Friday, October 29, 2010

TGIFF: Fashion Felons Edition

What are fashion crimes?

Wearing socks and sandals, makes you a fashion victim.

Sporting a knockoff Fendi and passing it off as the real deal, makes you a fashion fraud.

But what is a fashion felon? Here at liipstik being a fashion felon is a good thing. A fashion felon is someone whose fashion, design and sense of style is so dope it should be a crime.

On the last day of TGIFF, Thank Goodness It's Fashion Friday, Liipstik catches up with Toronto accessory design team Milk&Canvas and explores why this fashionable duo guilty of being fashion felons.

With Halloween right around the corner, I know so many people who struggling to come up with fun ideas for costumes. A lot are debating between just buying one or going for the D.I.Y (do it yourself) alternative. I always rely on D.I.Y just because it’s unique, no one else will have it and its so0o0o much fun to make arts and crafts! I’m not the best, but it’s a fun time to chill with your girls to chat and create.

But the creators of Milk&Canvas have it down to a “t.” You would think it’s hard to work and run a business with your best friend, however Indie and Messu have made it work for several years. And in the midst of building a fashion empire, it seems there is no chance of it ending. When it comes to creating exceptional, distinctive and creative accessories, I consider the girls of Milk&Canvas the D.I.Y queens of the city . And with their eccentric sense of style and individuality being the force behind their creative designs, it was only a natural step for the two to create their exclusive accessory brand.

The pair became friends back in high school and have been inseparable ever since. “We have done a number of things together. We had a band. We use to take our clothing and revamp them every Sunday. We did really, really creative things,” laughs Messu. The band was called Sporadic Gadgets, which consisted of just the two of them and didn't last too long. Thankfully that was not the end of their creative ventures and shortly after the girls created Milk&Canvas.



About two years ago when Indie was in college, she spent a lot of late nights sewing and creating projects for classes. And to keep her company, Messu would often come and join her. One day, Indie was given a jar of buttons by her college professor and told she could use some to add to a school project. When Indie showed Messu the jar of goodies, the two tried to create a ring, but it didn’t work. “She (Messu) decided to raid the lady’s button collection and took a pile and wrapped it up in a piece of canvas and was like ‘We’re going to do something with it,’” recalls Indie. After that experience the two began creating accessories and their first creation was a pair of button glasses. From there the line expanded into rings, earrings, flasks, shoulder pads, eye patches and of course their signature sunglasses. Their favourite things to create are rings and sunglasses. Messu says, “Sunglasses are fun. They’re plain and simple, but you can change them and take the same frame and give it 25 different looks.”

The name Milk&Canvas is just as unique as the designs . Messu and Indie came up with the name in 10 minutes, but it has a great meaning. “We choose milk because it’s an essential part of life. And we thought about fashion and how fashion is our milk,” explains Indie. Messu continues, “And canvas, is the canvas’ we work on. Like we take something simple and we make it into our own. That’s what Milk & Canvas means.”

What makes the line so unique and attractive to fashion lovers are the various materials they use on the one-of-a-kind canvases. Messu says, “The materials we use, we take from almost anything and we make it into something terrific. The materials we use set us apart from everyone else.” Indie continues, “We don’t follow anything we see. We do what comes to mind.” And literally the ladies use any materials that cross their path. One night a few months ago, the pair were passing through a construction site and found a huge slab of smashed glass. Indie reminisces on the night, “I yelled, ‘Free product! Free product!’ And we carried three large pieces of the glass in the car.” But the next morning they realized it was really dangerous to work with the glass and had to throw it away. “That’s how we work. We pick up things anywhere and everywhere and make it work,” says Messu. In the past they have used Barbie dolls, plastic fruits, candy, buttons and the list goes on and on to create their cooky accessories.

Since the company’s humble beginnings, it has exploded and one-of-a-kind Milk&Canvas goodies are available at their online store. “One day we were sitting down and were saying we should sell our stuff (online) because a lot of people have been messaging us, trying to get a hold of us and it’s all just here in my basement,” explains Indie. She continues, “We just put some stuff out and everything is going well so far. We also do requests, but it’s like what no one else is doing. So no duplicates.” Business is booming for the pair, but what do they really want for their brand? “We can only do what we can do and we put it out there. We want people to receive it and if they like it, they like it,” speaks Messu of the line.

The line is super fun, hip and young, just like Messu and Indie. But the best part of Milk&Canvas is it’s so affordable. It ranges from $10 -$60 and that’s a great price for paying for uniquely designed accessories you can’t find anywhere else. Who knew a jar of buttons could be the beginning of a fashion empire. To get your hands on some Milk&Canvas goodies check out their site or check out their online store.

A few weeks ago we showed you pictures from our "Little Mermaid" inspired shoot. We had the opportuinty to collaborate with the ladies at Milk&Canvas and created some beautiful shots for the Liipstik lookboook. Take a look and see. Maybe you can get inspired for Halloween too!

Milk&Canvas Kryptonite Ring + Liipstik DIY Seashell Necklace

Milk&Canvas crystal Ring

Milk&Canvas Crushed glass Ring + Nail/Screw Earrings

Liipstik DIY Seashell Bra


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