Meet Cara McLeay, the senior buyer at Canada’s first concept store Secret Location, and beauty behind the Vancouver-based blog afashionloveaffair.com. Read on to catch a glimpse into her unique career, her favourite hotspots in the city, and what the fashionistas can look forward to this spring!
How did you become a buyer for Secret Location? What is your favourite part about the job?
I love my job! I applied when Secret Location was not yet open, and was lucky enough to start as an Assistant Buyer, and have now moved up to being the Senior Buyer. My favourite part of the job is definitely traveling to Fashion Week in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Florence and Berlin…seeing the new collections and being immersed in fashion is truly inspirational!
What does a typical work day look like for you?
My days truly vary…during Fashion Week of course I am traveling, which includes going to runway shows and having buying appointments with brands…in Vancouver, my days consists of doing research to making and prepping orders to brainstorming with the SL team to trying new menu items in the restaurant to helping plan our next event…it is a new experience everyday!
Tell us a little about Secret Location for those who may not know about the shop.
Secret Location is the first Concept Store in Canada…meaning it is a lifestyle store that houses clothing, beauty products, shoes, jewellery, shoes, bags, electronics, books, magazines, homewares and gadgets and also has a restaurant, all in one space. We house brands including Markus Lupfer, Simone Rocha, Paula Cademartori, Mawi London and Vintage Chanel – and the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner…it is a place you can spend an entire day and just hang out!
You travel far and wide in the name of fashion as your blog depicts. Of all the Fashion Weeks you have attended which is your favourite and why?
I love fashion week in both New York and Paris the most…the style there is most like what I wear myself (not as edgy and avant garde as London and Milan, for example) and the energy and people that go to New York and Paris are so much fun! You can always count on spotting some amazingly inspiring people including Karl Lagerfeld and Miroslava Duma…it is an experience! I also love the way that Fashion Week is organized in both NYC and Paris…there is a big focus on the shows, which is fun!
Fashion is always two steps ahead; as we lace up our booties, bathing suits are being sent down the runway. What can the fashionistas of Vancouver look forward to for spring 2014?
Spring 2014 is full of colour, prints, and life! Deluxe Sport looks are sticking around, and modern romance is taking over! Pretty pastels will continue (keep your pink items from FW13!) as well as cultural prints, motif tops florals and stripes/checks. For men, it is going tropical, look for palm tree prints in greens/blues.
Which celebrities, if any, are your fashion inspirations?
I definitely look to celebrities for fashion inspiration…I love Kate Bosworth, Diane Kruger, The Olsens, Miroslava Duma, and of course, bloggers! Some of my favourites include Sincerely Jules, Kayture, Atlantic-Pacific and Song of Style.
What other experience do you have in the fashion industry?
I was actually in marketing before I moved into the fashion industry, so I really began my career when I began my blog in 2011.
What fashion blogs do you visit daily?
They All Hate Us, Sincerely Jules, Kayture, Neon Blush, Song of Style, Harper and Harley, Tuula Vintage, Gary Pepper Vintage, to name a few!
What are your other interests and hobbies?
I love being outside…so I am into all outdoor activities…swimming, running, paddle boarding, snowboarding, you name it! I was a dancer until I was 25 (ballet/jazz) so I love to go out dancing with friends, and I love to cozy up with tea and a good book or good show (Have you seen Hell on Wheels!? So Good!)
What is on heavy rotation on your iPod at the moment?
It is such a mix, I love everything from The Black Keys to Frank Ocean to Lauren Hill to Raphael Saadiq to Otis Redding to Sam Cooke…and pretty much anything from the 90s that I can sing along to!
What are your favourite local hangouts?
I love to have breakfast at Beaucoup Bakery, I love sushi from Akira on Denman, I love to just hang out on the Seawall and to have drinks/dinner at The Diamond, Cuchillo, Georgia Hotel Patio, or Chambar, to name a few! And of course, for shopping and eating, Secret Location!
Interview via Micaela Monk