (gosh I love those caffeine induced talks).  During this conversation, one of us (I am not sure who brought it up first) started talking about a photoshoot idea we had in mind that would portray mental illness and how it felt to have mental illness.  The other one was like “omg, I have had the same idea!”  We also had a similar idea of how we wanted the photos to look, not just the concept.

Since we have an AMAZING resource in Fredericton, whose main goal is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, we immediately thought to contact Wear Your Label and bring them in on this idea.  Lance and I got in touch with Kayley Reed (co-founder of WYL) and she was immediately on board with the idea.

So here is where we are at so far with the project we are calling DEFINE:

Wear Your Label posted a casting call for “role models.”  We were looking for people who have suffered from mental illness who are willing to share their story and help end the stigma.  Last Friday night, Lance, Kayley, Addie Van Rijn (a WYL intern) and I, met to go over the near 100 APPLICANTS WHO APPLIED!! Thank you so much to everyone who was courageous enough to share their stories.

Addie read us story after story out loud in Kayley’s kitchen. It was super impactful for all of us to hear.  Something about reading all of the stories, one after another, really struck me. I still don’t know how to put into words exactly what it was that I felt…but it was meaningful.  Sometimes, after Addie read a story, Kayley would quietly thank that person (out loud) by name. Whether it was to herself or to the universe, I am not really sure. Either way it was beautiful and I felt like the applicants were there with us.

I will keep you posted on where we are at with DEFINE along the way. I encourage you to check out the WYL website and their story in the mean time. ALSO: WE ARE STILL TAKING APPLICATIONS FOR: Schizophrenia, PTSD, and Addictions.

“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” – Bill Clinton

D.W.

 

 

 

The Silk Canvas

 

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BURDEKIN – Photography: Brent McCombs Model: Katie McDonald (City Models) Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Elizabeth Anne Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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SAHEL –  Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant Elizabeth Anne Models: Athenaïs Testi Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Assistnat: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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CONNACHT – Photography: Brent McCombs Models: Ashley Shaw Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Elizabeth Anne Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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KYOTO – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne  Model: Libby Clement (City Models) Fashion Design: Michelle Duncan Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Stylist/Assistnat: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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SARGASSO – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne Model: Steph McEwan Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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LUXOR – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne Model: Kristina Comuzzi (City Models) Fashion Design: Kayleigh Saad Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Surface Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie

So last weekend, I had a photoshoot in Halifax with one of Atlantic Canada’s best photographers, Brent McCombs.  My girlfriend, Sara, offered to come with me and help out with the shoot (thank gosh she did because between her, Siri and the GPS, I was still stressin’).  It was the first time I had ever driven that far or driven in a city bigger than Fredericton.  Judge me.  I felt like this was a defining moment in my adulthood, and then there was a snow storm on top of it!  We made it safe and sound and as you can see above, the shoot was SO WORTH the drive!  I am so, so happy with how it turned out  (also, you need, need, NEED to check out this video that Brent made of our shoot!!  It shows just how much work went into it).

I also have to mention our kick ass team. Without them, this shoot would not have been possible.  From a top notch photographer; to a stellar hair and makeup team; to gorgeous, hardworking models; to moms shopping around for us, bringing colourful tights in for all the models; to the surface stylist/assistant doing all the little things that needed to be done…I could not have asked for a better group to work with!  I hate to sound desperate,  but PLEASE share these photos.  The work that went into them was unreal.  It might look like a model just laying on a pool of fabric that was haphazardly thrown on the floor, but trust me, it was so much more (again, please check out the video to see just how much work went into these pictures).

“You can mimic the result, but not the creativity.” – Sonya Teclai

D.W.

Feature Friday: Fredericton Fashion Council

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Photography: Scott Saad Model: Emily Dickinson Fashion Design: Lunar Offerings Surface Design: Dee Wilkie

“Just recently turning 4 years old, the Fredericton Fashion Council is continuing to develop into a name that people can rely on for all things local fashion. We keep our social media updated with upcoming fashion events in the area, design collaborations, job opportunities, local boutique sales, etc.

