Feature Friday: Nora Swimwear

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1.) Where are you from originally and where are you located now?
I was born in Bermuda but most of my memories were made in Fredericton where I went to FHS, and then did my undergrad at UNB. I moved to London, England in January of this year!

2.) Why did you chose the name “Nora Swimwear” for your brand? (Was it named after someone?)
The name Nora actually wasn’t always the intended name of the brand. Over christmas break, I was sketching some designs and I was naming each of them. I named the marble bikini ‘nora’ originally and fell in love with it. I decided to look into what nora meant and it turns out it means ‘light’ and ‘honour’ which ended up being pretty central to the theme of the swimwear’s brand. Nora is all about making girls feel like that ‘woman of honour’ in which they can empower other women- while looking awesome!

3.) Where do you see Nora Swim going next? 
Things are pretty hectic right now. Its a learning process, but as of right now the website is being worked on, and the look- book shoot is planned to happen in MTL with my good friend Nat Carson as the photographer. Everything is a go for the big launch, which is happening May 21st online and pop- up at Shop Tilleul in Fredericton which I am SO excited for! Fredericton is very close to my heart, so it was easy for me to decide that is where I wanted to launch at my good friend Katie Boyce’s new store. Plus it goes live online the same day too!

4.) Where do you pull inspiration from?
I’ve always been a huge fan of swimwear. My friends always thought I was a bit crazy when I’d spend $120 on a bikini, but to me it was always worth it. Being born in Bermuda, I was naturally programmed to like warm weather. Throughout my undergrad, I saved all my (pennies) to make sure I could get down south with every chance I had. I pull inspiration from a lot of trends in textiles, fashion, and places like California, Bali, and the Mediterranean.

Inspiration is also taken from the movement where people are increasingly taking care of their health and their bodies. I think its great that people want to show off a little, and be proud of what they’ve accomplished. I also am constantly pulling inspiration from bloggers like Barefoot Blonde, WeWoreWhat, Cara Loren, and Emily Luciano. So many of the styles they post about can be transformed into swimwear.

5.) Describe your brand below in a few short sentences.
Nora Swimwear is all about making women feel and look good. Taking inspiration from beach culture and the beaches of Bali, California and the Mediterranean, Nora Swimwear is comfortable and can serve as statement pieces. Ultimately, Nora Swimwear’s aim is to connect women around the world in positivity and empowerment.

6.) What makes your swimwear brand different from others?
I think Nora Swimwear is different from other swimwear brands because it pulls many trends into one. The designs are fitted, comfortable, and are suitable for a wide range of body types. A portion of the profits will also be going to an organisation that provides micro loans to women in under- developed countries, which ties in with the meaning behind nora swimwear to empower other women.

Ashley Lemmon

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DEFINE

Copy of dark-largeDEFINE is a collaboration between a photographer (Lance Kenneth Blakney), a clothing company (Wear Your Label), and a surface designer (Dee Wilkie – The Art Project) who all have one thing in common – They want to end the stigma and start the conversation around mental health by showing a raw and personal side to the struggles of real people.

Role Models were cast from across Eastern Canada; from Toronto to Fredericton to Halifax. From over 200 submissions we narrowed it down to one brave person to represent each of the nine categories.

What was the Art Projects’ role in DEFINE?  WYL has something called the bracelet project which unites fighters, survivors, and supporters.  Each colour symbolizes a different mental health challenge, and 10% of profits help fund their giving initiatives. Dee hand dyed silk in coordinating colours, and then helped style the silk in ways that demonstrate the feelings surrounding different mental health struggles.

After months of planning, interviewing, and shooting, here is the final result.  http://www.define-project.com/

D.W.

Designing My Silk For Red Dress

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Our beautiful model: Marilyn Luscombe

 

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Fashion Designer Adrienne Goodine with our model!

 

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Detail shot!!  (Adrienne LOVES bows and cute details.)


Sometime in March.

I don’t know about you, but  when I have an important project to do, or something that will take a lot of work, I procrastinate.  WHY do I do this!?

This year Adrienne Goodine asked me to design and dye silk for her red dress for the annual Red Dress Fashion Show which is a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  I knew that tie dyed silk would not stand out amongst the rest of the other gorgeous hand made dresses.  So I decided to hand paint three meters of yardage with my signature roses.  WHY DID I THINK THIS WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA!?  It’s not.  Setting up the frame to stretch out my silk takes forever!!  Not to mention I have to find a space to do this first. UGH!  Now that I am writing this I have answered my own question as to why I am procrastinating dying this fabric…

March. 21st
Update!  I cleared a spot in my living room and finally started dying my silk (hooray!) now for the bad news…the news that always seems to follow when you’re me and you’re a surface designer.  There is always an obstacle to over come, always a barrier to break down, always a problem to fix.  My “scarlet red” dye is looking more pink than red.  WHHHHYYYY!?  I have painted one and a half meters of silk THREE TIMES now, and it finally looks somewhat red.  I am worried about what it is going to look like once I rinse and wash it out.  Oh well, another problem for another day really. lol

March. 25th
Silk is painted, steamed, rinsed and washed!!!  It turned out red (hooray!)

