The One of a Kind Spring Show runs from March 27-31, and features a cornucopia of fresh and inspirational artisanal goods. Click here to receive a special discount to the show and read on to find out about our top picks.
Hilton has chosen five artisans from this year’s show who focus their craft on sustainability, naming them Hilton Picks for their ecologically friendly use of materials, and for providing beautiful goods and solutions for today’s responsible consumer.
As part of the Eat, Shop, Stay package, Hilton guests receive discounted tickets to the show as well as welcome cocktails, breakfast for two, late checkout, premium Wi-Fi, and other exciting local restaurant, beverage, and shopping discounts. Be sure to visit these makers when you visit the show!
Boho. Chic. Unique. ‘Grammable. These are just some of the ways to describe the ethereal designs of Lauren Mair, owner of Ellemairco. Now exhibiting for the fourth year at the One of a Kind Show, her passion for giving new life to vintage fabrics is on full display with a dazzling array of upcycled kimonos. “Our CLASSIC kimono is our most popular item” she explains. “It is a versatile item I truly believe everyone can benefit from having in their wardrobe. They are great for traveling, as they are lightweight and pack well.” For Mair, sustainability is at the heart of everything created by Ellemairco. “There is honestly so much textile waste and so much sacred, beautiful, meaningful fabric, and clothing to be used” she says. “When you hold a vintage textile you know that was used, and loved and had many memories made wearing it. It becomes more than just a fast fashion garment. It becomes a story, something much more meaningful and special.” You can see the stories of the fabric imprinted in her most treasured line, LOVED TEXTILE. The line is heavily influenced by Indian textiles with incredible dyes, beading and embroidery. Silk sarees from secondhand clothing warehouses are selected, cleaned, and then cut to Ellemairco patterns, and the lifecycle of the beautiful textile starts anew.
“It is so important to use the textiles and clothing that already exists and stop supporting fast fashion brands” Mair explains. “Supporting a local business that is doing their part to reuse the beautiful textiles that already exist is a perfect solution.” The One of a Kind Show provides makers and artisans like Mair the outlet to reach the community and encourage people to shop local and sustainable, as well as opportunities to reach guests travelling from all over the world. Her Instagram feed is full of people enjoying their kimonos on the beach, in their house, and even gardening.
Next for Ellemairco is a new collection called THE DENIM PROJECT, which incorporates kimonos with denim accents, one of the biggest fabric contributors to landfill waste. You can enjoy 15% off this collection, and all of her stunning kimonos by using promo code OOAK15 at checkout on www.ellemairco.com.
You could be forgiven for thinking that there is something very familiar about the creations at Past into New. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you; these durable, rugged, and above all, bright bags used to be firefighter gear and hoses. “The original concept came from a conversation at the dinner table about 10 years ago”, owner Peggy Turpin explains. “My husband is a fireman and I asked what they did with the old stuff they no longer used, and he said it was shredded and goes to landfill. Our youngest said he needed a new back pack for school, and I was able to get an old set of gear and make a bag for him. After I also made a bag for my husband, other firemen wanted them too.”
Turpin has been a creator throughout her life, but this nurse by trade saw an opportunity; “The raw products’ had reached their end of life and would end up in a landfill” she explains. To breathe new life into the material, she breaks down the fire gear by removing the cuffs, collars and waistbands and splitting the seams and layers apart. The gear is then washed and dried before it is cut into pieces for bags and pillows. She even use the suspenders from the pants as shoulder straps. The scraps are used to make smaller products like key chains and passport holders. Fire hose is used in her products too. The canvas becomes notebook covers, and the rubber becomes bracelets, belts, and dog leashes. Even the couplers from the ends of the fire hose are used for candleholders when glass is added.
Joining the One of a Kind Show for the fourth time, Turpin enjoys the celebration of the Artisans, as well as the diversity and sense of community. She is also looking forward to meeting the many attendees and displaying her products. “Our most popular line is our shaving / toolkit bag” she says. “They are very light, durable, multi-purposed, and washable. Our logo and a Canadian flag goes on every bag. We even customize the bags with a name or badge number by using the reflective stripe to cut out letters and numbers.” Turpin’s booth at the One of a Kind Show is easy to spot; you will see how she took recycling to the next level by using the roll-up doors from a former Toronto Pumper Truck as part of her display.
Hoi bo started with a sewing machine and a drafting table in designer-maker Sarra Tang’s apartment, and has grown into a full production studio. Their first independent shop opened downtown Toronto in 2012, with a flagship location on its way in the Fall of 2019. With the belief that good design should be for everyone, Hoi bo’s collections are made well with strong fabrics, and always produced in a way that is kind to the environment and the people who make them.
