Ayla heads east for painting and printing
by Gregory Beatty
Who: Ayla D.
Where: World of Trout basement workshop
Born and raised in Regina, Ayla graduated from the University of Regina with an Arts Education degree in 2011. For two years now she’s been living in Montreal. This fall she’s heading back to school at Concordia for a BFA in painting and printmaking. We met up to talk fashion in late August when she was in Regina for a visit.
You chose this spot to have your photo taken for a special reason?
It was my first job. I was 16, and I was in World of Trout one day with my mom. The owner, Cornelia Biegler, saw me and asked if I needed a job. I said, “I don’t think so.” But my mom said, “She does need a job.” I was always really happy working there. It was like family, and it’s where I started learning about fashion. I looked up to Cornelia a lot. She made her own clothes and I always thought that was really cool.
Fashion is something you’re still involved with in Montreal?
I work at Annex Vintage where I upcycle vintage clothes and make denim and leather shorts and crop tops. When I’m in Regina I go to Salvation Army and Value Village for material. In Montreal I go to the Renaissance. It’s like Value Village. My boss and I also go to a rag house. There’s a conveyor belt, and clothes get sorted into huge cages that we go through. Sometimes I hate the fashion industry because it can be so silly how much people pay for clothes. I like that people are reusing, and I like being part of that industry.
What else do you do to keep busy?
I really like bike riding. I ride everywhere in Montreal. I try to paint as much as I can, and when I’m not doing that I’m going to art and music events. I document everything with my camera and put it on a blog [aylalldayla.blogspot.ca]. I just do it for documentation now, but if I end up having a gallery show one day that would be great. Our store has a blog so I do photography for that at annexvintage.tumblr.com.
How would you describe the fashion climate in Montreal compared to Regina?
When I first moved to Montreal I felt like I couldn’t leave my apartment without being dressed up. But I don’t really notice it as much now, so maybe I’m just more comfortable with the idea of not leaving home just dressed in sweat pants. I think there are some people in Regina who dress in interesting ways. I think in Montreal people are just more able to be comfortable wearing what they want. Montreal also has lots of shopping, stylists and fashion blogs. So I think there’s more access to clothing there and people are a little more forward.
How would you describe your style?
I’ve never been someone who is obsessed with fashion. I don’t buy fashion magazines or anything. I’ve always been interested in vintage fashion though. I like the way it looks on people, and how it allows them to be kind of eccentric. I have a crazy collection of T-shirts. I think they’re really comfortable and look nice. I like denim; I like things from the ’70s. I like rock ’n’ roll fashion — especially the boys. I guess I’m a fan of men’s rock ’n’ roll fashion.
What’s special for you about this outfit?
The jacket I actually bought at Salvation Army yesterday. The shirt is a child’s Harley Davidson T-shirt. I think it’s cool because often with Harley-Davidson they have American flags on things. I’m not American and I’m not into patriotism, so it feels strange to wear. But this one has a Canadian flag which I’m happy about. The shorts I made out of a pair of Calvin Klein jeans from the ’90s. The boots are vintage — I’m not sure what era. I like how they make me taller, because I’m short. The tattoo on my left thigh is a mermaid. It was done by Arno Schultz — he’s been voted Montreal’s top tattoo artist. My first tattoo was done by Shaun at Planet Caravan, literally the day after I turned 18. He’s great.