The mother and daughter best-friend trio hailing from Vancouver that make up Smash + Tess, are all about sharing their passion for dreamwear. They founded their business together in early 2016 and have as a mission to make women feel confident and beautiful at all times, from the boardroom to the bedroom. The trio uses ethically sourced and quality fabrics to design and produce their line in North America. Get inspired by this mother-daughter team by finding out more about them below!
1) What made you want to start Smash + Tess?
We wanted to fill the hole that we believe exists in sleep and loungewear. After years of trying to find the perfect sleep/loungewear, we decided it was time to just go for it and do it ourselves! Smash + Tess began with a serious love of all things cozy and fashionable, became a reality in Fashion college, and has been bringing dreamwear to Canada and the US since our launch in April of 2016.
2) Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
From so many places! We are native Vancouverites that love our city! It is so beautiful and we have a killer studio with high ceilings, in the creative area of Mount Pleasant to be inspired by! Just walking down the street and seeing huge murals of incredible art, and courageous street style makes us excited about creating. The rain (which I do love by the way) is the perfect catalyst for creating cozy! The three of us have long had a dream of creating “dreamwear” that can easily transition from bed to the street, that you can answer the door in and not be embarrassed, that doesn’t sacrifice beauty for comfort. So we’ve drawn on years of trying out different loungewear, and not being entirely satisfied.
3) What is the best part of working as a mom-daughter bestie team?
We all bring something different and exciting to the table! It’s incredibly special. A true dream realized. Mama T is a fantastic decision maker. She absolutely trusts her gut and isn’t afraid to pull the proverbial trigger. Mercedes is incredibly detail-oriented and isn’t afraid to roll her sleeves up and get the job done. I would say that they likely admire and appreciate my vision and passion for communicating what we are all about!
4) How has a city like Vancouver helped your brand? Is there a lot of support in the city for small businesses?
We feel so blessed to be in such a supportive and amazing network of strong female entrepreneurs. We have been so pleasantly surprised at the collaborative spirit in our city. We continue to enjoy meeting and working with other boss babes from our hometown!
5) Where would you like to see the line in 5 years from now?
In five years from now, we would love to have grown exponentially. We so believe in our mission, and hope to have ladies far and wide rocking some Smash + Tess. We hope to continue to evolve and offer fun and exciting alternatives to male-inspired PJs and yoga wear.
For the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to attend Toronto Fashion Week. Each season, the show that always leaves me the most inspired is the one presented by Mackage. Designers Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan launched Mackage in 1999 and have since become one of the most popular outerwear brands in North America and one of my personal favorites. In preview of their upcoming FW16 show at TFW on Wednesday, I got to ask the designers a few questions about their upcoming collection and journey thus far.
1) What was your main inspiration behind the FW16 collection? If you could resume the collection in one word, what would it be?
ELISA: We can resume the collection in two words: WINTER WARRIOR! It is important for us that you remain fashionable while staying warm. The FW16 collection is inspired by a fashion-forward urban metropolis overrun by a severe cold front.
2) What are some of the new avenues in design and craftsmanship you wanted to explore this season?
ERAN: We are always committed to excellence and improving our product season after season. We explore new techniques and design, while always staying true to our roots. This season, we are introducing a new fill power of 800. This results in even better warmth to weight ratio.
3) What you say is the biggest difference with the FW15 collection?
ERAN: We are evolving as a brand in everything we do. In addition to developing new techniques and silhouettes this season, we are also injecting new trends into our collection. Some of the biggest statements this season are coloured fur and oversized collars. This is something that we will see throughout our FW16 collection.
4) I’ve read that you both love traveling, what are some of the most inspiring places you’ve travelled to and why?
ELISA: Italy! There is something so breathtaking about every city and the culture. It exudes history and there is something very beautifully nostalgic about it. Not only is the fashion in Italy untouchable, but also their art and décor as well. The energy there is so different and exhilarating! We always come back inspired from our trip to Italy.
5) What’s next for Mackage in 2016?
ELISA: We have a lot of surprises lined up! We are excited to reveal some exciting projects this year. There is more to come… Stay tuned! 😉
I first heard of Hayley Elsaesser through social media and the Sticks and Stones Agency in Australia. Hayley is a Canadian designer who now resides in Australia. She’s renown for her bold and beautifulprints. She’s been featured in countless magazine editorials and just recently, the always colorful Katy Perry, was seen sporting one of her designs. To me, her collections inspire magic and joy. I love that she is so creative and doesn’t stop herself from taking her designs to the next level. I love her overall vision and the collections she presents always have the raddest themes. This week’s Fall 2015 presentation at Wolrd MasterCard Fashion Week themed “Midnight Cowboy” was just as inspiring! I loved the snake prints and the southwestern vibe as well as the menswear pieces she presented. Hayley is one fiercedesigner and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have spoken to her immediately after the show this week. Here are my 5 Questions With Hayley Elsaesser:
1) What got you into fashion initially?