April. 3rd
As well as the red roses, I have to dye a piece of silk that is solid red.  Guess what…I ran out of dye!

Sometime in April
Thankfully I finally finished dyeing all of the silk and it turned out RED, thank gosh!  I will post more pictures soon on my instagram or facebook account, but I would love to know what everyone thinks about how the dress turned out!

“My head says, “who cares?” but then my heart whispers, “You do, stupid…””

D.W.

S E V E N

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GLUTTONY – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Jessica Hughes Hair: Mike Drost MUA: Billy Peterson Fashion Design: Aly Keeley Silk Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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LUST – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Kayley Reed Hair: Michael Drost MUA: Billy Peterson Fashion Design: Michelle Duncan Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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ENVY – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Sophie H-L Fashion Design: Michelle Duncan Hair: Michael Drost MUA: Billy Peterson Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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WRATH – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Gillian Glover Fibre Artist: Aly Keeley Hair: Michael Drost MUA: Billy Peterson Silk Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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SLOTH – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Athenais Testi Hair: Michael Drost Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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GREED – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Jake Clark Hair/MUA: Billy Peterson Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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PRIDE – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model/Fashion Designer: Bronwen Robbins Hair/MUA: Billy Peterson Surface Design: Dee Wilkie

“SEVEN” was an idea I came up with almost a year ago when, one night, I started to get really envious of other people who were making their dreams come true and really “making it” in terms of their craft.  I didn’t just want to sit in my living room feeling jealous, so I decided I would make a piece on jealousy and envy as a productive outlet. Then I started getting more and more ideas and thought, “hey, why don’t I do a series on the seven deadly sins (pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, sloth, lust, greed)!?” I messaged one of my favourite local Photographers, Lance Kenneth Blakney, right away and told him about my idea. He was totally onboard and as enthusiastic as I was.

Of course I couldn’t do a project this scale on my own 😉  So I recruited a group of local fashion designers, hair stylists,makeup artists and models (read more about them here).  We did a professional full grade photoshoot for each look (the process stretched out over five months) and then finished it off with a gallery showing at the George Fry Gallery and a feature on CBC!

“Turn lemons into lemonade.”

D.W.

 

Feature Friday: Veronica MacIsaac

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Photography: Brent McCombs
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Photography: Brent McCombs
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Photography: Brent McCombs

When/How did you learn to sew? 
My mother taught me how to sew when I was 4 years old. I’ve been sewing ever since! By the time I got to my first home ec class in grade 7, I was already making full outfits for myself.

What made you want to be a designer?
I was ALWAYS into fashion. I used to plaster the walls of my room with Vogue pages. But I didn’t think of it as a career until 2008.

What are some of the highlights that you look back on in your career up to this point? 
The New York trips were amazing. Being in British Vogue was a dream. I was on the cover of a couple of Scottish and Celtic magazines a few years ago that I was really proud of. But I’ve also still loved the shows I’ve done at my favourite local pub (Durty Nelly’s).

How easy or hard was it for you to find your niche market? Was that intentional or did it just sort of happen?
Actually, for me – the niche market came before the idea of being a designer did. It was most certainly intentional. I wanted women to be able to represent their heritage in a way they would dress normally. So I created my first collection with that in mind.

How would you describe your brand?
Modern styles in traditional Scottish fabrics.

You are definitely one of the more established designers on the East Coast. What is your advice to new and aspiring designers?
I always say – you need to find your niche. Lots of people can make ‘pretty dresses’. But what makes your stuff different from the rest? In today’s economy, you can’t compete with the mall. So you have to create things that don’t already exist.

What makes you stay in the East Coast?
I love to travel, and I love traveling to other cities. But I love the East Coast atmosphere.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I imagine pretty much where I am now? I’d like to do more international shows, and I’d like expand my brand a little more. But my focus will still be on the Scottish and Celtic communities.

What is your favorite piece that you ever made and why?
I’ve made a lot of pieces I’ve loved over the years. But my all time favourite thus far would be the backless MacQueen tartan gown with the floor length pleats. It was an idea I’d had in my head for a couple of years, but I’d pictured it in another tartan. When it came time to make it, I saw the MacQueen tartan sitting there, and all of a sudden the picture in my head altered. I knew it would be a game changer (and it was!).

“If you aren’t a little different than your competition , you’re in trouble.” – Mark Sanborn

Facebook – Veronica MacIsaac 
Instagram – @Fashiontart

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

 

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.