Interview with Yve Isabel - Tristan's VP Creation & Image

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about the company?
Yve Isabel: Tristan founders Gilles Fortin and Denise Deslauriers opened their first store Tristan & Iseut (named after the legendary couple) in the ’70s, offering fashions for both men and women. In 2007, the name was simplified to Tristan for both the women’s and men’s collections, with a new branding slogan Unum Sumus, WE ARE ONE. With a dedicated design team in Montreal Tristan is well-known for our high quality fabrics and production, producing up to 30% of ours collection in Canada in our own factories located in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. This commitment to preserving Canadian design and fabrication skills while creating Canadian jobs has become a part of the Tristan brand.

Sarah Velasco: Where can readers find Tristan Stores?
Yve Isabel: There are 50 Tristan stores located in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Colombia.
Store locations are available on our website : www.tristanstyle.com.

Sarah Velasco: What is your role in the company?
Yve Isabel: My name is Yve Isabel, Vice President Creation & Image. My role is to identify developing trends, to find the latest looks of the moment and to assist the design team in their development of a consistent and coherent look for the Tristan customer. To insure continuity, I am also involved in the development of new store environments, visual presentation direction and in the look of advertising and promotions materials.

Sarah Velasco: Has the company undergone major change since you started?
Yve Isabel: Yes, the new branding in 2007 (Unum Sumus) and the development of new store concepts. Our first new prototype opened this summer in Quebec City and will be rolled out elsewhere as we renovate existing stores or open new ones. The new concept focuses on the use of more environmentally sensitive materials and energy usage which is still modern in spirit and enjoyable to shop. In addition we recently added footwear for both men and woman which coordinates perfectly with our clothing line. Now you can quite literally dress from head to toe at Tristan.

Sarah Velasco:What type of clientele does Tristan target?
Yve Isabel: Tristan targets a modern and sophisticated customer (both men and woman) for whom quality and an attention to detail is important. For the career customer Tristan has everything to take you from the office to evening. Always in tune with the latest trends, but in a way which avoids the obvious look of the fashion victim.

Sarah Velasco: What is the latest collection like? Inspiration behind it?
Yve Isabel: There are several important trends for the season. For women, the inspiration of the 50’s and 60’s signals a return to a more “ladylike” silhouette with both pencil skirts and with skirts featuring greater volume. The belted waist, a return of the hat and sophisticated accessories also stem from this trend. There is also greater visibility of color, seen in color blocking, prints and vibrant accents in cobalt blue, red, orange and mauve. Tweeds make an important return in fabrics as do easy care knits in jackets, dresses and tops.
For men as well, we see a slightly dressier and more sophisticated approach to fashion with touches of color like orange, red and purple accenting grey and neutral suitings including shorter military inspired jackets and slim suits. Ties and pocket squares are now fashionable again worn in a sporty and less serious way. When teemed with mini checks, and stripes in an array of shirts in new colors they look totally fresh and young.

Sarah Velasco: Can you give our readers a list of 3 must-have items currently in stores?
Yve Isabel:
For Women:
The military inspired jacket with epaulettes in tweed, knits or wool
The cardigan twin-set in merino wool
The wool dress featuring color blocking or leather inserts.
For Men:
A Shirt or a pullover featuring a splash of color (look for orange, red, cobalt blue or purple) to brighten neutrals
A slightly shorter military inspired jacket (or a cardigan with epaulettes) to wear to the office or with jeans
A tie! Combine a larger plaid or stripe with a small check for a young, contemporary look.


Bench Canada

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about the brand? 
Bench: Bench is a British-born streetwear brand from Manchester.  Influenced by the underground music scene, Bench specializes in graphic tees, hoodies with the ever-popular thumbholes and fashionable apparel for “real people.”  We have a high quality activewear line consisting of tanks, tees and pants – as well as a technical sport line (highlighted by our 4-spot logo) which offers snow/swim clothing for our more athletic customers.
Our manifesto:   
Bench is a real brand for real people.

We do fashionable clothes that work for genuine people and the everyday moments they wear them in, making an ordinary moment extraordinary. We call it amplification: it’s making the everyday better; reveling in the honest, the real and the down to earth.  Like our customers, Bench knows who it is and where it’s come from.  In a world where it’s all about aspiring to an untouchable, unrealistic tomorrow, Bench is about having a great night tonight.

We don’t try to tell the world we’re something we’re not. Just like you, we don’t take life too seriously.
Where most fashion brands encourage you to be like someone else, Bench makes you feel more confident in
who you are. We’re confident so you are too.

Bench. For real life people in real moments.

Bench. More real.