I’ve always been interested in fashion. I grew up in a small town where it was really hard to get cool clothes or what I wanted to wear, so I started making my own clothing. I was studying psychology and I was making clothes and selling them on eBay more than I was focusing on my studies. So I decided that I should probably do that as a career since that was what I was interested in. So then I moved to Australia and studied fashion in Australia.
2) What in your opinion makes a good print?
I think something that is bold and eye-catching. In my mind, I like the idea of something that mixes two opposites together or two things that you wouldn’t expect. Something that has dimension.
3) For the Fall 2015 collection that you presented at World MasterCard Fashion Week this week in Toronto, you mentioned that it was a little bit darker than stuff you’ve designed previously…
I did menswear for the first time and I wanted it to be really cohesive, so I did it a little bit more masculine, not so feminine. Looking at my last collection, it was very much pastels and quite girly so this is a little bit more “cool tough girl”.
4) What are some of your must-haves for spring and summer?
I think overalls, that was one of my looks that was my favorites from my collection. Also I’ve just done a collaboration with MYNC (which is a makeup and eyelash extension line from Toronto) and it’s lipstick for Dress for Success. I love lipstick and I think that it’s a must-have because it’s going to the charity Dress for Success, and I think it’s the perfect color for spring.
5) What’s next for Hayley Elsaesser?
Sleeping for a week and then I’ll reassess. I just need to relax. I haven’t slept this whole month, I’ve been in New York and London, so I just need to chill for a little bit!
Day 4 was a shorter day for me at the tents but I still saw some amazing pieces on the runway.
THRESHOLD – RANI KIM & SOM KONG
Two young designers that I’ve never had the chance of seeing before. Rani Kim, who presented her debut collection made a pretty big statement with the items she presented. The show started with a contemporary dance duo followed by some loose, flowy and colorful creations for both men and women.
Som Kong undoubtedly has an interesting way of designing clothes and fitting them to a women’s body. His fabrics were all stunning, I especially liked the beautiful red number that started the show. I also liked his long sleeved grey shirt with embossed hearts. I truly believe that this young designer is very unique and has a bright future ahead of him.
Thrilled to have seen Malorie’s collection last night. The first thing that stood out was all the incredible colors she used. I very much enjoyed the mix of plum, black, forest green, lime green, burgundy and red. Her formfitting knit dresses were the bomb! I’m also a big fan of her suede type dresses like the one pictured below and at the very top of the blog. Congrats on a memorable presentation!
This was my first time seeing a runway show by Elan + Castor. Her show was filled with ample amounts of stripes, knits and earthy tones with a few pops of pink and purple. The top buns and bandeau tops were also a thing. Everything she presented looked incredibly comfortable and cozy!
Also my first Narces runway show last night. The entire collection was beautiful, dainty and flirty. She stuck to a very feminine color palette – white, pink, pale yellow, seafoam green and blue. I liked the intricate beading, flower details and lace on some of the dresses. The model below totally reminded me of a modern ballerina. My favorite was the white lace doily dress below. I could totally see myself wearing it next summer!
Not your traditional fashion show but just as fun to check out. The Minnie Mouse special presentation last night was pretty magical. They had asked a handful of local designers including Sig Neigum, Beaufille, etc. to make a special Minnie Mouse inspired creation. Everyone’s piece was incredibly creative and all channeled the Minnie Mouse spirit. I loved that they had placed big posters of the evolution of Minnie Mouse throughout the decades around the studio. Everyone was smiling, champagne was flowing and Minnie ears were everywhere in sight. Last night’s presentation definitely brought back lot’s of memories of my childhood and all the times I went to Disney World.
Thomas Balint is one of my favorite Canadian menswear designers. There was a very British rock n’ roll vibe to the collection he presented last night. Some of the show’s highlights were the black and white striped pants and blazers, the loose fitting pants tucked into army boots, the orange trench coat and his really nicely structured dress shirts. Anyone else recognize Cibo Matto’s “Sugar Water” track playing in the background?
You could definitely feel the summery vibe with the collection that bustle presented last night. Lot’s of prep, color and class on the runway. It definitely fit the European backdrop, parasols and Peroni bottles they had placed as props on the runway. My favorite pieces were hands down the relaxed drawstring trousers for men and the white blazer and pencil skirt combo for women.
Mélissa’s designs totally blew me away last season. This season, it was all about presenting something fresh, clean and sporty. Show highlights: dolphin shorts, drawstring pants, sheer & white stripped garments, and the many skirt and top combos. She did a great job accessorizing her show yesterday. I’m crushing hard on all the shoes I saw on the runway. I feel like if I was wearing Mélissa’s designs, I would not only feel comfortable but also look amazing!
