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Who I am and who I’ll be
We sat down with fashion designer Patricia Ewanika to discuss the art of dressing, respect, and intention behind self care.


We sat down with Patricia and her sun-filled new store on a Friday morning. She started by sharing her most recent read – a rare edition of Estée Lauder’s autobiography.  

TE        Estee Lauder said that taking pride in one's appearance  is like taking pride in your intelligence. You work on it, you play with it, it is an ever-evolving, growing thing. It also made me think of an argument that I make when traveling. I get onto a plane and I see people wanting to be comfortable. I get that – but to a degree. When there is a guy next to me who's wearing sweatpants, no underwear, t-shirt, flip-flops, I'm not judging him for choosing that clothing or wanting to be comfortable. What I'm thinking is he's being disrespectful - it's a matter of respect. You are in an enclosed space sitting next to a stranger for an extended period of time. It's disrespectful to not show some degree of care in your attire.

To me, makeup or clothing can be used in similar way. It is showing a degree of respect to the people that you're sharing dinner with or going over to someone's house or having an exchange over the counter. It's showing respect that I care enough to present myself in this way as a respect to the person that you're engaging with. It’s what you're doing to feel good to be in the world and I find when you do that for yourself and people see it gives other people permission to do so.

19/99        Take us through your beauty routine. Morning and night.

TE        It's a little different in the morning than night. In the morning my face really is kind of clean already so I'll use something a little bit lighter because I can't go just without. I like the feel of warm water on my skin. It prepares my skin, the warmth, for putting on a moisturizer. So I'll use a light cleanser, a serum or moisturizer in the summertime and in the wintertime I'll add a very light tinted moisturizer just to kind of smooth everything out. 

At night, same kind of cleansing routine maybe with a little clay spongy thing and then I've moved away from moisturizer at night and I use a face oil; the F. Miller line. I also use her body oil; a few drops in the bath or when I come out of the bath I'll put a few drops in my palm and I'll do that all over. I bathe every night, it's part of the relaxation, part of being able to fall asleep easier. I never was a fan of showering; it can feel drying and just like a harsh thing. I know some people like to jump in that shower in the morning but I like a quieter entrance to the day. 

19/99        Do you have a tinted moisturizer you always use? 

TE       I'm using an Armani one right now but I find the color is not quite right. The one I'm using right now feels a little too light, when I go one step up it's too dark but I haven't found anything else that I like. I don't go out to the counters anymore; a friend will say ‘Oh mine is Armani’ and I’ll be like, ‘Oh is it? Do you like it? Okay’ and then I'll go get it. I might put on a little bit of powder. I find I don't get the shine that I used to but I like a loose powder and I always have a compact. You know, I pull that compact out and just do a little dab with my nose in the bathroom, it’s old fashion, but I like it. I've taken to not wearing eyeliner and mascara like I used to; that would be the only thing that I would have worn before on a regular basis. Now it's more just a blusher and I fill in my eyebrows a bit because they're not really there if I don't do anything. I've tried doing nothing to them and I kind of like the look, no eyebrows at all, they are very fair and there's not a lot of depth to them. It’s kind of interesting. As I’ve gotten older and started to wear glasses, I don't need the definition of the eyeliner and mascara to brighten up my face because now I've got the glasses, and to me it's that doubling up - makeup, glasses, earrings; it’s too much. So I peeled one thing away, which was the mascara and eyeliner. 

19/99        How has your beauty routine evolved over the years?

TE       I don't think I've changed that much. It’s better products now, but in terms of makeup application it's pretty much been that. With some changes in eyeliner; a couple years it’d be on top, a couple years will be underneath. Whatever my mood is. Always a little bit of lip gloss, I’ve never been a fan so much of lipstick. I have some lipsticks that I do wear but generally it's always been a gloss. Early days there must have been someone who told me to start using under eye cream, even though I probably didn't need it, and I've always done it. I used to use those heavy moisturizers at night because I had eczema. I didn't understand what eczema was and took it as a dry skin thing when really it was more internal so I would use a heavy heavy moisturizer at night to combat that. Now I use very little at night; I do the cleanser and then just a drop of oil and that's it. 

19/99        What are some of your favorite beauty products? 

TE       When I was young and I would go on a shopping trip with my mum on occasion as a treat. We would go to the Paddle Wheel Room restaurant, it was kind of cafeteria style, maybe just a little bit fancier because there were booths. It was the chopped jello cubes, lettuce leaf with a dollop of cottage cheese and sliced tomato, kind of thing. I remember sitting there watching an elderly lady across from us wearing a leopard print capelet thing with the hat, this was the early 70s. She finished her cottage cheese, lettuce and tomato lunch and then she snapped open her bag and pulled out her compact. Most women would go to the washroom in those days, they wouldn't do it in public, so she was a little furtive, but she picked up her compact, checked her hair, did a little dab and put it back in her bag and I thought that is just the height of civility, so I always have a compact in my bag. 

