Style

Made in Canada: Designers to watch and wear

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.

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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