Whitney Linen is an on-line shopping boutique focussing on linen from fashion & clothing, to table linens and bedding. We design and manufacture all our products, using raw linen from the Baltic States, one of the largest exporters of linen in the world.
“Linen is one of the world’s oldest fabrics. It is made from the flax flower (Linun Usitatissimun), which grows wild in the Baltic and now, under cultivation, in endless fields in the countryside.”
Whitney Westwood, founder of Whitney Linen, has been involved in the fashion world for almost two decades. Westwood got her start in the industry as an international model with Elite, and has worked in fashion representation, event planning, marketing and PR over the years. More recently she worked as a partner in an online fashion and lifestyle magazine. As a result, she has had the opportunity to work with such fashion and entertainment icons as Gucci, Hermès, Valentino, Lenny Kravitz, P Diddy and Maxwell, to name a few.
Her deep well of experience and boundless dedication to fashion provided the passion to launch Whitney Linen. “My love of fine garments and timeless classics started when I was a child. My parents brought the first Hermès store to Toronto and ran it for 15 years. I grew up with Hermès, so to speak, and the colours and textures of the beautiful silks and leather goods have had a profound influence on my own design aesthetic,” says Westwood. “I have spent a lot of time in Europe and am always fascinated by the elegant men and women, dressed in linen, walking the cobbled streets of France and Italy. The more linen is worn, the better it looks. I want to introduce the comfort and confidence of this image to North Americans, but with a twist that’s decidedly ‘Whitney’,” she says.
Franciska Veress, designer for Whitney Linen, immigrated from Hungary to Toronto in 2001 where she worked towards establishing herself in the Canadian fashion industry. She got her start as a fashion show production assistant with Monarch Events Group, and there she gained invaluable experience learning the ins and outs of the inner workings of fashion in Canada.
In March 2010, Franciska founded her own fashion design company, Veress Couture, and launched her “Corset Collection” at a fundraiser event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Her designs were an immediate success, and led to the production of a Fall/Winter collection of real fur accessories in both 2010 and 2011. Her designs have been featured at events like Catwalk Cure and Bell Celebrity Gala. Whitney and Franciska paired up to design the couture collection for Whitney Linen because of their mutual love for the fabric. “I’m passionate about pushing boundaries and creating the unexpected with linen,” says Veress.
I had the pleasure and honour to meet both beautiful ladies at World MasterCard fashion Week and fell in love with their infectious energy. It is so refreshing to meet strong-minded business women who live life in the moment. These two designers share their passion and creativity to produce breathtaking comfort.
BB411~ When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
WW~ I have always been involved in the fashion industry. My parents brought the first Hermes store to Toronto years ago so I was surrounded with beautiful things since I was a baby and this opportunity sort of fell into my lap close to two years ago so I went with it….
FV~ I knew that I wanted to be a designer since I was about 3 years old, when I was drawing the same princesses but always with different dresses and details on the dresses.
BB411~ If you weren’t a designer and you could be anything in the world what would it be?
WW~ I am so happy being a designer presently this is it for me right now.
FV~ My dream was always to become a high-end fashion designer, so being anything else would be settling for something that is not my dream. I guess the next best thing for me would be an opera singer.
BB411~ Which designers did you admire growing up?
BB411~ Have you always been in love with fashion and beauty?
WW~ Yes it’s a part of me.
FV~ Yes. You know that you have love for fashion when your last thoughts before you go to sleep are imagining models walking down the runway in new designs, and your first thoughts of the day are remembering the clothes that you dreamt of during the night.:)
WW~ Elegant, chic, Strong, intellectual and fun-loving individual.
FV~ Whitney Linen represents a woman who is well established, knows and appreciates quality and luxury, and likes to set trends instead of following them. When wearing Whitney Linen, a woman feels beautiful, sophisticated, chic.
BB411~ Who is your favourite celebrity to dress?
WW & FV~ Gwyneth Paltrow she is a perfect muse for WL.
BB411~ What was your favourite moment from showing Spring/Summer 2013 at World MasterCard Fashion Week?
WW~ Fav moment being backstage and seeing our first piece strutting down the runway on the screen wow it’s 4 Real!!
FV~ When we were backstage during the show, and watched the models walk down the runway on the monitor, Whitney and I were holding hands, and were ecstatic, as every single model looked as gorgeous as we envisioned them to be.
BB411~ What was the inspiration behind the Beauty Looks during the show (make up & hair)?
WW~ Sun-kissed Mediterranean sexy beauty.
FV~ Chic European ladies, walking down St. Tropez. We went for a sun-kissed, natural look, to enhance the natural beauty of our models.
BB411~ What is your favourite season to design a collection for?
WW~ Spring/Summer because of the nature of the fabric, but we are working with some linen blends for our first Fall/Winter Collection coming up which will be challenging but exciting.
