2016 – A year in review at I want – I got

2016 *shakes fist*. What a strangely wonderful and horrible year. This year took several of my important cultural idols: Bowie, Prince, Phife Dawg. It hit hard and deep. On a personal level, I didn’t do much with this space here, my blog. I spent a lot of the year pretty miserable with my professional IT life. I lost interest in the celebrity/influencer obsessed version of fashion that was being put out there. I couldn’t take another thing about the spawn of billionaires and celebrities. The lack of diversity irritated the fuck out me and I took steps to cut that media out of my regular routine. I wasn’t bored of clothing but I was definitely bored with the industry. I didn’t feel the need to talk to the world via this blog as much this year even though there were things to celebrate. I’m going to change that in 2017 but first, here are my biggest moments of 2016. Some are lovely and some hurt till this day.

Skating on the top of 120 Adelaide Street


Molson Canadian invited me skate on the ice rink they built on top of 120 Adelaide Street in the Financial District. You don’t say no to bucketlist worthy times like this.

A photo posted by Anita (@geekigirl) on

Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s Ad Campaign

Outsiders: American Photography and Film
Fun things via random emails still are happening to me, yay. This year I was part of an ad campaign for the Art Gallery of Ontario. This was a super fun gig and I love the AGO so I was happy to participate.

AGO Outsiders On The Street
The campaign was plastered all over the city so you could see my mug on hoarding or bus shelters. I’m amazed that this has happened to me again. I’m one lucky mofo. What are the odds after the Mastercard Stylicity gig.

There was a video component to the campaign. Everyone selected talked about how they felt about Outsiders and Insiders.

Sagan

I had to say goodbye to my beloved cat Sagan. It hurts.

It kills me that this doesn’t happen anymore. I feel terrible that Sally Sally’s sister isn’t with us anymore.

Loafing #catsofinstagram

A photo posted by Anita (@geekigirl) on

Whistler – Winter and Summer

My winter trip to Whistler had unfortunate timing. Sagan passed two days before I got on the plane. I felt like a terrible cat mom leaving poor Sally Sally at that time. I really needed the time away, my head was a mess. The conditions out there were incredible and Whistler was having a record snowfall year.


It was my best winter trip out there. The skiing was excellent and it was warm enough I got a bit of hiking done in the valley.

I spent my summer vacation in Whistler too. My friends have badgered me about how beautiful and incredible Whistler is in the summer. These are people who take full advantage of winter sports telling me that Whistler is better in the summer. I had to check it out and the verdict is that they are completely right. Whistler in the summer is better.


I had fantastic weather because I brought a heat wave to Whistler with me. It was 30 degrees for the week I was there and no rain! I hiked mountains and went trail mountain bike riding for the first time. The feeling when riding a full suspension bike through the forest with a mountain to your left and a lake to your right is something I’m never going to forget.


Hoary Marmot dreams came true in Whistler.

My Bespoke Coat by Philip Sparks


I have two major fashion joys from 2016. The first one is my bespoke winter coat from Philip Sparks. The bespoke experience is out of this world and I’m now forever spoiled. Philip and I brainstormed the whole jacket together. It started when he found the vintage fabric when he was antique shopping. I fell in the love with the fabric and the plan to make something out of it came naturally. I love coats, it’s one of my now controlled fashion obsessions. Working with Philip on the coat of my dreams was magical. There were so many options but Philip’s knowledge of tailoring and my style made the process much easier. I spent a lot of money on this coat. The bespoke experience isn’t cheap but this is coat brings me such joy. How many people can say they have vintage crystal buttons from Czechoslovakia on their black, boring parkas? My coat brightens up shitty days and turns heads. I feel like a million bucks in my Philip Sparks coat. My coat is the only one on the planet and that is worth everything.

Yoga and Union Yoga Studio


In April I took up Yoga. I wasn’t looking to have a casual relationship with Yoga, I wanted to go all in. It was the first time several years that I looked to take up an athletic activity seriously. I fell in love with Yoga and my studio Union Yoga. I loved the jounrey this practice was taking me. Things were going great until I got De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis in August and it has sidelined my pratice. I’m at a point in my physiotherapy regime where I can start again but it’s defintely back to the drawing board with yoga. I look forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get back on the mat.

Michael Fassbender


I met Michael Fassbender at TIFF. The meeting was a product of luck, timing and some good old fashion stalking. Yes, he’s extermely, extermely attractive. I’m not one to be star struck but man, he’s got it.

