I was interviewed back in November about my initiatives which included Ottawa Street Style, here’s the article written by Carleton journalism student Natalie Zakrzewski titled “Street Style”:
The words Ottawa and fashion together do not immediately resonate in most Canadians’ minds. But the nation’s capital is experiencing a naissance of style-savvy students attempting to modernize this power suit-clad city. Watch out Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, the Ottawa Street Style team is on a mission to capture a stylized image of Ottawa citizens.
After much frustration over the lack of fashion outlets in her community, Danah Abdulla, creator of Ottawa Street Style, decided to take some initiative. Abdulla created an online fashion photography website that proves Ottawa fashion is more than the quintessential ties and blazers.
For the site’s photo album, Abdulla and her team of photographers scour the streets of Ottawa for chic, unique or out of the ordinary dressers. They take pictures of these unsuspecting fashionistas and post their images on the blog-like site. Under each photo is a short blurb describing why, where, and when the picture was taken.
Some images include a student wearing the latest Nike running shoes, another is of a male sporting retro gold jeans and white dress shoes.
Anyone interested in finding out whether their fashion sense makes the cut can browse the photos on the Ottawa Street Style website at http://www.ottawastreetstyle.blogspot.com.
Abdulla says while she works on the website she realizes how passionate Ottawa residents, students in particular, are about what they wear.
“I see that there is a demand for fashion here,” says Abdulla. “When you take pictures on the streets you notice that people really do care about fashion. When we put up our site people started saying we never saw anything like this, we want things like this. There’s an increasing demand for street fashion and we need to cater to it.”
Working in many areas of fashion, Abdulla is also the director of media and marketing for the Canadian International Modelling Agency. The agency promotes a healthier body image for local aspiring models. Last month, CIMA held one of its first fashion shows in Ottawa encompassing models of all shapes, sizes, gender and ethnicity.
Abdulla says she maintains this open-minded beauty ideology when working on the Ottawa Street Style website. The subjects in the photographs are by no means the archetypal model material, and Abdulla says the site is all about promoting individuality and diversity. “I feel street style is really important and it‘s what designers create from. I think it’s basically anything that differentiates you from the homogenous society,” she says.
This Wednesday Ottawa Street Style and CIMA will be pairing up to present the Young and Indie Fashion Photography Exhibit at Club Saw nightclub and art gallery. Many of the photographers who work for the website will be exhibiting their works. The exhibition will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p. m., and food and drinks will be served at the club throughout the evening.
“We called it the young and indie because we’re young and independent and we want to show that,” says Abdulla. “Fashion is also a business and this is one run by young students. The oldest member of our group is 26 but we don’t like to reveal that age,” she adds laughing.
The subject matter of the photographic display will be primarily CIMA models in commercial fashion settings. But Sonya Mitovic, a photographer whose art is being displayed at the exhibit, says the theme of the work is very unique. “It’s a more natural approach. We want to show that it’s not just the body or physique of the model that accentuates a dress or piece of clothing. It’s the ambience, the attitude and everything that the model can put into it,” says Mitovic.
For all those interested in fashion in the Ottawa and surrounding area, Abdulla says she and her team are always looking for new members to help promote the city’s growing fashion industry. The Ottawa Street Style team is eager to post any public fashion-related events on its site, and encourage local involvement.
Abdulla says she thinks the future of fashion in the capital is a promising one. “Some people think Ottawa is a boring government city but there’s, if you look, a little hipster scene coming out,” she laughs.
Abdulla says to check the Ottawa Street Style blog because you may be the site’s next trendy target.