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The ideology of feminism and the propulsion of female empowerment has, in the last couple years, exploded. Stand silent in the middle of a crowded subway car; walk down a busy street; sit at a sunny patio with more than just bees buzzing around. Listen. Or, as some people might call it, eavesdrop (insert bashful emoji). You might notice how the conversation has shifted. Yes you might also overhear the daily mundane, yet in between those updates and observations are stories with a new type of hero — the empowered female.

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As with many things, empowerment starts with awareness, knowledge and conversation. The explosion of modern feminism has lit up so many shared and singular issues, inspiring another statement I’ve come to believe wholeheartedly: Empowerment (female, male or un-gendered) is empathy. As much as we don’t want to admit it sometimes, because it can seem counterintuitive, we need to empower others as much as we need to empower ourselves. It’s how we truly become understood, building a cohesive society that respects and cares for each other.

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I recently had the pleasure of visiting my old high school stomping grounds, the Scarborough Town Centre, to check out a pop up celebrating just this. Created by female-driven agencies Kastor & Pollux and August in Bloom, GRL PWR features 15 toronto brands curated specifically for their celebration of this very topic. It was incredible to walk in and immediately be surrounded by both an incredible selection of must-have products as well a like-minded people shopping with a purpose. To be exposed to brands that effortlessly embody this movement is inspiring and motivating — especially since many of them are small, local and still growing.

It was hard to know where to begin, but eventually I was able to hone in on some stand-out pieces. Here are my top ten finds from the GRL PWR pop-up:

1. Ephermal Magazine

2. Orange cantiliever from Make Moves Vintage

3. Gel pens from Paper Plus Cloth

4. Gender Freedom Club merch from NEW FRDM

5. Guschlbauer puffs

6. Love Yo Self tee from Peace Collective

7. Common Goods Studio ceramics

8. Snaffle & Mane’s plant collection

9. Bath salts from Cardea Auset

10. Greenhouse Juice

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