Canadian Black Market

by jennine on May 21, 2009


il_430xn70688687Europeans always get a kick when I tell them ‘all the great American comedians are actually Canadian.’ I mean, it’s only partially true… Steve Martin’s from Southern California. Anyway, more and more it’s looking  like a flood of great Canadian fashion designers are making their way out designers like Complex Geometries, I Heart Norwegian Wood, SwanDiamondRose, Jennifer Gilpin and boutiques like Reborn I can’t ignore something’s going on in Canada. Now, thanks to LesMads I’ve come across blackmarketbaby on Etsy, a fashion design student in Montreal, Audrey Cantwell who simply puts her work ‘I cut and I sew and I save the more fortunate results.’ From tie dye to hot little miniskirts, the current collection is very on-trend, which is to be expected of student work, yet it’s exactly what I want right now, and the prices are more than reasonable. I mean, how can I not get it?

More so, I’m wondering how the Canadian fashion industry has managed to slip under the radar for so long? Has anyone not-Canadian ever developed a Canadian fashion fetish? I mean, with the advent of the internet, we’re now able to get real-time glimpses of Australian fashion, in some Darwinian style evolved in isolation into something part East, and part West. Australia’s far away… they have an excuse… but Canada?

“People have always had to leave to make things work, maybe the internet will change this.” ~SwanDiamondRose

In a conversation I had with SwanDiamondRose (Canadian) she reflected on the fashion industry…

And a lot of our stasis and hesitance and middle-groundness in the fashion comes from the fact that we are a huge land mass, our populations are split apart, and our population is actually quite low, and we don’t have a ton of cash, and we tend towards practical, and heck we are meek! People have always had to leave to make things work, maybe the internet will change this.

Maybe? It looks like it’s already happening…the internet is changing fashion, decentralizing it at least. All these other places are sprouting up as mini fashion meccas. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised… next up…  Poland. (oh yes, it’s true)

In the mean time, I”m going to be picking out what I want from this lovely blackmarketbaby.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

K-Line May 21, 2009 at 7:18 am

Swan has it right but I really think the internet is going to democratize things for us Canadians! (It underscores the massive geography and maximizes unique talents.) Thanks for this great post!


Sal May 21, 2009 at 7:42 am

What a find! I’m enamored of that massively oversized tote in the Etsy shop.

Sal’s last blog post..Dressing Lessons


tricia campbell May 21, 2009 at 8:17 am

thnak you for shining the light on canadian talent. there are loads more that are making their mark on the world. i love to support my fellow canuck-mikhale kale, denis gagnon, evan biddell, carlie wong, carrie hayes and the list goes on. have look at my site for a huge list of many more you should keep your eye on.

tricia campbell’s last blog post..:::DUST to DUST | reveal time


Meg May 21, 2009 at 9:14 am

Great post. As a Canadian, I’m so happy you did this feature and I wish more Canadian designers were in the international spotlight.

Meg’s last blog post..Cannes 2009


MizzJ May 21, 2009 at 9:58 am

Woo go Canada! These designs are super hot!

MizzJ’s last blog post..New Jalda online store now open!


Denise@Swelle May 21, 2009 at 10:08 am

Wow, being a Canadian living in the UK it’s so wonderful to see that our talent is breaking out while still on home turf. Canada is loaded with all kinds of creative talent and it’s so true that we’ve always had to leave to make things happen.

I eagerly anticipate big things for Canadian designers as recent events suggest - and look forward to the overdue recognition of the fact that they are indeed Canadian!

Denise@Swelle’s last blog post..LAINE: A Collection of Rare Gems


lisa May 21, 2009 at 11:15 am

SwanDiamondRose is spot on in her observations. The population in Canada is too low for us to be considered a significant market. Plus there’s definitely an east/west divide. It’s not uncommon for western Canada to talk of feeling alienated during federal elections because a good chunk of the Member of Parliament seats are in Ontario and Quebec. This east/west divide is also reflected in dress and attitude: west coast Canadians are a bit more laid-back and casual. In Vancouver there’s quite a movement toward eco-friendly fashion at the moment, with more and more local designers using sustainable fabrications.

lisa’s last blog post..More Madonna! More 80s!


Laurel May 21, 2009 at 11:46 am

I live in Toronto, but ironically, it is through your blog that I’ve discovered these wonderful designers from Canada. So I guess the internet is making even locals more aware.
And wow I love that tie dye shirt/dress!


Cammila May 21, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I agree, there’s a wealth of creativity in Canada! Have you heard of Soia & Kyo? They make some very chic outerwear — which makes enough sense, because it can get cold up there! (I’m from Michigan, where there’s a weird bond with our neighbors to the north…)

Cammila’s last blog post..There must be a story here…


jennine May 21, 2009 at 12:39 pm

❤k-line… it’s so crazy how the geography plays such a big role… i hope the internet does help canadian fashion, it looks like it’s already happening!
❤sal…tell me about it! i love it too.
❤ tricia… thanks for giving that list of designers to look at! mikale kale, amazing..
❤ lisa.. haha, east side, west side…they have that in the us too… though california carries a lot of power, we still get flack for being ‘too laid back’ even though if we were our own country we’d be the 6th largest economy. i guess either small or big, its hard to put a whole country in one category.
❤ laruel.. that is awesome and btw i just bought that dress!
❤ camilla…ooh another designer to add to my list. i’ll need that, because i’ll be in chicago this winter! burrr


Annie Spandex May 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I love the sort of villianess quality of those!


alixrose May 21, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Hi heart, I totally agree - the internet is blurring all of the boundary lines and I am noticing more and more designers from well everywhere. Love that you pointed this one out. Lovely designs that definitely speaks to me. Great interview and I will def keep them on my radar.


dreamsequins May 21, 2009 at 7:53 pm

This is such a wonderful post! I am sooo feeling the Canadians these days and have to point out, in addition to those great designers you highlighted in this post, that I’m loving mono and Jeremy Laing, both Canuck brands that I had the pleasure of highlighting recently! Oh Canada!

dreamsequins’s last blog post..Shoptalk: NOT JUST A LABEL


dapper kid May 22, 2009 at 7:29 am

I read Linda Grant’s new book when it came out, and it totally opened my eyes to the Canadian fashion market. For some reason, I had not really thought of Canadian fashion as a seperate being before. I suppose it is that naive English view, of it just being filtered American, but they really do have some stunningly talented designers!

dapper kid’s last blog post..Blogging Birthday


Shay May 25, 2009 at 4:05 pm

you hafta check out Jason Matlo

I love it when int’l bloggers are into Canadian talent and there is this move to view us more as exotic than hick these days. Luvz it.

Shay’s last blog post..Bunny Ears


SwanDiamondRose June 3, 2009 at 9:07 pm

oh my gosh! thank you for the mention. and then i saw my quote and blushed. i’m so glad people agree. and Shay, heck maybe we could be some sort of exotic-hick hybrid. xo Jennine :)

SwanDiamondRose’s last blog post..summers i missed… [1]


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