Suzi Roher Turns 35 - Makes It All Look Like a Cinch

Spring 2016 is shaping up to be the most rigorous reemergence of belts we have seen in years.  Whether Obi, Oversized, Wrapped or Woven the cinch is certainly here to stay.

When we think belts, we think Suzi Roher.  The Toronto based brand, a favorite among the Duchess of Cambridge, Kim Kardashian West, Heidi Klum, Joni Mitchell and other such fashion plates turns 35 this year with a vengeance.  Enjoying ongoing floor space in Neiman Marcus, Saks, Holt Renfrew and a plethora of specialty stores intercontinentally, the brand is ever more focused on keeping their Canadian atelier top of its game. 

The 100 piece seasonal collection is all handcrafted in an abandoned ribbon factory in the former industrial garment center in downtown Toronto.  When they first set up shop 15 years ago, no one could have imagined the impeding gentrification of the neighborhood.  This ability to seek and discover, however, has always been a talent and passion of the energetic designer. To satisfy this thirst, Roher travels unheedingly about the globe seeking the next greatest idea, material, mantra or architectural design which she can creatively apply to her accessories. 

Perhaps the icing on the cake is the ability to experience and explore with her family come colleagues.  Husband Michael runs marketing, photography and operations, while daughter Sam sits as model, shipping director and sales consultant.  

In 2013, Suzi Roher made a fantastic foray into scarves, which has proven another awesome outlet for the pioneering spirit who began her belt business out of her basement while at university.  

Always on the move- looking to express and connect, we can’t wait to see what the next 35 will bring for the Suzi Roher brand.

Beyond Measure - A Powerful Journey Told in Mod

At Suzi Roher we are expressive by nature.  We regularly share our passions, opinions and observances through our work and words.  Our scarves are especially autobiographical -mimicking our recent travel experiences, newest muses, and our freshest feelings about the evolving and often ironic world around us. 

When it came to designing the fall 2015 scarf, Beyond Measure, we chose to tell someone else’s anecdote. That of Jayne Pope; an inspirational leader, role model, philanthropist and fashion plate.

It all began at 5:00 pm one Friday evening… The Suzi Roher Studio received a call from Rene Borrowman, the owner of Morgan’s House of Fashion boutique located in Chatham, Ontario.  Rene revealed that she had been contacted by Emily Padula, Hill Country Memorial’s chief strategy officer and colleague of her friend and loyal customer, Jayne Pope.  The reason for her call was to share that Jayne had led the Texas hospital to receive the esteemed Malcolm Baldrige Award. This was an honor she was to accept from the U.S. Department of Commerce and President Barack Obama in April.

Morgan’s House of Fashion

Morgan’s House of Fashion

Emily knew Jayne was an avid fan of Morgan’s boutique, and furthermore, about her love of Suzi Roher belts and scarves.  She had reached out to Rene to ask if she could arrange for Suzi to design a scarf made especially for Jayne as a gift from the hospital -thanking her for leading them to win this coveted award. It was Friday before the mill in Italy would be printing the Fall Suzi Roher scarf samples, and with some quick moves, this wonderful wish could certainly be granted.

Suzi listened intently as Rene talked about Jayne and her wonderful power to encourage, inspire and triumph.  She sent Suzi a movie of Jayne leading her group up mountain, Enchanted Rock, an extraordinary team and confidence building exercise in which she felt it imperative her group partake. They talked about Jayne’s interest in the teachings of Marianne Williamson, and her unwavering can-do attitude.

The conversation came to a close and an incredibly motivated Suzi Roher went to town… researching, devising, playing with color… and then there was that electrifying quote from Marianne Williamson’s book, Return To Love.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Suzi finished the scarf over the weekend and sent it to the mill to be made on Monday morning with the others.  When it was ready, the hospital presented Jayne with her custom self-inspired Suzi Roher scarf.  From what we hear it was a touching and emotional moment for all.

Jayne Giving her Acceptance Speech

Jayne Giving her Acceptance Speech

In April of this year Jayne wore her Beyond Measure scarf to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award on behalf of Hill Country Memorial Hospital.

"One of the greatest parts of this endeavor is that we are not a custom shop... we do what we do best- so we stick to our ideas and motivations", explains Suzi. "But all of the passion, and determination of this story is everything we stand for, and when this opportunity came to us, we knew we had to be a part of it."

Suzi was so moved by the whole experience that she put the piece into production. It has since become A Fall 2015 best seller.

Jayne wearing her Beyond Measure Suzi Roher Scarf

Jayne wearing her Beyond Measure Suzi Roher Scarf

We want to thank all the thoughtful, motivated, talented and inspiring people who came into our world as a result of this experience. It has been rewarding Beyond Measure.

For more on Jayne Pope’s excellent speech and epic climb, please click here.

The Creative Days-A Family Affair

Some say it takes a village.  We say it takes Days.  What do we mean by that…?

We mean our founder, designer, visionary Suzi Roher -sometimes referred to as Suzi Day; Michael Day -photographer, innovator, collaborator and husband, and finally Sam or Samantha Day -Model, merchant magnifica and daughter.  Together they are the creative cogs, operational authority and sales steam -They are the Days.

