There is a dynamic relationship between fashion and music ... although it continues to change and evolve over time, the relationship is so close that it allows for easy identification of unique parallels between artist and fashionista. Every music genre has its own look ... unique as the music it represents; unique as the style of those who listen. I had the opportunity to sit down with both designer Melissa Squire and singer/songwriter Alexis Normand to discuss the marriage between fashion and music.
Melissa Squire is the definition of badass style. Her rocker inspired wear has gained wide recognition all over North America. Melissa has demonstrated the rather unique ability to pair together seemingly unrelatable fabrics and create handcrafted masterpieces. From her tool dresses to her DIY tire accessories, Melissa is making a unique name for herself in the fashion industry, proving she's a fashion force to be reckoned with. The sheer uniqueness of her designs ensures you will make a statement wherever you go.
Fransaskoise artist Alexis Normand is an accomplished singer-songwriter whose music features a mélange of jazz and folk. Among other accolades, she and her debut album Mirador were recognized with several nominations in 2013 including one at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, the Western Canadian Music Awards and the Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award. She is also a member of Rosie & the Riveters: a vintage-inspired vocal quartet who released their debut studio album in October 2013. Their single “Ain’t Gonna Bother” peaked at #5 on the CBC Radio 2 Top 20 and at #9 on Earshot Magazine’s Folk & Roots chart.
1. GIVE ME A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT YOUR START IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.
Music and I go way back. When I was in High school, I taught myself how to play guitar using a book of Beatles songs that my Dad tucked away in the storage room. The first tune I learnt was ‘Yellow Submarine’ and after learning all the other songs in the book, I started to write my own.
After high school, I moved to Ottawa to pursue my post-secondary education in French – my first language. I spent five years in the Capital studying Music and Education before moving to Granby (about 45 minutes from Montreal) to attend ‘L’école nationale de la chanson’ – a 10-month program for francophone singer-songwriters. It is the only school of its kind and I had the privilege of working with some of Québec’s most reputed artists
A few years ago I decided to forgo my teaching career in order to pursue music full-time. It was a leap of faith - I haven’t looked back.
AND MELISSA, PLEASE TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR FASHION BACKGROUND.
I have always had a passion for making things, anything at all really. I started sewing very young with my Baba and making crafts with my Gramma. Baba bought me my first sewing machine when I was 9 years old. I played around with it over the years and got into making jewelry after high school. I helped make dance costumes at a friend's shop for a couple years and when she closed up her shop she gave me a serger 9 years ago and that is when I started designing clothing. Baba and I used to fight over the necessity of patterns, but I think now I have officially won that fight!
2. aLEXIS, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE AS A MUSICIAN?
I have two music projects and each has it’s own distinct look:
Alexis Normand (solo project): classy, feminine, strong and a touch of edge
Rosie & the Riveters: 1940’s-inspired fun!
3. IN YOUR OPINION - HOW DO MUSIC AND FASHION CORRELATE?
I see fashion as a form of self-expression. Since music plays the same role in my life, I find it goes hand in hand – especially as an artist, my look reflects the type of artist/person I am and the type of music I play.
4. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR AN ARTIST TO HAVE THEIR OWN STYLE/LOOK?
Having a style/look is only as important as the artist wants it to be. Some artists value their look as a way to further communicate what they are about and make a deliberate effort to convey their artistic personality through wardrobe. Think of St. Vincent, Prince or Lady Gaga for example. Other artists have a more organic approach – they choose clothing that is comfortable, practical, suits their mood and/or values, etc. The Sheepdogs have a very laissez-faire vibe to their look and goes so well with the type of band they are and music they play.
5. WHAT MUSICIAN/ARTIST DO YOU GET YOUR FASHION INSPIRATION FROM?
Two come to mind: Audrey Hepburn – simple and oh so classy!.. Also, my friend Zoé Fortier. She is a Fransaskois visual artist who incorporates bold colours, and patterns as well as vintage elements to her style.
6. CAN YOU THINK OF A TIME WHERE FASHION HAS INSPIRED YOU TO MAKE MUSIC?
When I find that perfect stage outfit, it makes me really excited to perform and give my best on stage.
7. MUSICIANS AND DESIGNERS OFTEN COLLABORATE - WHO WOULD BE YOUR DREAM TO COLLABORATE WITH?
I love supporting anything local or from Saskatchewan! Last year, I worked with FT Design Fashion (out of Regina) who custom made me a top I wore performing at the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival in Saskatoon last year. I'm also a HUGE fan of local boutiques like Tonic in Saskatoon (and Farminista - their online store).
8. DO YOU FIND THAT YOUR FASHION EVOLVES WITH YOUR MUSIC?
Of course! As my artistic expression evolves, my style evolves along with it. I’ve seen it become more mature and bold as time goes on. I’ve traded the small floral sun dresses for faux-leather leggings and gold statement jewelry!
9. WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE PERFECT SHOW LOOK TO BE?
Something comfortable, classy and with character.
10. WHERE CAN PEOPLE ACCESS YOUR MUSIC?
Purchase music here: https://alexisnormand.bandcamp.com/album/mirador
Or on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/mirador/id592516375
Melissa's designs can be purchased at Alchemy Clothing and Salon, located at - 615 2nd Ave N in Saskatoon. And to read more about Melissa Squire read our blog featuring her here!
Special thanks to both Melissa and Alexis. Melissa will have her gorgeous designs on the POSE runway on June 5th at River Landing. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you can be up to date on all the latest fashion and events SFDF has to offer!
Another special thanks to Visions Salon & Spa for doing an excellent job on the hair and makeup for Alexis!
Photos: Nicole Romanoff Photograhpy