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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Interview: Textstyles

When it comes to documenting Toronto street style, I stand by this statement: Textstyles does it best.

“Toronto streetstyle, fashion, photography and culture” blog is brought to us by Stefania Yarhi, T.O born and bred. Ms. Yarhi is a passionate and talented writer who tirelessly focuses her eye and lens on our city. She works to highlight the typically ignored street style subject matter that Toronto has to offer – and for this, we thank her. Oh – and she is most definitely street-stylish in her own right! (Exhibit A - Stefania rocks orange jump suit in photo, right)

Textstyles recently celebrated its first year on the scene with a great party (you should have been there!) I decided to ask Stefania a few questions about her influences and opinions, her blog, and of course, Toronto’s style.

Why “Textstyles”? Textstyles really was the perfect play with words to convey what the site is all about. When I decided I wanted to start the blog it took a while to find the right name. Textstyles broken down is obviously alludes to textiles, so we’re already thinking fashion, and then text for the writing and styles, well you get the picture. I just loved that it spoke to what I wanted to do with the blog.

Why did you start your blog? I started the blog because I had recently graduated from University and I was always checking out these other fashion blogs across the globe and knew I had a voice. I wanted to showcase Toronto and my writing/photography and this was the perfect platform. It gave me a purpose and a creative work-in-progress; no one was exactly knocking down my door asking me to write for them, so I built myself a stage. Also it acts as a calling card, a resume of sorts.

Were there any blogs (fashion or otherwise) that inspired you? The sites that inspired me were: The Sartorialist, Une Fille Comme Moi (Garance Doré), The Facehunter, Fashion Toast and Feels Like White Lightning.

What some of your favourite fashion blogs/sites right now and why? Favourite blogs right now, well still the aforementioned. Also, Jak & Jil (another Toronto eye, that is absolutely motivating),, and of course my fellow torontophiles.

What do you do? (other than Textstyles) Other than blogging, I have a life in the real world. I work 9-5 at a custom publishing company (which is what allows me the freedom to fund my site). I’m a writer with a background in the arts and trying to marry the two together.

Where are you from? Where did you grow up? I’m Toronto born and raised, except for perhaps 12 months that I’ve lived elsewhere. This is my town, my family and my history.

What was Stefania like in highschool? What was her style? What was Stefania like in High School? Oh shit. My style, way back then, was “growing pains.” I’ve always tended towards more classic looks, but high school perhaps saw some huge hoop earrings, too tight clothes and some awkward moments. But, by the final two years I had definitely found my what works best for me. (And that’s constantly under revision!)

Any major fashion regrets? Yes. Skater period in Junior High (and I’ve never even been on a skate board) and that’s all I’m willing to divulge.

What do you think of Toronto’s style? Toronto’s style, on the whole is too safe. We’ve got a major inferiority complex and people tend to what’s accepted and already being done somewhere else. There are definitely people who know what they’re doing and really kill it every time, but the vast majority dresses in uniform.

I really like your style profiles, especially the ones with the hand-writing posted on. How do you go about getting this profile interviews? Do you find the response positive? The profile interviews have been a big hit. The one in question forced me to moderate comments cause of some crazy impostor, but on the whole the response has been good. People like the questions, the answer, the candidness and reading something more in depth. The profiles are all people I’ve met along the way and who I admire for what they’re doing. Movers and shakers really, people I find motivating and want to shine a spotlight on.

You attended FW09 LG fashion week. What did you like about this fashion week? Any favourite collections/pieces? What were some trends? Toronto Fashion Week has come along in its 10 years of existence. Again, the Canadian inferiority complex, it’s all too safe and just not big enough. It seems like it’s a fashion week for the sake of having a fashion week, but considering the talent that Toronto houses it falls short. Labels and designs that are celebrated have already walked the international catwalks 2 seasons ago. And the major retailer shows need to stop, let them foot the bill and paste their logos everywhere, but if I want to see what’s in stores I’ll go to a mall, thanks.

What is on heavy rotation from your closet right now? Heavy rotation right now is a white with blue pin-stripe blazer that I picked up at Mad Gypsy on Roncesvalles—it goes with everything! This vintage Sonia Rykiel crested sweater that I bought at a vintage store in Manhattan. I love my two-tone penny loafers from Chasse Gardée. In another life I was a French sailor for sure.

If you could attend any runway show, who’s would it be?
Marc Jacobs, no questions asked. Love him.

If you could travel to any city in the world and document it for Textstyles, which city would you go to and why? Hmmmmm, any city to document? Harsh. Probably Tokyo cause they go bananas when they put clothes on in the morning; from all the sites and magazines that I’ve seen it’s like every day is dress-up day and I find it really intriguing.

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