Winnipeg Free Press | Local designer found inspiration in that classic Canadian pastime — lounging at the cabin
Posted by Oak and Oar on
In case you missed it, this piece by Connie Tamoto popped up in the Detour section in the Weekend Edition of the Free Press this past week. Thanks Connie.
Sometimes in fashion, there are concepts and designs with simple roots that nonetheless inspire artistry. This is the case with Oak and Oar, a new lifestyle concept brand born right here in Winnipeg.
The brainchild of local designer Chris Watchorn, Oak and Oar is a marriage of cottage life, urban culture and classic Canadiana.
“I was inspired to create the Oak and Oar brand while sitting on the deck at the cabin,” says Watchorn. “The cabin is a very Canadian thing — that is how we spend our summers, at the lake with friends — cabin life doesn’t discriminate against anyone.”
After returning from an internship in New York City at 3sixteen — an urban contemporary men’s clothing brand — Watchorn knew he wanted to explore developing a brand of his own, a self-described “side project” that has had an overwhelming grassroots pickup.
“I didn’t have any expectations when I launched the brand at the beginning of the month,” says Watchorn. “I didn’t really tell anyone I was creating the brand, but it spread from word of mouth. It is really positive and humbling.”
The Oak and Oar collection of basic tees, simple accessories and limited-edition carved-wood pendants are designed with an urban graphic feel, but with slogans that exemplify the Canadiana feel Watchorn set out to capture.
Simple and understated, the double-O link graphic is one of my favourites in the brand’s inaugural collection. I’m quite fond of the handkerchiefs, which look fantastic elegantly folded into a funky pocket square for the boys or as a fitted neck scarf, wristlet or attached to a purse for us gals.
Of course, nothing says “sitting around a campfire” better than a hoodie, made even more perfect when it’s branded with the Oak and Oar moniker — especially when you know it was created by yet another talented local designer.
And if being an early brand adopter or a supporter of local design aren’t enough reason to check out Oak and Oar, according to Watchorn, each year the brand will partner with an non-profit charitable organization — donating $1 from every item purchased, as well as organizing some special projects that will directly benefit those foundations. This year’s charity of choice is the Masigcine Children’s Home in Kuilsriver, South Africa.
Oak and Oar is available exclusively at The Urban Bakery, 398 Portage Ave., or online at www.oakandoar.com