Design Night Panel with Amanda Hamilton
Last week I got to sit on a panel for the latest Design Night hosted by interior designer Amanda Hamilton at the beautiful Loft space in the new Guardian Towers in Calgary. While I have done a lot of speaking for groups and schools about fashion, this was my first time on a panel and it was really fun! The subject was the future of retail and I was there to provide a stylist's and fashion expert's opinion (and if you know me I am always good for an opinion!).
First let me tell you a little about Loft as it was my first time in this beautiful space. It acts as a bit of a storefront for some of Amanda's amazing home accessories and items she has curated, including some vintage beauties. It's really nice to see things in context of a space and she really makes you want to live there. Upstairs now houses the amazing consignment collection of Fond Boutique and it is a great space to shop with some really covetable pieces (like this Celine bag that is most probably gone now).
Co-owner of Fond Boutique, Tanya Puka was also on the panel along with menswear guru Aaron Ellard, part owner of Understudy shop. I have known Tanya since were were on the committee for Honen's Hullabaloo event and I love the way she looks at consignment in Calgary. When so many consignment places opening up she said she looks at it as a chance to elevate the consignment world and educate people as to it's value. Her focus on slow fashion and environmental effects of consumer culture were very inspiring. While Fond has yet to tap the huge online market, Understudy has been doing just that since it's inception and they really knows what their online clients want. People shopping menswear online want to know how and where things were made and have a deep understanding of the brands they are buying into. This means Aaron and his team need to really know their brands and represent them online in a way that feels authentic to their customers.
It was a really great mix for the panel and we were especially lucky to have the services of Western Living editor and former Flare magazine editor, Karen Ashbee, to moderate. It's always a joy to run into Karen at an event and even occasionally convince her to leave her stables for a glass of wine to talk fashion. With such an amazing group we certainly didn't lack for conversation and it really he nicest part of the panel was actually how casual it was and it was terrific to have questions and conversation from the audience as well. A full house and great participation, what more could you want? Oh yes did I mention there was wine (thanks to the evening's sponsor, Ceasarstone!)? The night was also a low key fundraiser for the Junior League of Calgary, which Amanda has worked with for many years, with ticket prices being donated in full to the charity.
I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to Loft, and to Amanda, and while we didn't come up with a solid answer to the future of retail I hope we got a conversation going that we can continue in the future. Thanks again to Lana Rogers PR for putting this night together and for the invitation to participate!