Sarah Velasco: Is there a target shopper Bench has in mind when featuring their collections?  
Bench: The target Bench customer is a male/female between the ages of 18-25; someone who is attending university, has an active lifestyle and enjoys comfort over current trend, appreciates good quality apparel that makes him/her stand out in the crowd. 

Sarah Velasco: What process do the clothes have to go through in order to be in stores? 
Bench: They are designed in the UK, sampled in China, wholesaled to over 25 countries then distributed 3 months later.

Sarah Velasco: Is there a #1 best seller out? 
Bench: Our number one seller across Canada is the BBQ jacket which comes in a rainbow of colours each season.

Sarah Velasco: Has the company had any big changes? 
Bench: The big changes are the new additions to the brand:  Bench Sport.  There is also licensed product like headphones and watches. 

Sarah Velasco: Are there going to be any upcoming things readers should know about?  
Bench: BENCH always has something new in the pipeline…until then it remains a mystery.

Sarah Velasco: Any advice for someone wanting to be in this industry? 
Bench: If you are passionate about fashion, then follow your dreams and throw yourself into this very exciting business.

Some terrific items c/o Bench:


Product code: BLKA0933F1

  • 100% Cotton
  • Fitted
  • Zip down with snap flap
  • Zip down with side pockets
  • Zip open collar with concealed hood
  • Embroidered bench logo on left chest & back of collar
This is such a useful item to have in your closet. I can imagine using this for workouts during the fall when the temperature starts to drop. I really like the material and it will be great for when it rains. The 'grill' print in the back at the collar is of course a great idea to have for late night runs. It is comfortable and works fantastic as an extra thing to have in unexpected weather conditions. Of course, it's works well for planned events such as work outs, post swim meets, tennis practice etc. I personally like the fitted jackets. For those of you who don't I'd recommend going a size up if you want it to be more baggy. 

Tracy Twist Hoody

Product code: BLEA2823

from their 4-dot sport collection

  • 70% Cotton 30& Polyester
  • Pocket in the Front with Bench Logo
  • Cowl Neck Design
  • Fitted
  • Bench 4 dot logo on the lower middle back
I love a long fitted hoody that's comfortable. This is exactly what it is. Plus, the color stands out and I like that. The inside has a little bit of a fleece material, which is what makes it so comfortable with the stretch material it has. Since it is a fitted cut,  if looser fitting is preferred I would go a size up. Great for anything sporty or casual wear. 

 Holly Hoody

Product code: BLEA2825


from their 4-dot sport collection

  • 100% Cotton
  • High funnel neck with drawstring
  • Drawstring wasitband
  • Bench logo on upper middle back
  • Bench 4 dot logo on left sleeve cuff
This hoodie has more stretch material than The Tracy Twist Hoody. I think this is a great hoody for a cooler run outside because of the high funnel neck. The design around the neck replaces the need for a scarf. The material is super soft and great for lounging around the house as well. This hoody is also a fitted cut and is great for layering on top of some tanks tops. 

Sarina Low Rise Pant

Product code: BLNA1289


  • Black: 86% nylon/14% spandex; charcoal marl: 48% nylon/38% polyester/14% spandex
  • Comfortable, sweat-wicking fabric blend that won’t pill or fade
  • Chafe-free seams
  • Bench logo on left hip & lower right side leg
  • Made in Canada
These pants are incredibly comfortable. I love them!
The fit is so flattering front and back and I'm definitely going to be recommending these to friends. I'm happy that the description says the fabric won't pill - this is always my #1 concern for these type of pants. I'd say these pants are true to size, but keep in mind stretch material always gives leeway so I'm sure a size up or down would be fine as well. I can't stress how comfortable these are. Comfortable and flattering.

Stuffed Sheep, Stuffed Bear & Plush Monkey at La Vie en Rose

 "Make someone happy with this bundle of cuteness and support the Roses of Hope Foundation. Our sheep plush toy comes with a rose motif printed into its wool, a big pink La Vie en Rose ribbon around its neck and attached gift card. So don't be baaaa-shful, get our wonderfully squeezable sheep for that special someone today. Available in pink or white." Price: $9.95 Available in White or Pink

c/o La Vie en Rose. This item is so cute! It comes in white or pink. I received the white one, and I have to say this stuffed sheep plush toy is incredibly soft. If you look closely, there are rose swirls in the material. La Vie en Rose supports such a great cause, and not only would this purchase be a great gift for a loved one, it would also be a terrific way to show your support. View more about The Roses of Hope Foundation here
 "Totally cute, irresistibly adorable! Our cuddly bear makes a wonderful gift when you want to tell someone how special they are to you. This model has an embroidered rose, a white faux-pearl necklace, a pretty La Vie en Rose accent ribbon at the collar, and an attached gift card. All proceeds from stuffed toy sales go to the Roses of Hope Foundation." Price: $9.95 Available in White or Pink

c/o La Vie en Rose. All three of these items are so adorable (Even my 16 year old brother made a point to tell me that!)I can imagine this being such a special gift to a niece or daughter. 
Like the stuffed sheep, this also has rose swirls in the material. It's so soft!
I love the detailing these items have, this one with the faux pearl necklace, and rose swirl material.

