DAPPER DUDES BECOME PART OF THE CLUB WITH ONE OF HER EXCLUSIVE ACCESSORIES
Story by Rachel Walker
Photos provided by Mystica Cooper
Mystica Cooper is a Toronto-based designer of men’s pocket squares, neckties and bow ties. Her designs, which will soon be sold under the brand name Bay Cooper, are unique, bold and feature an interesting array of patterns and styles that cater to the most distinguished of men.
Each tie has a personality, a name, and even a secret handshake! When someone buys a tie, there is a tag attached that illustrates the tie’s individual handshake instructions, making each design as unique as the person buying it. Cooper designs with a well-dressed man in mind, and hopes to design for a well-dressed woman in the near future, too.
Where did you receive your formal design training, if you had any?
I went to George Brown for Fashion Techniques and Design. I did a really technical course; I did everything from pattern drafting to construction.
Aside from creating men’s pocket squares and ties, what else do you plan to create for the collection as time goes on?
Right now it’s only the ties; soon I will be launching some women’s accessory collars, made in leather and other materials in August, so there will be a women’s portion as well. Eventually I hope to branch into blazers and coats for both women and men. That’s the goal for maybe a year from now.
Well, I actually just started making them for my boyfriend; he started wearing them and people really loved them. I am really interested in office wear, and women’s office wear. So ties are a nice start into that realm. These days ties are getting a little less formal than they used to be, and I like the idea of ties being a more formal item. I really love a well-dressed man. Also, it’s something that I can still do while I work full time; it’s not too overwhelming.
Don’t we all? What kind of man do you see wearing your designs?
A guy who is sort of not too formal, but not too business-y (but I do like to appeal to them). I tend to use some bold patterns, so a fashion-forward gentleman who is into looking good all the time. He is better dressed than your average young guy who doesn’t really care about what he is wearing. My style is more appealing to a well-dressed gentleman [in their] 20s, 30s, 40s-plus. I would maybe love to be more appealing to the silver fox crowd; I like the idea of a man who is starting to dress like his more distinguished father.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I get a lot from GQ – my boyfriend has a subscription so it’s always lying around. It has a lot of images of younger to more middle-aged men who are all well dressed. It shows all of the newest styles. I also look at lots of men’s blogs, which I can’t list right now.
People that I know, people on the street, even women’s wear; I translate ideas from there into menswear – of course [by] toning it down. Most men aren’t as adventurous when it comes to that.
Do you design the textiles? Or do you search for the right patterns?
At this point I only search out what I have in my head. In the future, I would love to design my own textiles, as I am getting more interested in that as I grow. For right now I just have the idea in my head and I look for something that best translates.
What designer, or artist do you wish you could work with in the future?
Shary Boyle, who is not really in the fashion world, but if one day she could design textiles then I would be in heaven. But designer-wise, I look to big names; mostly I look to women’s wear [labels] like Jil Sander or Elie Saab. Jil Sander because it is so clean and minimalist – it translates well to menswear.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
In about five years, I hope to have a fully functional web store, and still have some items in [physical] stores. I would love to be doing more office wear for women, tailored jackets and tailored pants and shift dresses. That is were I would really like to be, but at the same time still doing the ties, pocket squares, and men’s blazers as well. That is my goal, to make blazers, because I love making coats and jackets and blazers.
Find Mystica Cooper’s designs at Dalston Grey (1317 Dundas Street West, Toronto).