“Our focus has always been on hand craft and creating unique approaches to working with different materials”, explains Sarra Tang. “Making clothing can be resource heavy but we hope to minimize that impact with a thoughtful approach to how we produce our work and by designing timeless pieces that people love to wear. Nature inspires a lot of what we do at Hoi bo and we hope to contribute to the preservation of our natural environment for future generations.”
The studio is attending the One of a Kind Show for the 11th year, and will display their clothing, bags, and accents, including their new Exhale Supernova line, Hoi bo’s newest collection of bags that explore the relationship between hand craft, technology and the positive impact it has on reducing waste in the production process. “Through our exploration of new knit technologies, we can contribute to the elimination of waste generated by cut-and-sew manufacturing, which is the most widely used method of clothing production”, Tang explains. “Because our shapes are knitted, not cut, material waste is less than 2%.”
Today, Hoi bo continues on the path of sustainable growth. “We believe that good design is more than just a garment”, says Tang. “Beyond making quality products that have a long life, we’re always working towards improving and innovating recycling and up-cycling programs in our studio. How our pieces are made, what they’re made of, and where they end up is equally important.”
Marilyn Summers and Kris Brooks, founders of The Lady of the Lathe, saw a very important sustainability opportunity. Approximately 57 million single use plastic straws are discarded each day, contributing to landfill and ocean pollution. These straws take 200 years to degrade while releasing chemicals that are toxic to wildlife and the environment. In response, this dynamic husband and wife team created the Oakenstraw, a reusable, washable white oak drinking straw. Oakenstraws are created using a single piece of reclaimed, locally sourced white oak. The wooden blank is centre drilled, put on a lathe, turned and then sanded smooth, all by hand. The newly formed straw is then finished, in a week long process to fully seal the wood with a local beeswax based finish.
The straws are only available in white oak for a very specific reason. A closed grain hardwood, white oak is almost impervious to water. The pores of the heartwood of white oaks are typically plugged with tyloses, which is a membranous growth natural to the wood. Tyloses make the white oak impenetrable to liquids and particularly suited for use in the boat industry and outdoor furniture. This is also the reason that white oak has been used by coopers to make whine and whiskey barrels for centuries.
In 2015, Kris began his professional journey with custom gaming tables. Marilyn had crocheted a hat and needed a large wooden button, which she decided to make out of the offcuts from the tables. Their natural desire to live an eco-friendly lifestyle motivated them to use the scraps created in their workshop to produce small sustainable products. “A long held interest in woodworking combined with a desire to protect the beauty of nature led us to a zero waste production model” Marilyn explains. “We use offcuts from a local sawmill to construct out products. The wood we do not utilize (mainly sawdust) is forwarded onto those who can.”
As first time exhibitors at the One of a Kind Show, Marilyn and Kris are excited to show off their designs. In addition to their white oak straws, The Lady of the Lathe produces wooden rings made in the bentwood style. Using salvaged wood veneer, they steam, bend, shape, and finish the wood into a unique and beautiful creation that can be enjoyed for years. They also turn many traditional items: pens, bottle stoppers, crochet hooks, hair sticks, shave kits, and seam rippers.
Yes, Token Gold’s exquisite fine jewellery is sparkly, unique, and beautiful. But Goldsmith Chantal Robert’s repurposed pieces are also made with as much recycled and refined metals as possible, giving new life to beautiful gemstones.
Started in 2016, Token Gold combines Robert’s passion to do more custom work and make jewellery that will be passed down generations. “I love designing a custom piece to mark something truly amazing for someone that they will wear and enjoy that makes them smile!” she explains. “I love to imagine the little stories that will become attached to my pieces along the way.”
Robert has both a custom jewellery design service as well as a ready-made line for the One of a Kind Show. “Nature is a big inspiration for me” she says. “I fell in love with and trained in this medium while living in the beautiful pacific north west. When I returned home to Ontario I fell in love with what nature has to offer here all over again too! All of my best ideas come to me on a hiking trail or sitting under a giant tree in High Park.” This focus on ecology and nature is present in her sustainability philosophy at Token Gold. “To be able to recycle my clients old or broken gold makes me so happy. To work in this very intimate way allows me to speak to the many options that my clients often don’t know are available to them and to discuss openly where their jewellery is truly coming from so that they have more knowledge before they decide the final design.”
At the moment, Robert is in the middle of a deep love affair…with untreated sapphires! “They are just so unique and beautiful and I love to show my clients the incredible colours they come in that were just not heavily marketed in the past” she gushes. However, when pressed for a favourite on-trend piece, she described her “Truly Deeply” pear shape sapphire and diamond ring. We agree that it is Truly Deeply beautiful.
Click here to receive a special discount for the One of a Kind Spring Show.
The One of a Kind Spring Show arrives at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto on March 27th and runs until March 31st Guests of the Eat, Shop, Stay package receive discounted entry, as well as other valuable shopping and restaurant offers, breakfast for two, cocktails on arrival, premium wifi, and late checkout. Book your stay now and start shopping!