ESC: Trendsetters at Work, Roots

Courtesy Roots

Curious as to where Drake's endless supply of custom OVO varsity jackets come from?

Roots is a Canadian brand (founded in The Six) that's long been a big part of the singer's wardrobe—as well as just about any and every Canadian-born human being...ever.

It's been serving up true quality in the form of leather goods, athletic wear and home furnishings since '73 (fashion-forward sweats and jackets being their bread and butter), so you should know the retailer by now...but if you're still unfamiliar (for whatever reason), get to know Roots' design consultant, Diane Bald.

ESC: Trendsetters at Work, Roots

Courtesy Roots

What was your first job?
My first job, in my last year of high school, was at the original Roots store in Toronto. It was Easter Monday and people were lined up around the block to buy a pair of negative heal shoes. I went in and applied for a job (as my best friend worked there and I hung out there all the time.)

I was told if I wanted the job I had to start right then and there and I would meet the boss later. The rest is history—40 years later and I'm still here.

What's a typical day for you?
I wake up, check my emails, play with my dog, work out and then go to the Roots leather factory where I work with my amazing design team. We design leather bags, jackets and footwear.

Describe your workspace décor.
My office at the leather factory is quite simple. I'm surrounded by photos of campaigns I've worked on. I share the space with my husband, Michael Budman, but I rarely sit at our desk as I'm usually on the factory floor or in our showroom.

At my home office, I have a great 1930's drafting table from Chicago as well as a stand-up cashier's desk from the '40s. The space is filled with books that inspire me, beautiful art as well as furniture I've created for Roots Home.

ESC: Trendsetters at Work, Roots

Courtesy Roots

What's currently on your desk?
My favorite things on my desk are a blue glass heart from [production designer] Andrée Putman, a glass globe light from Paris that was designed for Henry Ford in the '30s made of car parts, photos of my family and friends, Pilot-Fineliner black felt tip markers to draw with and a sketch pad.

What's the best part of your career?
Well firstly, I love walking into our state of the art leather factory in Toronto where I'm greeted by the smiles of the women that work there. It's a happy space and I love being around artisans who make beautiful products. 

I work with an amazing team of designers whom have been at Roots for many years and we have all grown together and share the same love of creating compelling product. We are truly like a family. 

And doing design collaborations are also exciting! Working with celebs like Drake and The Weeknd, with artists like Vancouver's Douglas Coupland, and with fellow brands like Smythe.

ESC: Trendsetters at Work, Roots

Courtesy Roots

Have any career heroes?
Hermès for its beautiful leather craftsmanship in handbags, clothing and home furnishings.

What celebs are big fans of the brand?
Drake, The Weeknd, Wayne Gretzky, Keith Urban, Rihanna, Eddie Redmayne, Jamie Dornan, Heidi Klum, LL Cool J and the Royal Family.

What would you say Roots is best known for?
Genuine leather products (bags, jackets and footwear) and authentic athletic wear all made with quality and integrity. But specifically, we're known for our award jackets and they are having a huge moment right now!

ESC: Trendsetters at Work, Roots

Courtesy Roots

What trend(s) are you loving right now?
I love leather motorcycle jackets, which never go out of style.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
Strive for excellence and success will follow. Also, always trust your gut.

Any future projects on-the-go? 
Perhaps some international expansion for Roots.

ESC: Trendsetters at Work, Roots

Courtesy Roots

Finish the below sentences.

Today for lunch I had...dark rye bread with smoked salmon and cucumbers, and an apple for dessert.

If I wasn't doing this, I'd be...designing prefab homes for Canada's Indigenous peoples.

The first website I log onto each morning is...Instagram and The New York Times.

My usual Starbucks order is...a skinny latte.

My favorite places to visit are...Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada for its wilderness reserve and Malibu, California for its incredible air and mountains for hiking.

The book I'm reading is...Robbie Robertson's book Testimony: A Memoir. It's a fantastic read.

Five things on my desk right now are...a leather bracelet that says "Practice Safe Text" (which is for a charity I work with called Parachute), a Ganesh wood carving from India, photos from photo shoots I've worked on, a Lauren Harris book (which is inspiration for colors) and my markers.

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