"Complete your Yoga Monkey collection with this cuddly mascot! A portion of all sales help support the Roses of Hope Foundation. 100% polyester" Price $11.95  One Color

The material on this Yoga Monkey looks slightly different from the other two. You can click all three images to enlarge. How cute are those shorts?!
Show your support and visit in stores or view their websiteHere is some information on the Roses of Hope Foundation:

La Vie en Rose strives to give back through its Roses of Hope Foundation – an organization committed to supporting breast cancer research and finding a cure. Established in 2002, the foundation has donated over $650,000 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and several other relevant charities dedicated to bettering the lives of women. For more information on the Roses of Hope Foundation and to check out the specialty products, please visit: http://www.rosesofhope.ca


Founder and Creative Director of Matt & Nat Inder Bedi

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about yourself? How did you get into the business?
Inder Bendi: I am a detail nut that appreciates and takes inspiration from all things design from architecture to cars to FOOD! Being a vegetarian for 20 years M&N is based on a business plan I wrote in university

Sarah Velasco: Is this something you have always wanted to do?
Inder Bendi: No, I studied marketing with a minor in corporate law, I was contemplating law school when I wrote the business plan and then for reasons I still can’t explain I incorporated the business in February of 1996. I have always wanted to try and make the world a better place by uplifting people, hopefully in our own little way we are doing this….

Sarah Velasco: How has your style changed? Has it evolved?
Inder Bendi: I’ve become more minimalist, more utilitarian

Sarah Velasco: Describe your personal style. What brands do you love the most?
Inder Bendi: Minimalist, below the radar, I don’t really have any specific brands that I love, Margiela is something that is always interesting in terms of being dark yet innovative

Sarah Velasco: What is your inspiration with your latest collection?
Inder Bendi: Utility and being uplifted through color, what an interesting combination! We’re also having fun with CORK

Visit the Matt and Nat website here


Dynamite Faux Leather Pant

$44.90- currently in stores
c/o Dynamite

100% Viscose with Polyurethane Coating
Two pockets in the back
Two Buttons in the Front w a Zipper
One zipper on each leg from the bottom of the pant that goes around 3 inches from the bottom

Leather leggings if I am correct, first appeared on the runways around 2008. 

The terrific thing about faux leather pants is- they can be dressed up or dressed down. It can be worn for a dinner party on a night out, and can be just as strong of a wardrobe choice during the day. 
These faux leather pants have a nice stretch material, and they are soft. It fits true to size and the material is great because if you spill anything on it, all you need some water and a cloth and it'll come right off!
I think adding leather looking pants to any outfit just makes it that much more appealing. It adds a touch of rocker chic edgy, almost slightly rebllious quality to any outfit.
A perfect piece for transitioning from day to night.
I personally would wear these with really high heels, but they'd look equally great with a pair of flats. 
When trying these on in stores, I'd suggest focusing on fit. They look great when they cling to the body. Since leggings stretch after awhile, I'd personally choose a size smaller than normal. 

Must-Have Travel Items at Laco Sac

c/o Laco Sac

The Delsey Helium Ultra Lite 25" - Cappuccino $129.99 
19" - $99.99, 25"- 129.99, 28" - 139.99 
"This is our best selling suitcase in the store. And because I mentioned that in the interview, I thought it only appropriate that you actually see what the luggage looks like. This is a super light but also a super durable piece of luggage. It has the spinner wheels, it's expandable and has a ten year warranty on zippers, handles, wheels and stitching. I also appreciate the bright interior, it makes it harder to leave anything behind when unpacking your case. With all the great features it's no wonder that it's our best seller, but that could also be attributed to its extremely reasonable price which makes it truly fly out of the store. This style is available in three sizes, including a carry on piece and is available in two colours, brown and black. " -  Natasha Kharabian

- 10 year warranty
- 4 wheel trolley
- self repairing zip
- extensible expandability
- flexible frame
- light weight
- silent wheels
some general observations
- 5 compartments
- ID tag
- luggage lock
- lime interior 
- some lime accents on the exterior as well

Although I'm not an expert on luggage like Natasha, I do travel so a great luggage is a piece of equipment I need when I am away. When I picked this Desley luggage up, I could definitely understand why this was one of the best selling suitcase models at Laco Sac. It is so super light weight for its size! 
A huge concern for me when I went away for three weeks in the summer was, my luggage was already heavy without all my clothing inside. This is perfect as it durable as well as light.
I think Natasha made such a great observation about the bright interior. With the bright lime on the inside, it is easier to spot if you leave anything behind. 
This luggage size is perfect for medium traveling. 
In addition, the type of material on the interior is great. If anything spills (shampoo, lotion etc) it'll be easy to clean up and won't stain. I also really like that the extensible expandability is a feature. It's also expertly hidden in the design.

