Canadian Artists Model Their Signature Outfits
Nardwuar the Human Serviette, the Dirty Nil, Dominique Fils-Aimé and more show off their favourite clothing
Published Feb 08, 2021With social gatherings off the table and a long, cold winter keeping everyone inside, there are far fewer reasons to get dressed up than there used to be. Like everyone, Canadian artists have been spending much of their time in pyjamas and sweats, with their best clothes hanging unworn in the closet.
Since it will still be a while before we see them onstage, we asked some of our favourite artists to put on their best outfits for a photo — and they delivered glamorous shirts, retro athleisure, and even a plant pot on the head.
Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean!
Hey Ocean! singer (and My Little Pony voice actor) Ashleigh Ball has been wearing a fuzzy yellow onesie when promoting her upcoming debut solo LP, Before All the Magic's Gone. She cites that as her favourite outfit as of late, and shared this photo (which completes the look with adhesive gems on her face).
"I found this bright yellow fun fur suit in a fabric store in Vancouver. It was on a rack in the back left over from Halloween, I think," she explains. "It's oversized and has a Velcro strip up the back, and when you put it on you feel like a Muppet in space. I hope to wear it for a live show one day. Also, it's my favourite colour."
Luke Bentham of the Dirty Nil
The Dirty Nil's singer-guitarist Luke Bentham brings his rock'n'roll energy to life with a snazzy selection of shirts — including this custom-made studded vest by Wendy Rofihe of Canary Naturals, as seen in the band's "Doom Boy" video. He's even got a matching mask to (safely) complete the look. "The studs make me feel like an electric gladiator, the stars make me feel like I'm holding hands with God," Bentham tells Exclaim! "I'm proud to call Wendy a friend and am lucky as hell to have her make my threads."
Toronto DJ and producer Paul Chin released his hip-hop/R&B-leaning EP Full Spectrum last year, and he truly gave us the full spectrum of his wardrobe with this getup. He's got on Air Jordan shoes and fleece sweats, a vintage Levi's jacket, a Ghostly International hoodie and T-shirt, and a silk head scarf from his mom.
Of the headscarf, he explains, "It's from New Zealand, and it features a beautiful print of the islands, local flora, kiwis, and other birds indigenous to the country. She gave it to me to tie up my hair the night before a wedding and told me I could keep it. She received it as a gift years ago but, bafflingly, she never felt confident enough in the style to wear it out. Meanwhile, I've gotten endless compliments on it every time I wear it."
Electro-pop artist Jeff Cancade, a.k.a. Devours, makes a big statement with his clothing. He changes looks for each album, and having just released a new double A-side single, he shared this signature ensemble with Exclaim!
"I still adore my rainbow blouse and coloured Keds from a few years back," he explains. "I was still grappling with some internalized homophobia at the time, and it helped liberate and empower me to assemble an outfit with queer energy and wear it loud and proud around Vancouver."
Genre-jumping soul singer Dominique Fils-Aimé (who is releasing her album Three Little Words on February 12) used to wear all-black nearly all the time — but she's been mixing things up as of late. "When I do wear colour now I go all out with all the flashy colours everywhere. I think it's called overcompensation," she says. "This is my favourite outfit because comfort is my best friend, but also, these colours put me in a joyful mood and I feel like a pretty flower. Don't forget to have some fun!"
Zack Gray of the Zolas
Vancouver pop-rockers the Zolas spent 2020 releasing a series of stand-alone singles, some of which had a distinct Britpop vibe akin to early Oasis. It's a perfect fit, then, that frontman Zack Gray draws his style inspiration from times gone by. "Lately, my style Venn diagram has been the overlap of two decaying peace-and-love eras: '90s acid house athleisure and early '70s sleaze," he tells Exclaim!
Pop songwriter Thom Kolb, a.k.a. Vancouver's des hume, tells Exclaim! that he loves wearing anything colourful, including this outfit he calls an "orange creamsicle dream." It includes his girlfriend's cropped sweater (with a matching collared shirt and socks), a velvet headband from Band of Sisters, elastic-waisted pants from MUJI, and boots funded by a recent musical success. He tells Exclaim!, "I got a big royalty check this year from my song 'Wild World,' and, instead of investing in GameStop, I bought the boots of my dreams. They are made by Eytys in Sweden, and they have brought me far more pleasure than any shorted stock could." His album Bub came out this past Friday (February 5).
Regina Gently (a.k.a. the drag alter-ego of Toroto's Gentleman Reg) makes glitzy, uplifting pop music, and her outfits bring those vibrant sounds for life. Here she is in her current go-to wig, from Mikah Styles. As for the shirt, she tells Exclaim!, "This shirt was given to me from stylist Vanessa Kathleen as part of a whole '80s power suit business woman look we were going for. I love the shirt so much though I find I wear it without the jacket more often than with."
Nardwuar the Human Serviette
When we asked interviewer extraordinaire Nardwuar the Human Serviette to share his favourite outfit, we were sure he would show of one of his all-tartan ensembles, or maybe that Canadian jumpsuit he has worn as the frontman of the Evaporators. Instead, he wanted to give a special shoutout to this new shirt that he got during lockdown and is looking forward to taking out on the streets.
"Burcu's Angels in Vancouver has an amazing array of clothing," he says. "Perfect for Zooming in these times! I just got this shirt from them and can't wait to wear it! Doot doola doot doo... Burcu's Angels!"
The East Coast duo of vocalist Frank Kadillac and drummer Adrian Morris make eclectic pop music — but when it comes to their personal style, they're more concerned with movies than music. They're particularly inspired by '80s and '90s flicks, including Dazed and Confused, Stand by Me, The Outsiders and Tarantino's early classics.
"This was one of our favourite outfits because it makes us feel like we were a part of an era of creation we really admire," the band say in a statement to Exclaim! "Down to the tucked in shirts, rolled up sleeves and the blue jeans. We like to think the clothing you wear is armour. Wear it with confidence and you'll be able to walk through any battle ground unharmed."