Omar Leslie

Amanda Lew Kee's SS11 Launch at Jacflash

*All quotations are said by Omar Leslie*

This is Omar Leslie. I had the pleasure of having a couple "interviews" with him. He is a 22-year old event photographer, fashion reporter, blogger, artist and fashion enthusiast. Born in Toronto, Ontario, he has met the likes of Anna Wintour, Oliver Theyskens, Zac Posen, and Kanye West, just to name a few people, they're are so much more. In June 2011, Omar volunteered for the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America ) fashion awards. It was in New York City and was showcasing the designers. The opportunity was presented to him, by merely emailing the heads of the award show. Marc Jacobs was being honoured this year for his life time achievements in the fashion world. The first day of volunteering resulted in standing in for the models and walk certain ways. Omar returned back to New York City on June 6th, to be back for more volunteer work and attended the CFDA fashion awards. It was a full day work of run-throughs and helped the models on stage. The awards were filled with the likes of Marc Jacobs of course, Alexander Wang, Philip Lim, Jason Woo and many more. Of course it was an amazing feeling and overwhelming at the same time for Leslie. There was an after awards reception, where Omar got to make conversation with the professionals and take some pictures, make the visuals. There was only 20-30 volunteers, and Omar was the only one who made the journey from Canada for this memorable night. The KCD (production of CFDA) told him that they were going to see a lot of him soon.

It all started for Leslie when he was younger. He was inspired by the magazines and used to have Vogue and a dictionary with him to let him learn and understand words he did not know. Fashion Television had a main impact on Leslie's life and career choices, it was the first thing that ultimately made him fall in love with fashion. "I wanted Jeanne Becker's job, fashion reporter", Omar said. His mother wanted him to look good and dressed well. High school is where he gained knowledge about high fashion. It came to a point where everything is inspiration for this man. "Inspiration for me is everything I see. Whether it's walking down the street, the news, fashion,t.v., and successful stories. Never can pin point it. As I get older, I wanted to become more than a fashion Icon. I just don't want to be categorized, I am an Artist. Just call me Fashion, don't put me in a box."

Leslie got accepted to do an internship in New York City, doing event photography. About 400 emails were sent out to every and any fashion publication for a volunteer position. As you can see GO BIG OR GO HOME is the motto here. For anyone who loves and does anything in the fashion field, you have to work hard and constantly be on your grind, something Leslie is definitely on. A lot of doors have been shut in his face, but he kept pressing on. A main reason as to why Omar has drafted over to the states. Not only because New York is one of the fashion capitals of the world, but there are a lot more opportunities there. "Canadian fashion magazines need to lift it... especially the so called stylists". The work ethic of our city needs to change for fashion and the country as a whole.

Our "interview", first started off on the fashion side and business and what he does, but went more into depth on Toronto fashion as a whole and the opportunities here and Omar's opinion of it all. It is a very small city, so less opportunities. There are no fashion jobs in Toronto, I have also planned and thought of going down south to New York to make things happen for myself. Unfortunately it cannot happen in the city I live in. I've said it before on this blog, Death to Boring Fashion In Toronto ring a bell? A lot of people in Toronto don't support each other. "Toronto has a lot of talented people. The talented people need to get off their high horses. Maybe the world would then see Toronto's amazing talent", Omar said. "Toronto is not a fashion capital and it's about time people start realising that". We pride ourselves over here on things that are weak. "A lot of Toronto designers' collections are weak. The critiquing of shows and styles needs to step up. The soundtracks in Canadian collections are horrible, there is no direction or story board", Omar said. It is clear there is more to meets the eye with fashion.

There are still fortunately some good fashion things going on in the city. But I find it hard as a fashion writer/model/ jewelery designer to find the support I need in my own city as an upcoming artist. Leslie is thankful for The Bay and thinks they are doing good things for Toronto. I enjoy the room collections. Omar as you already know loves Jeanne Becker and the things she has done for Toronto fashion. Becker brought him all over the world and everyone as well without even bringing us there. He is also thankful for Anita Clarke and the Fashion collective and enjoys stores like Lavish + Squalor and Due West.

If you want "Big Tingz" to happen, you go out and work twice as hard and make those opportunities. We are the captivators of our own future. I asked Omar what this experience with the CFDA has taught him. "Unfortunately, I lost a few friends, people will start to stray way from you, people start calling you names, like "high pedestal. All I did was volunteer. Don't encourage people after they quote on quote, start doing "Big Tingz", support them why they are up and coming, when you can see the potential in them. That is what I am doing now, I am supporting a Toronto artist, who deserves the support, because soon enough he will be doing great things. I personally agree with Omar and I plan to seek opportunities in New York City, I cannot wait to embark on my journey and make things happen for myself. Things you can't even imagine haha.

Omar Leslie is a name you will definitely see more often if you know about the Toronto fashion scene, even though he's from Toronto, I personally think with the things he has been doing out in New York City, the name will soon enough be more heard in NY than here. With his work in event fashion photography, blogging, plans start his own t-shirt design line and his reality series of his life, Life of Omar Leslie, that is raw ( no editing), you will definitely here about this boy. His unique style and out of the box mind will take him places. It was a pleasure to "interview" haha Mr. Omar Leslie. Thanks for all the info kid! One love

Check out Leslie's tumblr http://thelifeofomarleslie.tumblr.com/

His website http://www.omarleslie.com/ is under renovation until September 2011, check it back, it is definitely worth the wait.

Support your City's Upcoming Artists!!!

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