Victoria is blessed with many things: clean air, mild temperatures and stunning views. But one of its greatest resources is man made; it’s the talented craftspeople who call this cool coastal city home.
One of the best ways to appreciate these hardworking artisans en masse is to visit one (or a dozen) of the Christmas craft fairs hosted in and around the city throughout November and into December (check out mondaymag.com/calendar/).
To pay homage to the handmade, this month’s outfit features a couple of homespun styles that will have you looking right at home browsing ceramic Christmas tree ornaments at the Sooke Craft Fair or window shopping downtown (versatility is a virtue when it comes to clothes, after all).
Inspired by the traditional Cowichan sweater, this 100-per-cent wool Hudson’s Bay sweater (Hudson Bay Co. Hand-knit Sweater, $375, The Bay) is a wearable masterpiece. The HBC stripes progress in a brown-to-black ombre design giving a modern twist to a classic motif. Hand-knit by First Nations craftspeople from Vancouver Island, this sweater is a very stylish example of the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Pairing this handcrafted sweater with the slim silhouette of velvet skinny jeans (Gap Velvet Always Skinny Skimmer Jeans, $80, Gap) balances out the bulk of the thick knit, while still keeping the overall look cosy and autumnal. Velvet is a huge trend this fall – the zipper-embellished front pockets on these jeans work to toughen up this potentially foppish fabric.
While cruising around the Out of Hand Christmas Craft Fair at Crystal Gardens, hot apple cider in hand, hunting for hemp-oil hand soap, make sure your feet are kitted out in proper crafty fashion.
Not many footwear companies could claim to be as Canadian (or as dedicated to their craft) as Manitobah Mukluks; Aboriginal-owned, they’ve invested in multiple projects to revive traditional arts in a real and modern way.
These grey suede moccasins (Manitobah Mukluks Grey Harvester Moccasin, $89, manitobah.ca, Town Shoes at Mayfair Shopping Centre, Head Over Heels, and Footloose) feature a Vibram sole engraved with a “sole story” – a scene that celebrates First Nations storytelling traditions – created by Heather Steppler, an artist from Winnipeg.
Getting behind the handmade movement really doesn’t mean style has to be sacrificed. In fact, these days it’s quite the opposite. So, get out to a craft fair, pick up a pair of hand-knit mittens and support our local artisans – your personal style (and the happy recipients of your gifts) will thank you.
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