Let me preface this blog post by explaining a bit of my backstory with Michelle and Brodie- because I think it’s pretty cool!

My very first job was working at Brodie’s original Doree’s Habit location in Merrickville, Ontario when I was 14, which was SO fun. I walked down my street to Doree’s on my 14th birthday, dropped off my “resume”- and that is where my love for all things Blondie Apparel began! Anyone who has worked for Brodie knows she is truly the best boss and the sweetest soul (and I’m not just saying that!) Michelle was a fashion designer from a neighbouring small town and I thought she was the coolest (and I still do!) Brodie and Michelle started their first Blondie line shortly after I started working at the shop, so I was always excited to see the new pieces they released and loved the photos that they would take of their designs (reference below). I looked up to Michelle and Brodie so much and honestly, dreamed that they would ask me to model for them. 

Fast forward 7 years later to this fall and I received a message asking me to model their new collection- what a full-circle moment!

What does it mean to model for a Canadian clothing company?

Unpredictable Weather

As all Canadians know, our weather is extremely unpredictable. The weeks leading up to the photoshoot in November were a little chilly but quite sunny with so many beautiful fall colours everywhere. But in true Canadian fashion, on the morning of the photoshoot, we woke up to a couple of inches of thick snow covering everything- which was absolutely beautiful, but definitely not ideal driving conditions.

The shoot consisted of chilly outfit changes,  hopping in and out of snowbanks, and making trails to the next photo location. It was so fun! I’m not going to lie. I was FREEZING. But you can’t tell in the photos, so that’s all that matters. ;)

Beautiful Location

Just outside of Ottawa (where we are all from) is surrounded by beautiful countryside, forests, and parks that provide so many options for photoshoot locations. We were lucky enough to shoot at the Mill of Kintail in Almonte, Ontario which features a beautiful river enveloped by lush forested trails. Now picture that covered in a fresh blanket of snow: Stunning. A real-life winter wonderland. I loved that we were showing local products in such a picturesque Canadian location!

Amazing Local Photographer

We were also so lucky to work with the incredibly talented photographer, Kaja Tirrul. Now let me remind you that this was my first-ever photoshoot- so I was very nervous. Like the “showed up over 1 hour early in case I had to look for parking” kind of nervous. Kaja walked me through every step with so much kindness (and humour) that made the entire thing feel effortless! Mind you- all the casual, candid photos you’re seeing? They are 100% posed. At one point Kaja even said to me “Okay Rachel, when you’re walking I want you to slowly sway your hips from side to side”. I had to turn around and look at her face to make sure she wasn’t joking- lol! 

It definitely takes a great photographer to make someone who is nervous look so comfortable in the photos. You can’t even tell that I had lost all feeling in my toes!

High Quality

Blondie Apparel has their fabrics made in Toronto and they are extremely high quality so you know they will last forever! As I’m sure every woman can understand, I was slightly worried that these photos wouldn’t turn out flattering, but after trying on all the new pieces I can’t believe I ever worried! The fabric and design of every piece made me feel extremely comfortable which usually means a sacrifice on style, but I also felt absolutely beautiful. You can just tell how much work has gone into every piece, just by the feel of the fabric, which really makes you appreciate the amazing, Canadian women behind Blondie Apparel and their manufacturing team. 

Talented Creators

I have looked up to Michelle and Brodie since I can remember. They are the epitome of humble, talented creators and I am so grateful to have witnessed their growing success over the years that I’ve known them. They have a genuine way of making everyone feel like a friend and that same personality shines through their brand. They were an absolute pleasure to work with for this photoshoot and I can’t wait to continue to follow along on their journey!

Between the constant giggles and excited squeals coming from Michelle and Brodie behind the scenes and the gorgeous clothes that I had the pleasure of wearing, this day was one for the books. It solidified the importance of shopping local because I got to see the love and hard work that goes into creating an all-Canadian brand like Blondie Apparel. I will forever be grateful for this experience and have just one question: when’s the next shoot?!

Rachel is a marketing student at University of Guelph with a passion for all things digital marketing and social media. She loves supporting local and you can find her cheering on independent businesses in Ontario and beyond.