Samsonite Winfield 
25"- $139.99, 28" $149.99  ,carry- on $109.99

"The best selling poly-carbonate suitcase we carry is the Samsonite Winfield. It is a light weight spinner that will protect your items with its durable shell. The Winfield I sent over is a carry on size, so you can take that onto the plane without a problem. It comes with a TSA locking system built right into the luggage, which is another feature I wanted you to take a closer look at because I mentioned it several times in the interview. The Samsonite Winfield is warranted for ten years, on zippers, handles, wheels and stitching. These are all things that Laco Sac will cover for our customers. The Winfield is available in a range of colours including, black, silver, red, silver checkered, and yellow checkered. Choosing a colourful piece of luggage is becoming more popular because it allows travelers to distinguish their case at the baggage claim. I also wanted to mention that the larger pieces in this set are equipped with expandable zippers, increasing the size of the case by an inch and a half all the way around. But because carry on baggage has strict restrictions, this size does not have the expansion zipper. " - Natasha Kharabian

- 10 year warranty
- 4 wheel trolley
- Fully lined interiors
Mounted TSA combination lock
Quality Assurance: 
- Tumble Test
- Handle Test
- Drop Test
- Wheel Test
- Zipper Test
- Locks Test
some general observations
- grey interior
- one zipper compartment 

I think this luggage is perfect for a few days worth of travel (the carry on $109.99) . The same as the Desley model, this luggage is so lightweight yet durable. The interior material is great incase any items like toothpaste, shampoo etc spill so it's easy to clean up without staining the luggage. As Natasha mentioned in the interview as well as the description above, this luggage has a TSA lock. 
"TSA locks: For security reasons many airlines ask that suitcase are left unlocked. The new TSA approved locks give travelers the peace of mind of locking their suitcase, because customs officials have a universal key which gives them the option of unlocking your case if they feel it's necessary. "
I love the idea of having this lock built-in the luggage. 
Such a great luggage to purchase if you need one for a few days, so durable and it looks great. You can view the product here

3 Colors: Black, Red or White

"I think this one is self explanatory. Our most popular stocking stuffer and generally the best selling accessory in the store. With weight restrictions so tight the Heys Xscale is the best way to double check before leaving for the airport." Natasha Kharabian

Such a convenient tool to have when you go on a shopping trip! 
All three are such must-have items when traveling. There are many other great items at Laco Sac that will make traveling less stressful. You can view their website here: www.lacosac.ca


Roses of Hope Foundation 2-piece PJ Set

"Join in the fight to conquer breast cancer when you purchase these pajamas. A portion of all sales goes to the Roses of Hope Foundation 100% cotton" Colour: Grey Pink Price: $39.95 Sizes XS-XL

(15$ will be donated to the Roses of Hope Foundation with every purchase of this special edition pj set. )

c/o La Vie en Rose.

I can imagine wearing this pj set while sitting by the window and sipping tea on a rainy day. I think it's the color scheme. It's not too bright, and it's not too dark. I really love how La Vie en Rose incorporated those shades of grey and pink.
I know many people don't care what they wear when they're at home most of the time but I think it's great when two pieces were made to go perfectly together! 

There is no label material on the inside of the shirt (at the top in the center). I  really appreciate this as I often find labels inside garments (especially pajamas) bothersome sometimes. Where the label and tag normally go, instead there is the world 'hope' and then, 'la vie en rose' in a nice design. 
On the collar, there is a subtle pink pattern and on the right there is bow with a jeweled heart sewed in. I think it's nice and feminine with that extra touch.
The center of the shirt says 'Espoir' and 'hope' in an elegant pattern leading to a heart design in the middle. 
There is some pink detailing on the end of the sleeves and bottom of the top which is pretty.
In terms of fit, it is true to size and the shirt itself is on the longer side. 

So comfortable! I love pj pants that are flowy and light weight. I don't like feeling weighed down and hot. This 100% cotton material is perfect for lounging around the house, sleeping, picking up the newspaper from outside etc.
The stripe design is great, the inside is white, the elastic band is comfortable, and you can adjust it to your liking with the two strings.

This is a great two piece pj set to purchase either for yourself or a friend. 
You can view the product here and learn about the Roses of Hope Foundation here
It is really great to support this cause and I am very glad La Vie en Rose has this special item out in stores!