Getting called out on the street and fired a hand symbol isn’t typically an awesome way to start your day. For Erica Wark, awesome is the only way to describe it. Making a “W” symbol with their hands, fans of the Toronto-based stylist (you can catch her regularly on The Social CTV) are saluting Erica’s brand, personality and exciting wardrobe–and probably this #WarkIt hashtag–and it couldn’t feel more 2016 (do we have to bring up the chorus from Rihanna and Fifth Harmony’s most recent summer hits?). Here, we find out how Erica feels about the attention, how she integrated THREE white dresses into her wedding day (her husband proposed on an episode of The Social!) and what Poppy Barley shoe she loves.
Poppy Barley style(s) I own:
You have your hands in many facets of the fashion industry – how do you summarize what it is that you do?
Haha, well I’m a stylist – I do both on-air and off-air styling. I style fashion segments and I also style clients behind the scenes. I work on commercial and editorial campaigns, online and print… you name it, I do it! It’s fun to work the type of job where everyday is different.
You got your start in Ottawa. Where are you now? What do you love most about your city?
I live in Toronto about 90% of the time, but I’m originally from Ottawa; my husband is currently still living there so I often head back to visit him! Both Ottawa and Toronto are incredible cities – I’m lucky to be able to call them both home!
Describe your typical day – what time does your alarm go off? Where are you by 9am?
Well, as I said earlier, every day is different – and if I’m prepping for a morning show fashion segment, my alarm goes off A LOT earlier that 9 AM haha! Some days I’ll be on set by then, other days I’m heading to a mall to pull clothes, some days I’m on set at a photo shoot, while other days I’m at my office all day. Every day is a new, exciting adventure!
Many of the people who work in the fashion industry who ordered from Poppy Barley choose the Heeled Mule, including you! This is a two-part question.
A) Do you think a mule is part of the dress code in the fashion industry this season?
I think it’s just such a great staple – especially for those who spend a lot of time on their feet for work! The black particularly are nice as they can transition easily to fall – more bang for your buck!
B) Why do you like your Poppy Barley Heeled Mules, and how do you style them?
They’re super comfortable while still looking stylish – that’s always a difficult balance to find. Something you know you can wear again and again, while also still looking great!
When it comes to being a stylist and fashion expert, what’s your approach to dressing?
When I’m pulling clothes or running around with/for clients, it’s important I’m dressed comfortably. I love a great pair of ripped jeans, a boxy tee or tank, leather jacket and a great boot or sneaker. When I’m doing on-air segments, or working/attending events I love to dress up – heels are where it’s at for sure! And I love experimenting with clothes – so every segment I try to wear something fun and different than the one before!
Your hair seems like a signature look for you – what are your favourite hair products?!
I love Davines shampoo and conditioner! One of my besties Fiorella, who’s a co-owner at Rinaldo’s in Ottawa, first told me about it – I’ve been using it ever since! It always helps to have a friend who’s a hair expert! Ha!
What’s it like having a career in TV – do you often get recognized when you’re out and about? Do people feel like “they know you” before you know them?
Haha, yes I often have women stopping me to say hi or giving me the signature “waaaark it” symbol (which I absolutely love)! And yes, in a way I think they do know me already – I’m just me on TV, so what you see is what you get! I love to entertain and I love to make people feel good about themselves! It’s such a gift to do what I do, I’m very grateful – so I love to talk to the women who helped me get here!
Any perks of the job?
I love that I get to meet incredible people all the time – whether it’s on set or in the privacy of their closet – I’m constantly working with new people who challenge me, excite me, and help make me better! Fashion is constantly evolving and that’s one of the reasons I love it so much – always moving forward, always growing, always inspiring.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your job(s)?
There’s a lot of juggling that goes on, but depending how you look at it, it’s all part of the fun! I try to keep a positive outlook on things and not take myself too seriously – life’s too short, and fashion is fun!
From the looks of it – you wore three different dresses on your wedding day. Was this because you found three which you couldn’t decide between, or was it always part of the plan to integrate three outfits into your big day? How did you integrate them? Who were the designers?
Haha, that’s a great story actually. So, I had picked out my wedding dress (the main one I wore), which was a STUNNING Zuhair Murad from Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay. That’s the only one I had intended to wear, but my husband and I had planned a choreographed wedding dance that was pretty labour intensive, and when I tried dancing in my wedding dress, I kept slipping on the train – so last minute I ended up getting a short and beaded flapper style Naeeme Khan for the dance – and as a bonus, they also suggested this other stunning short feathered Naeeme Khan, both from Kleinfelds. So I thought, why not? I went from 1 to 3 only two days before our wedding! Pretty funny how things can change so quickly!
What’s one thing no one knows about you?
Oh, that’s a tough one… I’m an open book haha! Hmm… well I make a mean salmon! One of my favourite things to make for guests! It’s got maple syrup, grainy Dijon mustard and soya sauce – it’s delicious and easy!
Career-wise, what’s next for you? What’s your dream job?
That’s a great question… In many ways I feel like I’m already doing my dream job! But some day I would also love to have a clothing line or maybe do a capsule collection – maybe write a book someday! Who knows – the way I look at it, sky is the limit!