Shopify


So, I mentioned how I was hating my job. I was pretty miserable as I felt my career and options were about to pass me by. After I reached 10 years and recieved a performance reward I felt my time at the bank and in QA was done. Things were feeling really bleak to me when the opporunity at Shopify came up. This was dream job stuff and I grabbed it with everything I had. In November, I left my job of a decade and made the massive career shift to Shopify. It was scary but I haven’t looked back since and I have no regrets. I feel really happy to be part of a great company.

The Office of Angela Scott Shoes

My second fashion joy this year was when I opened the box to the Mr. Misfitz Wedge Derby shoes I ordered from The Office of Angela Scott. I finally pulled the plug during a 50% sale after years of wishful thinking. They are more glorious in person and I can’t even believe it. Don’t be suprised if I don’t wear any other shoes in 2017.

Moving this @officeofangelascott unboxing out of stories because well, this was epic! #myscotts

A video posted by Anita (@geekigirl) on

Happy New Year!

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HELLO! Canada’s Best Dressed 2014

HELLO! Canada's Best Dressed 2014
HELLO! Canada’s Best Dressed 2014

I love emails that brighten a dreary day. I was having a particularly stressful day at work a couple weeks ago when I got an email from HELLO! Canada. They wanted to include me in their Canada’s Best Dressed list for 2014. My first reaction was jaw drop and WTF are they kidding! I select people to be on lists like this, I don’t grace them. But there it was seriously staring me in the face. Of course, I agreed my ego demanded it. Ha

I had to answer some questions about my style, etc and I was placed under embargo till November 20, 2014. I still wasn’t quite sure if it was real and decided to keep my mouth shut in case it turned out to be some cruel, horrible joke.

HELLO! Canada's Best Dressed 2014
HELLO! Canada’s Best Dressed 2014

The morning of November 20, I got a text message from Kirk of Greta Constantine congratulating me. Kirk and Stephen are also gracing the list. It wasn’t a hoax, yay! When I got in the office that morning I took a look through the list. What the hell am I doing on this list, I thought, these people are in another league. I guess I’m being hard on myself about the whole thing and I should reject these “best dressed fraud” feelings.

I was grateful for the good-natured and necessary razzing by a friend at dinner the next day as it put things back into perspective. Not many people at the office know and I’m great with that as it’s a bit of a weird topic to discuss.

Thanks HELLO! for selecting me as one of Canada’s 50 best dressed people in 2014. I’m outwardly humble about the honour and inwardly fist pumping!

images: George Pimentel, ca.hellomagzine.com

Oh that, it’s just my Roots Sweatstyle Ad Campaign

Roots Sweatstyle Anita Clarke
Roots Sweatstyle Anita Clarke

August was one of those pinch me is this really happening months. I’m still processing the idea of my face plastered all over Roots stores and their online properties. That’s right, I’m currently part of Roots Sweatstyle Ad Campaign.

Roots Sweatstyle Anita Clarke
Roots Sweatstyle Anita Clarke

As with most amazing things that happen to me it started with a random email. In July, I was approached by Roots to take part in their Sweatstyle campaign celebrating Roots’s 41st anniversary. It was going to be a big one featuring online, instore, magazines and outdoor ads. I didn’t quite understand the large scope of the campaign when I said yes but my ego was all over it. Here is a company that I’ve grown up with asking me to become part of their history. I also love having any excuse to take part in a phootshoot with professional hair and makeup artists, stylists and photographers.
Roots Sweatstyle Landing Page
Roots Sweatstyle Landing Page

The question I got asked by most people when I told them I was participating was “Did they pay you?” I didn’t receive any money for the campaign but Roots would make a donation of $1500 to the charity of my choice. After I heard that my mind was made up and I said yes.

My charity is Hill House Hospice. Two years ago my family went through a really tough time when my Father was dying from cancer. The blog suffered because I was pretty much an emotional wreck. I want – I got isn’t site for airing my very personal thoughts about things, so I’ve never commented on his death here. I’m a very private person when it comes to stuff like that and I’ve never had a desire to make my pain into entertainment for others. I’m not wired to share emotions like that to a broad audience, only to very close friends. Hill House Hospice really did an amazing job of making this horrible experience as easy and respectful as possible for both the living and the dying. I can’t thank them enough for the care they gave my Father in his final hours. He was surrounded by family who loved him in those final moments in a quiet home like environment. So, this campaign is kind of like a salute to my beloved Father who I miss very much. He was the most loving and supportive Dad any kid could wish for. (I’m a big Daddy’s girl, no doubt about it).

