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Video: Is best stuff is made in Canada?

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    >>> style," canadian-made fashion . you may think it's all about the ski jackets and rain boots here, but canada 's fashion community has loads of local talent. roots, lululemon, the names easily roll off the tongues of fashion shoppers, but the vancouver fashion scene is more than laid-back comfort. it's made up of unique local designers who have created a bustling independent fashion community.

    >> i think people believe we're here designing snow suits. well, we're not.

    >> reporter: triana peete, creative director for obakki started the label in 2005 for local designers to showcase their work. it's evolved into a contemporary, high-quality brand that still relies on its local roots.

    >> we do our own design. we have our own pattern making and sample sewing. we do our own manufacturing. we use a local woodworker to do the wood pieces in our store, local artists for the chandeliers.

    >> reporter: across town, glen cora twig, one-third of the founders has filled her store with clothing and accessories from jewelry from nearly 60 canadian designers.

    >> besides being the little sister to the big sister down south, we've had to really take care of our own. on the back of the hang tags you will see that it's got the five mandates -- sustainable, local, recycled material, canadian or one of a kind.

    >> reporter: keeping it close to home is not just a vancouver sentiment.

    >> to be a canadian designer, you really need to maintain the manufacturing in canada .

    >> reporter: almost 20 years ago, designer vivian shyu turned down a job with calvin klein in favor of returning to her hometown of toronto to launch her own line.

    >> we are so different in our approach in our fundamental philosophy, and i think that's what makes us unique.

    >> canadian designers really look at fashion as a reflection of themselves. they are going at it with their heart and soul.

    >> and bobbie thomas is "today's style editor," joining us here in vancouver . good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> you've been shopping around.

    >> i have.

    >> you have had a lot of fun looking around. what would be your take away in terms of fashion in canada ?

    >> i was so excited to be here because the community really supports local designers, and with everything mass produced today, it's really exciting to shed the spotlight on some of these smaller designers that are really manufacturing everything themselves. and as far as the style aesthetic, the lifestyle really goes hand in hand with the look. the environment plays such a big role. so, this is really the epitome of fashion meets function, but they're still very stylish and have lots of self-expression.

    >> okay. you have two examples of independent designers, these two on the mannequins here on the right.

    >> the first dress you're looking at is from alice in wonderland . the name just made me smile. alison smith designed this collection and she's got a quirky, whimsical essence about her. and the mannequin next to it, you'll see this blouse and skirt, and this is from dace, and it's feminine and classic. she'll add the ruffles or the feminine detail to slacks. i love that they pride themselves on manufacturing everything locally.

    >> you talk about sustainability. this turtleneck, which i love, is an example of that. a great color, but also feels good.

    >> it feels good, yeah. you met twig & hoddi's owners in the piece. three friends who came together. love the name of their boutique, but they also decided to create we3, a sustainable line. what's great is they make everything from these perfect turtlenecks -- i tried them on myse myself. they give you some room.

    >> and they're sustainable because of the materials.

    >> yes, bamboo, soy, cotton blend, all sustainable fabrics.

    >> another thing about vancouver , people want comfortable shoes, which is really brilliant because the rest of us suffer. and you get an example of that. and also, quirkiness as well in some of the designs.

    >> absolutely. you could not escape this name here. everyone you ask about canadian fashion says john fluevog , you've got to check them out. they're not for the safe, boring. they're fun. has lots of penalties, 40 years in business. and look at this boot right here. this is his original shoe he designed, the classic swirly boot and this is the special anniversary edition.

    >> the little swirls here on the right.

    >> go to his website for more, because he's got these really soles that he calls average yes, ma'am -- angel soles and he explains that online.

    >> they don't look that comfortable, but they look like they make a statement.

    >> they actually are.

    >> the fabric, the material --

    >> very well made.

    >> rubbery.

    >> i'm a huge fan of this design duo, matt and nat. they've launched this lower price line by matt and nat. they're vegan and eco-friendly, so they've recycled water bottles to make their bags.

    >> so this is not leather. it's vinyl.

    >> no. and they saved -- 21 water bottles were saved to make these bags. they're between $100 and $150. so, love it, tons of colors, lots of options, and you can go vegan and eco-friendly.

