Photo: Jamar Stephens

Photo: Jamar Stephens

Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 

Aya Chantal McMillan

Photo: Adam Moco

Photo: Adam Moco

I see every day as an occasion to dress up...

Editorial Director, Glam Media Canada

Album: Depeche Mode, Violator. Colour: Does glitter count? Designer: Too many to name. Coco Chanel, Paul Poiret, Madame Gres, Isabel Marant, Peter Pilotto, Alber Elbaz (less for the clothes and more because I think he's adorable and that we would be really good friends. Astrological Sign: Sagittarius.

En route to follow in her father's career footsteps as a political consultant with a PhD, during a school break, Aya took a contract position with Weddingbells magazine, fell in love with the world of editorial, and the rest, as they say, is history. Moving her way up over four years from editorial assistant through to Style editor, she then landed the plum role of Fashion News editor at Canada's venerable Flare magazine and eventually became the Senior editor of At the cusp of digital and print packaging, Aya was at the forefront of the tides that saw the, now indispensable, compliment of web & traditional media. Today Aya continues to blaze the trail as an innovator in her newly assigned role of Editorial Director at the media conglomerate Glam Media Canada.

Do you prefer to dress for an occasion or for everyday?

I prefer to dress for an occasion. But I see every day as an occasion to dress up – whether it’s work or events or just running errands.

Would you rather be overdressed or underdressed?

Overdressed, for sure.

Do you have a signature style or do you prefer keep 'em guessing?

People tell me that I have a signature style but I don’t really know what that is or how to describe it. I guess I try and dress sophisticated and put together but infused with an edge, since I think you can get away with that at a younger age.

Your all-time favourite outfits:

I can’t say I have any all-time favourite outfits b/c I tend to go through phases of liking something and then getting tired of it and then returning to it.

Your top 3 celeb style moments:

I don’t really have any celeb style moments – I’m not a big celebrity gawker. I do think that women like Diane Kruger, Alexa Chung, Zoe Saldana and Rosie Hungtington Whitely always look flawless.

What would you buy with an unexpected windfall?

I shopped till I dropped at [luxury outlet destination] The Mall in Florence, Italy. My favourite score was a pair of Balenciaga gladiator heels with hand-painted enamel– they were

originally priced at 3,300 Euros and down to 240.

Heels or flats?

I’m not afraid of heights.

Will you suffer for fashion or should it be comfortable? Is there an occasion that you will break this rule?

Well, I bear a scar on my left ankle due to the aforementioned Balenciagas so yes, I’m firmly part of the the suffer-for-style sect. I will break the rule when I’m sick or the weather would ruin any of my pieces. (I bust out serious heavy-duty winter boots to walk the dog, for example).


Always stylish or does even fashion need to take a break?

It depends on what you consider “fashion.” If you define it as full-on Fashion-with-a-capital-F, labels, peacocking display etc. then yes, one certainly needs to give it a rest; I just don’t think that’s very modern – or realistic. But if you define it as sticking with your personal style, regardless of price/label – and are aligned with the idea that you, you know, give a crap about how you present yourself to the world then yes, that never ends.  A little lipstick never hurt anyone….

Team Anna (Wintour) or Team Carine (Roitfeld)?

I respect both equally but for entirely different reasons. #TeamHoryn.

From the Library of: Erica Lam