Shop Talk

DESIGNER WATCH: Olena Zylak and Laura Langford, coming to a craft fair near you

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Even just a few years ago, the term ‘craft fair’ might have conjured up images of Popsicle stick candle holders and other such kitsch. But these days, events featuring handmade goods are where it’s at — they are the perfect place to find unique gifts, not to mention one-of-a-kind treats for your own closet!
Olena's 20s Ruffle Hat is made with merino wool, kid mohair, and nylon.

While there are too many outstanding artists to mention, this week SHOP TALK chats with a couple designers that caught our eye this season: Olena Zylak and Laura Langford.

Worn by such A-listers as Prince, Juliette Lewis, and Olivia Newton-John, Olena will celebrate 15 years with her knitwear label when she sets up shop at Originals Ottawa (Dec. 6-16).

“I love the large-scale texture of knitting as opposed to using fabric. I have an emotional response to knits that I don’t get from ready-made material,” Olena says. “And of course, I love wearing knits. I find that knits make people happy.”

Laura Langford will have a selection of leather bags at the Urban Craft Market on Dec. 1

Meanwhile, Laura Langford works with a variety of materials (she also makes furniture!) but her focus will be on leather bags when she sets up shop at Urban Craft Market on Dec. 1.

Each bag is an original; Laura learned to sew and pattern draft at Dalhousie University, where she studied in the Costume Studies program. Through help from a provincial grant program for small businesses, which gave her the funds to buy an industrial sewing machine and a few hides of leather, she started her own leather bag company.