My Canadian Closet, our 2020 shop local Q&A series celebrating Canadian creatives and designers, is back for round two. Last year’s instalment saw us speak to photography duo Carlos + Alyse, photographer and visual artist Maya Fuhr, stylist Cherry Wang and photographer Justin Wu.
So, let’s dive into 2021’s first My Canadian Closet.
Odessa Paloma Parker is a champion of Canadian fashion. In her role as FASHION Magazine’s news director, she often passes the mic to local designers, giving them a platform to share their stories. Odessa also co-founded Vintage Crawl Toronto, a walkable event connecting vintage-loving, sustainability-minded shoppers and retailers. When she’s not directing her own event or gracing the pages of FASHION with her style wisdom, she’s up on the stage DJ-ing. We spoke with Odessa about her Canadian fashion must-haves and who’s inspiring her these days.
Odessa wearing a Corey Moranis ring
Which Canadian designers do you feel inspired by?
So many! I love Corey Moranis, Comrags, Warren Steven Scott, Indi City, Dorian Who, Spa Boy, Scy by Julius, John Fluevog, 3347… there are too many to list, to be honest.
What is it that draws you to these designers?
I favour designers who create colourful and print-centric pieces; items that make you feel happy just by wearing them. And I love any creative who is focused on upcycling in their process.
If you could pick one Canadian item in your wardrobe to talk about, which would it be?
Toronto-based tailor Philip Sparks has made me several custom pieces, and one of my favourites is a ‘60s-style A-line mini-dress (with matching cape) that he created for me out of a vibrant fabric from French company Malhia Kent.
Odessa wearing Philip Sparks to DJ the Manolo Blahnik party at BATA Shoe museum
How does this item make you feel while wearing them?
Incredibly special! Having someone make a piece specific to your body’s shape, whom you’ve collaborated with for the aesthetic component, is beyond compare.
When do you like to wear this piece? Is it an everyday staple or do you wear it on special occasions?
It’s a go-to special occasion dress for me and it’s seasonless so I’ve worn it for events in the spring and the winter with just a simple switch up of accessories (and the addition of tights).
Odessa wearing a Comrags dress
When you think of this item, does a specific memory stick out?
I brought the dress with me to England when I attended the BoF Voices forum in Oxfordshire a few years ago; the fabric is fairly stiff so I knew it would be no-muss to travel with as I didn’t want to spend forever steaming it out. Anyway, the final evening of the itinerary included a gala dinner and dancing, and I wanted to bring my A-game style-wise knowing what the guest list would be like! I got so many compliments thanks to the dress’s unusual fabric, and people were very intrigued that it was a custom piece. The next day, I was heading to London for a few days of pleasure when a friend of mine invited me to the British Fashion Awards! You can imagine how pleased I was that I had something suitable in my suitcase to wear. I ended up at a table with Pamela Anderson and she loved that I was repping Canadian talent with my outfit.
Odessa wearing Philip Sparks to the CAFA Awards
The Canadian fashion industry should be nurtured, supported and celebrated. It has never been more important to shop local from brands that are designing, manufacturing, and retailing close to home.
Stay tuned for more Canadian creatives discussing their favourite local designers and if you haven’t already – read our last Q&A with Carlos + Alyse!