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We Stand on Guard for Thee: An Ode to Canadian Womenswear

Happy Birthday, Canada! 2017 will mark our country’s 150th anniversary, and it’s looking better than ever. We thought we’d get the party started early and gathered some of our favourite homegrown brands that embody the essence of thoughtful design and artistry. From handcrafted spirits, to beautiful home furnishings, to wearable works of art, never have there been so many excuses to celebrate exceptional Canadian talent. 

Brother Vellies

Beyond the design and craft that goes into every pair, Afrocentric footwear brand Brother Vellies is dedicated to sustainability. Their leather? Most of the classic shoes at Brother Vellies are made using Kudu leather, an animal byproduct that results from a government mandated culling due to overpopulation. Much of the meat is sold at local markets or donated. The dye process? It’s mostly done with vegetable dyes, which minimizes the harmful effects of chemical dyes on the surrounding environment. Even the knitting is done by stay-at-home wives who are empowered to earn an income, in many cases for the first time in their lives. There’s plenty more, but you get the point. The end result is worth this overwhelming commitment by Brother Vellies to the territory, too. Springbok Palma bag, $685

Quill & Tine

In the grander scheme of things, Toronto’s Quill & Tine ties luxury, style, innovation and craftsmanship all into one with a modern sensibility common throughout. In a more direct sense, they’re the brand that mixes fashion with technology. On that end. there’s probably no better gift for staying plugged in during another stereotypically brutal Canadian winter than these gloves. $240 or 165 (ART: depending on which glove you use)

Beaufille

The word Beaufille itself may itself roughly translate to the phrase ‘handsome girl’ — referring to a person that exhibits an effortlessly chic demeanor and unique sense of style — but on the Canadian fashion circuit, it’s more known as the banner of an acclaimed ready-to-wear and accessory line founded by Toronto’s Gordon sisters, Chloé and Parris. The pair learned their craft at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and have since parlayed their talents into a number of Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards. Well deserved too, because handmade artisanal luxury is the focus at Beaufille, with a special emphasis on hard versus soft looks.

Mikhael Kale

Although Canadian-born Mikhael Kale introduced his self-titled label back in 1997, the designer’s work goes way back to his stint at London, England’s famous Central Saint Martins art school (the same institution that nurtured the likes of Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Christian Dior’s former creative director, John Galliano.) It’s an excellent pedigree that has attributed to the success of his seductive, avant-garde signature style.

Dean Davidson

Not even a decade since launching his eponymous jewelry line and Dean Davidson has already become a fixture in some of the world’s leading fashion publications. Moreover, his signature designs—which pair feminine textures with masculine shapes, and architectural lines amidst opposing fluid gemstones—have been sported by such headline-grabbing celebrities as Rihanna, Olivia Wilde, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato and more. It’s not a bad progression for the kid born into a small farming community in rural Canada. One whose career started in agriculture, but now sees him reigning over a collection which showcases semi-precious gemstones sourced in India, 22 karat gold, sterling silver, brass, rhodium, and more.