Meet Genesis Fernandez - Fashionista & Videographer

Hey friend. Before you dive in, let’s quickly go over what Wavy does and why we’re sharing Gen’s story. We’re building software that helps people find things to do based on their personal preferences and criteria in the moment. Now here’s the catch: we don’t recommend just anything to our members. Everything in our database has been curated by local experts like chefs, sommeliers, adventure bloggers, and photographers. In this series, we’ll be introducing the experts behind the scenes, what they’re working on, and how they're making waves in their community.


Today, I am super excited to introduce Genesis Fernandez to the Wavy community. To be honest, I wish I was introducing you to IRL, so that you could see how fashionable she is. Instagram will have to do for now. 

Genesis is passionate about  SO MANY THINGS, so I don’t know where to start. Her unique sense of style, fashion, photography, videography and hidden food gems in Toronto are just some that come to mind. 

Because of that, let’s jump right into her story so that you can experience her passions from the legend herself. 

Keep on swimming (oops - scrolling) to learn about Gen’s journey.

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Q: How did you get into fashion, photography, and video?

A: First up, fashion. I went to catholic high school, and every so often we had “civi days” (civilian days), where we could wear clothes other than our uniform. On civi days, I would see everyone wearing the same thing - a classic TNA outfit. Not that there's anything wrong with TNA, but I knew I didn’t want to dress the same as my peers. 

So in grade nine, I got into thrifting. Regularly, I would go to Value Village and fall in love with the gems I found. The first thing I thrifted was a tweed blazer (very Chanel vibes). It was pink and I wore it with denim - I felt so cool. I had been to Value Village many times before with my family, but I always associated it with being very cheap. As a regular at many locations, I now refer to it as the Value Village Boutique, or the Village des Valeurs (as the French would say). In Grade 10-11, I was obsessed with the 80s (windbreakers, popped out lenses, the most colourful crewnecks possible), which brought some much needed colour into my wardrobe. It’s full circle now, as I still wear some of my colourful finds from high school. 

I eventually started working in retail, and continued to become more interested in fashion. I worked at the big three: Aritzia, Brandy Melville, and Oak and Fort. These were super fun environments to work in, and through inspiration from my fashionable co-workers, I was able to truly find my own style. I went through a phase at one point where I would only wear black, white and grey - I am very thankful to now be past that stage, with TONS of colour in my wardrobe... because life is better in colour!. 

With photography, I always wanted to be a photographer when I was growing up. Although my dad wasn’t a professional photographer by any means, he would always be taking pictures and capturing everything he could. Being surrounded by his passion to capture special moments, it made me want to always take photos myself. However, I wouldn’t call myself a photographer. Photography was my segue way into videography, especially when Instagram first started. 

When I started watching tons of YouTube videos, I always thought that I could do something cool with video and  fashion. And so I did. My boyfriend and I had a crappy DSLR Canon at the time. He wasn’t a professional photographer or videographer, but picked up the camera and was naturally good at it. We started to build mini storyboards for each video, with each one being based on an OOTD (outfit of the day). Eventually this transitioned into our channel called Counterpart. When I started working at Sampler last year, that’s when I realized that I missed behind being behind the camera and taking videos versus being in them. From then on it became part of my role. We have continued to post under the name Counterpart and run with it, posting a collection of relatable interviews and stories ranging from self care, to fashion and lifestyle. 

As of recently, we also freelance our videography for local companies. Our most recent project was with a local Filipino Dessert Company who offers traditional desserts such as macaroons, but with an infusion of Filipino flavours. This business was actually the first team that we interviewed for Counterpart (and we go to try all of the desserts when filming, which was a great perk).

Q: Who are your biggest influences in the food space?

A: This is so tough to narrow down because there are so many inspiring people that come to mind. These are a few that made the top of my list:   

Q: What’s a gold mine for fashion finds in Toronto?

A: Definitely along Queen/Dundas West. Here are my favourites:

VSP: It has higher-end curated vintage (eg. Chanel), so the price point is a bit higher. But sometimes they have sidewalk sales with end of season pieces up to 70% off. The way they have designed the shop on Dundas West into 3 separate rooms is super cool! 

F as in Frank: I love this store because you don’t have to have the patience to dig through for gems, they have picked out the best already. They have curated vintage and consignment pieces. I have found a lot of good vintage sports apparel and tees there. With reasonable pricing and super nice staff, you can’t go wrong.  

Durumi: This is one of my favourite places, I have been shopping here for years. They have really nice curated pieces (mostly from Korea), but I typically go for accessories. The shop is super cute! 

Q: What’s an ideal Saturday in the city look like for you?

A: This definitely depends  on the kind of week that I’ve had, but if I could create a dream Saturday, this is what I have in mind: 

Stop 1:  Brunch at BB’s Diner - it’s my go-to and is exactly how I would want to start my Saturday. The diner is a Filipino brunch spot only open from Friday to Sunday (heads up: cash only). My favourite is the eggplant omelette and the all-day breakfast (milk fish), but I try to order a bunch and then share everything with my pals that come with. The diner feels like home (it is literally in a house), with the decorations, mix and match plates and picnic benches. Even though it is becoming super popular, I have never had to wait longer than 10 minutes for a table. 

Stop 2: Kensington market. I always end up here on the weekend. I love to walk around all of the shops and browse all of the local pieces.
 
Stop 3: Koishi. After Kensington, I love Koishi for their desserts. The guy who started the spot helped create Bang Bang and now has this Japanese ice cream spot in Kensington that’s super tiny with the BEST flavours (toasted buckwheat and caramelized honey is my fav). Man, their ice cream is so good, it is worth the line every time. They also do milk buns and you can have it as a sandwich. This holds a special place in my heart because the owner’s mom is Filipino, so sometimes they do Filipino flavours like Lecha Flan (caramel custard) or To Taro (taro flavoured ice cream). 

Stop 4: Thrifting. If I have time after dessert, I love to thrift. I don’t thrift regular vintage from Value Villages in the city… but typically head out to Mississauga or in the GTA. I find that the stuff in the city is sometimes over-picked, but if I sometimes don’t want to go that far,. If I don’t want to venture out to those locations, I will typically head to the Black Market. That is also a gem in the city, I always find something there. It recently moved just upstairs of their old location on Queen St. 

Stop 5. Dinner or a show. I would end my Saturday with a delicious dinner at one of my go-to locations in the city (like Oddseoul or Khao San Road), or go to Danforth or TIFF Lightbox to see a show. 

Wow, an epic Saturday if you ask me.  

You can check out some of Gen’s videography, fashion, and photography if you need some inspo for your next OOTD or just to admire her aesthetic (trust me, it is mesmerizing). Genesis will be sharing her favourite Toronto spots and local tips on Wavy, so keep an eye out. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can join us and our experts here

Happy adventures,
Shawn

Local ExpertsShawn Hewat