Saskatoon got some sad and sudden news this week in that local restaurant, Prairie Harvest closed its doors. If you're anything like me, you assumed their business was thriving, having been acclaimed in a multitude of national articles focused on Saskatoon's culinary scene and even being featured on The Food Network's "You Gotta Eat Here!", and you may not have thought that your reservation mattered all that much. But their closure should serve as a wake-up call that when it comes to local industry, no matter if it's restaurants, retail businesses, music, art, designers, distilleries, or festivals and events, sustained local support is the only way to keep them thriving. Let's face it, plenty of Saskatonians and tourists alike are gonna shop at American Eagle, eat at Montana's, and order Budweiser. The chains are covered. It's our neighbors' ventures we have to look out for. Now, I'm not saying I'll never have another Modern Bowl at the Cactus Club or cut Gap Kids right outta my life but what I am pledging is that I'm going to keep locally-owned businesses and activities top of mind and choose to spend my dollars on them more often.
This Saturday and Sunday's Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival is a perfect opportunity to flex our local support. Clothing and jewelry designers based right here in Saskatchewan will be showcasing their creations on the runway and in a shoppable Marketplace alongside pieces from locally-owned boutiques. It's the sixth year of this awesome festival that was, it's important to note, not created to be a money-maker but to champion local fashion and style. SFDF also works with local makeup artists, models, and hair stylists to bring their artistry and talent to a broader audience, and offers worthwhile talks about business, branding, and new media via their Conference. Most Conference sessions are ten dollars to attend ($40 for the whole day) but many are free, including a photography workshop you don't want to miss put on by Erin Crooks (I'll be styling her models with local apparel). SFDF is simply doing great things for the community and deserves to have record crowds, every year. I'm proud to be hosting the Sunday evening runway event and am excited to take the Saturday show in as a patron. SFDF is one of those events that gets media coverage and is beautifully grand (could you expect less when the Bessborough serves as the venue?) but it's also something that requires continued support because we want the talented designers showcased to keep calling Saskatoon their home.
The bonus to supporting local industry, besides keeping them going, is that it keeps your love of our city going. When I dress Petra in a piece from Rain Melody, Pink Threaded Owl, or ForEverly Yours, especially when I'm traveling, I'm thrilled when someone asks where I got it because I can proudly answer it was handmade in my hometown of Saskatoon. I feel the same about the art on my walls that reflects my prairie home, most of it painted by my late grandmother, Olga Kardash. With a renewed sense of importance, I plan to invite that prairie pride more often.
I want to know how you support local and how you can expand your scope whether it's getting out to more shows, plays, and events, purchasing furniture made in town, shopping at locally-owned businesses, visiting the Farmer's Market, or exploring our off-the-chain culinary scene (p.s. I wanna hear your faves!!). And, of course, I hope to see you this August 26th and 27th at the SFDF Runway, Conference, and Marketplace.