Our members consist of a variety of talented designers, beauticians, boutique owners, hair stylists, bloggers, and models all willing to collaborate and help each other further their goals in the fashion and beauty industries! We have helped host pop up shops, fashion events, and have held talks with successful people in local fashion business.

The above image was a collaboration completely made up of FFC members.

In January we started an official blog and since then it is being steadily filled with content by some of our multi talented members. We will have a few bloggers covering the NBCCD fashion show in April, and we are excited to say that Fredericton Fashion Council has someone to be press for us at Toronto Fashion week this year! We are also working on an FFC boutique space based out of Avenue Eighty-Five, a salon on northside Fredericton.  One of our long term goals is that we will be able to start offering a small annual scholarship for local fashion entrepreneurs. If things keep going well, this could start as early as 2017.

Everything is falling into place and heading in the right direction for FFC and we are always looking for new members! Please check out our blog, and all of the member benefits and information you need to join are on the right hand side bar. Also, follow us on FB!”
http://frederictonfashioncouncil.blogspot.ca/
https://www.facebook.com/FrederictonFashionCouncil

 

“Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is best for that moment.”

~Unknown.

Kayleigh Saad
President of the Fredericton Fashion Council

Living With An Artist By Ryan Wilkie


When I was in school, my least favourite subject was Art. I’m pretty sure it was my lowest grade in grade nine. In grade ten when I had to pick between an art class and a band class (as in a music band) in order to receive a mandatory Fine Arts credit, I picked the Band class…and I don’t play any instruments. 

There are so many things I hate about art. I hate drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, sewing, folding, tying, dying, using chemicals, taping, measuring, etc. Plus the absolute worse thing…having to clean up a huge mess when you’re done! It just sucks.

So, what did I do nearly four years ago? I married an artist. Your favourite Art Project blogger and mine, Dee Wilkie.

I think it must be true that opposites attract because my wife is seriously passionate about doing art. We literally have a whole room FULL of proof. When Dee and I first moved into our two bedroom apartment, the plan was for one of the rooms to be a designated “Craft Room.” The Craft Room was supposed to be a space where she could store her craft supplies and work on her art projects in order to keep the rest of the apartment more clean and tidy. I can honestly say, that since we’ve moved in, the Craft Room is doing about half of its job. It’s definitely storing lots of craft supplies, but so is the kitchen…and the living room…and, up until last week, her car. The problem is, there are so many supplies in the Craft Room, there’s not enough room to actually work in the Craft Room. So her work has pretty much taken over the whole apartment and taken over my life.

Now that you have a bit of an overview of what our situation is like, I’d like to talk a little bit more about some of the things that tend to bother me about being married to an artist:

It bothers me that Dee has to use the kitchen sink and stove to dye fabric. I don’t like the idea of the chemicals in the dye getting on the stove, counters and lingering in the sink. I try to designate one side of the sink for washing dishes and the other side for “art chemicals” but she always gets the sides mixed up.

Sometimes Dee needs to set up some kind of huge apparatus that takes up a big portion of the living room, kitchen and kitchen table, in order to use another method of dying fabric. This means the kitchen table is out of commission and it leaves very little room for walking between the kitchen and the living room. This problem gets compounded when part of her project is on the floor next to the apparatus and/or the huge pot she uses to dye fabric is on the stove. This leaves very limited counter space and very limited room to walk.

As I said earlier how art isn’t my favourite thing to do, of course I sometimes get sucked into helping with her projects. Hurray (sarcasm)!

One of the worst things to deal with is when Dee’s projects don’t work out 😦 I have had to deal with lots of tears and even fits of rage when something didn’t turn out the way she was hoping. This is very challenging for me because my solution for this would be to just not do art. This is obviously not the solution for Dee.

All in all, although I complain, it’s really not that bad. I don’t think I would want to marry someone that was the same as me. Sure it can be challenging sometimes but without Dee, my life would probably be pretty boring. I also have to admit that it is pretty cool to see a finished project that really turns out for Dee! I’m probably the only other person who gets to see the whole project from beginning to the end. I see how rewarding that can be and how happy it makes her in the end…and that makes it all worth it!

R.W.