While Canada and America don't agree on everything, we still share many things. One of those things is the shared week of Canada Day on July 1st and American Independence Day on July 4th. To celebrate this special week, my friend J.Morag from south of the border and myself are having a contest to see how patriotic you really are. So check out each of our looks, and cast your vote at the bottom based on creativity, educational value, sex-appeal, and/or just plain patriotism of each look. First up in the red, white, and blue corner is Mr J.Morag hailing from Washington D.C.
Happy Independence Day USA! and Happy belated Canada Day! In 1776 on the 4th of July America signed the Declaration of Independence, gaining its independence from Great Britain (we're all good now.) It's also a day "we the people" dress in our most patriotic attire. America is a country that most people have negative views on, but what America has turned into today is a media, big brother, driven country. But as an American those values don't really portray us as people, it portrays a small percentage of weak minded people. America, to me, will always be a country where one has freedom to be their own person; where were allowed to express ourselves as we wish, religiously or in the way we dress. This way of thinking allowed for us to produce some of today's notable fashion designers that each made their own way in the fashion industry. So this Fourth of July, l took to my closet and decided to honor some of those designers and American companies and have shaped the American fashion industry.
My first look is more on the casual end of the scale. Perfect when attending a cookout; the stripped shirt is a J.Crew Oxford. J.Crew started as a catalog company back in 1989, selling an upper class contemporary look for less. The pants are blue cotton 'Newport' chino trousers from Ralph Lauren. Ralph is an American designer that has defined "preppy" in the industry. Ralph started his career by taking rags and turning them into ties and selling them to small shops in New York. A major turning point was when he was approached by Neiman Marcus, who invested in his product. The shoe are white Jack Purcells from Converse. Although Converse is an American shoe company that was founded in the state of Massachusetts in 1908, converse didn't invent this style of shoe. 'Jack' Purcell was a famous Canadian badminton player who after retiring designed this classic shoe.
My second look is formal causal. Both the linen blazer and the cotton chinos are from Ralph Lauren. The red chambray shirt is from J.Crew. And the shoes are from Cole Haan. A shoe company that originated in Chicago, Illinois, United States, in 1928, founded by Traftcon Cole and Eddie Haan. So thanks America for allowing creative freedom and for being a country where, if you have passion and perseverance, you can do great things! With that being said HAPPY 4th 'MURICA!
A little piece of history for Canadians and Americans alike on our shared Canada Day/4th of July week: the Canadian Pacific Railway was officially completed on November 7th, 1885, after four years of gruelling construction. This impressive feat of engineering meant overcoming immense challenges of the varied Canadian terrain, such as blasting routes through mountains, navigating dramatic elevation changes, and harsh seasonal temperature differentials. Despite various controversy over treatment of workers during the railway construction, the Canadian Pacific Railway remains a symbol of Canadian resilience and ingenuity, some of the same traits that go into our unique northern fashion sense.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, denim was a staple of the working class throughout North America thanks to the original Mr. Levi Strauss. As an homage to the original workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway, I decided to showcase some of Canada’s finest modern denim and menswear right here in Calgary, Ab, home of the CPR headquarters. Rather than pick multiple outfits, I’ve focused on channeling the Canadian ingenuity into one single outfit that is appropriate and versatile for multiple types of occasions. With Canadian-made Naked and Famous selvedge jeans, a Canadian-designed Frank & Oak jacket, shirt, and shoes, and a vintage Crean of Canada hat, I’ve got a perfect mix of traditional, modern, casual, and semi-formal menswear to do the maple leaf proud.
Canadians typically tend to be more humble, so in putting together this look I especially wanted to visually pay homage to the subtle yet fierce patriotism of Canadians. This is done through the hints of colour from our flag, the Canadian pin on the jacket, and of course the Canadian Tuxedo. The Canadian Tuxedo is an iconic Canadian menswear trope that originated in Manitoba in the 1970s. The story goes that some French fashion designers had to stop over in Winnipeg one day, and that night they met a farmer’s wife at a bar, who, thanks to legendary Canadian kindness, invited the designers to her wedding the next day. Being short on cash, the farmer attended his wedding clad in blue jeans, a denim shirt, and denim jacket. Astonished, the French designers interpreted that this was the Canadian version of a tuxedo, and went on to spread the word around the world. Like the story of the Canadian Tuxedo, this look takes style cues mainly from the Canadian prairie culture in crafting a total look that is worthy to celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday.