The Grailed Team recently took a trip up to Toronto to meet the fashion community, see the best menswear shops, and throw an event where we had the chance to meet our users from the area. Our first dispatch from the 6 is a candid conversation with Alexandria Skeffington who shares her style and insight on her blog The Featured Article and Instagram. She is also a longtime Grailed user, was our co-host for the event, and was kind enough to show us a bit of what makes her city special. She is a certified dark warden of the North and we love her penchant for Rick Owens, Julius, and the avant garde. Here, she shares her thoughts on clothing, Toronto, and her personal style.

Name: Alexandria (Alex) Skeffington

Age: 26

Occupation: Account Manager

Neighborhood: Yorkville, Toronto

What's your favorite shop in Toronto?

This is a very hard question. I have favourite stores for specific things. I love 119 Corbo because it is where I can buy Mainline and Lilies Rick Owens pieces. Women's DRKSHDW is carried at Jonathan and Olivia. I love The Serpentine even though I can't fit into anything, but the avant garde buys are so impressive, I can't help but go in and chat about the pieces and designers. CNTRABAND is always a joy to visit, the people are so kind and welcoming and their stock is next level. Nomad has amazing pop-up shops, a great atmosphere and vibe, and of course, great pieces too.

What's your favorite restaurant in Toronto?
We have incredible restaurants in this city, but I would have to say that CC Lounge in the St. Lawrence Market area is my favourite restaurant as of right now.

How did you get into fashion?

I started educating myself about high-end fashion at the age of 13 because of my mom. She bought me a little Louis Vuitton bag for my 13th birthday and told me not to sell it for a very long time because it is an "investment" piece. She wasn't wrong. With that being said, I did have fun with all of the trendy shops as a teen! Then I dated a guy that was decked out and loved to high-end shop, so being in that environment with him was incredibly inspirational to me. It brought me back to the lessons my mom taught me, and here we are today!

How would you describe your personal style?

A distortion of femininity.

What are your current favorite piece(s) in your closet?

This is a tough one too. I would have to say my Rick Owens moody nagakin runway pants and my Boris Bidjan Saberi vinyl P-13 pants are my favourite pieces in my collection.

How long have you been using Grailed?

I have been actively looking online for pieces that could potentially fit me on Grailed for about 3 years now.

What's your most memorable Grailed come up?

Rick Owens Cargo Baskets and Julius Cargo pants.

Who are your favorite fashion designers?

Rick Owens, Boris Bidjan Saberi and Ann Demeulemeester are the designers I collect the most. My most influential designer is Raf Simons. Although I do not resonate with his designs, I respect him so much as a designer. He actually opened up my eyes and gave me confidence about how to design. As you may know, Raf uses images to pull apart inspiration and places them onto a vision board, then has his design team capture what he is trying to create. I myself cannot draw, or explain very well the visual ideas I have to another—it's just stuck in my head. Pinterest is the best creation that ever happened for me because when I try to explain any design I am trying to create (interior, jewelry, clothes, or shoes) I do the exact same thing: I pull up my Pinterest boards to my friends, family, teachers, anyone that I am trying to explain my ideas to. I had no idea that this method was used by anyone else, especially Raf Simons! After finding out that I am not alone in this weird way of working, it gave me the confidence to start creating my big dream ideas.

What's your ultimate grail?

Rick Owens cargo baskets and Julius cargos.

Why did you start The Featured Article?

I started The Featured Article because I was asked back in October 2015, why I didn't post? I honestly didn't have an answer, so I just went for it.

Any big plans for the future of The Featured Article?

Oh yes! Stay tuned :)

What's your favorite aspect of running your own site?

