Clothing Inspired by the Area
By Rebekah Skochinski
Distance isn’t the only thing that separates us from southern Ontario. There is something to be said for the distinct ruggedness of the north, as well as the isolation and solitude that shapes our experiences and our creativity. This influence can be seen in the increasing number of northern-inspired clothing brands that allow us to, quite literally, wear our hearts on our sleeves.
Two new clothing companies launched last September; the first, NWO Clothing Co., was in the works for a year before Katrina Cianfagna, Tesni Stefanato, and Katelyn West were able to bring their brainstorming sessions to life. All three agree that there is a specialness to living in Northwestern Ontario, something you can’t get anywhere else. “From the sense of community to the diversity, the beautiful landscapes, and everything in between, the north is definitely something worth showing off and celebrating, and what better way to do that than through clothing,” says Stefanato.
The NWO line consists of crewnecks, hoodies, long sleeves, toques, hats, and stickers with fun slogans like “Live for the Lake” and “It’s a camp not a cottage,” which is, understandably, their best-selling item so far. In fact, their merch has become so popular that they are currently sold out of most sizes, but will have a full restock in mid-January.
Looking ahead, the company will partner with local charitable organizations to roll out a giveback program and they plan to add a kids’ clothing line and possibly a line for canines. “We have so many ideas to expand our brand and to reach those who celebrate the north and lake life like we do,” says Cianfagna.
Stony Wilds is a golf and apparel company with a defined sports focus that was started by two friends of nearly 20 years, Daniel Terrill and Matthew Kaustinen. “We love the game of golf and couldn’t find a premium brand that represents Canada and the diverse landscape we golf in. That’s why we started Stony Wilds—to showcase the Canadian wilderness and the powerful places that connect us to nature,” says Terrill.
The pair sources and researches the latest technical fabric blends, using ones that are intended for athletes in order to find the perfect fit and functionality. They admit it’s a long process from creating the designs to refining the fit and finish but one that’s worth it in order to stand out in a competitive market. “Our most popular polo is the Hazelwood—named after Hazelwood Lake here in the Thunder Bay area. The northern-inspired design and classic colours seems to be resonating with the community,” says Terrill.
Currently their focus is on golf polos and hats, and they recently released a 100% Merino wool toque that’s ideal for a proper Canadian winter and early/late golf rounds, with plans to expand their selection as well as introduce sweaters and long sleeve items this spring.
“We are excited for what the future will bring and are proud to be from Thunder Bay,” says Kaustinen.
Find NWO Clothing Co. online at nwoclothingco.ca and Stony Wilds at stonywilds.com and at J.B. Evans Fashions & Footwear.