The Beauty of Basic

The retail world has never been as robust as it is today. From pop-ups to online shopping, there is something out there for everyone right at our fingertips. But at the same time, even though there may be something out there for everyone with countless places to choose from, what if you’re still finding what you want? Staples are a must for every wardrobe and even though many assume that a simple, cotton, white long sleeve top would be simple to find but is it really? Yes, there are high end brands that can provide the perfect cut but can everyone afford a $300 shirt? Is there a way to marry the realms of quality and cost efficiency? 15337394_1156093211143304_4531480585589984261_n

Heather Loduca knows that the struggle is real which is why she founded Crown + Pride. Being only a few months old, the Canadian brand has taken a stand on providing versatile pieces for work and play while also embracing quality and comfort. With her Aurora Sweater, Loduca has started with one basic piece that can go a long way. We sat down with her to chat about the beauty of basic and how, even when it comes to quality-driven, and runway-worthy essential pieces, you can have your cake and eat it too

MC: What gave you the inspiration for the name Crown + Pride?

HL: This is going to sound crazy, but I literally stood up one day and the name was sitting in the centre of my head. I thought to myself “I can’t just go with the very first thing I think of” so I made a list of about 40 other possibilities. As I was reading it over the only name that truly resonated with me was Crown + Pride. I felt it was cool, edgy, different, strong, confident with a feminine feel. Which are the exact traits my brand and clothing embody. I decided it was meant to be.

MC: Describe your brand and what you are aspiring to do with it.

HL: My brand is about being the most authentic version of yourself and supporting the idea that if you don’t like something about your life, speak up, get up and change it. Also supporting others who are doing that in their lives. From such a young age we learn fear, doubt and self consciousness and in my opinion, those are all things we’ve created in our minds. I want people and women in particular to feel supported to go out there and do anything they want, no matter how crazy it sounds.

MC: Why is it important to invest in quality basic staples in one’s wardrobe?

HL: I think basics are everything. They are the butter and sugar to a great baker. In order to create beautiful magic, versatility and a foundation for creativeness – starting with basics is a great first step. I think a lot of times we under estimate the value that a plain
white tee brings to our wardrobe and we might be inclined to spend the least amount of money on something like that. When in reality, it’ll be one of the most worn items. It’s about realizing value and matching how we invest in those items.

MC: How do your pieces, like the Aurora Sweater differentiate from other contemporary lines?

HL: Crown + Pride is all about basics with an edge. It’s appreciating how important and amazing basics are, but adding that personality and differentiators to them. With the Aurora sweater, the hems are unfinished giving it a bit more of a subtle rough look to it. For a warmer winter piece it has a more open neck with the option for it to be worn off the shoulder to incorporate a bit of sex appeal while still dressing for colder climates. The coolest thing is the sharp angle at the bottom of the sweater that highlights the woman’s shape and curve, and makes it even more versatile as it provides enough coverage for leggings, and it can also be worn with jeans, tucked into skirts and layered with other tops, jackets and vests. (check out my 30 day outfit challenge on IG for more reference). The goal with our basics is to really offer casual tops that because of the way they are
designed, are brought up to the next level and can be dressed up, it’s filling the space between casual and dressy.

MC: Please share more about your Spring/Summer ventures for C+P.

HL: Our next summer piece is currently being manufactured with a projected launch date of the first week of April, It’s a crop tee with some special edges of course and will come in black and white. It’ll be followed up by a dressier tank. We’ve already designed our fall 2017 pieces as well that will launch in September.

MC + NEW CREATIONS CONTEST

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 13th annual New Creations Festival kicks off on March 4th and we are more than ecstatic to share our latest giveaway. Participants will have the chance to win a festival pass to ALL THREE performances. We will be giving away three passes!