Target is reputed for always putting on the most fun runway shows. Last night’s show included inspiration from Paris, New York and oh yes… winter! I loved the addition of live music on the runway. Music plus models smiling and having a good time created good vibes all around! Lot’s of great knits, bags, faux fur vests, jackets, leopard, plaid and faux leather pieces. One thing’s for sure, I need the plaid coat pictured below!! In case you haven’t heard Target Canada is now collaborating with TOMS to offer a special collection that will be available across Canada on November 16th. Being a big fan of the brand, I was happy to see them on the runway last night!
Day 5 at NYFW! My discovery of the day: Rosetta Getty. Not only did I love the entire collection, I also loved the way the looks where put together and where the collection was shot. I think the location and style of the photography complement her creations incredibly well.
I recently fell in love with an Aussie designer named Alex Mearing after I saw one of her beautiful creations on Live FAST Magazine this spring – it was a silver sequined wedding dress (that you can see HERE!) that she had custom made for Ainsley Hutchence, the co-owner of Sticks & Stones Agency in Australia. There was just something magical about her design. In fact, I was so fascinated by the dress that I started looking up Alex and seeing what other beautiful things she had created. Not only does Alex make beautiful wedding dresses, she also makes tops, jackets and has an amazing collection of fierce pieces that you can find on her site. She will be launching a swimwear line called Klams in September, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I hope to one day be able to wear one of her lovely creations. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With Alex Mearing:
1) What made you want to become a designer? When did you start your career?
I wanted to explore and express my style so it felt very natural to go into fashion. After I graduated school I moved from Noosa to study in Sydney and was able to find a job after doing some work experience for a small company. I learnt about design, production and the business. When an opportunity to become the designer for an equestrian label called Giddy Up Girl came up I was ready to take the job. I showed my first collection under my own name in 2012 and the brand has grown into a couture line, mostly creating alternative wedding dresses.
2) Who are your fashion icons?
Mary Kate Olsen and Ada Kokosar
And lately I can’t get enough of Rihanna…
3) Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
I think I absorb everything around me unconsciously. It may be a film, a personality, an era, it’s usually a lot of layers that create an idea.
4) Is Australia a good place to be for up and coming designers? Are there a lot of opportunities locally and across the country?
I think it’s important to have a plan to create opportunities. I love the way creative people are collaborating with each other and doing amazing work. The opportunities are limitless with apps like Instagram to connect with bloggers, models, photographers, stylists and inspiring people all over the world. I recently made a wedding dress for a woman in London who found me on Instagram, which I found really exciting.
5) What have been some of your biggest achievements thus far in your career?
Springsioux is a Paris-based brand and concept store. I first heard of them through Offner a few years ago. What started off as a small brand of t-shirts by founder Pierre-Antoine De Myttenaere, has evolved into so much more. Over the past couple of years, Pierre-Antoine developed the brand with his girlfriend and business partner AlisaGusakova. Today the Springsioux line includes silver jewelry, high end fur and leather pieces designed in collaboration with Parisian designer Quentin Veron, ponchos and t-shirts designed in collaboration with Parisian tattoo artist Eddie Czaicki, etc. Last summer, they inaugurated their concept store in Le Marais, the coolest neighborhood in Paris. Since then, they’ve had countless artists, models and celebrities come to their shop. Nikki Sixx, Bradley Soileau, Sarah Barthel from Phantogram and Miss Kittin, are just some of the people that have been spotted wearing Springsioux. They’ve also organized a ton of events at their shop for Paris Fashion Week, the launch of their special collections, etc. Pierre-Antoine and his team are currently working on a collaboration with a famous French DJ that will be out soon. They’ll also be launching a coffee corner inside their Le Marais shop, which might also include their very own blend of coffee inspired by South America. I’m excited to present to you all today, my 5 Questions With Pierre-Antoine De Myttenaere of Springsioux:
1) Can you talk to us about about the idea behind Springsioux? Your mission?
I created Springsioux at the time when I was in a new wave band in Paris. The goal was to link music and fashion together. Then, I went on tour in Russia and Alisa (tour manager/girlfriend) joined Springsioux to help develop a silver jewelry line based on the Native American culture. We want Springsioux to be more than a brand, it’s a spirit, it brings together people from different backgrounds to create something strong and different from mainstream trends. That is where our motto “alive in the darkness” comes from. We don’t present collections every season, we prefer to create something when the time is right, depending on our inspiration but mostly on the people we meet. That’s why we love to do collaborations with other designers or artists!
2) Where do you draw inspiration for your Springsioux designs?
