– Words and Photographs by Lia Crowe
Sitting in The Roxy Cafe next door to Kaleco Clothing in Vernon, and over a turmeric latte, I learn that Amanda has had a varied career that has included working in animation and graphic design. She also lived in several Canadian cities—Vancouver, Halifax and Ottawa—before opening her businesses in Vernon.
Amanda shows me on Instagram an ethical brand she carries in the store and it’s easy to see how much it fires her up to have connections with local, sustainable and ethical companies.
“I love sourcing brands, especially when I discover something new and I get to work directly with the maker(s). We have a lot of small-scale Canadian brands with great social missions, and it’s thrilling to shine a spotlight on them.”
Amanda has also recently opened a second shop, ANTLR Menswear, so I ask what quality and practices have led to her success.
“I think to be successful, you have to play to your strengths, but also acknowledge your weaknesses. I have a good eye for design, and that’s critical when it comes to purchasing for the store. But I’m also aware that I’m terrible at paperwork, so I have an amazing bookkeeper, who keeps me organized. You can’t possibly do it all yourself, so surround yourself with people who are skilled in everything that you’re not.”
Asked what’s the best recent life lesson she’s recently learned, Amanda says, “If you’re not happy doing what you are doing, then change it! I enjoyed graphic design immensely but the grind was getting to me. Now I get to be creative on my own terms and brand my own businesses. I work twice as hard, but I’m 10 times happier.”
Amanda describes her personal style as “eco-casual” and a “jeans-and-sweater kind of girl,” and says, “Fall and winter are really my jam. Bundle me up in a chunky scarf and I’m good to go.”
And what does good style mean to Amanda?
“Good style is what you feel good in. People’s bodies are so different, and not every fit or trendy style will work for your body type. I have a longer torso, so high-waisted pants are very comfortable for me, but if you have a shorter torso, you’re going to want a mid-rise to feel good. And, by the way, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t wear skinny jeans if you feel great in them.”
Style Inspirations & Life
Favourite artist: Jon Klassen.
Favourite fashion designer or brand: Tentree, they legit plant a lot of trees, and also Frank And Oak, which is a new brand for us.
Favourite musician: Fortunate Ones (Newfoundland).
Era of time that inspires your style: Mid-century modern.
Film or TV show that inspires your style or that you just love the style of: Mad Men (obvs).
Favourite cocktail or wine: Farmstrong Cider.
Album on current rotation: Joni Mitchell’s Blue.
Favourite work tool: iPhone with Adobe Spark.
Favourite flower: Anemones.
Favourite city to visit: Edinburgh.
One thing that consistently lifts your spirits during hard times: Funny memes.
Fashion & Beauty
Uniform: Denim and a modal three-quarter-sleeve top.
All-time favourite piece: The “Elise Sheath Dress” from Kaleco; it looks great and feels like pyjamas.
Currently coveting: Anything from ANIÁN (BC).
Favourite pair of shoes: Blundstone chisel toe.
Favourite day-bag: Maika commuter tote.
Favourite jewellery piece or designer: Do I have to pick just one? Devi Arts Collective (Vancouver).
Fashion obsession: Everything eco-friendly or handmade.
Accessory you spend the most money on: Earrings.
Necessary indulgence for either fashion or beauty: All-natural face and body products—don’t settle for less.
Moisturizer: Om Organics Wild Plum Body Oil (BC).
Scent: Honey tobacco.
Must-have hair product: Om Hair Mask.
Beauty secret: Always wear sunscreen.
Fave print magazine: Folklife from Vancouver Island; we sell it at Kaleco.
Fave style blog: The Jealous Curator (art blog).
Book currently reading: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.
Favourite book of all time: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.