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. 

Industry Insider Interview with Carlie Wong

This B.C.-based fashion maven garnered our attention as the youngest designer on season one of Project Runway Canada. Her recent Spring/Summer collection at L’Oreal’s Fashion Week has solidified her as a true Canadian talent to

Your collection is unique because... of the mix of influences that I draw from and how I translate those inspirations into wearable pieces for the modern woman. The collections are meant for the wearer to experience purity in design, everyday luxury and effortless dressing.

Inspiration… is not finds you. Inspiration comes from anything and everything; music, culture, history and art. I am now into easy dressing, effortless pieces, minimal details and relaxed shapes. [Fall /Holiday 2009] is a mix of many things. I was inspired by the Biba movement in the 1970s, mixed with orientalism / Art Nouveau references; throwing in a little Rolling Stones and Jafar (from Disney's Aladdin), while keeping in mind what I feel people will want to wear next fall.

Fashion Tricks… To save money, the basic rule is: find your own personal style and what looks good, and stick to it no matter what the "trend" is. Buy quality pieces over quantity. You need to find your own signature, whether that is a look, a haircut or even a perfume; that never changes. My personal fashion tricks include wearing black all the time so everything matches, changing an outfit with accessories, never buying black cotton (it fades too fast). The one thing I always do (and most people find strange) is that I buy the same thing 3 times. My record is buying the same pair of leggings 5 times.

Your Current Obssessions… Black patent, gold hardware, minimalism, sharp bob haircuts, thick eyebrows, pink lipstick, leggings, oversize cardigans with hoodies, oversize bags, toques, Alexander Wang, Facebook, Nutella, Britney Spear's comeback, Karaoke, 90's r&b, Gregory House, Wayan's Brother's re-runs, FedEx, health food, reusable bags, gay rights, Obama.

Your Ultimate Fashion Entourage… would be Paul Poiret, Madame Gres, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. They were all outstanding designers and pioneers for their time. There are many modern / current designers that I love, but none as legendary.

Street Style or Runway… Both street style and runway style are equally influential to me. I find that they often influence each other and therefore I view them as one and the same. I don't think one can exist without the other and their isn't a clear cut line between the two.

Why fashion … Fashion is the only thing I am able to do. I am unqualified to do anything else because I started at a very young age and moved towards that direction. Every class I took from the age of 13 was geared toward this goal. Besides the fact that I let my interests guide me, I have no idea why I found myself in fashion; it isn't easy. I didn't choose this path; it chose me. If I had a choice, I'd be a lawyer. Photography (Head shot), Kevin James Day.

Ode to the Cardigan

Easy on the Eyes