Roots Sweatstyle Lookbook Page
Roots Sweatstyle Lookbook Page

The shoot happened to be on the day I filmed Cityline. I felt like a real baller that day, Television show in the morning and national ad campaign in the evening. I brought some of my clothing to mix with the Roots Fall collection as they really wanted to show each person’s own Sweatstyle. I worked with Stylist, Patrick Davis to choose two looks to shoot. Hair and Makeup was handled by Anna Barseghian of Judy Inc. The most hilarious person of the shoot was the Photographer, Ilich Mejia, whose name I only discovered weeks later. He introduced himself with a fist bump while I was getting my makeup done and we got to work. The shoot was so much fun. I felt really good about it. Ilich made me feel like a million bucks and I think it shows in the photos.

I saw the campaign first in the September issue of Flare Magazine. I had no idea it was going to hit the print mags or The Globe and Mail for that matter. The official campaign launch was on August 15 and my jaw dropped when I went to Roots.com. I really had no idea of the scope of this thing when I signed up. It was larger than I believed. I have a full page dedicated to me on Roots.com, this is insane. And it’s not just the Canadian website but also the US and International versions. My jaw dropped again when I walked in to the Roots store on Bloor Street. Seeing my photo in the front window and behind the cash was a very surreal experience. A friend was in Halifax and Instagrammed a photo of the Campaign from the Roots store there. Crazy!

Roots Sweatstyle Anita Clarke
Roots Sweatstyle Anita Clarke

I honestly thought nothing would top the Italian Vogue mention I got in January. At the time I was like, yup that’s the best thing that going to happen to me this year. Boy was I wrong!

Thank you so much Roots for the amazing opportunity and Happy 41th Birthday!!!!!

Check out the Roots Sweatstyle campaign and learn about the other people involved at:
Roots.com
rootscanada.tumblr.com
Instagram.com/rootscanada
youtube.com/user/RootsCanada

You can also be part of the fun, tag your photos showing your best Roots Canada style with the hashtag #sweatstyle

Holy Crap, I was a Guest on Cityline

Thanks for the screenshot Randall - I want - I got on Cityline July 4, 2014
Thanks for the screenshot Randall – I want – I got on Cityline July 4, 2014

Random forces rule my life sometimes. A really great example of this resulted in an appearance on Cityline. How did I go from minding my own business to being a guest on major morning show? Well, it all started at a party, one that I was initially waffling on. La Société had a little anniversary party in early June. I didn’t know many people who were going but they have one of the best patios in the city. I also wanted to congratulate Charles Khabouth on the anniversary. If you are a reader from way back, you’ll remember that Charles took me to NYC when he launched Bisha to go furniture shopping. It’s still one of my favourite blogging experiences. I learned about to the furniture side of New York City and discovered some amazing brands. We even had lunch at Balthazar.

So, I enter the party and I’m seeing no one I know. I spot Charles on the stairs to the upstairs patio and move in to quickly chat. I keep walking up to the stairs and finally I notice some folks I know sitting down and I beeline over. So, I’m sitting having lovely conversation with Mary Symons. Confession time. Mary is someone I’ve always wanted to get to know a little better for years but my networking style is let things happen naturally. (She’s awesome BTW) As more guests arrive, people we know come by the table to chat. Mary introduces me to some of her friends and they both happen to work on Cityline. One of those people is the producer, Candy Signorini. They are both lovely and we have a great conversation. Eventually, I head home from the party and that’s the last I think of Cityline. That’s until about a week later when I get a message from Mary asking for my contact info. Candy wants to speak to me. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit confused but Candy is awesome so my contact details get sent over. A few days later, I get an email from Candy and she wants me to come on the show as a guest in a couple of weeks. I’m flabbergasted but of course I write back and say Hells Ya!

