A Letter to Montreal

Montreal in the springtime is one of the most amazing seasons anywhere!

I know we all feel it, right? That pivotal point where the temperature starts to rise and the light hovers a little higher and longer. It reenergizes us and we can hardly wait to wear our favorite running shoes or dig out that little jacket that is so loved.

This week we excitedly trimmed the threads and meticulously groomed our new styles. Packing boxes and making invoices seem to take precedence in these springtime months. Luckily, our studio at Jennifer Glasgow Design, is colourful and bright again. Full of prints and bright cotton poplins. It almost smells like flowers, it is so bright.

While this is happening in my studio, I almost forgot to smell the real flowers. To take a breath and look around at the long awaited leaves, the burgeoning buds and simply allowing the rain to hit my face.

I found these dreamy few moments inspiring and hopeful. I wanted to share some of this hope with you. The photos below represent a small number of the inspired pieces our favorite Canadian designers are selling at General 54 this season.

I hope you enjoy. Take a moment and don’t forget to take that deep breath of fresh spring air. – Feel beautiful and enjoy.




Kazak Club

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 By Alex Coupar

Over the past few decades, fur clothing and accessories have become difficult to wear for many people. The ever-rising cost of what is now considered a luxury item often puts it out of reach for budget-conscious consumers; and in addition to being expensive, the use of fur in fashion has become a controversial choice.

While the fur trade was a cornerstone of Canada’s development, fur has since become a huge industry in Canada. Massive-scale fur production facilities, otherwise known as “fur farms”, have become common. Concern for the welfare of the animals being raised to make these products has led to harsh criticism from animal rights groups like PETA, as well as designers and celebrity animal welfare advocates. With large-scale, automated production, the quality of the garments made using fur has also been in a decline over the years. The care that was once taken in the construction and detailed finishing of fur pieces has, in many cases, been sacrificed for an increase in output and profits.

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With all that said, let’s be honest: the Montreal winter experience is one of the harshest and snowiest in the world, and sometimes high-tech synthetic textiles just don’t cut it when you need to stay warm and frostbite-free for as long as it takes to walk to the nearest café. Fur has been a beautiful and highly effective way of keeping Canadians warm for centuries, and its charm isn’t likely to fade anytime soon. Thankfully, there is a solution for animal-respecting lovers of furs!

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The furs and leathers used by Montreal-based designer Kazak to create their unique winter accessories is recycled, which means that it offers up several benefits: no animals had to be harmed to create new fur garments, so the industry is not being supported by consumers; and extremely outdated fur pieces that may otherwise have slowly faded on the thrift store shelf are given a new and improved purpose. Another excellent thing about using these repurposed materials is that each of the finished hoods, mittens and collars is unique: the furs come in a variety of lengths, natural patterns, and textures, and are paired with complimentary cozy fabrics and textured leathers that you won’t see on everyone else this winter.

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Kazak’s designs add a bit of wild beauty to a sleek cold-weather look when you’re in an urban environment. Their combination of functionality and style is right at home in this city, where the conditions are extreme, yet visual drama and flair are rarely sacrificed. As with the vast majority of the designers and artisans whose work is carried at General 54, Kazak’s luxurious mittens, collars, hoods and bags are made with care, love and attention right here in Montreal.

If you’re looking for winter accessories that are as tough and striking as the Montrealers who wear them, come by and take a look at this season’s collection from Kazak!

Ode to a Gift Guide…under 40$

General 54’s Fabulous Holiday Gift Guide: Part One

Text and photos by Alex Coupar

The carefree debauchery of Thanksgiving and Halloween is a fond and distant memory. This next month, for many of us, will be a whirlwind of planning and gift hunting, culminating in a colourful maelstrom of holiday presents, parties and goodwill. Basically, it’s time to start talking gift guides! Boutique General 54 has been putting together a thoughtfully curated selection of locally and Canadian-made artisanal jewelry and accessories, in addition to its regular lineup of beautiful clothes, so you too can have a handmade holiday this year (even if you’re all thumbs).

This week, we’re focusing on the type of gift that has universal appeal and is easy to give to just about anyone on your list. Whether you have to ship it across the country, are on a holiday budget, or aren’t yet exactly sure who the lucky recipient will be, we’ve got a lot of options.


If you’re anticipating an anonymous office gift exchange with your cool colleagues, you want to convey that you care, without getting too specific. The beanies, watch caps and gloves from Upstate Stock have both practicality (they are made in a factory that has been creating affordable and warm wool knits for working Americans for years) and a style that can fit in with just about any of your other winter gear. These pieces’ rugged good looks make them very popular with both ladies and gentlemen; and you can feel satisfied in the knowledge that you’re supporting the re-emergence of quality North American manufacturing.

