MASHUP STYLE: Jack Your Body Dancers Rocking Second Hand

Dancer posing against a wall


Shop till you drop…dead?

In the aftermath of Boxing Day blowouts it’s a great New Year’s Resolution to take time to consider how fashion impacts the planet.

GreenPeace recently launched the Global Detox Campaign in an effort to inform people on how the garment industry, especially in places like China, is turning “public waterways into private sewers.”

According to GreenPeace 320 million people in China are without access to clean drinking water, 40% of surface water is considered polluted and 20% of the urban drinking water is contaminated.

Quote regarding how toxic chemicals are in 2 thirds of garments


The campaign sparked an around-the-world protest against companies like Zara, Victoria Secret, the Gap and Adidas some of which have now agreed to “detox”.

These toxins don’t just end up the water. New clothing is often sprayed with formaldehyde to protect against mildew and to keep fabrics wrinkle free. We then absorb the toxins through our largest permeable organ – our skin – via the clothes we wear.

With our purchasing dollars, especially during those Boxing Week Sales, we vote ‘YES’ for the continuation of harmful systems unless we opt to change our habits and the way we engage with mall culture and consumerism.


Necessity (mixed with creativity) is the mother of all invention (and prevention).

One way to change is to rock Second Hand Style.

Group of dancers in bright colours in front of grafitti wallThe gorgeous dancers from JACK YOUR BODY – Emily Law, Kristine Flores, Ashley Perez and Jasmyn Fyffe –  demonstrated, on the MIXED BAG MAG #MashUPStyle shoot, how to re-mix used clothing. I met JYB dancer Jasmyn Fyffe, when she modeled at a prior shoot and I was inspired by her ability to take cast offs and make them fresh. Many of us do this out of necessity as a way to save money but as we become more engaged around the issues of environmental protection re-using, up-cycling and swapping become great ways to assert our fashion sense while remaining true to the cause.

Profile of woman with long hair and patchwork jacket
Female dancer in a crouched posed against a wall
Woman holding a necklace in between her teeth and grimacing
Female dancer kicking up one leg in a pose
Profile of a young woman
Female dancer jumping up in a pose
Young woman leaning against a wall looking back at the camera
Female Dancer doing a handstand on one hand
4 young women posing against a wall


On the subject of Second Hand Style, Street Culture and Re-Mixing Emily Law (co-choreographer of JACK YOUR BODY along with Ashley Perez) explains that for the show:

“we attempted to costume each section with vintage clothing as much as possible. The majority of the cast owned a lot of second hand clothing, so it was not that challenging to find great retro pieces. Creating this show gave me a chance to wear some of the retro clothing I have been collecting! 

Analogous to using authentic clothing pieces from each era, we used classic ‘vintage songs’ specific to each time period. By creating to these songs we are giving them a second life just like the clothing.”

In Street Culture fashion and music riff off each other in a constant creative conversation. Just like DJs who re-mix retro beats to make them fresh the clothing is also about taking the best of the past and making it stylistically relevant to the present. Perfect timing for a world in need of more sustainability (but sexy) choices!

4 young women posing against a wall
All above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

“Jack Your Body is a high-energy dance performance that pays homage to American street dance culture. The cast poses, struts, waacks and jacks their way through soul train, paradise garage and other iconic street dance scenarios. Issues of race, gender and social status come into focus during this dynamic dance piece that explores the evolution of underground social dances from the 70s-90s.”

JACK YOUR BODY runs until this coming Sunday, January 19

Tue Jan 14 9:15pm
Thu Jan 16 9:30pm
Fri Jan 17 5:00pm
Sat Jan 18 2:30pm
Sun Jan 19 7:30pm

WHERE: Factory Mainspace on 125 Bathurst St, Toronto
HOW MUCH: $15, purchase tickets here

Follow on Facebook and twitter @Mixmixdance and join Facebook Event Page

Get involved with GreenPeace’s Global Detox Campaign by signing their the Detox Manifesto and tweeting your support. 

Women in zombie makeup protesting chemicals used in fashion


GETTING INTO THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT IN KENSINGTON: Courage My Love & My Memories of Christmas Past

No matter how cold it gets Kensington Market is always rocking the Reggae beats and juicy coloured apparel!

My maternal grandfather imported goods from Asia. I have inherited laughing Buddhas from China, beautifully carved wooden animals from the Philippines and a small mother-of-pearl table from Afghanistan or maybe it was Pakistan? That fact changes each time my great aunt tells me about its origins.

My grandfather’s office, a converted garage off the side of the house, was a place that as a child I knew magic existed. I would travel the world from the safety of his lap. The room smelled like sandalwood and his shaving soap. For a kid it was this cozy place that nurtured my desire to explore the entire world when I was all grown up.

Christmas time with grandpa was all about grab bags full of realistically writhing wooden snakes and finger puppets, tiny glass animals and strange candy.

And there is only one place I have found that totally embodies my grandfather’s spirit. As I walked off the snowy Kensington street into the warm lit space that Courage My Love ALWAYS is I missed my grandfather and those childhood Christmases with his grab bag full of surprises.

So if you are looking to stocking stuff in the most unusual of ways with weird, wonderful and low environmental impact purchases get to Courage My Love to snatch up their gift baskets, tin ornaments and upcycled goods. There are also beads and buttons, kimonos and kaftans, vintage leather goods and most likely a Panama hat somewhere in the mix!

The perfect antidote to the mall, Courage My Love is a place where magic still exists!

(Miss you Grandpa Nelson. Much love. XXO. L.)

“Kensington Market has been a market and a community in Toronto since the late 1800s. It has developed its unique character fed by waves of immigrants from all over the world and still feeds the city in various ways. The crowded streets host tourists on patios taking in the sights, food shoppers, artists, suburban sightseers, and in the 1980s the old houses on one of the market streets, Kensington Avenue, took on a new life as Jewish food and clothing businesses moved out and a mix of Portuguese food shops, Asian cafés and vintage clothing stores took over. The first vintage clothing store was Courage My Love in 1980.” read more about the history of Courage My Love…