Meet Afiya Francisco, a Toronto-based creator, on-air Style Expert and founder of The Style House
. She has been seen on screens via programs like Global News, CBC and ET Canada and has shared her fashion tips, tricks and knowledge with people everywhere. Ultimately, Afiya aims to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity, and joy. As big fans of Afiya's timeless yet subtly playful style, we invited her to chat about how her personal style has changed over the years, how sustainability plays a role in her life, the difference between trends and fads and the legacy she hopes to leave on this world.
Who is Afiya Francisco?
An infinite being having a human existence. Ha! Maybe not what you were looking for… In which case I’d say, mom of Felix and Des, wife to Aaron, one of four sisters. Television Lifestyle Expert, Peloton-fanatic and Content Creator.
Can you describe your personal style for us? How has it evolved over the years?
My style is rooted in classics, punctuated with a twist. I like to call it an 80-20 formula: 80% classic, 20% pop/statement. It took me a long time to recognize the value of a strong wardrobe foundation and sadly I wasted a lot of time and money on clothes that I didn’t love or that didn’t go together. But it all served as a learning process to get to a place where I love everything in my closet.
Can you tell us about your beginnings in fashion and how you found your way as a TV Lifestyle personality, Style Expert and creator of The Style House?
I got my start as a magazine editor, which was a great introduction to brands and labels and what opened the door to TV (as I used to do segments on behalf of the second magazine the I worked at). I see social media and my site as different platforms that use similar content and thought process to what I did as an editor.
How are you sustainable in your day to day life? Do you have any sustainability goals you’re working towards? I really do try but, of course, I have a long way to go. Small things like making my own laundry detergent, using reusable cloths instead of paper towels are examples of ways that I try to reduce in my day to day. As for clothes, I choose secondhand a fair amount and pay attention to materials when shopping new. What’s an outfit that you’ve been gravitating towards lately and why? I’ve been loving high waisted oversize pants and crop tops lately. I think that it must be related to the heavy 90s influence which is one of my fave eras. Favourite places to visit, shop and eat in Toronto? Toronto actually has a good amount of green space and I love spending time in the trails. Taylor Creek, Crothers and Brickworks are my go-to’s. Aga Khan is always lovely visit. Fawn boutique, 1132 Yonge and 119 Corbo for in-store shopping. I haven’t been yet but I’m really looking forward to trying Pasaj. Any generic advice for others on how to explore and discover their own personal style? I think that it takes some trial and error and making note of when you feel best and incorporating that into everyday looks. I actually just launched a 5-part series on this topic, it’s called The Joy of Getting Dressed! Check it out via my IG page.
Who are some local artists, creators and designers that make you excited about fashion in Canada? Dorian Who is very cool. She has such a unique & identifiable style but her pieces somehow also work on others. Your definition of happiness? Time is a true gift and getting lost in something you love and with people who you love is happiness. A great book, conversation, in nature… What do you think about trends? Do you pay attention to them or just dress in whichever way you feel? Trends have a place as a fun and intentional way to reinvigorate your wardrobe. What I don’t advocate is blindly following trends without thought as to whether you genuinely like them or that they suit what you already own. It's also unsustainable to think of trends as disposable, though by definition it suggests a fleeting moment, there is a distinction between a trend and a fad. Trends can have a longer lifespan, especially when your personal sense of style dictates which trends you choose to invest in. What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Often, it begins with a segment, taped remotely from my at-home studio. Drive the boys to school. Exercise – I am a Peloton devotee. Meetings with clients. Tape content. Admin work. A matcha latte. After school catch up with the boys. Back to work. The boys usually have a practice, game or extra curricular activity. Throw in brand previews and events and though every day is different it often looks like some version of this :)
"It's ... unsustainable to think of trends as disposable, though by definition it suggests a fleeting moment, there is a distinction between a trend and a fad. Trends can have a longer lifespan, especially when your personal sense of style dictates which trends you choose to invest in."
Can you tell us who some of your style icons are and why?
I think that Tilda Swinton is so interesting. I love that her personal style is so different from her characters who tend to be stylish but more reserved and that she abandons this safer style for edgier and sometimes polarizing looks.
Teyana Taylor’s style is a new fave – she just exudes cool. Zendaya gets a lot of red carpet attention for good reason.
Lisa Bonet is a forever favourite.
What do you think about when you get dressed in the morning? Do you start from the shoes and then work your way up, or clothes and then down?
Both! Either! Totally depends on the day, my mood and my calendar.
How do you inform yourself throughout the day? What are you listening to, watching, and reading?
Interesting question! I love that there’s a whole online corner dedicated to fashion history and current day commentary; I have to be careful because I can easily end up down the rabbit hole of fashion commentary on TikTok. vogue.com for bite size info. Quick news wrap ups like The Skimm, The Peak.
What is the legacy you hope to leave on this world? What are you out to accomplish?
My intention to help others to enjoy getting dressed, to feel great about their wardrobes and confident in their purchases. To be okay to repeat looks and to make very thoughtful additions to their wardrobes. I hope to do so by example and by guidance.