Friday, 25 September 2015

Fall Layering

We've reached the demise of summer, which means it's time to revamp our wardrobe choices. Incorporating dark, rich tones such as chocolate brown, hunter green, charcoal, and bordeaux is an easy way to change up your wardrobe for the fall. To celebrate the beauty of the leaves changing colour, despondent skies, and crisp air in the mornings, here are a few looks and layering options that highlight the latest autumn trends.

Stephanie shows that chunky knits can be just as edgy as they are cozy. The salt-and-pepper cardigan is not in your typical black and white. Up close, you'll find the burgundy from the cardigan matches that of her t-shirt. Silky velvet leggings add textural variety to the ensemble, and the integrated hardware details on her t-shirt, booties, and bag (from London!) are stand-out accessories in themselves. Sleek hair with braids finishes off the look for this texture-happy urbanite.

Cape/ Poncho
This effortlessly chic item can spruce up your outfit and keep you cozy, so don't be afraid to whip these out for a statement look. This cape (BurdaStyle 08/2013 #122) has a scarf attached to it, but that doesn't mean you can't layer on another one for added warmth and dimension. Long-sleeve tops or cardigans keep your arms toasty under the slits. Black riding boots play off the black details on the bag, and even though Ann would be blind without them, the beloved Ray Ban Clubmaster spectacles elicit a look of classic intelligentsia.

Faux Fur Vest
The faux fur vest has established itself as a glamour piece, and it can be easily used to dress up a casual outfit. Although blush tones may have been the colour for spring, they work just as well for the fall season. Sarah sports a softer, more playful look with her drop-shoulder top and minimalist bag in variations of neutral pinks. The hunter green jeans and cognac wedge booties reflect the colours of the transforming foliage around us. The gentleness is then juxtaposed with the bite of a sharp necklace and textured rings (or brass knuckles).

The transition is always a thrilling time for new colours and outfits as we dust our wooly sweaters, swap accessories, and slip into boots. Even though there was the rain, there was certainly no raining on our parade!

A shout out to our beautiful Carmen, who had to miss out on this shoot to focus on her studies now that school is in full swing. That doesn't mean she's off the grid! If you're looking for fall make-up inspiration, she has got a wonderful tutorial for you.

xo Meraki Connexion

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Western Canada Fashion Week: Looking Back

September seems to signify change: the transformation of leaves, the instant temperature drop between seasons, transitions from a summer routine, and sometimes even bringing forth a new start to the year.

I, for one, like change. I like to experience new things and to be challenged out of my comfort zone. Especially with fashion, this brings forth new layering possibilities and transitional looks for a brief but creative time. On a broader scale, the September issue in almost all fashion magazines tend to be the thickest ones, and fashionistas near and far anticipate the coming fashion weeks in the four fashion capitals: New York, London, Paris, and Milan. Not only are the sightings of new designs, styles, and collections intriguing, but the anticipation of foreseeing next season's trends stir up excitement for what's to come.

With that being said, Western Canada Fashion Week (WCFW) officially starts today. With a decade of history behind their 10th anniversary, I switch into fan-girl mode knowing that Edmonton has created a fashion scene of its own and has captivated an audience and market beyond just that of Alberta (hence the name change a couple of seasons ago).

Attending fashion week with my friends (I'm on the far right, followed by Carmen, Steph, and our classmate Nicole)
To be honest, I haven't watched as many shows as I'd like to. When I was a student, finding time was challenging as WCFW fell around the first round of deadlines or exams, but there are some highlights that I can still recall like it happened yesterday. I remember my first show in my first month of University the fall of 2009 where I was all starry-eyed and giddy to be even seated in the audience of a local fashion show while it was still known as Edmonton Fashion Week.

Behind the scenes of WCFW
The 2013 ECO-Style team & models
For us Meraki ladies, WCFW is not only an event but also a part of our academic journey and professional growth over the years. WCFW has offered a platform for many growing artists and designers. For that, much gratitude has been extended to the organization for the opportunity to learn, gain exposure, and bring upon awareness in supporting local talent. I still recall when Ann, our aspiring designer of this blog, entered the Emerging Designer Competition in September 2013. This experience pushed her confidently to grow as a designer and learn amongst friendly competitors while gaining valuable feedback from experts in the field.

Ann with her model, Catherine, wearing the Cygnus dress

Our beauty guru, Carmen, found her passion for makeup artistry by volunteering during our student fashion shows as well as backstage during WCFW by doing makeup on aspiring models. In fact, this year she will be the lead makeup artist for the showing of New Classics Studios. From volunteering, to spurring a hobby into a passionate career, WCFW has played a part in helping to bring forth the possibilities Carmen never imagined for herself.

Carmen doing makeup on her model, Sarah
As with Steph, she has been involved with ECO Style, a student group that focussed on repurposing clothing to lessen the impact on the environment. In collaboration with Goodwill, she styled models and made a statement that one can be environmentally conscious as well as fashionable. As a DIY enthusiast, this was a memorable niche experience for her.

