A Moment With: Trish Ewanika
Trish Ewanika has been quietly influencing what Toronto women wear for over a decade. The pieces she's drawn to are sophisticated, meticulously crafted, and made to last. There is a deep sensibility to her aesthetic—clothing inspired by a love of architecture, art, and film.
Her namesake shop has now settled in at 1072 Bathurst Street, with her own line mixed in with local and international designers encompassing the Ewanika ethos. VSP chats with Trish about inspirational women, timeless advice, and the pleasure of movement.
Describe your ideal clothing silhouette.
I believe clothes should be comfortable, that you should be able to move in them. But I am also schooled in tailoring and prefer woven fabrics so my ideal silhouette is one that skims the body, but does not hug it. There is a certain luxury in having fabric in volume, the movement can be something of a pleasure.
Your style is so distinct, how would you describe it and how has it evolved over time?
Looking back at the EWANIKA archives and thinking back to clothes I made for myself while in high school, I would say I have been pretty consistent. So I would say timeless... simple and modern would also do. I would pretty much wear anything from over the years. I am drawn to styles from the early seventies, but also the late 30’s and early 40’s. Both times were where women were entering the workforce in numbers. So there is a sense of simplicity, practicality and also a need for ease of movement.
Who are the women that inspire both you and your line?
The women designers I have looked to from the past are Claire McCardell and Bonnie Cashin. Both radical for their time and pioneers of the sportswear movement. When it comes to designing my line I think of what my peers and I would like to wear everyday. What would make us feel strong without having to belabour the point too much? What would get us through the day to accomplish what we need to? I look to women who are independent, that are curious and engaged with the worlds of art, culture and history. Women with style and purpose.
What are some books or films that are influencing at this moment?
Waiting to be read on my nightstand is Farewell to the Muse by Whitney Chadwick, about love, war and the women of Surrealism and Costalegre by Courtney Maum, a fictional novel inspired by the real-life relationship between the heiress Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter. Also focusing on the 30’s and 40’s were the diaries of Iris Origo I recently finished. She was a British woman who living on a Tuscan estate and her account of Italian life leading up to the war is fascinating.
In terms of films, anything by Antonioni but in particular l’Avventura and La Notte, are films that I return to often. Don’t Look Now with Julie Christie has come up in conversation lately, mostly for her pared down wardrobe while in Venice. My current interest is with filmmaker Chantal Akerman. There is fearlessness and harshness, but also profound beauty in her work.
What is the best advice you've benefited from?
Trust your instincts and stay true to yourself. When it comes to clothing it is easy to fall under the sway of popular fashion, but if you go down that path you will forever be chasing the latest and chasing the customer. Do what you do and do it well, and people will recognize it as something distinct and come to you instead.
Words by Marlowe Granados