Montreal-based leather artisan Marc Simard offers a stylish collection of notebook covers, pouches, belts and card holders that he has handcrafted with care using recycled full-grain leather and off-cuts left over by the boot industry. Many of his beautifully polished leather items feature unique embossed designs. Like all high-quality leatherwork, these pieces will continue to look better and gain character as they age. They are an excellent choice for anyone in your life who would appreciate a useful gift that also boasts ethically handcrafted appeal.



If you have loved ones who live far away, sometimes the best thing is to simply mail them a card that conveys your best wishes for the holidays, the old-fashioned way. Popolo Press uses traditional printing methods to create colourful and meticulously detailed works of art that go way beyond anything you’ll find at an ordinary greeting card store. Factory Central has several cards that feature cozy and Christmasy scenes. Whether you’re searching for a specifically holiday-themed card or one that depicts a natural wintry landscape or whimsical imagery, these cards will likely remain displayed on the recipient’s mantelpiece well into the New Year. Pick one, or six, and fill them with your thoughts of peace and love!



Hopefully these ideas have given you a bit of inspiration on the hunt to find the perfect thing for all the lovely people in your life! Have you honed a selection of go-to gifts like notebooks or wallets over the years, or is it a fresh new search every season?

Thank you for reading

General 54 xx

Flex your Fashion

Earlier this year we saw comfortable, athletically-inspired styles begin to influence fashion in a new (and very welcome) way. Beginning with the re-emergence of the humble grey sweatshirt, this trend has now extended to luxurious running shoes and sweatpants that were definitely not created with trips to the gym in mind. As the weather gets cooler, it’s time to embrace the sweatshirt in a more feminine silhouette: the “sweatshirt dress” has the same versatility as our long-standing fall favourite, the sweater dress, but with even more comfort and casual-chic appeal. Crafted from cotton and jersey blends in neutral grey shades, these pieces can be worn alone or layered when the weather gets frosty.


Montreal designer Encantados specializes in locally-made dresses and tunics that are as comfortable as a sweatshirt while still being perfectly form -fitting and sexy. Their dresses also come with adorable cold-weather appropriate details like hoods, and deep pockets for when you forget your gloves. Their “Monaco” dress provides a more relaxed silhouette. You could easily transition the bright pastel button-ups of spring and summer into your fall wardrobe by layering them under this roomy piece; the exposed collar would add extra detail without overwhelming the look.


With one of these dresses as a simple and functional base, the styling possibilities are endless. Try a pair of colourful cotton, wool or merino-blend tights in jewel tones from B. Ella, or wrap up in one of Jennifer Glasgow Design’s cozy woven circle scarves to add texture and brightness to your ensemble.

If you’re looking for the versatility of separates, the knit skirt from local designer Atelier B offers an alternative to dresses in soft, go-with-anything grey wool. The “Asha” open cardigan from Jennifer Glasgow Design combines the casual ease of black and grey cotton jersey with an elegantly draped fit.

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These versatile pieces will definitely get you through the season in fashionable comfort. However, on dark and cloudy days when you want to leave the house in something totally eye-catching and unique, we’ve also got you covered! Montreal-based designer Les Enfants Sauvages continues to dazzle with new dresses that combine unexpected fabrics in beautiful ways. The “Moon Colibri” dress is crafted using soft navy corduroy and silver-printed fabric sourced from Ghana. The dramatic shades combine with longer sleeves and a nipped-in waist for a look that is dark, mysterious – and toasty warm. The other dresses in their collection come in an array of lush colours and patterns that glow like freshly fallen leaves.

Are there any other cool-weather staples you’ll be looking for this fall? Do you like to keep it casual and neutral or do you prefer to layer with lots of colour and texture?

That is Brilliant

Over the past few months, General 54 has welcomed some new collections of fine jewelry into the shop. Some of the Canadian designers behind these pieces work with precious metals, while others follow a less traditional approach that is reflected in their choice of materials as well as their designs. Since we have been hearing some questions about their durability and how well they work for those who have sensitivities to certain metals, here is a quick overview of these beautiful materials, and the artists who work with them!

Sterling silver is a versatile metal that holds fine detail well and can be restored to its originalbeauty with the swipe of a polishing cloth. Montreal’s Elaine Ho uses the lost wax casting method to turn tiny original sculptures into solid silver pendants and earrings that will last for generations. Her pieces are sometimes oxidized, which is a method of darkening the metal to bring out fine detail. Most people can wear sterling silver earrings and necklaces with no reaction or discoloration.