My entourage and Tracy - I want - I got on Cityline July 4, 2014
My entourage and Tracy – I want – I got on Cityline July 4, 2014

We filmed the show on June 27. I was able to get seats for my family to attend the taping which was so great. I was nervous and I’m glad I had a little support section in the audience to help me get though it. It was really cool to see how the show is put together from behind the scenes. I loved how my makeup looked and I met Dave Lackie who is really the sweetest guy. Tracy Moore is an absolute pro and she made that interview so easy for me. I really can’t thank her enough. The show aired on July 4th and it’s online for your viewing pleasure – Cityline July 4, 2014

I haven’t watched the video and I don’t think I ever will. The thought of watching myself makes me feel pretty ill to be honest. I prefer to think about the memory of the event instead. Friends and family say it’s good and I’ll take their word for it.

I want - I got on Cityline July 4, 2014
I want – I got on Cityline July 4, 2014 OOTD

I was told to wear lots of colour for the show and I decided to take it to obnoxious proportions. So here is my outfit breakdown:
Yellow Zara Blazer
Mint Green Le Chateau Dress (courtesy of Le Chateau)
Nine West Sandals

Anita Clarke/I want – I got in Vogue Italia

I want - I got/Anita Clarke in Vogue Italia
I want – I got/Anita Clarke in Vogue Italia

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think Anita Clarke and Vogue would be spoken in the same sentence. I was minding my own business in November of last year when an interview request landing in my inbox. I had to do a complete double take when I saw Vogue.it in the subject line. “Vogue Italia, Are you shitting me?”, I thought, “This is just too crazy. Vogue Italia and me, WTF”. The email was from Shomara Roosblad, an Amsterdam based fashion writer who contributes to Vogue.it and runs the website My roots, My style!. My roots, My Style! documents the story behind stylish women around the globe. (OMFG, I’m considered a stylish woman worldwide, WTF) Shomara wanted to do an interview with me to discuss my style influences accompanied by a slideshow of photos that would be featured on My roots, My style! and Vogue.it. Of course, I said yes because who’s the idiot who says no to this kinda thing.

I’m a great secret keeper (ask some of my friends, they will agree I’m a vault). I kept this under my hat for months. I didn’t want to start talking this up and have it fall through. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in embarrassment. I didn’t even tell my Mom (who got a shoutout). She discovered it after it was published and then scolded me for not telling her. Sometimes I hate doing interviews because I always miss something. That happened with this one and I just want to give my friend Jason aka The Oracle a shout out here. He’s been a major fashion influence in my adult life.

So check out the link at Anita Clarke – Vogue.it. I guess this is the biggest recognition this little fashion blogger from Toronto has received over the almost 8 years I want – I got has been in existence. I wish my Dad was here to see this first hand as he’s always been one of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders.

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Finally, I’m a Street Style Star on Refinery29

I’m a street style star! Refinery29 had some photographer spies taking street style photos and I was snapped. It was very cool to be featured in the Oh, Canada! Toronto’s Most Stellar Street Style post. This is totally bucket list material.

Refinery29 June 4 2012

Neon makes people crazy. I wore this outfit to work. I wear some crazy things but this was brightest and loudest. Coworkers were commenting all over the place. Random strangers had nice things to say too. It was such a fun outfit to wear, I was smiling all day.

Refinery29 June 4 2012

Let’s breakdown the outfit shall we.
Dress: Zara
Shoes: Aldo
Necklace: Aldo

I played a Cannon Doll in The National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker

Just when I thought things couldn’t get more exciting and random in life I get an email from the National Ballet. They have invited me to take part in this season’s performance of The Nutcracker as a Cannon Doll. Traditionally, the National Ballet asks Toronto luminaries, personalities and politicians to join the production in this small role. For those of you not familiar with The Nutcracker story, the Cannon Dolls are colourfully costumed, Russian Petrouchka dolls in Act I who shoot a cannon into the audience to begin the battle scene.

James Kudelka’s 1995 version of this evergreen seasonal classic is a perfect gem of a ballet, affectionate and reflective, at once cheeringly traditional yet freshly attuned to the rhythms and accents of the contemporary.

Rarely have the dreamscapes and wonder of childhood fantasy, the allure of spectacle and the mood of reverie been integrated in such a seamless blend of dazzling stagecraft, virtuosic choreography and ravishing design. Kudelka’s gentle re-shaping of the narrative releases the story (based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Christmas tale) into new thematic territory. Follow the quarrelling siblings Misha and Marie as they move not just through marvellous and extraordinary experiences but through surprising phases of understanding as they prepare to leave childhood behind and enter the very different world of adolescence.

