Interview: Ashley McDonald and Jenn Lancefield, Trout Rainwear
As we approach the rainy season, it’s time to consider the plan of attack against those spring droplets. Those that love hands-free frolics in the rain will love Trout Rainwear, a Toronto-based brand by a sister duo, Ashley McDonald and Jenn Lancefield. Being Canadian, the sisters understand the significance of weather-appropriate dressing — just like snow in winter, our spring showers seem to go on forever.
All named after species of Trout, the brand’s toppers range from sporty, like the Humbolt, to the quintessential Baby Gila belted trench, to the sweet and playful Sevan cape (which I proudly own). Trout Rainwear is designed in Toronto and made in Vancouver, a city that knows a helluva lot about rain. Although, these coats are so cute, you might reach for one even on a clear day.
Why rain? Any particular rainy memories that lead to starting Trout?
Ashley: We noticed a gap in the market for stylish yet functional rainwear and jumped on it! The fits are flattering and designs are timeless. I want to be unstoppable rain or shine!
Jenn: We’ve both spent lots of time in London, New York City and Toronto, cities with lots of rain and pressure to lead a fast paced lifestyle regardless of the elements.
As a sibling duo, what are some of the challenges of running a business together? Do you have sisterly squabbles over design direction?
Ashley: While there can be some challenges, design isn’t one of them. Our head designer Sarah Hopgood is a great gate-keeper! She always finds a solution to incorporate both of our ideas.
Jenn: No squabbles at all. We challenge each other but both share the same focus: to make the best product possible. A challenge would be finding more time to work — we could spend an eternity perfecting our styles.
Rainwear requires top-notch technical detailing. What are some of the features that make Trout coats the best rainy day choice?
Ashley: They’re actually 100% waterproof and they all have hoods! Once a needle and thread is punctured through fabric — no matter how waterproof the fabric — it’s no longer waterproof as droplets can sneak through the holes. Trout jackets are seam-taped to prevent leakage. Plus they’re stylish and colourful.
Jenn: Seam tape, big hoods, long sleeves, and hidden cell phone pockets.
How important is keeping your production in Canada?
Ashley: We love the fact that we can have a top-quality item that is competitive on price, produced right here in Canada.
How do you like to spend your rainy season?
Ashley: Dry, without rain interfering with my daily routine.
Jenn: Looking good and staying dry in Trout raincoats at the cottage, in Toronto and New York City.
Favorite rainy day tune?
Ashley: “Umbrella” by Rihanna.
Jenn: “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin.
Trout Rainwear is available at troutrainwear.com and at Holt Renfrew across Canada.
Photography by Owen Bruce.