Photography by Orest Dorosh

Charlotte Cardin, Haviah Mighty and High Klassified on creating music during lockdown, how their styles evolved during the pandemic and the beauty products they’re loving.

Calling all Canadian music aficionados — today Apple launched their new Behind the Mac campaign, and it’s a love letter to the Canadian music industry. Through a series of found photos and videos, the commercial features raw and intimate moments of 16 Canadian creatives driving global music culture today. After many celebrities came under fire during the pandemic for projecting their privilege during a time of such stress, it’s refreshing to see widely recognized stars like Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes in a more relaxed environment.

With this in mind, FASHION enlisted three of Canada’s biggest musical exports — singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin, hip-hop artist Haviah Mighty and music producer High Klassified — to share how their creativity weathered the pandemic and how months of lockdown affected their personal styles.

What sparked your transition from a model to singer-songwriter?

“Music has always been a big part of my life ever since I was a kid. I modelled from 15 to 20 until I was making enough money with music to be able to live. But [modelling] was never a big ambition of mine. It was a means to an end: It allowed me to have the financial freedom to buy instruments and work on my music at the same time. Music was always there, and that was my goal.”

How did the pandemic change your creative process?

“The pandemic was actually beneficial to me because I had to learn tons of new things that I had never really been confronted with before. I always worked with a small team, but once the pandemic hit, I obviously couldn’t show up at the studio anymore. So I basically learned how to do my own demos at home this year, and that was a revelation for me. It’s something that’s made me feel super empowered and autonomous in my career because I used to write my songs and record them just on my phone. To be able to start using [Mac software] Logic Pro and make demos where I could add harmonies, add a little beat, add this and that, it just made me feel like, ‘okay, I can do this!’”

How has your personal style evolved throughout the pandemic, and how might it change as we emerge from lockdown?

“I was talking about this with my friends. I was like, ‘oh, I can’t wait for the pandemic to be over; I’m just going to wear all my cute outfits.’ And then fast forward to the pandemic being pretty much over, and I’m still in sweatpants. Loose jeans and sweatshirts or straight up sweatsuits have been my vibe for the last two years. It’s the easiest kind of outfit to wear from one thing to another and not have to worry about comfort.”

What’s your go-to summer beauty item?

“There are two things: The first is the Ultra Fluid Facial Sunscreen by La Roche Posay. It’s really good because it doesn’t mess up your makeup, and it’s not oily. So that’s one thing that I wear every day. The other thing is Chanel’s Les Beiges Highlighting Fluid. It gives this really nice, almost pearly glow, and it’s not a foundation, it’s just you. I usually mix it with my sunscreen and then apply it.”

Congratulations on your collaboration with (Gossip Girl actress) Jordan Alexander on the cover of “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” for Holt Renfrew’s Spring 2021 campaign! Tell me about your experience working with her.

Jordan is great! She reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in working on the back end and composing the track, with her as the vocalist. It was definitely a big task for me and I actually had to invest in a little bit more gear to do the job. But working with her, it was cool to just be [behind the scenes] and see the other parts of how a song comes together. And in the end, people really liked it. I felt like I produced a genre that I don’t make myself — it’s more indie rock, and I’m a rapper — which is super cool.”

How did the pandemic change your creative process?

“Everything slowing down was a blessing and a curse. Initially, it was a lot. I had a lot of cool show opportunities that fell away, and that was devastating. But I think [the pandemic] made me more resourceful as an artist. It made me maximize my workspaces and have the time to take a deep breath and just be inspired by everybody else doing cool things on social media. But introspection was huge throughout this time; thinking about my perception of self and who I am outside of the musician. How do I streamline and connect with these devices as a musician, but also as a person? It’s been a really interesting time to try to understand how to balance all of this.”

How has your style evolved throughout the pandemic, and how might it change as we emerge from lockdown?

“During the lockdown, the fashion situation was definitely one of comfort, but I still had to film music videos. And the music videos pushed me to focus on understanding what my visual aesthetic is. Because when it comes to styling for a video, how do I represent my entire being in this three-minute thing through clothing? The pandemic has allowed me to understand better how I like to play around with streetwear. I like the showboat-y pieces that go with your Apple Watch and your AirPods, and the whole new age, modern vibe.”

What’s your go-to summer beauty item?

“I recently tried Fenty Skin’s Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer, and it was really soft. I felt like my face was smooth for a few days after that one time of using it.”

How have you balanced your music career while also having your own clothing line?

“Since the pandemic, I’ve become even more focused on fashion. It’s actually become a source of inspiration for my music. To me, fashion is art — when I’m creating a song, I often picture a model walking to it on the catwalk. My clothing line Laval Ou Rien was made in collaboration with OTH Boutique, but it’s been a year since I decided to do it on my own with the help of a friend. So now I’m really engaged in the overall process, and I’ve been learning many new things. I see it as another way to express myself, as I do with music. Our next collection is due in fall 2021.”

How did the pandemic change your creative process?

“The pandemic allowed me to become more productive; I was able to spend even more time refining my music. During the lockdown, I found different sources of inspiration. I started taking piano lessons online, which lead me to listen to new songs and create music differently. I also started taking my work outdoors. I’ve always had a home studio, but I started grabbing my MacBook and working from my gazebo. It was the perfect spot to be while the world was stuck at home and gave me new sources of inspiration. Even as the world opens up, I realize now I can create from anywhere.”

How has your style evolved throughout the pandemic, and how might it change as we emerge from lockdown?

“Although we weren’t able to go out, I started posting more outfit pics on my social media accounts, which became another avenue to interact with my community and share my love of fashion and style. With more time at home, I had time to explore my style and experiment — mixing and matching prints and taking more risks with colours and shapes. I used to only wear black, but now I gravitate toward more colour.”

What’s your go-to summer beauty item?

“My go-to summer beauty item is Beauty by Earth – Coffee Bean Eye Cream that I put under my eyes when I wake up; it compensates for my lack of sleep due to my sometimes hectic schedule!”

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