The costumes and sets by Santo Loquasto themselves cast a spell, evoking an enchanted, rustic world of long-gone Imperial Russia, a place where folk rituals and the cycles of nature make way for the magical, ice-coated world of the Snow Queen and the spectacular beauty of the golden palace of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The entire production, underscored by Tchaikovsky’s glorious, timeless music, is like rediscovering a beloved heirloom and seeing it as though for the first time.

I played a Cannon Doll in The National Ballet of Canada's The Nutcracker

I was shocked and honoured to be asked. I’m a Toronto luminary, WTF. There have been 504 Cannon Dolls over the years that include Mats Sundin, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Browning, Rick Mercer and Doug Gilmour. You might have read the news earlier in December about Rob Ford’s Cannon Doll appearance.

I’m not a stereotypical fashion girl with a ballet obsession. I never took lessons as a young girl (I have neither the build nor feet to be a ballet dancer) but I do love the art form. I’d kill for a ballet dancers legs and watching them move on stage is sublime. It probably comes as no surprise to you all that I jumped at the chance. Thankfully, the National Ballet asked me to bring a guest so that I didn’t have to do this all alone or with a stranger. I brought my good friend Jason Morikawa, buyer at Holt Renfrew.

The role required no dancing (thank god) and not much preparation. We arrived at the Four Season Centre thirty minutes before the show started. Ballet legend, Rex Harrington led Jason and I through our moves. We were nervous as all hell. He showed us a video of the performance with two people from So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Of course they were amazing and their improv was great. Jason and I are great with spontaneous funny stuff when we are alone and there isn’t an audience but I didn’t think our brand of humour would translate on stage. Thankfully, the Cannon Dolls had personalities to work with. Jason was the introverted doll and of course, I was the extroverted doll.

Our time on stage was short, about five minutes. We basically followed the dancer who was in control of the cannon. We were given two moments each to express our Cannon Doll personality facing the audience and then we fell back to the side of the stage and continued to act like idiots until the end of the scene. The build up was more daunting than being on stage. The audience is this vast pit of black. I stared out into the nothingness as I jumped and kicked around on stage expressing my extrovert Cannon Doll personality. I couldn’t even see the orchestra. It’s a blessing not seeing the audience.

The Four Seasons Centre is incredible backstage. When it opened, I wrote about the building for BlogTO. We didn’t get to see backstage in 2007 so this was a real treat. The sets are massive and pretty incredible for The Nutcracker. The sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto were stunning. The kids in the production were so incredibly cute, especially the little mice from my scene. Jason and I were squealing all over the place.

My Mom and our friend Monique of MoonRox came out to support Jason and me. We joined them after the intermission to watch the second act together.

Thank you to the National Ballet for selecting me to be part of their annual Nutcracker tradition. It was quite the honour and I’m still pinching myself about it. I have a few things that I will always remember from this experience.

1.  Watch out for the large tree, it took out Mats Sundin one year.

2.  There are a lot of dick jokes in ballet.

3.  The amazing difference of on-stage grace and backstage panting of the dancers

4. Legs

The Nutcracker ends today but check out upcoming productions like Sleeping Beauty and Hamlet for the 2011 – 2012 season.

Toronto Life Stylebook and Toronto’s 12 Most Stylish People

So, its been a funny year for me. I was one of the city’s most stylish people according to Derick Chetty of The Toronto Star and I helped choose Toronto Life’s 12 stylish people. It was weird being judged and then to flip the coin and do the judging. My partners in judging crime included Fashion editor-in-chief Bernadette Morra, The Bay’s Christopher Sherman and torontolife.com’s Kevin Naulls. It was a really interesting process to be a part of. I’m pretty proud of our selections. Get over to the Toronto’s 12 most stylish people post on torontolife.com and check them out. Just don’t read the comments, I haven’t.

It’s pretty cool that our stylish Torontonian list was featured in the first print edition of the Toronto Life Stylebook which features fall fashion finds, Toronto’s Top 200 stores, street style and fall fashion trends. It can be found on newsstands or purchased online. The only thing that rubs me a little wrong is the illustration of me used. I’m gonna be blunt, it’s a distorted, ugly version of myself.  The illustration was based on this photo which I think is really nice. I’m not going to post the illustration here, you’ll have to pick up the magazine to see it. I thank god that it’s tiny.

image: torontostreetfashion.com

Toronto’s Best Dressed – The Star

Derick Chetty of The Toronto Star named me one of Toronto’s Best Dressed for 2011. Yay!

