For Branded Magazine
CHEERS TO LOOKING BLOODY ACE EVERY DAY.
Over the years, Margaret Barclay, boutique owner and designer, saw a major gap in our wardrobes. Why was it that our boyfriends could just throw on a simple sports jacket over a ratty t-shirt and jeans and instantly receive all of those head turns, even if they were just running out for coffee?
“The jacket would take the forefront,” Margaret says as she reminisces about boyfriends past. The point was, regardless of what else he had on, there was instant presence. And people noticed.
Women needed a good quality, head-turning jacket that would last, season to season, trend after trend.
Timeless. Versatile. Fashion forward and classic, all at once.
There was no reason why women shouldn’t have that same option as their boyfriends and husbands. Imagine having one item of clothing that could instantly transform you, no matter what you had on, into an empowered, Instragram-worthy, head-turning babe.
So Margaret created such a piece. Actually, she created 15 of them.
The Barclay Jacket
“The sophistication of a jacket from the streets of London circa 1968…only brand new in Canada.”
The goal of the Barclay Jacket is simple: To give women an unshakable confidence from boardroom to date night. It’s a chameleon piece; depending on what you’re wearing and how your personal style evolves, the jacket changes with you. Whether you’re going for trendy, grunge, preppy, edgy, or something in between, these jackets are timeless and classic.
The Barclay Woman
Think style icons like Twiggy, Kate Moss and Katharine Hepburn.
Twiggy is preppy and pop, Hepburn is classic, and Kate Moss is the epitome of edgy. She’s also got that London vibe going on, which is what Barclay’s Brit-inspired tweeds suggest.
In fact, each jacket is named after a town in the UK. Bromley, Essex, Bradford, Wiltshire … Godric’s Hollow. (JK)
The streets of London gave us classic styles and patterns such as tweed and houndstooth that never go out of style. “That’s where the longevity comes in,” explains Margaret. Not only is the quality there, but whether your style is modern, grunge, eclectic or preppy, the right Barclay jacket is going to work with your own unique look.
Katharine Hepburn is the icon that continually inspires Margaret. “She had this confident sophisticated attitude that said, ‘I can do anything.’” Margaret wanted to create a jacket that oozed just that: “I can do anything when I have this jacket on.”
“‘The Barclay Woman’ is a girl who wants to look put together in a really easy but fashionable way,” explains Margaret. You’re busy, but you’ve clearly got your shit together. Made with the creative young professional in mind, this jacket is meant to be an iconic piece in your wardrobe, something that you can throw on over literally anything and instantly transform into the confidence empowered woman that you are.
Bloody Ace, No Matter What
The simplicity of mens sports coats was a huge influence on Margaret’s collection. “It doesn’t need to be complex; you can look put together wherever you’re going, at any time of day.” As young professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs, we want that confidence while still looking feminine, trendy, and like ourselves.
Whether you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans, or a blouse and a skirt, these classic English cuts lined with satin will give you comfort, style and quality all in one affordable piece that is meant to last you decades.
This Barclay collection gives you 15 different styles, all inspired by the streets of London, all ready to evolve along with you.
For Branded Magazine
YOU MIGHT ASSOCIATE A LOT OF THINGS WITH THE TERM ‘CULT’.
It’s laced with thoughts of irrational loyalty, utter devotion, and an enamoured kind of following. Not usually logical, and often crazy.
The Gathering, held annually at the Fairmont Banff Springs, is a place where you’ll learn about “the black art of cult brand-building.”
Intrigued? Me too.
The Gathering brings together some of the best brands in the world, but they’re not the best because they know how to get consumers to buy. They’re the best because the consumers have also bought in.
Having worked for one of the 2016 honourees companies for five years, I experienced this cult-like following first-hand, season after season. It didn’t matter what kind of negative media attention the company received, the people kept coming.
They wanted their stretchy pants, and they wanted them now.
It didn’t matter that there was never a sale. It didn’t matter that you couldn’t buy two things in one of their stores without spending over $200.
Indeed, the husbands and boyfriends that would unwillingly accompany their partners, the people who hadn’t ‘bought in’ to lululemon (yet) called it like they saw it: “This is crazy.”
It wasn’t about the product itself, it was about the brand and the lifestyle it represented. And for the people lucky enough to work for this company, we weren’t necessarily passionate about Lycra, but we were passionate about the culture – lululemon’s mission on this planet.
What do you stand for? That’s what matters.
No advertising. No sales. No traditional marketing. And look at what they’ve created.
The Cult Gathering brings together brands that know ideas are greater than money. They know that word-of-mouth is worth more than gold.
They’ve proven that irrational loyalty to your brand is where it’s at.
So who says millennials are non-committal?
When you engage us and tell us your message in a language we actually understand, we listen. When wearing your product or engaging with your platform makes us feel a little more like ourselves, we keep watching.
When you don’t bullshit us, we buy in.
The 2016 brand honourees have created the kind of customer loyalty that transcends trends, hype, or rational thinking.
Vice did so while publishing provocative, politically incorrect content. lululemon continued to do so even when their hundred dollar pants were sheer and their CEO commented on women without a thigh gap. car2go completely transformed urban mobility, while The Chive unapologetically claimed to be the best site on the internet.
