Fashion maven and business woman extraordinaire Marissa Freed is carrying on her family’s iconic Canadian manufacturing brand, Freed & Freed International Ltd., in high style. For fall/winter 2014, Freed is launching a luxury coat collection simply titled FREED. Under Freed’s own creative direction, the new FREED Heritage line – inspired by old English tweed Freed found in the rafters of the brand’s factory – will be available at high-end retailers such as Holt Renfrew, Pink Tartan, Gotstyle, Honey, Andrew’s, Saffron Road, and Hollywood Boutique. We caught up with the company president to find out more about her amazing life making “Made in Canada” outerwear…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I’m fourth generation in my family business, which I take huge pride in daily and at the same time it scares me every night I go to sleep. I have a fashion degree and a bachelor’s degree in science as well as my MBA. I’ve been told by many that I’m a walking contradiction; I don’t look to be who I am. I love fashion, but I’m an effortless dresser who has no idea how to apply makeup (I look scary) or how to do my own hair (hence: blow-dry, straighten, and repeat). I am also a pretty tough business woman being that my father was my example – yet I’m a tiny 5’2″ girl.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
Definitely that I get to carry on my family’s company name and hopefully one day will have the privilege to hand it off to the next generation. The industries of fashion and manufacturing are both extremely competitive, which is a challenge daily, but the fact that I’m even being recognized in such competitive avenues is tremendously rewarding. That being said, the biggest reward I get to experience is seeing the smiling faces and excitement of all my employees as we continue to grow and prosper together.
What are the three things you can’t live without?
My cell phone – it’s constantly going all day and all night; my rescue dog Henry; my Rag & Bone booties – I have colours to take me through every season.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it has absolutely everything and anything for everyone from every background and with every kind of interest. The food, the fashion, the night life, the big city feel, the beaches, the character… it really has it all.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
Playa Cabana because I absolutely love Mexican food and I love the atmosphere there. It’s my to-go date place with my boyfriend. We often go there and request sitting at the bar and over the course of delicious cocktails and great food we end up forgetting anyone else is even in the restaurant. Secondly, there’s a sushi place in Winnipeg called Wasabi that has simply the most incredible sushi. Trust me, I have traveled around the world and compared.
What’s one of your favourite go-to designers/brands or accessories lines and why do you sport their fashions?
For accessories (bags/shoes) I would say I’m always willing to invest in Chanel because it’s classic and finishes any outfit beautifully. For clothing, I’m really a mix and match kind of girl. I’m not stuck on any designer or price point; it’s always more about the style and fit and versatility. I like being able to wear things casually during the day yet dress up the same outfit at night. I dress very understated sexy and I love over-sized pieces.
What products are always in your beauty bag?
I use everything Clinique for my face because it’s hypoallergenic and simply fantastic. Always Lancome mascara even though it doesn’t often get used, and (don’t laugh) a Lip Smacker lip gloss.
What style trends are you obsessed with right now?
For years I’ve been known for the off-the-shoulder shirt look so I still rock the look quite often. I’m absolutely obsessed with tweed, which you can see from my FREED collection. Also, over-sized ripped denim (awaiting acid wash to fully come back) and sundresses and skirts that can carry across seasons by adding an over-sized sweater.
What’s your favorite spa or service?
A facial/massage combo is my absolute favourite. I don’t often find the time, but when I do some of my favourite places are the Park Hyatt and the Shangri-La in Toronto, and Ten Spa in Winnipeg.