The Star June 16 2011

I wasn’t expecting this when Derick emailed me a month ago. This is my first best dressed listing and so far things have been positive. Coworkers got a kick out of it and I know my Mom loved it. I’ve done the smart thing and stayed away from all the comments on thestar.com. Really no point in reading the hateraid about something so insignificant in the whole scheme of things.

Choosing the outfit was a nightmare. I’ll be honest about that.

Read the article at These 31 people are Toronto’s Best Dressed on thestar.com.

image: thestar.com

Um you’re on WWD

WWD.comApril 13 2011

I was in meetings all morning and when I finally returned to my desk my twitter replies were blowing up. Something is up, I thought to myself, I haven’t even tweeted yet. Turns out WWD did a street style post for LG Fashion Week and I was snapped with my friend Caroline Shaheed. The title of this post was the best email subject line I received all day. It best represents the shock of finding out.

WWD.comApril 13 2011

Can you say freaking the fuck out! I’m stunned by this and doing a little happy dance. It’s silly but I have to admit I totally love this. All the shots are stealthy ones, I love it. I remember photographer James Lourenco taking our photo as we walked but didn’t think anything of it at the time. I’m so happy I’m not carrying a Starbucks coffee cup in this shot, ha ha. You can see the rest of the street style shots from LG Fashion Week at They Are Wearing: Toronto – EyeScoop on WWD.com.

This outfit also landed me on the Flare.com LG Fashion Week street style pages.

Flare March 31 2011

Outfit Breakdown – Gap circle scarf, Alexander Wang sunglasses, Ash Boots, Gap army jacket, Club Monaco Blazer, Juma Spring Summer 2011 silk tshirt, Le Sportsac x Stella McCartney bag, pants Gap, Gamercamp Pin.

Watch It: Anita’s Awesome Adventure by Jaime Woo

Every time I see the Anita’s awesome adventure video by Jaime Woo it makes my heart quicken. It brings me back to the end of June 2009 on the night that the Holt Renfrew Bloggers Windows were unveiled. This video brings it all back like it was yesterday, it gives me goosebumps.

My dear friend last year celebrated her birthday at the same time that Holt Renfrew celebrated her work as a fashion blogger, paying homage to her with a display window. I filmed it as a belated present for her. <3 you, Anita!

I hope you all enjoy this little behind the scenes look. It’s a year later and I still can’t believe this happened to me. I’ve had so many amazing opportunities in my life and I can’t help but look back at them and think about how fucking lucky I am. This moment is something that I will always cherish. Thank you Jaime Woo for filming. Thank you Gail Mcinnes for the awesome Louis Vuitton birthday cake. Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated with me. I was honoured with your presence.

Let me tell you, July 2009 was the best month of my life. Thank you Holt Renfrew. It was such an honour to be the subject of one of your window displays.

Polysh Magazine – Toronto’s Top Bloggers, Spring 2010

Polysh Magazine Top Toronto Bloggers

I had such a lovely time with the Polysh Magazine folks. One Saturday in February I went the studio and did a photoshoot and interview. The final product is better than I expected and I’m really pleased. Thank you Polysh for considering me. Make sure you check out the magazine because there are interviews with the other bloggers on the cover and some amazing editorial photos. My interview starts on page 53.

Polysh Magazine Top Toronto Bloggers

My blogging friends:
Coco&Lowe
Style By Drew
1 LOVE T.O.
urbanebloc
Lost in the WILLDERNESS
hustleGRL

Cover Critiques at Masthead Online, March 2010

Masthead.ca has a feature called Cover Critiques. It takes two magazine covers and asks members of the industry to critique them. I was asked to provide my input for the March 2010 issues of Fashion and Flare.

Cover Critiques at Masthead Online, March 2010

Read everyone answers at Cover Critiques on Masthead.ca.

This critique was pretty hilarious from my standpoint. I’m a subscriber to Fashion Magazine but not Flare. However, I bought the March 2010 issue of Flare because there is a picture of me in it. I’m on page 150!

She Takes on the World Women of the Year 2009

She Takes on the World Women of the Year 2009

On December 31, I received an email with this subject line, “You are a Woman of the Year Honoree.” WTF is this, I thought. Woman of the Year?  Is someone playing a joke on me. It has to be spam, like that Princeton Premier stuff.

It was real and it shocked me.

