When Style and Art Combine

Most of the people I know who have come out of alternative music scenes also tend to have an alternative sense of style. They work really hard to ensure they look unique, avoiding the mall or mainstream stores, as well as specific sub-culture clichés, in order to rock a look that is all their own. They usually do this by shopping from small artisans making one-of-a-kind goods.

Recently we had the opportunity to attend two events here in Toronto that celebrate indie artisans; The Wearable Art Show is a small annual, curated event that features designers and makers of clothing, jewelry and accessories. The Bazaar of the Bizarre occurs in Toronto 3 times a year, and bills itself as a “marketplace for all things different, interesting and macabre…”

While each event attracts a different audience, we found goodies at both that might appeal to anyone looking for some unique pieces to incorporate into a more daring or offbeat wardrobe.


These silk evening bags from KOTI Designs in West Vancouver are gorgeous and unique pieces that are sure to be a conversation starter. As in “Where did you get that? I need one!” [Wearable Art Show]


I’m on a crusade to get people to wear nicer hats. Especially beautiful handmade ones. This is a selection from Toronto milliner David Dunkley, and if I had my way, they’d all be mine. Unfortunately a big pumpkin head and a small wallet meant I walked away empty-handed, but oh, that black one at the top made from vintage Chanel fabric and re-purposed mink made me swoon. [Wearable Art Show]


Knitwear designer Sonja Fija doesn’t have a website, but if this gorgeous knit dress strikes your fancy, drop her a line via email. [Wearable Art Show]


This belt from Dalo Jewels intrigued us because it can also be worn as a necklace, and is striking in both shape and size. [Wearable Art Show]


We could have gone home with half a dozen sweaters from this rack byOlga G Knitwear, but the black batwing piece had a fun 80s feel that we loved. [Wearable Art Show]


Helen Bennigar makes some fabulous scarves – using various sewing and quilting techniques, her pieces are fun yet elegant. [Wearable Art Show]


The work of Laurie Lemelin at Abrash Embroidery is truly breath-taking. From small pieces such as bracelets and cuffs to jackets, corsets and handbags, there’s something here to go on everyone’s “want list”. [Wearable Art Show]


Steampunk cufflinks made from old gears by Twisted Metal in Motion. [Bazaar of the Bizarre]


Gracie Klutz is a showgirl and artisan with a retro style and she makes super fun head wraps and ties out of funky fabrics. [Bazaar of the Bizarre]


These gorgeous pieces are by artist FN Vegas. Her website also includes her cool and creepy artwork. [Bazaar of the Bizarre]


I was super happy to see my old friend Jeanie Schlegel at Bazaar of the Bizarre, and even happier to take home this beautiful necklace she made. [Bazaar of the Bizarre]


This piece by Chained Creativity might not be office-appropriate but the workmanship is top-notch. Artisan Michelle Dawn Poirier also makes a variety of chainmaille jewelry. [Bazaar of the Bizarre]


Venue lighting is not my friend, but the wonderful Nerissa Hutchinson of Steamgummi is, and her fabulous pieces are detailed and exquisite. These intricate pocket watches would make a great gift. [Bazaar of the Bizarre]


And finally, what’s a good artisan event without a crown of thorns? These leather pieces from Thorns By Rose (no website, 416-562-2258) can be worn on the head or as a necklace, and unlike actual thorns, are made from a lovely soft leather.

This article originally appeared on Still Weird Zine.