This edition of “Real Style” is also another edition of “women in the fashion industry that I’ve come to admire”. I’d like to introduce you to Irene of HOW International. Not only does she co-own and run one of the most respected and well known distribution agencies but she’s also a wife, mum, and habitually well-dressed. She’s one of those people who makes sneakers and skirts look effortlessly chic, whereas I look woefully underdressed and mismatched when I attempt this. I had the pleasure of spending a morning hanging out with her, her husband/business partner, and awesome staff of sales reps to discover the many killer brands that HOW reps here in Canada and abroad.
We spent the morning playing dress up (I was like a giddy kid let loose in a candy store), talking fashion pet-peeves, and dishing on the hot new brands that HOW will be introducing to the market. Make sure to check out my interview with her below to learn what labels you should be falling in love with and just how she balances it all.
Shirt: TORN by Rony Kobo – Jeans: JOES – Bracelet: NewSocialClass – Booties: Isabel Marant
Tell us a bit about yourself and HOW?
My name is Irene Louiso and I’m a mother of 2 beautiful girls Sienna & Mia and a loving wife to Howard who is also my business partner (that’s where the name HOW Intl came about). I’m a very positive, highly ambitious person. Some people may call me competitive I as strive to always be better which has helped me as a business owner. Some of my favourite hobbies include tennis, vacationing and I’m a total sucker for “The Real Housewives” TV show.
HOW International is going on 11 years!!! We have 20 employees and represent over 15 brands from across the world. We have also recently expanding our business in the USA. I’m very proud of how far we have come in such a short period of time.
What are some of your favorite trends for F/W?
Some of my favourite trends for fall are menswear inspired clothing. I love fall because of it’s outerwear- I’m loving oversized robe coats and our Moose Knuckles parkas- keeps me warm all winter long! To my own surprise, I have become a fan of athletic wear as it’s very conducive to my life style. I LOVE anything “fringe” but my absolute obsession are designer sneakers!
Are there any new designers or labels your really excited about?
YES!!! I am so excited about One X One Teaspoon from Australia , who’s “awesome baggies” are now a must have in everyone’s wardrobe! I’m also excited about McGuire denim from LA- their fabrics and fits are incredible. I am completely in love with For Love & Lemons- all their lacy dresses are so fun & flirty! TORN by Ronny Kobo is a must have for anyone who is looking for a great party dress and wants to feel sexy and I find myself wearing Generation Love tops almost every day.
Some of my favourite designers outside of HOW International are Phillip Lim, Isabel Marant & Jason Wu.
Skirt: One Teaspoon – Shirt: McGuire – Shoes: Isabel Marant – Necklace: NewSocialClass – Cuff: Hermes
You have 48 hours in Montreal, how do you spent it?
I would spend half my time doing fun activities with my family like going to our favourite restaurants, going to the movies and a hockey game. I’d spend the other half with my girlfriends, lots of wine and great food. Some of my favourite restaurants in Montreal are Lucille’s, Bremner and Liverpoool House.
What was the best piece of advice you received when starting your business?
The best piece of advice was to never give give up. Once I have my sights set on a goal, I am very focused on getting it accomplished.
Any advice or insight for others looking to break into the fashion industry?
My advice would be to work hard and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. My mother always told me that if you believe you can do something, it will get done!
What trend or trends are you totally over?
Totally over skulls, peplum, designer puns and WEDGES! Forever…..
Your a mum, wife and business owner…how do you balance it all?
The key word is “balance”. It requires a lot of patience, time management and great support from my friends and family. I think it’s about quality and not quantity with my kids. I try to be present and in the moment when I am with them. Personally, when I have more on my plate I get more done; busy people have time for everything. I always say…. I like a good challenge.