forestière x INLAND
This past weekend, forestière participated in the Spring edition of INLAND, a pop-up event in Toronto featuring a curated selection of 80 independent Canadian fashion, apparel, accessory, and jewellery designers showcasing small-batch and locally-made collections. I had a cozy spot outside in the covered patio, which perfectly complemented my line and allowed for a breath of fresh air. I met so many wonderful, remarkably talented and inspiring Canadian designers, and am honoured to have been included among them. The enthusiasm I met from buyers, retailers, and industry influencers was astounding. As an emerging designer, I cannot overstate the significance of such meaningful exchanges.
While the event still has some coming of age to do, I fully support organizer Sarah Power's goal of bringing more Canadian designers, both emerging and established, to market. The work she is doing to promote high-quality, exclusively Canadian design and to facilitate opportunities for independent brands and businesses is so important. There is no other show like INLAND in the country and I look forward to seeing it grow! I think as Canadians we need to step up and support more homegrown talent, and a venue like INLAND is a good place to start.
On a more personal note, I also had the opportunity to meet like-minded designers with whom I had sparked friendships over social media in person. I got to connect with fellow fibre-based jewellery designers Michèle Guevera and Leeay Aikawa of Daiku, who also works with cotton rope. Our styles and processes are remarkably different, but we all share a strong enthusiasm for the materials we work with, using them in unexpected ways to push the boundaries of modern jewellery design.
I also got to meet the wonderfully talented and down-to-earth Montreal-based slow fashion designer Amanda Moss, who is full of so much passion and wisdom in person as her beautifully designed eponymous collection suggests. She launched her summer collection at INLAND and it's nothing short of stunning. Each piece is refined in its details, evoking a sense of timeless femininity that I can only sum up in one word: swoon.
And, of course, I made a few new and unexpected friends, too. Jordana of Simple Studs was a stone's throw away from us on the patio—pun intended—and this girl is beaming with the most positive, light-hearted energy. She, too, thinks there is magic in listening to the subtleties of nature and has designed a perfectly branded line of hand-picked stone earrings to convey that magic. Speaking of magic, I also met clothing designer Jennifer Fukushima, a kindred spirit of sorts who is likewise from the Canadian north. Like so many others I met, she was wonderfully supportive of my work and sustainable approach to design. We bonded over natural fibres and subtle, earthy palettes, finding common ground in each other's work. It was so refreshing to meet like-minded designers, both emergent and established, all of whom displayed an incredible openness, honesty, and willingness to share their experiences and unique insights.
Overall, my experience at INLAND was incredibly enriching and deeply encouraging. From it's outset, I've never known where I wanted to take forestière, which is compounded by my double life and divided attention as both a PhD Candidate and still emergent designer. But INLAND left me with a clearer direction and renewed sense of purpose. I can sincerely say that I am excited about what's on the horizon, and I think last weekend's events are what I needed to propel me forward.