In this instalment of Sharp and Peroni’s multi-part series on Canadian trendsetters, we connected two successful Torontonian cultural luminaries and got them talking about style, travel and being Canada’s place on the world stage. Both men are fixtures in the Canadian fashion scene, as well as emissaries to the rest of the world through their work. Jake Rosenberg is a founder of The Coveteur and Daniel Torjman is the creative director of 18Waits.
You guys are both working on international brands that are proud to be Canadian. What does it mean to be a Canadian product?
DT: I don’t try to design Canadian clothing but I think it’s informed with our sensibilities and that’s what its about. Quality crafted in Canada. There’s a lot of history and culture and talent in this country.
JR: It’s funny. Canadians definitely recognize The Coveteur as Canadian but outside of Canada most people automatically think New York. Once they do find out that we’re from Canada they love it so much.
You both travel a lot to the US. Do you prefer LA or New York?
JR: I prefer LA because I’m more of a West Coast personality. In New York, after 10 days, I’m ready to have a little breathing room. I love having the mountains and the ocean right there. I came from more of an outdoorsy lifestyle, guiding hiking trips and canoe trips. It’s definitely a different world but I’ve learned a lot and I get to do amazing things and go to beautiful places with beautiful people.
What does good taste look like? Jake, you’ve seen inside some of the best dressed people’s closets. Is there a common thread?
JR: No. Everyone has personal style and that’s what it is: personal. Whatever you feel comfortable in. For the most part, I wear a black t-shirt and jeans everyday. And I work in fashion. But that’s what I like to wear. I think people dress over-the-top but that’s the way they want to be perceived and some people are super subtle even though they live in a crazy world.
DT: My thought to style is that I don’t care what your style is but just own it. Feel comfortable doing it. I sometimes see these guys in $3,000 suit but the suit’s wearing them, they’re not wearing the suit and that just doesn’t make sense. Whatever your style is and whatever you choose to do, really go for it.
You were both chosen to submit work to the Peroni art series, which was recently presented at the Terrazza di Peroni event in Toronto. How was that process?
JR: Being able to be part of it and be considered a luminary for the event was very special. We all had to submit a photo that was taken in Italy, I believe. The picture was something that we either took or that we were in. I submitted a photo that I shot of a good friend of mine in Italy from a photoshoot that I did there.
DT: I submitted a photo of me and my father walking down a small street in Italy. I carry these little notebooks with me because I don’t have a strong voice and I don’t have a good memory. My dad was telling me a good story and I wanted to remember it so I was writing it down as we were walking and my wife took a picture of us candidly. It remains one of my favourite photos that I’m in, period.
JR: They paired each of us up with a fine artist and the funny thing was that I was paired up with a girl that I went to art school with. Completely random. This girl, Jen Mann, is an amazing artist and we both went to OCAD. I actually had a crush on her. I ended up switching programs so I hadn’t seen her in six years. And then she showed up and presented me with her interpretation of my photograph. It was a very special, amazing thing.
DT: The concept is awesome. It’s fun, it’s creative and it mixes together multiple art forms. We were all really pleasantly surprised. Hopefully we’ll be invited back. What I like about Peroni is that they do just one thing and they do it really well. There’s something romantic about that.