As Canadians, we are considered world wide as the all-around nice guys, hugging beavers and munching on maple syrupy pancakes. With our please's and thank you's and everything in-between, Canadian stereotypes aren't that far off from who we really are. Julie Brown, co- founder of Canadian lifestyle brand Province of Canada, seems to think so too. Incorporating our "Canadianness" into her brand is a top priority; "We feel that Canadians are craving a fresh look and we're helping to define that. Maple syrup, camping, moccasins, lumberjack plaid – we don’t dislike these stereotypes. On the contrary, we grew up on them, we just know that there is more to Canada and Canadian style. To us, Canada is about luxury and quality as much as it is casual and cozy. It’s about the beach and lake life as much as it is the city. It’s about classic as much as it is cool."
This combination of "classic and cool" was inspired by other lifestyle brands like Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco; "They've constantly re-invented themselves but have never compromised on their brand's story. We're always thinking about the lifestyle and visual backdrops that our products fit into. It's a very Instagram way of thinking" Julie says. Their love for all things design and Canadian started very early on; "We both grew up sketching, painting and doing any other creative task we could get our hands on. In public school, we were the kids you asked to design your 'cover page' for your History project." This led both Julie and Jeremy Watt (the other half of Province of Canada) to graphic design related careers. "Over time we grew to love Canadian made products and startups so we decided to pair the two together through Province of Canada."
"Creativity Loves Constraint"
Julie and Jeremy's love for Canadian made products inspired them to have a brand that is 100% made in Canada, a challenging feat that they constantly over come; "Creativity loves constraint. We repeat this mantra daily" Julie says "Our options are limited when it comes to manufacturing in Canada, but it forces us to get creative." But it doesn't come without some rewards; "The plus side of having a few good manufactures on Canadian soil is the relationships and trust that we've built through the close connections."
Her favourite piece in the current collection? "The zip hoodie in our Patch Collection. It's that type of piece that you can put on Saturday morning for brunch and if you don't make it home before your dinner reservation, it works for that too."
Meet Julie and Jeremy and shop their collection this May 2+3 at INLAND.
Written by: Deborah Lopez-Delgado, INLAND Intern + Ryerson University Fashion Communications student