Steph with her model wearing the outfit she refashioned

Likewise, in my last term of University, I was a member of ECO Style, and this capped off my final term beautifully. I was not only attending WCFW, but was also a creator of two refashioned outfits that my models wore down the runway April of 2013. Thus, a fruitful experience wrapped up my time with the Human Ecology program at the University of Alberta.

Myself and the two refashioned outfits worn by model, Megan (left) & Sarah (right)

This year we're looking to celebrate our milestones alongside WCFW as they enter their 10th anniversary. As well, there are some wonderful showcases we hope to catch. If you are looking to support and experience something local this time around, WCFW is one that is not to be missed! Check out the line up of shows!

xo Sarah

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Thai Iced Tea

Whenever I go to Thai Flavours, I always have to order a glass of Thai iced tea with my meal. There's something uniquely refreshing about its aromatic, spicy, robust flavour made light with cream. I wanted to take these flavours and replicate it at home, so online I went to search for recipes. I saw many of such recipes call for prepared Thai tea bags, but I didn't want to the food dye additive that often came with these products. I really didn't need it to be that orange. 

But all was not lost. The recipe, from which I adapted mine, came from Against All Grain. What I really liked about it is that Danielle uses pure tea leaves and spices instead of prepackaged Thai tea bags, honey over condensed milk to sweeten, and coconut milk instead of cream for a lighter fix. I'll admit, though, I still prefer Thai iced tea with cream.

Assam black tea lends a smokey, slightly sweet aroma. Furthermore, when infused the tea is inherently a caramel orange colour. Cardamom seeds add that zesty, spicy taste, and star anise provide that hint of licorice flavour. I use "Assam Behora Estate", which you can find at Acquired Taste Tea (Support local!). Because this is loose leaf tea, I would recommend getting the drawstring tea bags like the ones from David's Tea. This blend gets steeped in honey, and once cooled is poured over ice with cream/ coconut milk to make a divine drink. 

// Ingredients

5 cups water
1/3 cup honey
6 teaspoons Assam black tea 
6 cardamom pods
1 star anise
Cream/ Coconut milk

  1. Boil the water in a medium saucepan. Once it comes to a boil, stir in the honey. 
  2. Divide the tea leaves, cardamom pods, and star anise into the tea bags. My suggestion is two teaspoons of tea and two cardamom pods per tea bag, which makes for a total of three prepared tea bags. Place the star anise in any one of these. 
  3. Place the tea bags into the boiling honey water and cover with a lid to minimize evaporation. Allow to steep in a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a low temperature, and allow to steep for 30 minutes. 
  4. Let it cool to at least room temperature. The colder the better.
  5. Fill the glasses 3/4 of the way with ice, pour in the chilled tea, and top with cream or coconut milk. Any leftover tea can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
xo Ann

Friday, 4 September 2015

RIMLEY x Meraki Connexion Collaboration

We are so thrilled to kick off our first collaboration with our dear friend, fellow Human Ecology alum, and local #Yegger in the city. Meet RIMLEY, a minimalistic jewelry line created and founded by Rachelle Lee. A name deriving from the word play and merging of her full name's initials (R.M.L), the name is as personalized as it is fitting to how the story of her jewelry unfolded.

As a young girl, Rachelle couldn't find jewelry to fit her small hands. This spurred a desire to make jewelry (she's a DIY enthusiast) so she can still be fashionable and wear trendy pieces that weren't accessible from the mainstream market. She's a walking model of her hand crafted pieces and fast forward, her minimalistic pieces were discovered by Nicole Campre, designer and owner of Workhall Studio where her jewelry is exclusively sold at.

So not only did we get to be up close and personal with Rachelle's minimalistic and oh-so-chic collection, we got the designer herself to join in on the shoot and share some meraki moments with us as well. Read on to find out more!

On Stephanie
Gold BAY body chain: body chain with bar detail and row of pearls 
Gold CHAIN BAR earring: bar earring with chain loop detail

On Sarah
Silver CASCADE necklace: choker necklace with 2 hanging chains 
Silver TIDE cuff new Fall 15 collection: ball end cuff with hanging chain fringe

On Carmen
Gold ARC LONG necklace: necklace with 3 curved tubes
Silver ARC hand chain: hand chain with curved tube wrist detail

On Rachelle
Layered silver HEX and TRI necklaces: necklaces with triangular and hexagon pendant and pearl charm
Silver VEIL ring from new Fall 15 collection: adjustable ring with hanging chain fringe

"This season I wanted to create bolder pieces, but still sticking to my minimal design aesthetic. I want to show that you can still make a statement with simple jewelry. Some color will be incorporated into a few pieces (coming soon!) which was actually a huge challenge!"
-Rachelle Lee, Designer & Founder of RIMLEY Jewelry

We had a wonderful time working with Rachelle and we are so excited for her online store to be available here very soon. Check RIMLEY out and show your support for our vibrant community of artists.

Leave a comment below telling us which RIMLEY piece showcased here is your favourite!

xo Meraki Connexion