There are many large publications that publish an annual Women of the Year list and I’m always disappointed when I see the lists populated with female celebrities and women who already have a very high profile, not to say these women haven’t had notable accomplishments. She Takes on the World Women of the Year pays tribute to a diverse group of women ranging from teachers to social innovators to entrepreneurs. These are women we have been inspired by this year in our every day lives. They may not be celebrities -although some of them are well on their way -but one thing is for sure: these bold, fearless women are taking on the world.

After sorting through over one hundred incredible nominations, we had the difficult task of determining the Women of the Year. A special thank you to all the nominators. This could not have been done without you!

I had never heard of the She Takes on the World website before so I did some digging. Natalie MacNeil is the founder and she has an impressive resume. She’s Canadian too. It was becoming apparent that this wasn’t some random website on the Internet.

She Takes On The World is an award-winning blog for women entrepreneurs.

Women are starting small businesses and taking the self-employment route at twice the rate of our male counterparts. More and more women are embracing entrepreneurship as a lifestyle and She Takes On The World aims to support and inspire women entrepreneurs. Here, you will find articles on a variety of subjects related to entrepreneurship, interviews with fabulous women entrepreneurs, business resources, and a free directory for women-owned businesses.

So there is my face among the other honourees. It feels a little strange, I’m just a fashion blogger and some of these women really do great work. I’ll take it though, with gratitude. What an amazing end of year gift. Thank you.
image: shetakesontheworld.com

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The House of Constantine: Our Girl Anita Clarke

The House of Constantine: Our Girl Anita Clarke

I get a message from the @gretconstantine twitter account telling me to check out their blog. The first post on the site is called The House of Constantine: Our Girl Anita Clarke.

It’s this beautiful tribute post to me from everyone at the House of Constantine. They posted photos that were taken of me in the studio and out and about. These people know me; they got the pose, beer is my alcoholic beverage of choice and the I love the word Fuck. I started crying, thank god I was home at the time. It was really touching and beautiful.

My time at the Queen’s Business Forum on the Fashion Industry

I’ve been lucky enough that people have asked me to speak at their events this year. I’m at four appearances and counting. One of those events was the Queen’s Business Forum on the Fashion Industry which took place the weekend before LG Fashion Week.

I received an email from Shaine sometime in the summer. I had never heard of QBFFI before so I did some investigating. I learned that many big players in the Canadian fashion scene were previous speakers .  People like Barbara Aktin, Robin Kay, Chip Wilson and Harry Rosen. This years line up included Rita Silvan, Linda Lundstrom, Allison Gordon, Stacey McKenzie, Mosha Lundstrom Halbert, Karen Cleveland and Julie Magnan. I was really honoured with the request. I’m still amazed that anyone cares what I have to say.

So, I made my way up to Kingston on VIA with The Oracle who was there for moral support. We barely made the train and I literally mean by seconds. The train attendant had pulled up the stairs and I managed to get him just in time. Luck was on our side that day because there was no way we should have made it. I’m a lucky bastard. It lovely ride in business class where I did the hair of the dog thing to combat the Greta Constantine after party hangover. It worked!

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Some of the attendees of my seminar

In Kingston, the QBFFI organizers (who are all students) greeted Rita, Linda, Mosha, The Oracle and I.  Black SVUs ushered us to a sports bar for dinner and Rita Silvan’s Keynote speech. It was an unusual space for a speech but Rita delivered a very honest take on the fashion industry. She made no bones about industry dynamics, it was refreshing. It was a shame that she had to compete with the multiple televisions of various sizes and 3/4 of the room restaurant patrons.

Next we went to the hotel. It was right by the lake and across from the Royal Military College of Canada. Thankfully, it was where all the next day’s sessions. We settled into the room and I finished my speech for the next day.

The next morning I was a bit nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect or what the reaction would be. I love speaking to groups but would people come to my session or would they go to Karen Cleveland’s fashion marketing session. I was pleasantly surprised and had a full house for my talk. I was in a lovely room that overlooked the river and docks.

My talk covered how I started, achievements, blogging technology, advertising, fashion blogger types and the rise of the fashion blogger in mainstream media . At the end I took questions from the audience. One of my favourite questions was “What was my most exciting experience so far?” I thought about it for a moment and in the end I had to say my trip to New York City to see the Spring 2008 collections was my highlight. It was such a great experience to see the big players in real life. I don’t get giddy around celebs but I DO get giddy around fashion folk. It was like I had gone to heaven. The Holt Renfrew Blogger Windows definitely is a very close number 2 on that list.