It’s a mix between traditional cultures (Native American, Mexican…) because there is something mystical in them and we try our best to make their heritage last by creating the most authentic designs, and also rock n roll subcultures. For me, the best example of rock subcultures and fashion are Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood with the Sex Pistols because they found the right balance.
3) Who are your style icons?
The 80’s have a huge influence on us and I would definitely say… Nikki Sixx (Mötley Crüe), Grace Jones but I think the most important thing is attitude. Our “Springsioux man” can wear a skirt and still look masculine and mysterious and our “Springsioux woman” is strong and provocative.
4) What has been some of the most memorable moments thus far with Springsioux?
We went through several ups and down but some moments are forever engraved in our minds like when I received a phone call from a friend telling me that he saw Nikki Sixx wearing one of our rings during a festival… and also when we had pizzas and beers with all our friends on the floor of our empty store in Paris just after signing the lease!
5) For those who don’t know, you used to be in a band and you’re a big music fan. What are some of your current favorite artists?
Recently I discovered Black Atlass and I have to admit that the guy is just incredibly talented. I also love Phantogram and Coldcave, but when it comes to live music, I’m more into the louder stuff! One of my latest musical crushes is: The Balconies that I discovered on this blog. I think people just need to see them live, they will understand that I’m not exaggerating or falsely promoting them. These guys really give everything they’ve got on stage, from the first of seconds of their set, you feel like you’ve been slapped in the face!
I first heard of designer RUDYBOIS almost two years ago now, when I was looking for a dress for the red carpet of the Quebec music awards, the ADISQ gala. He had reached out through twitter, expressing interest in lending me a dress for the special night. Since then, he’s become my go-to designer whenever I need dresses for events whether it’s the Juno Awards, Gemini Awards, etc. The young Quebec City prodigy designs high-end womenswear that is elegant but with a unique edge. All of his pieces are handmade in Canada using fabrics from around the world. His creations can be found in select stores in Canada and also online on his new shop. His latest collection is called Silence and has been making waves around the country. I know this is only the beginning for this talented young man. Here are my 5 Questions with RUDYBOIS:
1) Can you talk to us about your own style evolution from your teens until now? How would you describe your style today? (you can provide us with photos if you’d like)
It’s almost painful for me to go back to my teenage days! I was obese and definitely looking for myself. My style was a mix of Avril Lavigne and Billie Joe! (Osiris skater shoes, with a lot of studs bracelets, blue-black dyed hair, an eyebrow piercing, skulls everywhere and black everything) Later in high school, I became the ancestor of the “douchebag movement” (bleached hair with lighter undertones, white everything (blazer, formal shoes, belt and even the famous surfer shell necklace), mixed with bright colours!) When I say I was looking for myself… Then I moved to Quebec City and discovered the menswear designers section at Simons, this was a revelation to me, for my personal style as well as for my future career. That’s where I learned that less is more!
I now describe my personal style as an antithesis, I love being all dandy and dressed up as well as being a little artsy kind of hipster with an old rock influence, maybe that’s why my favorite brand, that also suits me perfectly, is Neil Barrett. There’s also a lot of things that I would love to wear that I can’t simply because I could not assume it, I still have a lot of body acceptance work to do!
2) Who are your style icons?
I really dig Nick Wooster and Jared Leto styles ( even if back in the day, Leto was wearing silver Crocs!)
3) Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
I really love sketching outside, I have my spot where I create all of my spring/summer looks. For the cold seasons, I can’t obviously create outside so I just need to isolate myself, I often go to the library.
4) Who would you like to see wear your collections?
Even if her style is not always refined, I would really love to see Madonna wearing my designs, or Lady Gaga and Celine Dion who are always well dressed.
5) What are some of your favorite artists or bands? Do you listen to music when you create?
I do listen music! From when I wake up, until the end of the afternoon, I listen music all the time! I love a lot of different kinds of music, recently I’ve discovered Songza and it makes me discover so many new artists! My playlists of the moment includes: HBO Girls : Marnie (featuring Oh Land, Robin, SLL, Graffiti6), 90’s dance hit ( I’m a big fan of 90’s dance music) and Blogged 50 (featuring Trails and Ways, Phil Beaudreau, Cherub). I also have my classics like Madonna’s American Life album, her best I think.
Thanks so much Rudy! Wishing you continued success!
I love anything to do with sharks! I’m obsessed with Shark Week, I love watching documentaries on sharks, I love learning about them and hope to one day be lucky enough to go on an expedition to swim with them. I have utmost respect for these creatures. Though a bit scary, sharks are so smart and have such distinct and interesting characteristics. So I was pretty stoked when OIA Jules created some pretty gold shark tooth inspired necklaces. I loved my big necklace so much, I recently got a miniature version of it as well. I wouldn’t say I would describe myself as being a “shark” but I do love the confidence these animals have. I think it’s ok to have shark-like confidence once in a while!!