    >> who knew water bottles ? we thought they would be in a landfill for 50 years. now we can do something with them. this is fantastic. what about these items? this looks very casual.

    >> some of the stores have grown a bit and this was a personal boutique i found. you see this look here. a lot of the girls said they feel like they're hippies with a sporty twist. that's kind of their vibe. i love that they have 43 boutiques now in both canada and the u.s., six private labels and i'm wearing an aritzia sweater.

    >> look at you in that sweater.

    >> it's casual wear with a little flair. last but not least, they're famous for outer wear and you can't escape the rain here, but i was a big fan of these jackets because they're called packables. they're around $200, but they pack up into this small pouch so you can have your rain jacket anyway.

    >> bobbie thomas, you have the best job.

    >> i know.

    >> your job is to shop. you can check out more information about bobbie's column, called "the buzz" in "in touch weekly."

    >>> coming up next, there is

TODAY contributor
updated 2/16/2010 9:44:59 AM ET 2010-02-16T14:44:59

With the spotlight on Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics, it’s the perfect time to highlight some of the hottest fashions coming out of Canada. From trendy, casual clothing to fabulous outerwear, accessories, and even lingerie, the Pacific Northwest is full of stylish, expressive options.   

Here, Bobbie Thomas, TODAY style editor and author of The Buzz column for In Touch Weekly, offers an overview of Canada’s top fashion brands.

Names to know
The beautiful landscape our Northern neighbors enjoy is not only a big part of Canada's lifestyle but also their look. Lululemon’s athletic apparel (lululemon.com) and Roots’ active wear (usa.roots.com) have collected cult followings at home and around the globe. Beyond function, Canadian fashion isn’t to be dismissed. While mass-market clothing retailer Club Monaco (clubmonaco.com) originated in Toronto, up-and-coming designers such as Obakki and Vivian Shyu also deserve notice.

Contemporary clothing
From stores with a great selection of local talent to designers who are daring and different, these Canadian clothing options are a contemporary shopper’s dream. Both Allison Wonderland ($100-$300; allisonwonderland.ca) and Dace ($140-$450, Dace.ca) pride themselves on manufacturing locally, while eco-friendly line Lav & Kush strives to be sustainable and stylish.

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Vancouver’s Twigg & Hottie (at 21st Street) carries more than 50 up-and-coming Canadian designers, including We3 (we3.ca), a sustainable fashion line designed by store owners Glencora Twigg, Christine “Hottie” Hotton and Jessica Vaira ($19-$400; twiggandhottie.com).

And Aritzia, a celebrity-favorite fashion-forward boutique1, started out in Vancouver but has expanded to include 43 boutique locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. It offers six exclusive house brands seen on the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, Victoria Beckham, Rachel Bilson, Kristen Stewart and Megan Fox. As official 2010 Winter Olympic Games licensees, they’ve created a Park Life for Aritzia limited-edition Olympic collection as well as a special TNA Canada collection as a tribute to the store’s 25-year heritage ($20-$400; aritzia.com). 

Outer and inner wear
There’s no question that Canadian winters provide plenty of reasons to bundle up. Luckily, Montreal’s sleek and chic outerwear brand Mackage can help you do just that. The brand is famous for its stylish coats, and their water-resistant “packables” are a favorite with celebs like Rihanna ($90-$1,500; mackage.com). And while it won’t keep you warm, Christine Vancouver’s beautiful lingerie may just be Vancouver’s best-kept secret. Anyone who comes for the Olympics will want to pick up some of these pretty silk pieces ($85-$350, christinevancouver.com). 

An array of accessories
Creative Canadians are making it easy to add style to any outfit with cool accents. While Vancouver-based Lark sells a number of casual fashion and accessories lines in its store, its namesake brand features cool wallets and organic scarves that are handmade from Canadian sheep wool ($100-$170, lark.me). 

And Matt & Nat’s eco-friendly vegan handbags have been beloved for quite some time, but their newly launched, lower-priced line, Matt by Matt and Nat, makes these carryalls even more accessible ($100-$150, MattbyMattandNat.com). Finally, John Fluevog’s footwear is nothing if not unique. These shoes will ensure you’re walking to the beat of your own drum ($100-$400, Fluevog.com).

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