Image via @ewanika Image via @ewanika


Image via @ewanika Image via @ewanika

19/99        Is there anything you won't leave your house without?

TE        I used to say I never leave the house without my eyebrows but now I'm playing with the idea of not doing them up. 

19/99        What inspired that? Not doing the eyebrows. 

TE        Arnare justo sit amet, porttitor sem. Pellentesque quis purus ut ipsum dapibus imperdiet. Nam mattis feugiat dui et interdum. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Vivamus dapibus quis est non commodo.

19/99        How do you react to the statement ‘act your age’?

TE        I guess it's laughable. I don't want to because there will be people who take that seriously. Sure, there's a thing about being mature and acting accordingly in a situation. There is such a continuum now…fifties are the new forties, all of that. I think there's room for all ages. If you're younger and you want to look a little bit older you can carry yourself a certain way, dress a certain way. I think really it's up to the individual how they want to do themselves.

19/99        How do you react to the term ‘age appropriate’?

TE        I mean same thing. Given that my skin is different than your skin maybe I want to apply and use things differently or use different products because of that

19/99        So when you're talking about acting your age and being age-appropriate, there's no behavior that you really associate with being a certain age? 

TE        It’s across the board, whether you're younger or older, to be courteous and respectful. I just thought of something from Estee Lauder’s autobiography; one of the misconception is that as women get older they don't care or don't want to put the time into it and for Lauder, that was the competitors advertising and way of approaching makeup as something you applied to make yourself attractive. She never used that approach in her advertising because she felt that a woman of any age wants to put her best self forward, so it doesn't matter the age of the person. She felt that all woman want to be the best that they can be. 

19/99        Our tastes may change as we get older. What did you like before that you don't like now and what did you dislike before but now enjoy? 

TE        I was recently looking at a portfolio of sketches from university and they are so consistent to me now. I started making my own clothes and it's just been like that all the way along. Now though, I won't apologize for wearing something that gives me pleasure, like an oversized dress. Someone will say you can't see your figure in that, but that's not why I'm wearing it. I'm not wearing it to flatter someone else’s view of me. I'm wearing it because it gives me pleasure; I like how the silk feels against me, how it moves in the breeze. Maybe there's a cut or a silhouette that will remind me of something costume-wise and it's got nothing to do with ‘does this flatter my figure’. Obviously I want to look good, I'm not going to wear something that really goes too far in one direction. I do want to present myself a certain way. I often feel overdressed here, and then I go to Paris and I feel underdressed. It's not that they're wearing really fancy clothing - they're not apologetic about it. Here, if you're wearing something fancier than usual, and if you're not young and confident and really striding with it, there is a little bit of that am I sticking my head up a little too high, am I standing up too much. But I find lately that I'm not apologizing so much anymore, or tamping it down like I used to.

19/99        When do you feel most beautiful?

TE        When I have chosen to wear that item that really is more pleasure than it is duty. As often as I wear trousers I will feel most beautiful wearing a dress and it's because of movement. Walking here this morning; this dress, the way it feels on your skin, the way it moves in the breeze, straw bag, pearl earnings, it’s a good day. 

19/99        Is there anything that scares you about aging?  

TE        I don't mind aging. I rail against ageism in things but I don't necessarily mind aging myself. The thing that scares me is mobility, the idea of not being able to move around the way you want to. In terms of aging, I’m going to quote Estee Lauder again, she said ‘wrinkles show your experience, a more mature face, to her, shows vitality and the experience that the woman has accumulated is in her face.

19/99       If you could ask the younger generations one question what would it be? 

TE        I guess because of what is going on in the world right now, what is going on in the news…it is more how do you feel about the future, what do they feel it holds in store for them? Because of environmental issues, the rise certainly the ideologies.. When I was younger it was pretty standard what you imagined where you were going, but nowadays I would wonder what a younger person feels about that. 

19/99        If you could ask the older generations one question what would it be? 

TE        If they had any regrets so that I still have time to check around… 

19/99        Is there a point where we stop growing and learning?

TE        Never. That’s what makes you fight a little more, where you show your vitality is the fact that if you want to keep growing and learning - it'll show in who you are and how you present yourself. People are talking about retirement and I can't imagine. Whether it’s a function of the means to retire, I don't think I would even if I had those means, because working for me is a part of that learning and growing or can be if you make it.


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