PARKTEN Interview - Ania B

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Ania Boniecka is a content creator and blogger who can’t live without her phone, toothpaste or Korean face masks. 

When you first started your blog, did you ever expect it to grow to this magnitude and how did you find your voice?

When I first started my blog it was only a hobby. I didn’t even know it was possible for anyone to blog as their job, and at the time there was no one else doing it with the exception of a few people in New York who were also just starting to figure it all out. I had to learn everything on my own, and for many years, after I started, people still didn’t know what blogging even was. I’m glad I had all that time to figure things out though, now it’s such a different landscape, you have to know how to run before you can even walk. 

What are some of the biggest hurdles you have had to overcome to pursue your career as a blogger, but what are some of the best things that have come from it? 

The most difficult thing is dealing with the lack of knowledge people have about what actually goes into being a blogger. There is so much leg work, face time and long hours that go into this job. It becomes more of a problem in smaller markets, but the bigger you go the more excited people get about new media; but the amount of people doing it also increases, so the trade off is not always worth it. I enjoy explaining to people what we do, it’s still very novel, plus I love my job so it’s fun to talk about! The best thing from doing this full-time is that I get to do what I love, and I wake up excited every single day to work - as the saying goes find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life

How would you describe your personal style, and how has it evolved since you first started your blog?

I don’t fit into any particular category with my style. I like to play with many different things and try new trends as they come. It’s part of who I am and it falls perfectly in line with what I do, but if I had a choice to only dress one particular way it would be western. I love cowboy hats and cowboy boots and how you can throw them on with anything. They transform any outfit! I LOVE that the trend is having a major moment right now but I will be here after it’s gone, just like I was here before it came. I love sporting my Smithbilts and getting excited for the Stampede, every single year. It has always made me feel closer to my dad who loved it so much.

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You’re a huge traveller, what has been your favourite travel destination so far and where haven’t you traveled yet that’s on your list? 

We travel a lot but we also travel to the same places all the time. I am kind of bored of the same New York/LA circuit and want to explore places I haven’t been to before. We are hoping to see as much of the US as we can this year but are definitely overdue for a tropical vacation asap. My top destinations are all in Eastern Europe though. I really want to go to Hungary and Romania. My favourite place ever to travel to though was Croatia. It stole my heart in a way I never thought a place could. I would recommend it to everyone. 

Photo Credit: Ania B

Where do you want to see PARK in the next 5 years? 

My hope for the next five years is for them is to just keep killing it. I want the rest of Canada to recognize how amazing PARK is. I think that a lot of groups in Toronto can learn a lot from these guys. Nobody does it better than Kara and Jessie! 

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How does it feel to be part of the PARK 10 year campaign? 

I am so honoured that they asked me to be part of it, and proud of course that I was able to contribute enough over the years to be recognized in this way. I love the PARK team, I love them for the people they are and for the things they do for the community. Calgary doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, especially where fashion is concerned, and I think we all have the same end goal in mind. 

Why is an organization such as PARK important to Canada’s fashion scene/industry, and what impact has PARK had?

Calgary is full of creative and insanely talented people, but they have to stop leaving the city to pursue their creativity elsewhere. It's our responsibility, and the responsibility of generations to come, to help push the city to the front of the stage and to give these people a reason to stay. We have to prove to them that there are opportunities in this city, that you CAN make money and you CAN be successful. You don’t have to live in New York or London to pursue your passions - it’s all about perspective. If people keep leaving it will always be a struggle to grow our industries. We are not getting any help from the government, and a lot of us have self-funded our own beginnings, it doesn’t all happen overnight. We have to work hard to show that we are worth something to ourselves and to the rest of the country, and the world. My dream would be to stop hearing people question that we are from Alberta, and to lose the association we have with Corporate or Oil and Gas. There is just as much creativity here as anywhere else. Organizations like PARK are giving so many artists a platform to showcase their work and literally a runway to take off. PARK is giving so much to the community, and now it’s our turn to take those opportunities and carry the momentum forward. 

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What is the most memorable PARK event you have attended?

Every single show knocks the others out of the PARK, haha, and I love it. I love how every show is an opportunity to learn and grow, and they keep making the shows bigger and better. Every PARKSALE is bigger! I started doing my clothing sale pop ups with PARK and there have been a lot of great memories over the years, but I think my favourite is the first time Tyler made the show video. It was so elevated and beautiful and made the show look like a million dollar production. 

What draws you to a piece? 

Color, texture and comfort. it can be a beautiful piece but if it doesn’t fall perfectly on my body I don’t want it.

What is a trend, or a piece of clothing that you would absolutely never wear? 

‘80s, I hate that decade. My face and my body were not made for that era or it’s revival!
 

What fashion trends are you excited for in 2018? 

100% Western, I am so happy that it’s sticking around ‘til at least next Spring (as per the most recent fashion weeks)

When, how and why did you first start working with PARK and how has PARK evolved since? 

PARK started around the same time I started my blog. When I first heard about them I thought it was such a great way to connect the local fashion community. Calgary was so different ten years ago, and I think PARK has a big part to play in Calgary’s transformation into a more cultured city. I LOVE the evolution of PARK. Sometimes we look back at videos from those first shows and have a good laugh. It was just a bunch of kids who didn’t know what they were doing, but it’s wonderful that we were all granted these amazing opportunities to learn everything from scratch. There was really no competition, and the ones who came out of the woodwork quickly faded into the background because PARK was always better, always had the most genuine intentions, and had actual taste and style to back it all up. I have always been a huge cheerleader of the organization and I feel like we have both been growing and working along side each other all these years helping one another wherever we can. I love the community aspect because it is harder and harder to find. I am so proud of this whole group of amazing people for how far they have come. 

Where do you want to see PARK in the next 5 years? 

My hope for the next five years is for them is to just keep killing it. I want the rest of Canada to recognize how amazing PARK is. I think that a lot of groups in Toronto can learn a lot from these guys. Nobody does it better than Kara and Jessie! 

 Photo Credit:  Ania B

Photo Credit: Ania B

Why are local shops and businesses like PARKSHOP important not only to the fashion community but to consumers everywhere? 

They create a platform for local designers to sell their work. It elevates the experience for the customer, and it teaches the designers about the business side of their jobs. I think a lot of people want to work in fashion because it’s glamorous but they forget it’s also about making money and providing the custumer with what they want. From the moment the garments are shown on the PARK runway to the moment they land in the shop, valuable hands on education is being provided which a lot of people in bigger cities don't even get. I love absolutely love it! 

Who are some of your favourite Canadian designers? 

I will always have a soft spot for all the designers coming from Calgary. I feel very connected with Paul Hardy, I wore his first collection, and I was there for one of his first shoots and over the years have been involved with many projects of his. I wore his dress to my very first CAFA awards and through all of his success he has always been part of this City. I love and respect him so much for that. I love all the new designers like Anneke Forbes, House of Nonie and SP Badu but I also love that Canada has so many amazing established brands like Canada Goose, Mackage, Simons, Holt Renfrew, ALDO, Roots and many many more. 

If you had to pick one colour (it can’t be black) to wear for the rest of your life what colour would it be? 

Black is a cop out, its a lazy color. I think a lot of people choose black because it’s easy. But fashion isn’t about that, fashion is about having fun and expressing yourself. You can express yourself with black but then have something to say with texture and dimension. It’s a visual medium and I love having things to look at. I love the street wear trend of the moment which allows people to be big and bold with what they wear. I would pick red as my color of choice. It looks good on me and it photographs great, it turns any grey scene into something more dynamic and visual.  

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