Lennard Taylor: Canada’s own fashion Matisse

Photo credit: Aditee Kissoon

Born and raised in Winnipeg, with an ancestry rooted in Britain and Switzerland, Lennard Taylor makes designs that belong at the Grand Palais catwalk. Every brushstroke blossoms into a work of art; every piece is individually crafted by the artist’s hands. Taylor’s design career emerged after a tour of Europe to pursue his dream of becoming a soccer star. With a new boutique in the heart of Winnipeg, the designer’s artwork paid a visit to John Fluevog Shoes Ottawa between May 25th and 27th.

Seated by the sunny windows at the front of the store, Lennard beautifully crafted new illustrations on a series of shirts while sporting his own Fluevogs. Taylor’s pop up shop parallels John Fluevog’s own artistic journey, each shoe handcrafted with real flowers adorning the patent leather, every pair of mismatched floral flats made on one piece of leather, emphasizing peculiarity.

You can find Taylor’s unique designs at his flagship boutique in the Historic Exchange District of Winnipeg and his brand new boutique in downtown Winnipeg, or you can check out his work and connect with the artist at lennardtaylor.com. As an avid Fluevogger, I had the honour of sitting down with Lennard Taylor and seeing him create a design.

Ottawa Life Magazine: How long have you been making clothes?

Lennard Taylor: I have been making clothes for eleven years and painting for sixteen years.

Why do you choose to hand paint each design individually?

I choose to hand paint my clothing so that each is a work of art. It’s as unique as its wearer. It gives the wearer an eye-catching appearance that is bound to be talked about.

How long does a piece take to finish?

The time really depends on how I’m feeling in the moment. Time is irrelevant as long as the finished product is something that my new friend is happy with.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration comes from the world around and how it interacts with us. What do we have to do each day and why do we need to do it?

I see your sizes begin from xxxs through xxxl and each outfit ranges with a variety of pockets, how does this diversity translate into your design process?

When I design, I try to think about my woman and where she’s going and what she’s doing. This is the main driving force for me. My goal is to make people smile and feel good with whatever I create.

Why did you pick John Fluevog Shoes Ottawa for your pop up shop?

I’ve had a love of Fluevog shoes for a long time. They have unique shapes and design that makes them eye-catching works of art. The John Fluevog shoes company has a lot of core values that the Lennard Taylor company prides itself on, so naturally they’re a good fit for us. Like me, a lot of my clients are also Fluevoggers, I make a lot of timeless classics that are complemented by the beautiful, eye-catching Fluevogs.

What does the future of fashion look like and what does it mean to you?

The future of fashion revolves around having a few good pieces that compliment each other. Fast fashion must die a fast death in my eyes. We can no longer go down this path of destroying the planet so people can have cheap clothing. We, as the human race have a choice to buy quality, ethically made fashion. Let us make the right choice.

What advice would you give to your younger self as an artist?

My advice would be to be patient — that it will all work out. Nothing in life is easy and no path worth venturing on is going to be sunny all the time.

Why does fashion matter to you?

Fashion can change your mood, it has the power to change how you are feeling. If you’re having a bad day and you put on a nice outfit, you automatically feel better. That’s what it means to me. My goal in life is to make people smile and feel good, whether it’s with my clothing, art, or words — I just want to make people smile and feel good.