Last night was bittersweet. I had to say goodbye to Danielle Meder, a woman wise beyond her years who endlessly lit up every crowded room of swishy sippers I have ever stepped foot in. She’s a friend I’ve had for less than a year, but it feels like it has been much longer – Toronto is losing one of the good ones. She – without overselling – has broken the mold of what it means to be a blogger in Toronto – coming from me (a relative newcomer), I believe Danielle has challenged what it means to be successful. You have seen her at events, she makes business transactions and she sells herself, but there is no overt showy quality to her presence. She doesn’t need to pancake make-up, party to the end, or bitch out her competition. She’s real, in every sense of the overused “reality tv” expression and it is why I love her. She doesn’t even have a cell phone, because she’s only as connected as she wants to be. You may not agree with her method, but she does what works for her and at the end of the day, don’t we all just want to do what [we] want?
I remember waiting in line for sushi with Danielle after a Greta Constantine show. She joked, “someone has to eat it. I’m probably going to eat and then leave.” And she did. She isn’t above meeting people or talking to the right important person, but unlike many, she challenges herself to make productive use of her time. Sure, fashion has a glamour aspect and she enjoys it, but I’ve always noticed that the party isn’t her end game. She doesn’t stop at the invite and every step is purposeful. Although I am sad that she will be heading to London (UK) in 2 days, I am also envious. Few people can muster the courage to strip down to their bare essentials and dream big enough to get on a plane and just go. I envy that freedom and admire her courage.
Since graduating from Ryerson’s fashion school years ago, Danielle has created a successful business (as a fashion illustrator), blog and fan base and I like to think it has everything to do with her own fashion methodology. Although our blogger outlook may have significant differences, our interpretations of “industry” sync up. There are moments to smile, moments to sell yourself, but doing it your own way is its own reward (as cheesy as that sounds – never pander).
I may have met Danielle a short time ago, – as my own journey first began as a student – but her willingness to be candid led me to believe that I had met someone who would understand where I’m coming from. And I was right. I credit Danielle for a lot of what I know about the “biz” and how it functions. If you ever need someone to just talk and listen (yes, this is important), I’ve found she’s the ear and voice to trust. I applied for a position many months ago and when I discussed it with her, I knew she was taking in every word. I know this, because she sensed (without me saying it) that I wasn’t going to be happy if I got it. Even though I work late nights and long days, Danielle saw what I couldn’t and she said something. In a world full of talkers, this element is sometimes missing in fashion, but I always knew that Danielle could be the voice of reason. Sometimes, even when I wasn’t looking for it.
If I had to put words into Danielle’s mouth, I think she’d say “if you don’t ‘do,’ you won’t” because anyone could get on a plane and leave, but not everyone will. So as much as it is sad to lose her to London, I know she’ll take on her new opportunity with as much drive and passion as I saw in Toronto. The location may change, but I think it is safe to say that some things never will. Good luck Danielle and YOU ARE WELCOME London (ha, as if I had anything to do with it). Till we meet again.
top photo by Caitlin Cronenberg