The Chinatown Experiment space on Columbia Street in the heart of, you guessed it, Chinatown, has provided a low cost launch pad for local designers and artists to showcase their work and test the market in the form of a pop-up retail shop. The latest team of designers to take advantage of this great opportunity was Charles&Grace Jewelry and Whiskey Teacup Clothing, who kicked off their 3-day shop with a launch party on Friday June 21st.
It would have been hard to miss spotting the party as it was totally rocking when I arrived. Jam packed full of hip and trendy 20-somethings mingling and chatting on top of the booming tunes courtesy of the guest DJ, the vibe was electric. To add to the atmosphere, there was a cash bar in the back, as well as fun props and accessories for attendees to don and take instagram-ic shots.
The designers behind Whisky Teacup: Laura Crossman and Sharlyn VandenBroek
Whiskey Teacup instantly caught my eye, mainly because a selection of their pieces were made of clear plastic. They made me think of the mod dresses and raincoats that were first introduced in the 60’s. The modern Whiskey Teacup take consists of jackets, capelets, aprons, and similar items that are meant to be worn on top of your outfit so it acts as outerwear and yet you can still see what’s worn underneath. The two designers behind the name are Sharlyn VandenBroek and Laura Crossman, two enterprising friends who buy unusual fabrics from Dressew and handmake all their pieces. The pop-up shop was their grand debut. They also design jewellery made of fabric and I quickly grabbed a necklace for $20. It has been quickly put to use, featured in my photoshoot just two days later! I love it; it adds texture and colour to any plain top.
Charles&Grace Jewelry specializes in delicate feminine gold pieces, but what stands out are their body jewelry. These are thin chains that drape seductively over the torso. I’d imagine they are meant to be worn on top of a body hugging dress, but there is always the option of having them adorn your birthday suit for a special someone.
It was inspiring to see all this support for local young designers and the energy was contagious.
PS Here’s a bonus shot of Aurora wearing Whiskey Teacup Clothing for a photo shoot by photographer Ryan MacLean.