Thursday 26 February 2015


A little while ago, I had the pleasure of chatting with fashion expert, Erica Wark.  I met up with Erica at women's fashion retailer, Reitmans, where she was hosting a "Shop n' Style Party," as part of a collaborative project with the brand.

The fashion maven, who can often be found talking about the latest trends on programs such as The Social, The Marilyn Dennis Show, eTalk, Steven & Chris and Entertainment Tonight Canada, worked hard to get to where she is today.  She started modelling at 13, but quickly realized that she would rather be on the other side of the camera.  "I found that I wanted to ask questions and be more involved," says the Ottawa native.  Therefore, following her two passions, writing and fashion, she decided to study journalism and worked retail in between internships.
Erica realized early on that she had to figure out a way to pull all of her passions together.  Luckily for her, a call to do an ambush makeover for TV allowed her to determine the vision of her future career.  After a successful makeover session she was hired to do more, and well ... the rest is history, and now here she is!

You have developed quite a successful career in different areas of fashion such as styling and journalism.  What is one of your favourite parts of your job?

There is nothing that feels better than when someone comes out of a fitting room and they are lit up; that brings me so much joy.  I feel so empowered by making people feel good about themselves. 

Viva la Dolce enjoys celebrating culture.  How do you think culture affects one's style?

I think it has a massive impact.  For example, Zuhair Murad is a fantastic designer from the Middle East, and his designs are so incredibly beautiful and intricate. They are a little bit unique, fashion forward, and people in North America may be a little bit intimidated because we are not used to that sort of look.  However, since he started dressing celebrities, like Beyonce, and [other individuals] who we love to emulate, and who empower femininity and sex appeal, he has become this sensation.  Now he is doing bridal and his stuff is just so exquisite.

It seems that, now more than ever, individuals are using fashion to express their own uniqueness and personality. Would you agree?

Yes, I really found that over the last ten years fashion has changed in the sense that people are not wanting to look like everyone else, they are wanting to create a bit of personality in their style and clothing choices.  [The clothing store], Zara, is from Spain, and it has erupted in North America; now they have Zara home! This is a company that has erupted because it offers really unique fashion for an affordable price point.  I find that if I go into a Zara, its full of culture - it has little bits of everything from all parts of the world, because that's where these designers are getting their ideas and concepts from.  It's a fun time to be in fashion! 

The advances in technology are allowing for easier cross-cultural communication, which in turn is really allowing culture and fashion to mesh even more.  What is your view on this?

It's incredible nowadays; for example, through I can literally watch a runway show, like Dolce & Gabbana, live as it's happening from Milan, in the comfort of my home in Toronto, it's amazing!  The technology now has really allowed us to reach all different parts of the world to try new and exciting things in fashion, so I think that fashion and culture are just going to continue to come hand in hand as we go farther into the technological world.  As for social media, I think it's a great way for the consumer to connect with the designer or the brand, and try different things.

Lastly, have you noticed any Canadian culture in any leading fashion trends?
I've seen a lot of Canadian culture in a lot of different companies all over the world.  Take the Canadian Tuxedo* for example, that was a huge [2014] spring trend, that people even in London were talking about; it's something to be proud of!

{* "Canadian Tuxedo" refers to a denim on denim ensemble}

Thanks Erica, for the great insight regarding the influences of culture on fashion!

Find out more about Erica by visiting

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