… A series of creative days that have transformed years of beautiful belts and scarves into an exciting, ever-evolving accessories company!

suziroher_Team in Action_08

It began for Suzi at the age of thirteen in her mom’s high-end retail boutique.  Here she would spend her weekends and summers, quickly learning the ropes of buying and selling women’s fashion. By her mid-teens she was off on buying trips… New York, Paris, Milan and beyond- collecting coveted looks for the ladies at home.  As her sales skyrocketed, so did her recognition of a vacancy in the market.  “There were no exciting belts to go along with all of these wonderful clothes,” explains Roher. “It was then I began to design.”  By the time she would graduate University; her basement belt crafting had become a business to be reckoned with.

In 1980 it became official and incorporated.  Her first pieces were rope belts. Artistic and timeless, one recently braised the cover (and another inside page) of the May 2015 Accessories Magazine. Following ropes, was a soft double wrap metallic leather belt, a piece which could as early as the first year be seen on Barbara Frum on the evening news!

Fortunately, a new business required a new studio and that meant new neighbours. It wasn’t long before Suzi befriended Michael, the young advertising photographer in the studio exactly adjacent to hers. 

There they were…Suzi with her sewers leathers and buckles, and Michael with his models, cars and beer ads. Their shared creative passions and lighthearted way, led to a fast friendship, an eventual marriage, and finally, a collective business endeavour. What began as some simple help with bookkeeping grew into a design, marketing, branding and overall operations collaboration- an absolute “Integration”.

“We are both very much creative people,” explains Michael. “There is nothing we love more than exploring art, design, imagery, and conceiving ways to implement an artistic mindset. It is simply the most wonderful thing to have your work life and your personal life so intertwined, that the lines simply disappear.”

suziroher_Team in Action_07

In time, they had their son Alexander (Alex) and after that, their daughter Samantha (Sam) - who by the age of four had already learned to turn leather. As soon as they were old enough they were asking questions, learning the ins and outs of the business, manning the Roher booth at trade shows and more.  Sam took a special interest and before long she became mom’s companion on international buying trips -as Suzi had been for her mom at the same age.  “Her connection to fashion is instinctual and as a result she has amazing taste,” explains Suzi.

suziroher_Team in Action_06

Eventually, Alex would go on to medical school, and Sam would officially join the family business. She worked sourcing leather and buckles, as well as in operations and sales.  Today she is the face of the brand, featured in all company campaigns and assets including print and online.

So how do the creative days stay creative? One of the main components is journeying to places unknown –in the middle of nowhere: the roads less traveled.  “We are fascinated with cultures very different from our own and the challenges that poses,” explains Michael. “We love having to find our way around in a land with a language we don't speak; having to fend for ourselves to get around, the overall experience of exploration and discovery.”

suziroher_Team in Action_05

Recent family trips turned photo campaigns include camping in the Sahara Desert, motorcycle riding in Thailand, trekking through Tokyo, vacationing in Venice and more.  For a crew of four, no matter how high, how far or how seemingly dangerous the location -there are plenty of hands pitching in. ..

suziroher_Team in Action_04

“I am sure for the average tourist it is quite a sight to see us arrive somewhere obscure, unpack and setup for a shoot,” says Michael.

….. But those are just the creative Days.

Suzi Roher Spring Summer 2015: Parts of Paris

The Suzi Roher Spring 2015 Scarf collection is inspired by the artifacts and experiences collected on a recent travel to Paris…

Why Paris… The city is so many things -above all a series of contradictions working together to create something thought-provoking and extraordinary.  “Antique”, “modern”, “gritty”, “glamorous”- these are all words that can accurately describe the city of lights.  Whether it be the grand gardens, or the elegant edifices abound; the street art, or the sheer enormity of the Eiffel tower… as they say, “there is nothing like Paris in the Springtime”.

Speaking to this wild juxtaposition, Spring 2015 brings about "Flashback". Full of hue and high-energy, "Flashback" is a photograph torn and restored, generating a sensational skittish effect. It is the cutting, layering and morphing of these tattered pieces that engenders the distorted design. On offer for spring in Purple, Natural, Green and Blue, this eclectic and electric pattern screams "Summer Fun".

With the dawning of warmer days, appropriately arrives “Les Fleurs”. “The spring season is about revival, and the soothing quality of nature,” explains Suzi Roher. “The beauty of picked flowers and summer gardens … it is nothing less than rejuvenating!”
During one of our days out, we were lured into a charming antiquity shop.  This time by a curious five volume set of encyclopedia containing illustrations and descriptions … all of flowers.  Their contents were so vast, so graceful … and eventually we learned, incredibly old.  Upon inquiry we ascertained that the books were purchased by the current shop-keeper’
s grandfather, and that the set had been sitting in the store for over 100 years.  We love the idea that something so old carries so much life and light!

Last but certainly not least, we introduce you to "Paris Guy". The brainchild of graffiti artist "Monsieur A", this stick figure characterized by an X in place of his eyes and a bright big smile, can be found in many bold and buried corners of the city. We stumbled upon this image on a wall outside the Cartier Foundation on Blvd Raspail. We were returning from viewing the showing of latin American artists. The city was expressing itself to us from every angle...and we soaked it in.

To view more information and details on these pieces and others from the comprehensive Spring 2015 scarf and belt collections, please visit us at