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Rose gold contains a higher level of copper alloy than yellow gold, which is what gives it its characteristic pink colour. This precious metal has become very popular in the past few years, and with good reason – it flatters a wide variety of skin tones, and layers beautifully with sterling silver and white gold pieces. It’s a contemporary take on gold that suits a white t-shirt just as well as it does a cocktail dress. Kara Yoo uses solid rose gold wire to create polished, simple pieces. Gold (of any shade) is an excellent choice for ladies and gentlemen who hate taking their jewelry off!

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Copper, like its high-end cousin rose gold, has a warm reddish tone. Brass, a golden-coloured alloy that contains copper, is perfect for big, bold pieces, like the dramatic earrings and necklaces from Edmonton-based designer Hunt Amor. Both copper and brass will naturally develop a surface patina over time and with exposure to the environment, which adds visual depth and interest.


Gold vermeil is a high-quality option for those of us who love the look of gold but aren’t enamoured with its ever-rising cost. Gold vermeil has a foundation of sterling silver that has been given a top layer of gold, and is an excellent option for those with sensitivities. Gold-filled pieces typically have brass or another base metal underneath the layer of gold. Although they require a bit more care than solid gold in order to keep them looking gorgeous as long as possible, the lower price point makes gold vermeil and gold-filled pieces a great way to break out of a jewelry style rut.

Hope you enjoyed this little info session! Do you have any other inquiries, jewelry-related or otherwise? Interested in trying on all of these gorgeous pieces? Come visit us at boutique 


xx General 54 – we’d love to see you!

It’s A Gem

Introducing Biko, our newest jewelry line at General 54! Hailing from Toronto, designer Corrine Anestopoulos creates colourful and beautifully unique pieces that can be worn alone or stacked and layered for a bold and striking statement. Warm brass complements the laid-back, bohemian vibe of the Montreal summer, and will also pair well with the deeper, rich tones of fall wardrobes.

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Kara Yoo‘s recent collection of light, minimalist geometric rings and stud earrings in sterling silver and both yellow and rose gold vermeil offers a look that is easy to stack, mix and match – and will travel effortlessly with you on all your summer adventures. They are perfect for everyday wear and make it easy to embrace the rose gold trend without breaking the bank.

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Another geometrically-inspired line, Moonlight for Violet’s bright, sparkling earrings and pendants come in a variety of jewel tones and metallic glitter finishes. A pair of her modern, colourful studs costs only $22, perfect as a gift for a friend or to treat yourself!

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Natural stones have always been a great choice when it comes to summer style. The striking hair accessories and adjustable rings from Rare Specimens feature raw gemstones in an assortment of colours and textures, while the pieces from Dreamboat Lucy’s refined collection of earrings and rings, crafted using pyrite, have a cool golden glitter that will look gorgeous with both the gold and silver pieces in your own jewelry collection.

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Stop by and check out these designers and our many other beautiful jewelry lines, on the shelves right now at boutique General 54!

Living the High Life on the 3rd Floor Designs

La nouvelle marque de vêtements coup de coeur 3rd Floor Studio est la création de jeune designer originaire de Toronto, Shoshanah Kuper.

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Inspirées par les coupes et motifs aux couleurs vives des années 1960s, ses robes font à merveille et sont accentués de jolies détails un peu risqués, tels des cut-outs. Sa collection estivale s’articule autour de florales fraiches and exubérantes à la fois tendence, classique et facile à porter.  C’est certainement une marque à suivre!

Tout comme la majorité des créateurs à decouvrir chez Boutique Generale 54, 3rd Floor Studio is fièrement et entièrement fait ici au Canada.

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Started by designer Shoshanah Kuper straight out of design school, 3rd Floor Studio is a fresh and exciting new fashion brand from Toronto.



Inspired by 1960’s cuts and patterns “with a little hippie thrown in”, the dresses in her collection are uber-flattering with thoughtful details like subtly sexy cut-outs and button-up backs. The current collection is brimming with exuberant florals that are not only on trend but also classically elegant while remaining effortlessness. This is definitely a brand to watch!

As is the case with the majority of designs and designers showcased at General 54, 3rd Floor Studio is proudly and ethically made here in Canada.


Les portraits imaginaires par Manon Parent – vernissage le 26 juin


Parles-nous un peu de toi

Je suis née et j’ai grandi à La Tuque, une petite ville entourée de nature, au Québec (Canada). Ma mère aimait beaucoup photographier les animaux sauvages qui habitaient les boisés autour de notre chalet. Lorsqu’elle se procura un nouvel appareil photo reflex, elle me fit cadeau de sa petite caméra pour mes loisirs et ce fut le début d’une merveilleuse aventure.

