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Gender-neutral streetwear inspires new collection by Wasaga Beach designer

Hand-painted fabrics and relaxed fits staples of ONE collection, which was designed to be worn by anyone, says designer Michelle Bylow

A Wasaga Beach fashion designer went back to the drawing board during the pandemic, and emerged with a new collection.

Michelle Bylow, an Orillia native and Wasaga Beach resident, has recently released ONE, a gender-neutral collection under her brand Jojee Apparel.

“Jojee is inclusive and encourages people to dress how they want regardless of societal pressure to be a certain way,” said Bylow. “It’s loose, and chill. It’s comfortable. Over the years I’ve been influenced by snowboarding and performance. I design things that I, personally, would wear.”

Bylow started Jojee Apparel in 2014.

“At that time, my style was a little more goth-y, and on the couture side. After I released that collection, my professional career started to take over,” said Bylaw.

Bylow worked for RAW Artists Canada, an organization that works with emerging and independent artists of all different disciplines, from music to fashion and visual arts.

She came back to fashion in August 2020, releasing her Too Cool for TV collection.

The ONE collection is a roughly 35-piece collection.

“It was a pretty natural progression. In the Too Cool for TV collection, pretty much all those garments could be worn by either gender. I had comments on our social media saying, ‘I wish this came in men’s,’ or, ‘Does this come in women’s?’ I started thinking more about this dichotomy that happens in fashion,” she said.

“It didn’t really work with my brand. It went against things that I’m for, which are inclusivity and giving people the confidence to wear what they want.”

Bylow describes the collection as street-wear style. The patterns are hand-painted onto the fabrics. The logo for the collection comes from a combining of the symbols for male and female. Bylow designs and constructs all the clothing herself, and it is made to order.

“Every order that comes in is made here in my studio in Wasaga Beach,” she said. “I’m just starting out, so I’m not inundated with hundred of orders yet. I might reach a point where I need to upscale, but I would still manufacture everything in Canada.”

All garments are available for purchase on the Jojee website here.

Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 11 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering County of Simcoe matters, education and features
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