My favourite part about running my own site, is that I am able to think of new ways to use it as a platform to showcase stuff that I find is really cool. I love posting The Featured Collector of the week which showcases the The Featured Collector's followers through mini interviews about their investment piece. Myself and the readers are able to get new insight about how to style a certain item, maintenance suggestions and the fit of that particular item. I also love interviewing The Featured Designer. Speaking with designers I have wanted to know more about for years in such an intimate and partnered way is incredible. I collect pieces which have a story, so getting to know that story with any questions I may have is an amazing experience. The editorial aspect of the exclusive also lets me push the limits about being photographed and style the shoot which caters towards The Featured Designers brand image, and always turns into a day of laughter and fun. Most of all what I love about running my own website is the freedom. I can do anything on my website, which is amazing to me.

Seems like you've gone through a style transition fairly recently? What spurred that on and why did you undergo that?

My style has been misunderstood for most of my life. I have pushed limits and have had to defend my style and selection of pieces I have bought or wanted since I can remember. Up until The Featured Article, I have been super low-key about it. Most of my photos online prior to The Featured Article are athletic, and focused on my cheerleading competitions or game days. It was very nerve-racking to start The Featured Article, and I can't thank everyone enough for the support. I never needed validation for my style, but it certainly has helped my friends understand my choices better, and that I'm not the only one that wears the pieces I do, even though it's a little bit different!

You clearly have an affinity for Rick Owens. What do you love about him as a designer?

Is "everything" too broad of an answer? Hahah! What I love about Rick Owens the most is that I am able to be completely myself. I have an affinity for Rick's designs the most because I have so many sides to my personality. The way I was raised was with so many facets, and Rick's designs allow me to flow from one thing to another effortlessly. From a hike on the country trails to a restaurant opening in Toronto, I always have the right thing to wear, and it could be the same article of clothing! Although I have not always owned Rick Owens, sometimes the pieces I wear of his brings back some great memories of the styles I have worn throughout my life, and I think that's cool.

How do you view Toronto's fashion scene compared to what you've seen elsewhere, specifically in NYC?

In NYC, I find there is more of a relaxed vibe about high-end fashion, meaning it is not in your face or flashy, it just is what it is. I find the styles and designer choices are very organic in NYC, compared to Toronto where you are so excited that you have finally found your size online. So the flex factor is pretty high, and I believe it is due to the fact that items can be extremely rare for both genders to find here. In Toronto, pieces are highly coveted, and I definitely see more people in NYC with the darker aesthetic, by a long shot.

What direction do you see Toronto's fashion scene heading? Are more and more people you know getting into clothing?

After seeing so many new faces at our event in Toronto, I was so pleased to see the feedback and the interest in clothing and the community. I see the streetwear style taking off like crazy in Toronto (Off White, FOG, etc). More and more people are definitely getting to know luxury street fashion better and are purchasing items in the city and online, for sure. I was really surprised, and happy to have met so many women who follow my Instagram actually be from Toronto. Who knows? Maybe Toronto will be the next Rick disciple city, haha!

What do you love most about clothing and fashion? It seems like it's more for you than just wearing the clothing. Care to elaborate?

What I love the most about clothing are the stories and being fortunate enough to have options! I am so amazed by the history and evolution of clothing over time, even chatting with my parents and knowing that the style options were incredibly slim and constrained for them growing up, the options available to us now is so amazing. Being in Canada is also something I do not take for granted when it comes to my selection of clothing. I understand that there are still many parts of the world that would have numerous issues with my choice of clothing. I am very lucky to be able to express myself through the garments I decide to collect and wear. My favourite part about fashion is understanding what made the designer create a particular item or collection. I love researching and educating myself on pieces, collections and the stories behind the art. I don't just purchase a shirt or pant for no reason, I invest in the art and story of those particular pieces.

What do you love most about Toronto?

What I love most about Toronto is the accessibility to the studios where I am able to build and create the pieces from my imagination I would never would have imagined it possible to own. I am constantly taking classes and workshops in many artistic disciplines to help me evolve as a designer in my own right. I love the history and the youth of this city. We have awoken and I am taking in every moment of it.

Tags: boris-bidjan-saberi, julius, rick-owens, alexandria-skeffington, toronto