These brands aren’t just going against the grain for the hell of it. All of these brands are getting results, in the form of consumer engagement and fanatical cult followings.
You could call it a summit, but The Gathering is just how it sounds: “An annual, informal coming together of the enlightened, influential illuminati behind the famous names that are getting customer engagement right.” It’s a series of workshops, speakers, parties and meals where you get to learn from the trailblazers themselves– the senior leaders of brands with unbreakable brand affinity.
“The Gathering is for those who know they don’t know it all. It is for those who understand we all stand on the threshold of an entirely new marketing universe.”
All of these brands have been heard; they’ve gotten through to their customers, and we’ve most definitely jumped on board.
In short, they’ve become the voice of a generation, the pant of yogis and soccer moms alike, and the new means of urban transportation.
At The Gathering, you find out how they did it.
For Branded Magazine
“HATE CANNOT DRIVE OUT HATE; ONLY LOVE CAN DO THAT” -MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
I was lucky enough to spend my Thursday-Sunday at two different yoga events. One was a retreat in Canmore, and the other was It’s Time to Bloom’s Only Love Canadian Tour.
On Friday afternoon my yoga teacher, about to send us on a break, said, “Now don’t go look at your phones and check your emails.” In other words, ‘Stay in this amazing energy we just created’ was what she meant.
I’m a bad yogi and broke the rules. I went on Twitter.
We all know what I found.
Reading headline after headline, article after article, my stomach sunk, my throat caught and shortly after that the guilt sunk in. How is it that I’m all blissed out enjoying a retreat in the mountains, and this is what’s just happened in Paris?
How dare I be happy right now. That’s one of many feelings that rushed through my veins.
One of my favorite blogs, Man Repeller, a usually hilarious site about all things fashion and pop culture, said it perfectly. Amelia Diamond writes,
“What’s overwhelming is that acts of violence strike, and they strike, and they strike…The bombings in Beirut. The Russian plane crash in Egypt. The bombings at a funeral in Baghdad. The massacre at Garissa University College in Kenya. The train station bombings in Ankara. These are just a few…They make us feel helpless. They make us feel small. They are stone hands on our bird bone shoulders that push us into the ground, paralyzing our beings. Can’t think or breathe or move. In tiny voices we barely whisper, “What do we do?” I called my dad last night to ask him as much. I needed to know if it was okay to watch something other than the news. Was it okay to not break plans when the world was breaking? What if something was funny? Could I laugh — was I allowed to? How do we at Man Repeller open our site Monday morning with a post about clothes and shoes?
He told me that the difference between all of us and terrorists is that terrorists destroy. They tear things down. They do not build.
We build. Humanity creates. Music, literature, art, film, architecture, laughter, food, family, love; we make these things. It’s why in spite of destruction and horror, we will prevail.”
Reading this made me feel no less sad for Paris and the world, but it did make me feel a little stronger.
When you’re doing something you love, when you’re enjoying your life, and especially when you’re basking in something as positive as a god damn yoga retreat, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been slapped in the face when you turn on the T.V. and see something that horrific. As if your positivity is as useless as you feel in a moment like that.
But that’s not true. Because what the world needs more than ever is people like you. That’s what all the positive vibes are for. Not to flaunt when everything is good, but to use as fuel when everything is falling apart.
Which is why I couldn’t help but feel like It’s Time to Bloom couldn’t have had better timing.
The tour has included stops in Kelowna, Banff, Calgary, Edmonton today, Toronto on the 18th, and Montreal on the 19th. It includes a ‘concert’, which doesn’t do MC Yogi and Dj Drez credit. What they put together is electric and totally energizing. And a lot of fun. The yoga class itself (with Dj Drez playing music so good it makes you want to cry) is amazing. The dharma talk with Amanda Giacomini is equally as amazing. Saying this is a ‘feel-good’ event is an understatement.
What this movement is doing is exactly what we all need. I’m not writing this to promote them. I’m writing this because their event last night rocked my world, and the people that put this on are the kind of people that will create positive change in the world.
Speakers, yoga, music, dancing, workshops…the kind of stuff that makes you want to dream again. I had a moment this weekend where I felt like this isn’t the kind of thing I should be participating in right now. I shouldn’t be allowed to dream any bigger when there’s so many people that just got their dreams taken away in an act of utter evil.
But because of reading those words in Amelia Diamond’s post I walked into that event knowing that this is exactly the time for a room full of beautiful souls to get together and share stories about overcoming evil, do some yoga, and build up the positive vibes. If I hadn’t read those words, this whole event might have felt, “a little too bright right now.”
Diamond had written about the sun Saturday morning, how weird it was that it was shining brightly after a night of so much darkness.
“But the sun was just doing its job, signaling us to wake up, strap our heavy hearts to our chest, fight the darkness, and live this life.”
The Only Love Tour is doing the exact same thing. Waking us up, fighting darkness with light, calling us to live a life of love.
My weekend reminded me that even when the world is breaking, we need to keep blooming. For ourselves and for each other.