Once upon a time, Janelle Marpa used her unique sense of style to make everyone from Drake to some of Canada’s biggest magazines seem all the more fashionable. Now a graphic designer, the former stylist is now delving right into the design process herself. We caught up with Marpa to find out more about her career and her current obsessions.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I am a Graphic Designer with Design 35Oh an in-house graphic design team for RMP Athletic Locker Ltd. We design for our action sportswear brands RPZN, PWDR ROOM, Eira, Umbro, and Fila Canada to name a few. Previous to this position I was a freelance fashion stylist with the former Artist Group Ltd for 6+ years. I believe I was born in the wrong era. As much as I am technology geek and social media advocate, I am a purist at heart. Gone are the days of pinup hair, vinyl and mixtape cassettes, handwritten letters, developing film, film slides, and newspapers. I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and am pretty damn proud of it too. It’s the City of Waterfalls and birth place of Martin Short, Eugene Levy, and Rick the Temp. You’re welcome, Canada.
You have an amazing background as a stylist. Tell us about some of the coolest things you worked on as a stylist?
My favourite gigs were always the music videos. They were the whole reason I got into styling in the first place – my two loves in one job: music and fashion. I worked on a Three Days Grace music video when I first started out styling with Dean Karr. He’s the director behind Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams” video. He went into great detail of his vast collection of pickled rodents, how cool is that? And he introduced me to Rob Zombie so that was pretty awesome. My favourite gig was for an MTV Music Video Award promo with Drake. The theme was 1940s glam and I spent my days prepping in one of the largest collection of vintage collections in the city. Needless to say, I was in heaven.
What are three things you can’t live without?
My glasses, not only because I can’t see without them but they are my favourite accessory and have become my character trait.
My lipstick, you can tell what mood I’m in by which shade of red I’m wearing. Tints and shades speak volumes, you know? It just doesn’t not feel right if I’m not wearing lipstick.
My music. How else am I supposed to write the soundtrack to my life if I don’t have my music on me? Now Playing: Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” with Misfits “Dig Up Her Bones” on deck. It’s been quite the month can you tell.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
The city is not just one thing or another. It’s home to diverse cultures, sub-cultures, and fusions where you can find endless inspiration – from the neighbourhood you’re in, the people you come across, or the local bands you’re checking out. There’s something for everyone here. You can just feel the energy in the air.
What are some of your favourite fashion/style trends right now?
I’ve always loved fur and I have been loving the quality of faux fur brands have been doing lately. They look just as good as real fur without the guilty conscience. Although I don’t see anything wrong with sporting some vintage furs. Also I love that the 90s are back – time to dig through my old closet: bodysuits? Check. Cropped sweaters? Check. Grandpa cardigans and oversized plaid shirts? Check and check. Lest we forget the 10 hole (or more) Doc Martens. Check. Apply matte burgundy lipstick and I’m 13 again. I love anything 40s glam, 50s rock and roll, and 90s grunge are what catch my eye. I like to mix and match pieces from my favourite eras and find ways to put them all together.
What products are always your beauty/grooming bag?
My Tom Ford Traceless Foundation and Foundation Stick. I picked these bad boys up at Selfridges in London last year and I am almost out! Please bring the line to Canada! Also always in my purse is my MAC Retro Matte collection. I’m still in the process of acquiring all of the colours but they are always on me to freshen up or change my look. Can you tell I really love my lipsticks?
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
You can find me on Twitter: @janellemarpa, Instagram: @glossyeyedgal; To see what I’m up to at work on Twitter: @design35oh, Instagram: @design35oh, and Facebook: Three Five Oh