WHO: Max Velosse, 25, fashion designer.
WHAT: Live/work studio apartment.
WHERE: Queen and Roncesvalles.
HOW LONG: Two years.
FAVOURITE THING: The fashionista’s face lights up when describing her vintage sewing machine. “One good thing about growing up in the ‘burbs is that you can find amazing things at garage sales. I can’t believe I got this classic Singer and stand for ten bucks! It still works, too!”
LEAST FAVOURITE THING: No natural light. “This place was such a deal that I decided I could live without windows,” says Velosse. “Sometimes it’s rough, but at least I have a decent-sized studio. If it really bugs me, I just go for a walk.”
THE STORY: The suburb Max references is Oakville, which she vacated as soon as she got her high school diploma. Ever since her first trip to downtown Toronto with her older sister when she was twelve, Max couldn’t wait to live on Queen Street. “It was such a different world. As soon as I saw the dresses in the F/X window, I knew this was where I had to live.”
She may live on the same street as her adored store, and her space is big enough for two sewing machines, giant cutting table, home office, bedroom, and kitchen but without windows, lighting is a serious issue.
Velosse makes it work with a series of light installations. She says, “People don’t notice the window thing for a while. They’ll be sitting here for like, an hour, and then all of a sudden they’ll freak out and say, ‘Oh my god! Those aren’t real windows!’ Then they run around and check out all my fake windows. It’s great fun.”
She’s right; it’s hard to notice the darkness in such a fun place. The ceilings are high and Max uses colour to divide work and play areas. Her sewing studio wall is painted in dayglo pinks and greens, complete with matching pink Mac ibook (which she modified herself, natch). Walls from bedroom to kitchen get lighter in pink, covering the loft in a series of bright stripes.
All the colour and energy match the clothes that take up any and all available space. Max explains the clothing explosion as a necessary part of preparation for her Fashion Week debut in March. She has a new clothing line and explains, “Velocity is part of my last name, and I’m always going at a hundred miles an hour, so naming my collection Velocity just made sense.”