On Saturday evening, I had the opportunity to visit Friday Harbour Resort in Innisfil and check out some upcoming local designers in the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) Fashion Show, hosted by TV personality Nicole Servinis.
The Friday Harbour Fashion Collective series was open to the public and featured fashion designers from across the country, and as a self-proclaimed fashionista, I was thrilled to attend.
There were two shows, with the first one featuring Resort Luxe wear and the other Cocktail Couture of evening and event attire.
As a member of the media, I was invited to the cocktail hour before the shows, which included fun drinks like the Smirking Sailor and Belvedere Martini from the resort's Beach Club bar. I was able to bring one guest along, so my sister and I decided to ditch the kids and hubbies and make a day of it.
We have been to Friday Harbour before, but only in the winter months to visit their light trail and Beach Club restaurant, so this was our first time getting the summer resort experience.
I felt like a celebrity being shuttled from the parking lot to the beautiful, lakefront patio where I sipped drinks and rubbed shoulders with some of the best-dressed people I have seen since coming out of the pandemic.
I was also able to chat a bit with Friday Harbour CEO Hani Roustom who told me the reason for hosting the event was to help promote the Canadian fashion industry that has been severely affected by the pandemic, and the shop local movement.
Lake Simcoe was the perfect backdrop for the luxurious showcase of talented designers, including Steven Lejambe, NARCES, RVNG Couture, Kaela Kay, Christopher Bates, Rita Tesolin, NOIZE, House of Hayla, Bikini Haus, Alan Anderson, and more.
Thankfully the rain held off, and I was able to watch the show on the side of the runway on the pier to get a close-up look at all the designs.
In between shows, guests were able to browse and shop at the pop-up retail market set up on the boardwalk. This was my favourite part, as I loved getting the chance to look at the items I just saw on stage up-close and in-person.
Shopping online throughout the pandemic has been convenient, but there is just something about getting to touch and feel the material of the clothing and accessories you are purchasing that make it a whole exciting experience.
There were so many neat artists and designers there, including ai (ai Toronto seoul), Anavi Designs, Anu Raina, Cyntia Miglio Design, Lilliput Hats, Lisa Gozlan Jewelry, Preloved, Rock N' Karma, Van Der Hout Jewelry, just to name a few.
Is it just me or since COVID, I have had a hard time getting out of my comfy clothing? Joggers and tees for the win! I feel many designers have picked up on these trends and are now incorporating them into their collections.
I loved the lounge-wear collections from Remi the Label, with their cozy Relax collection of joggers, hoodies, and shorts.
Since COVID, I have been actively working out daily with my online programs, so I was obsessed with the relevé activewear, especially their matching leopard print bra and crop leggings.
I ended up purchasing a cute army green smock style dress and T-shirt from Preloved, a sustainable brand founded by Julia Grieve that is made using dead stock and vintage materials. I also grabbed myself a new makeup bag from a natural beauty brand, Philocalist.
Once the event was over, my sister and I walked around the grounds and popped into some of the shops on site. It was a pleasant experience with the sun setting, surrounded by visitors soaking up the last few weeks of summer, laughing, eating, walking, and boating.
It was the perfect way to kick off my vacation week with a bit of luxury and relaxation while supporting Canadian talent.
Natasha Philpott is the community editor at InnisfilToday and BradfordToday.