Les weekends, j’allais me balader avec ma meilleure amie dans des endroits inspirants, équipées de nos caméras respectives, et nous nous prenions en photo à tour de rôle. Au final, c’était surtout moi qui la photographiais, un peu comme une modèle pour un éditorial mode.

À 17 ans, je me suis inscrite à un DEC en photographie au Cégep du Vieux Montréal pour apprendre tout de cette nouvelle passion. Après ce cours d’une durée de trois ans, je n’étais pas certaine de savoir comment j’allais arriver à vivre de la photographie et j’ai donc opté pour des emplois qui me semblaient plus accessibles (comme caissière dans des boutiques), jusqu’à ce que je découvre le maquillage. Je me suis alors inscrite au Collège Inter-DEC de Montréal pour développer ce nouveau talent. Ce n’est qu’à la suite de ce cours que j’ai vraiment senti qu’une carrière en photographie de mode était à ma portée.

J’ai ensuite travaillé avec des modèles de différentes agences à Montréal pour monter mon portfolio et, comme j’avais aussi une passion pour le vêtement et le stylisme, j’allais chercher les tenues de mes shootings dans les magasins. Lorsque je me lassai de toujours styler à partir des vêtements des mêmes boutiques, je décidai de contacter des designers locaux pour emprunter les tenues de mes shootings. À ma grande surprise, plusieurs de ces designers m’ont recontacté pour que je shoot leurs lookbooks et c’est à ce moment que ma carrière a réellement commencé.

I was born and I grew up in the small town of La Tuque, in Quebec (Canada), where I was surrounded by nature. My mom used to take a lot of pictures of wild animals at our chalet. When she bought a more professional reflex camera, she gave me her old one to play with and that was where it all started.

During the weekends, I was going to inspiring places with a friend of mine, each of us with our own little camera, and we would take pictures of one another. I ended up taking mostly pictures of her in a fashion-editorial way.

At the age of 17, I enrolled on a photography course, at Cégep du Vieux Montréal, to learn all I could about this new passion of mine. At the end of that three-year adventure, I wasn’t sure how to make a living out of it so I worked in various small jobs, such as cashier in stores, until I discovered make-up artistry and took a class to learn more about it, at Inter-DEC College in Montreal. Only then I felt more confident about what I wanted to do: fashion and beauty photography.

I started working with models from various agencies in Montreal and built my book. I was also passionate about clothing and styling so I was going to stores to get outfits for my shootings. At one point, when I got tired of always going to the same places to style, I started contacting local designers to borrow from them for my shootings. Something unexpected then happened: most of them called me back to shoot their lookbooks and this is when my career really began.


 Noémiah’s ss14 lookbook, 2014,
model: Cynthia Pettigrew
make-up and hair: Sarah Leflochmoen

Qu’est-ce qui t’inspire à créer?

Pour ce qui est de mes inspirations, c’est un ensemble assez éclectique… Ça peut être un joli visage avec des taches de rousseur, une magnifique robe de soie ou de paillettes, une promenade au bord de la mer, un éclat de lumière solaire dans l’objectif, des magnolias en fleurs, un bijou en pierre brute, un shooting des un champ, du maquillage avec des paillettes, des nuages dans le ciel bleu, des fleurs comme accessoires… Lorsque je photographie des vêtements, je veux que les gens puissent sentir les tissus à travers la photo, j’aime les textures et je crois qu’il y a tellement de choses que l’on peut faire et représenter avec une image, pas juste une forme. J’adore aussi l’idée de l’image en tant qu’objet, comme une œuvre d’art en soi. J’ai fait un projet photo avec une amie où j’ai imbibé le résultat imprimé dans du thé pour leur donner une apparence antique et je les ai ensuite rephotographiées.

When it comes to inspirations, I’m a little bit all over the place… It can be a pretty face with freckles, a beautiful dress made of silk or sequins, a walk by the sea, flares of sunlight in the lens, blossoming magnolias, jewelry made out of raw stone, shooting in a field, make-up with glitters, clouds in the sky, accessorizing with flowers… When I photograph clothing, I want people to be able to feel the fabrics through the picture, I like textures and I think there’s so much you can do and represent with a picture than just a shape. I also like the idea of the picture as an object, as an art piece itself. I did a project with a friend of mine where I soaked the printed pictures in tea to give them a vintage look and then rephotographed them.

photo MIMI HAMMER collection 2013
model: Karine Dashney

Pourquoi voulais-tu organiser une exposition de photographie maintenant?