To enter, you must follow both MIMA CULTURE and the TSO on Instagram and Twitter and share which performance you are looking forward to the most using the hashtag #NCF17. The lucky winner* will be announced on Wednesday March 1st via Instagram direct message.

english final printedBold, experimental, and cutting edge, this year’s Festival is curated by Polaris Music Prize winner Owen Pallett, a renowned Canadian composer, violinist, keyboardist, and vocalist. The 2017 New Creations Festival fuses the pop- and classical-music worlds, with a touch of electronic music, a little dose of improvisation, and a blend of Aboriginal and folk sounds. To further enhance the Festival, concertgoers can enjoy an array of ancillary events—curated by Canadian composer Abigail Richardson-Schulte—including pre-concert performances, intermission chats, and post-concert parties (all included with concert tickets). The Festival also features two more free events: Composers in Conversation, a forum presented in collaboration with the Canadian Music Centre on March 7, and a noon-hour concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, presented in collaboration with the Canadian Opera Company on March 9. All New Creations Festival performances are part of Canada Mosaic—a Signature Project of Canada 150.

Guest artists include Canadian throat singer extraordinaire Tanya Tagaq, prominent Canadian violinist James Ehnes, distinguished pianist Yefim Bronfman, and the celebrated Kronos Quartet performing works by Nicole Lizée, Cassandra Miller, Owen Pallett, Nico Muhly, and more.

new creations artistsClick here for details.

*Contest open to Ontario residents only

A Family Affair

As an ode to the upcoming Family Day long weekend, I thought it would be nice to send out a special thanks to all the dedicated parents out there who invest countless amounts of time with their kids for, well, pretty much everything.

Being a musician, music teacher, and now a parent myself, inspiration and dedication go a long way but when you’re still a kid, mom and dad play an integral role when it comes to staying motivated. Even though we’ve all been there, practicing music hasn’t always been at the top of the fun list. It paid off of course.

Musical memories and where our interests first began are always nice to reminisce and look back on. Whether it was the first time you went to a classical concert with your family, or saw someone play an instrument you’ve never heard before, these moments paved the way for many who now have a vast musical career.

On February 20th, the talented musicians from Pocket Concerts will be presenting an extra special concert catered to the next generation of music enthusiasts. Families with little ones and older are warmly invited to experience a Family Day filled performance (and conveniently in the early afternoon just in case a nap time needs to follow after an exciting musical experience).

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We chat with PC’s Artistic Directors Rory McLeod  and Emily Rho about some of their cherished memories.

MC: Can you share a musical pass-time when you were younger?

RML: My mom is a cellist, so the house was always full of music when I was a kid. I remember waking up to the sound of her teaching on Saturday mornings throughout my childhood, but what really stands out is the memory of listening to LPs (yes, I am old enough for that) in our living room. When we were really young (probably 2 and 4 years old), my brother Alex (also a violist) and I used to listen to Swan Lake, dress up in tights, and dance around the living room pretending to be princes.

My first memory of attending a concert is from when I was about 8 years old. My grandma gave me and my mom a pair of tickets to a concert in Roy Thompson Hall. I’m guessing it must have bee the TSO, and there was a female soloist. I have no memory of what piece she played, but I remember that she was wearing a green dress with puffy sleeves, and I was impressed that she could memorize such a long “song.”

ER: When I was about ten, my mom took me to an orchestra concert. It was my first time hearing Beethoven Symphony No. 5, and Zubin Mehta was conducting. The performance made such an impression on me that I developed an intense crush (for a ten year old) on Maestro Mehta, which led me to a quest to find all the recordings by him. This ‘obsession’ was not easy, not having grown up with the Internet, iTunes, smart phones, etc., but possible more satisfying because that.

MC: When did you realize that you wanted to learn your instrument of
and venture into the performance realm during your musical
studies?

RML: I started on the violin when I was five, and I don’t remember making that decision. My brother Alex played, so I probably wanted to emulate him. I chose the viola much later in life, once again following in Alex’s footsteps. He picked up the viola when he was 12, but it took me much longer.

When I was 19 and living in Montreal, doing a B.A. in English Literature, my violin teacher left town for the summer. I had more time on my hands than usual and wanted to take some lessons, and I happened to be working at Wilder and Davis (a violin shop), so I borrowed a viola from them, contacted Jean MacRae, and started taking some viola lessons. I started playing a lot of chamber music on viola (the best way to learn the instrument), and played both instruments for a while.

