Simone's Rose is a stunning, mindfully crafted collection of everyday women's wear designed by Michelle Maynard in her quaint Toronto studio.  Michelle studied Apparel Design & Dressmaking through the University of Manitoba and also attended Fashion Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. Much of her craft has been learned and refined through the hands-on process of simply putting herself to work. She has been sewing & pattern making for over 15 years.

With earthy tones, contrasted by bold silhouettes and daring, yet entirely feminine details, each piece in the Simone's Rose collection attracts nothing less than your full attention. Created in memory of Michelle's grandmother to reflect the "strength and beauty of her spirit", the brand is excited to be entering its 6th season.

Michelle describes herself as a "contemporary designer" with subtle vintage influences and a strong focus on ethical design and business practices. Her drive to create is, "all about style - in the way we dress, but also in the way we affect people and the world around us." Her mandate as a business owner and designer is to affect change by reducing waste, from sampling through packaging and shipping.  To achieve this, Michelle is very selective about her fabrics, which include organic and fair trade materials,  quality vintage textiles and trims, as well as dead-stock and overstock textiles.

One of Michelle's many far-trade suppliers is a small business run by two ladies in Nova Scotia who travel each year to source fabrics from women's co-ops throughout Thailand & Laos.  Affecting change through socially and environmentally conscious  business decisions and practices is top priority for Michelle. She also directly supports sustainable development projects overseas through Kiva, a non-profit lending organization. Kiva receives on-line loans as little at $25 from private lenders and then distributes dollars to micro-businesses in need. Simone's Rose has provided several loans to support indigenous woman either starting-up or growing a small manufacturing, retail or tailoring business. 

"I am proud to be able to support artisans like these. They provide a product that is beautiful, unique and well crafted.  As a designer, it's important to have special materials to work with and to be inspired by.  Organic fabrics are also important as they support farmers and business' who grow crops without pesticides, improving our environment."

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Charged by her ability to impact change, Michelle receives inspiration by keeping an open mind and extracting influences from all around her, wherever she is. Inspiration to her can come through a vintage photograph, a documentary or a broken-down building.

When asked what she would be doing if she wasn't designing, Michele jokes that she would be "one of those city workers who picks up garbage with the giant vacuum scooter. It seems like a fun job! In all seriousness though, I would probably venture into photography or work for a non-profit supporting International women's groups." This seems fitting. Pun intended.

Michelle's favorite personal piece:  "a lovely Marithe Francois Girbaud skirt that I got ages ago through a sample sale.  It is a deconstructed piece that has tons of panels sewn into it & raw edges... I just love it!  It doesn't fit so it just hangs in my closet, looking pretty." 

Meet Michelle and add one of her gorgeous Simone's Rose, ethically designed and crafted pieces to your personal collection at INLAND. Sept 6 + 7, 2014.