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After my talk was lunch and Linda Lundstrom had the keynote speech. I really enjoyed Linda Lindstrom’s talk. There was so much I learned about her fascinating story. I really want to see her studio space because it looks completely state of the art. She uses the Lean Manufacturing technique in the shop and I really want to see it in practice. She is also the best ambassador for the brand because she looks amazing in her clothing.

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I'm in love with Linda's boots

After Linda we saw Mosha Lundstrom Halbert talk about her experiences as a freelance reporter. She gave the students some really great insight into how she booked jobs.  She’s definitely a girl that makes her own opportunities.  An amazing trait that will take her very far.  Julie Magnan of Touch of Me spoke at the same time as Mosha so I wasn’t able to attend her seminar.

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Then there was the walk off with Stacey McKenzie. She taught the delegates the art of strutting down a catwalk with the energy, enthusiasm and humour we have all seen on episodes of Canada’s Next Top Model. The Oracle and I got roped into judging the walk off with Stacey. It was a lot of fun and some of the kids have quite the strut on them. The last presentation we saw was from Allison Gordon of Rethink Breast Cancer. It basically talked about the campaigns they have done in the past and how they incorporated the fashion industry.

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We left the conference after that to try Woodenhead’s, a pizza joint I’ve heard nothing but raves about. Unfortunately, it had a 45 min waiting list so we headed to Le Chien Noir. It was a beautiful restaurant and while totally booked for tables, there was room at the bar for the Oracle and I. We both at Steak Frites which was a delightful and delicious meal. I had crème brulee for dessert and it was the best I’ve ever tasted. This was icing on the cake as a huge crème brulee fan. After dinner, we grabbed our bags and headed to the train station. It was back to Toronto in the first class car.

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Overall, I thought the conference was a lot of fun and very informative. The honesty of the speakers at the conference amazed me. I think the students came to realize what a hard business fashion is and that the glamorous facade is not a big part of the experience. It was a very well-run event considering it’s student run.  It’s great to see students making their own opportunities on campus.   I want to thank all the organizing body for inviting me. It was an honour to speak to everyone and I hope I was able to give you some insight into the fashion blogging world and how things work at I want – I got.

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It seems I’m getting more requests for speaking engagements, which I love. If you are organizing a conference/seminar/etc and would like to have  me speak about I want – I got and fashion blogging, don’t hesitate to get a hold of me via my Contact Me page.

Greta Constantine Spring 2010 Trunk Show and Personal Appearance Photos

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I stopped by Holt Renfrew for the Greta Constantine Spring 2010 Trunk Show and Personal Appearance on Saturday. Here are some pictures I took from the event.

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I also found out that I have another dress named after me by the Greta Constantine boys. It’s called the Clarke. Click the thumbnail to see the larger version.

I’m constantly amazed at how amazing 2009 has been. 2 dresses named after me, what the hell!!!!

The Greta Constantine Spring 2010 collection that will be on sale at Holt Renfrew includes a number of pieces with a more accessible price point.

So, I’m some sort of Toronto Fashion Hero

I was honoured to be part of this season’s Toronto Fashion Heroes by Andrew Sardone in NOW Magazine. Prior to the piece coming out I had lunch with Andrew and we conducted a little interview. The next day at lunch I was standing at King and Bay with Michael Watier the photographer doing the photoshoot. That was a lot of fun. People stopped to gawk and little kids waved at me, like I was a famous person. A friend of mine, Jason Howlett, happened to be walking by at this point and snapped this behind the scenes shot.

Toronto Fashion Hero Photoshoot Behind the Scenes

It was pretty emotional to read Andrew’s words when the piece came out. The support on twitter was amazing. I want to thank all my readers and everyone who has supported me with my little blog. It’s been a hell of a year, both good and bad, with the good outweighing the bad. I have no idea how I’m gonna top 2009.

Check out the full story at NOW Magazine – Toronto Fashion Heroes – Anita Clarke.

The Holt Renfrew Bloggers Windows lives on in Google Street View


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I found out that the Holt Renfrew Bloggers Windows are on Google Street View. It was such fun to have the window for the month of July and I was a little sad when it came down. Then I went to India and the window seemed like such a lifetime ago. The trip changed me a little. All the feeling from July have rushed back with this Google Street View discovery and it’s like experiencing it all over again.