By Katherine Ellis
Photography by James Park
Marilou Moles loves to multitask.
A yoga instructor, policy analyst, blogger and marketing specialist, this boundless ball of energy always greets everyone with a huge smile, working the room with charm at various fashion events in Ottawa, and sometimes wearing the designs of someone she has featured in her blog or a new emerging talent she has discovered.
Two and a half years (and 43,000 tweets) later, Twenty York Street has become an avenue for emerging talent, from photographers to designers, helping them gain exposure in the very competitive fashion world. In addition, Moles’ blog showcases her personal sense of style but she also reports on numerous events happening in and around the city.
“Twenty York Street is an actual, tangible place,” says Moles, speaking of her condo, located in the heart of the Byward Market in Ottawa, that has been her home for the past seven years. “It’s where a lot of my ideas were born and came about. We’ve had photoshoots there, and video shoots too. I’ve also opened a space for other photographers to use it for their own creative work. So, I thought it’s a natural evolution – from the actual home 20 York St. to Twenty York being online.”
The popular blog was a brain child of Moles and her photographer friend Jose Enrique Perez-Alvarez. They wanted to showcase their work, but also create a balance between the classic looks and the trends of the season that would be appropriate for a high-powered corporate culture.
“I can’t show up in my fur vest and riding boots even though it is the trend of the season,” says Moles laughing, while speaking of the many blogs she researched. Most, she noted, were geared towards individuals already in the fashion industry or a younger audience.
But with the number of fashion blogs currently out there, it may be hard for some to stand out from the crowd. “I think Twenty York Street has built a lot of credibility. I know it’s only been around for a couple of years, but right from the start, we’ve had a lot of support not only from major retailers and major fashion brands, but also from the media,” says Moles. “I also think it’s because Twenty York Street has a solid perspective.”
Her work has gained exposure for those she has featured, but also created new opportunities for Moles herself. After meeting Fadi Ghaby, head of the Thann skincare North American office and the man who also brought the Thai line to North America several years ago, she joined the team and became their marketing specialist. Never one to sit still, she has also partnered with Ghaby in a new venture, Skyfall Blue: a media and communications company that provides strategic communications, social media, brand marketing, web development and creative production.
But her first love will always be fashion: “Fashion to me is expressing your individual style. You don’t always get to speak your mind, but you can always express yourself with what you wear.”