Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Janna Zittrer

Whenever I would visit Montreal, I would always end up shopping the same street over and over again. I had no idea where the cool boutiques were.

Janna Zittrer, founder of Montreal Shopping Tours and Montreal Correspondent for FLARE magazine has the answer to that problem and gives us a sneak peek into her life and the fashion scene in Montreal.

How did you end up with a career in fashion and journalism?

My first job was in the copy department at FLARE in Toronto. It was a dream job that fuelled both sides of myself: the fashion fanatic and the grammar nerd. 

How would you describe your personal style?

Classic with a twist. I gravitate toward feminine cuts but try to incorporate edgy and eclectic elements like an eye-catching accessory or an unexpected print.  

Tell us about your business, Montreal Shopping Tours!

Montreal Shopping Tours offers tourists and locals the unique opportunity to shop with the help of a fashion editor and take advantage of personalized recommendations, exclusive discounts, trend advice, tips, swag and transportation. It’s a social shopping experience like none other in the city. 

Which shopping streets should Hip + Urban Girls hit up when in Montreal?

Most people are familiar with Montreal’s Sainte-Catherine Street, but many of the city’s shopping gems are nestled in neighbourhoods like Westmount and the Mile End. There are incredible independently owned boutiques on streets such as Sherbrooke, Saint-Paul, Laurier and Bernard—and those are the stores I love helping people discover.

For those of us that are fashion clueless or simply overwhelmed - what are a couple current fashion trends that anyone can pull-off?

Believe it or not, the season’s over-the-top whimsy can work for anyone. It’s really a matter of scale and selecting what works for you. If the thought of mixing prints makes your eyes cross worse than Magic Eye, try a pre-clashed piece or work with basic patterns, such as polka dots and stripes. There was an explosion of rich embellishment on the runway, so dare to combine multiple statement-makers (the striking shoe, the graphic bag, the bold bauble, the patterned pant) and channel a slightly more lavish version of your usual self. 

What did you study in College/University? Is there anything you would do differently or advise others about?

I studied journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto. It’s important to learn the basics, of course, but also to keep in mind that writing is an ongoing process. There is always room for improvement, so never stop seeking out writers you admire or being open to feedback. 

What is your typical day like?

On tour days, I start by preparing the swag bags and double-checking the itinerary; then it’s off to pick up the clients and hit the shops, where I pull pieces (if requested) and offer insight and tips. Otherwise, I’m busy working on the Montreal Shopping Tours blog with my amazing team of contributors, writing features for publications like FLARE, LOULOU and Hello! Canada, or scouting new stores and hot spots in Montreal. 

Who inspires you?

Successful people with great senses of humour: Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Sloane Crosley and FLARE’s former editor-in-chief and current publisher of Hello! Canada, Lisa Tant.
What would you tell your 20 year-old self?

Wear whatever you want. As you get older, the line between what’s appropriate and what’s not becomes more apparent, so take advantage of being young and able to experiment without any limitations.

What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?

We’re lucky to live in an era when it’s mainstream to follow multiple dreams in one lifetime. Don’t worry about choosing what to do for the rest of your life. We, and the world, are changing constantly, so do what feels inspiring and authentic now. 

Tweet: @mtlshops

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