Then my violin was stolen. It was tragic at the time, but eventually the insurance money came through, and I had to decide whether to buy another violin, or take the leap and buy a viola. I discovered that I preferred the sound of every viola I tried over every violin, and decided it was a sign. Over the course of the following year, I decided I wanted to make a go at becoming a professional musician, with the viola as my instrument.

Dominic puts clarinet away RESIZEDER: I didn’t really choose the piano. We had my mom’s piano at home, so it was one of the toys from the beginning. I started lessons when I was about three, and I can’t quite say that I’m one of those people who made the decision to pursue music deliberately. Things just went from one thing to another, and I ended up playing the piano for a living! Having said that, I do distinctly remember the fun and thrill of performing from a young age, and I’ve always craved the opportunities to be on stage and share. 

Click here to purchase your tickets (children and youth under 19 are free)

Symphonic Style with Rachel Sin

The poised and structured manner that is Rachel Sin, after many years of admiring her work, still impresses me to this very day. The Toronto-based designer is no stranger to the runway and she will be presenting her latest collection next month for the launch of Toronto Women’s Fashion Week.
RachelSin-About2In preparation to present her latest pieces for FW17, I wondered, what does Rachel do to unwind and refresh herself? The symphony.

If you want to catch the former-architect anywhere else besides her studio, more than likely it would be it will be at Roy Thomson Hall. A fashionable and cultural outing is the ultimate form of entertainment in my books.

Here are some of her favourite go-to ensembles for any musical occasion.

Work-to-Night-at-the-Symphony

A mid-week performance always adds a nice mix to your work schedule. Fact: classical music does wonders to your work productivity (your boss with be very thankful).

Dinner Date and the Opera

Change things up and add a cultural flare to your regular dinner-and-a-movie outing. Whether you’re more of an Opera Buffa or Opera Seria fan, there’s a Rachel Sin outfit for either.

Sunday Matinee Recital

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Rib Knit Turtleneck Dress

A personal favourite, sometimes, the best way to finish your weekend is to go solo and have some you-time while attending an early afternoon performance.

The Rachel Sin FW 2017 Collection with be presented on March 10th, 2017.

*Photos courtesy of RachelSin.com

byINABE

With March setting the stage for the launch of Toronto Women’s Fashion Week and #CanadianFashionLove trending more than ever, it’s always exciting to come across new brands with so much potential. On top of that, it’s wonderful to see a fashion graduate excelling at their craft. Toronto’s fashion programs have produced some of Canada’s most talented designers and brands.

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byINABE‘s handbags caught my attention not only for the classically clean yet edgy look but also on the designer’s socially conscious philosophy on sourcing local materials and labour. A Ryerson Fashion Design alumni, Beverly created her brand  with a focus on making beautiful and unique pieces that are simple, local, ethically made one-of-a-kind designs.

MC: Let’s talk about the name, byINABE.

BI: I coined the name byINABE during a time of growth and self-discovery. BE as in to be and INA meaning inner. I wanted to find myself as a designer and created the company as an outlet to express myself. The name byINABE represents my personal journey and is my self-reflection.

MC: What are your takeaways from studying fashion design at Ryerson University?

BI: Design school equips students with the basic knowledge and understanding of not only garment construction but also how much work goes into creating the giant machinery that is the fashion industry. It is more than designing clothing. It is sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, wholesale, forecasting and so on. The industry is incredibly versatile and fashion designer programs are where students can gain the confidence, skill set and connections needed to enter these fields.

MC: Why did you specifically lean towards accessories and handbags?

BI: I wasn’t planning on designing handbags initially. I love handbags and I used to buy a new one very often (too often). Then in 2015, I created byINABE and the Etsy shop with the intention of figuring out what field in fashion really made me click. I made a lot of different products; jewelry, day dresses, slips, swimwear, sweaters, knitted hats, blankets, scarves. It was all over the place. Near the end of 2015, I decided to make my first bag. Not for the shop but for myself. I wanted a bucket bag that was a specific size and shape and could not find it anywhere. I started with a simple bucket design and loved it. I shared it on social networks and other people loved it too. I found myself really enjoying making the bags and that’s how it all started.