FV~ Spring / Summer, due to the nature of linen. However, we are looking into designing linen clothing for Fall/Winter, which will be a challenge as linen is a very summery fabric. We do love challenges, so I think designing a linen collection for fall/winter is going to be a lot of fun!
BB411~ What do you look for when creating each collection?
WW~ Inspiration and pieces with timeless elegance.
FV~ I dream about the designs, inspiration and ideas just pop in my head out of nowhere. However, the collection needs to be wearable as well, so sometimes I have to tone down what I come up with. The overall look is always very ladylike, with a lot of class.
BB411~ Favourite colour?
WW~ Don’t have one there are way too many beautiful colours and hues in this world to have a favourite.
FV~ I don`t have one. Love all of them.
BB411~ What are the 5 staple pieces every woman should have in their wardrobe?
WW~ Great sexy pair of jeans, a WL classic blazer, a crisp White linen WL shirt lol, a kicking pair of stiletto boots and an amazing purse.
FV~ A little black dress, a beautifully tailored blazer, a pencil skirt, a tailored pant, and jeans.
BB411~ Describe your style?
WW~ Pretty much the above is my style~ natural,sexy and elegance
FV~ I am very girly, love wearing dresses, skirts and high heels (always high heels). I always have a few backup heels in my car as well.
BB411~ What does beauty mean to you?
FV~ Someone who takes care of themselves is beautiful to me. I think that there are also a lot of people who have an inner beauty that shines through , just because they are wonderful people. It doesn’t matter if someone is a size zero or size 16, a woman who is confident in herself is gorgeous.
BB411~ What inspires you personally and professionally?
WW~ Pleasure, love, happiness, excitement and passion.
FV~ I am lucky as I am surrounded with wonderful people, who inspire me to always be better. To be a better person, better at my job, in my personal life, to try to help as many people as I can. Erika Larva (my role model) has been one of the biggest inspirations for me both personally and professionally. She is THE Top fashion show producer in Toronto, a busy business woman, who does everything she does to perfection, and is also the kindest, most caring and amazing person that I have ever met in my life.
BB411~ Are you involved in any charities that are close to your heart?
BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?
WW~ Giving your time, patience, love, forgiveness and understanding.
FV~ I strongly believe in Karma, so I help everyone I can , whenever I can. I also never forget how hard it was to start out in the fashion industry, and how much help, kindness and advice I received from a group of people who I worked with throughout the years. I always try to help people who are just starting out and have a vision but don’t know how to bring it to life with my advice and connections. Basically anything they need help with. That is my way of giving back.
BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?
WW~ Be true to yourself….
FV~ Keep believing in your dreams, keep working hard, it will happen!
BB411~ 3 words that best describe you
WW~ Loving, Joyful and a big optimist.
FV~ Honest, loyal and living life to the fullest.
BB411~ What is your skin care regime?
WW~ I use Soya products from the Soya Boutique. My best friend owns the line and it’s all natural, amazing for your skin and makes it glow.
BB411~ 3 beauty products you carry with you always?
BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?
BB411~ Do any certain scents remind you of your childhood and what is your favorite fragrance?
WW~ Amazone perfume by Hermes, my mum wore always and I love patchouli.
BB411~ Do you have a best kept beauty secret that has been passed down to you (say from your Mother or Grandmother)?
WW~ Less is more and smile all the time, be genuinely happy!!
FV~ It was always Nivea for me, and I still swear by it.
BB411~ Fun fact that your fans may not know about you?
WW~ Can be very very silly…..
FV~ I am a bit of a chameleon. I love going to the Opera, and watching Ballet, and also love electronic music. I love to read books at home, but also to snowboard off of huge cliffs, do bungee jumping, horseback riding. I used to do figure skating and ballet for 15 years, but also love going to a hockey game , or just a girls` night out in town. I am interested in everything, and I believe in living life to the fullest, so I am never afraid to try new activities and love challenges.
BB411~ Favorite quote?
WW~ “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”Ambrose Redmoon
FV~ Have lots, but can’t think of any right now.
BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting out that are following their dreams?
WW~ Make sure it’s something you love to do and have passion for. It’s not easy and you will be hopefully doing it for the rest of your life if you’re lucky you got to be happy with what you choose to do!!!
FV~ If you believe in yourself, don’t give up, it will happen. Don’t expect things to happen overnight, and be prepared to work 24/7 for it. Always have morals and don’t step over people. Don’t focus on the money, focus on giving your best at all times, and the money will follow. At the end of the day, it is only worth it, if you wake up in the morning (and all you had time to sleep was four hours), but you still have a smile on your face when you say to yourself “I am going to work to achieve my dream”.
You can also see Whitney Linen collections from World MasterCard Fashion Week Here.
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