Avoir l’opportunité de montrer un côté plus artistique de mon travail photographique m’a vraiment enchantée et il y a tellement de projets personnels que j’aimerais réaliser que cela m’a donné une excellente raison et la motivation de faire l’un d’eux. Je ne vois pas souvent mon travail en imprimé, puisque tout est numérique et sur internet ces jours-ci, alors je suis très heureuse de créer des images qui seront imprimées en grand format et accrochées sur des murs.

To be given the opportunity to show a more artsy side of my work made me really happy and there are so many personal projects I would like to do, that it just gave me a good reason and motivation to realize one of them. I don’t see my work printed very often, since everything is digital and showed on the web these days, so it makes it even more special to create images that will be printed in big format and hanged on walls.

photo – portfolio personel 2013
model: Aubrey Dulcedo
hair/makeup: Jennifer Low

Parles-nous de l’exposition et de son contenu

La série de photos  “Portraits imaginaires” provient d’une idée de collaboration pour un projet photo entre Angie Johnson, la designer derrière la marque de vêtements Norwegian Wood, et moi. Je voulais faire des portraits de filles qui ont des traits peu communs et inspirants, et je voulais créer des images inspirées du concept du camouflage en utilisant des vêtements et des fonds à motifs. Angie était inspirée par l’idée de créer des personnages et elle a déniché et composé de magnifiques combinaisons de tenues et de papiers peints. Nous avons aussi eu l’aide de deux talentueuses maquilleuses et coiffeuses pour compléter les looks : Jennifer Low et Evangelia Pavlakos. Lorsque nous avons mis tous les éléments ensembles au moment de la séance photo, nous avions l’impression que nous donnions vie à des princesses provenant de mondes imaginaires.

The “Portraits Imaginaires” series comes from an idea of a shooting collaboration between Angie Johnson, the designer behind the fabulous clothing line Norwegian Wood, and myself. I wanted to do portraits of girls with uncommon features that inspired me and I wanted to create some sort of camouflage looks with patterns on the clothes and on the backgrounds. Angie was inspired by the idea of creating characters and she got me all the marvelous outfits and wallpaper combinations for the shooting. We also got the help of two amazing make-up artists and hairstylists that helped us complete the looks: Jennifer Low and Evangelia Pavlakos. While putting the pieces together and shooting each girl, we felt like we were creating princesses from imaginary lands.


L’été à Montréal – Summer in the City

Jennifer Glasgow Designs newest styles are in store now!  The hot hot heat is around the corner and its time to get your lightest cotton dresses, your pinstripe shorts and your tank tops!  All in bamboo, organic cotton and Japanese traditional prints.

There is nothing like a Montreal Summer.  Now its time to dress like it.
Jennifer Glasgow Designs nouveaux modèles sont maintenant en magasin! La chaleur est presque ici et c’est le temps d’obtenir les robes légères en coton, les shorts rayés et de vos camisoles! Tout en bambou, coton bio et motifs japonais traditionnels.
Il n’y a rien comme Montréal à l’été.   Maintenant il est temps de s’habiller comme Montréal à l’été.

Fêtes des Mères- guide cadeau chez Général 54

Habituellement, à la fin de la journée de la fête des mères, je vois des pères, des fils, des filles et des partenaires en course au magasin de fleurs pour choisir un bouquet à la dernière minute.  Nous faisons nos appels téléphoniques à travers le pays, les frontières et les mers, pour leur dire que nous pensons à elles.  Je sais que d’être loin de ma mère, m’a fait un peu de complaisance à ce jour de gratitude. Cette année, je vais faire un effort concerté pour envoyer une carte et peut-être trouver quelque chose de spécial pour elle.
Ainsi, cette année, nous avons pensé que, pour ceux d’entre vous qui peuvent visiter en personne ou avoir le temps de poster un petit cadeau, une pensée et une carte, nous vous proposons quelques beaux cadeaux fabriqués localement. Général 54 est un endroit idéal pour trouver des cadeaux à tout moment et en particulier pour ce temps de l’année.
Usually at the end of the day, I see fathers, sons, daughters and partners running to the flower store in haste to snatch up a bouquet.  We make our phone calls across the country, borders and seas, to let them know we are thinking of them.  I know that being far from my Mother, has made me slightly complacent to this day of gratitude.  This year, I am going to make a concerted effort to mail a card and maybe find something special for her.
So this year, we thought, for those of you who can visit in person or have time to mail a little gift, a thought and a card, we would propose some lovely locally made items.  General 54 is a great place to find gifts at any time and particularly for this time of year.
XX  Général 54