10 Things Textile Queen Candice Kaye Can’t Live Without

She was told her bespoke textile business would never work. Here’s how Candice Kaye stays inspired to make it a huge success.
Designer Candice Kaye (Photograph: Candice Kaye Designs)

Some artists hang their art on walls. Candice Kaye’s art is the wall. Her firm Candice Kaye Design creates gorgeous, high-fashion custom wallpaper and textiles for some of Toronto’s hottest restaurants, like Mimi Chinese, Planta and Byblos, along with trendy destinations like the June Motel in Sauble Beach, Ont., Maman in New York City and Gekkō in Miami. She also has a bustling bespoke rug business and collaborates on capsule collections with big-name brands like CB2, Microsoft and Roots.

Now, she is working on a coffee-table book, and is developing unique 3D wallpaper and beaded and embroidered wall coverings. “It has been my goal to create pieces that have never been seen or done before,” Kaye says. “It excites me to push the boundaries in this industry. When I started in bespoke, everyone told me it wouldn’t work. That was a challenge that I was excited to prove wrong. Whenever someone says no, I see that as a possibility.”

Here, the 10 sources of inspiration that keep Kaye motivated.

High Low with EmRata

Kaye is especially fond of the episode with Stephanie Danler, which speaks about creativity and how important it is to take time doing something other than your day job. “It’s about building the time to get lost in your own thoughts and then think new thoughts. It’s tough to do this constantly when you’re on tight deadlines,” Kaye says. “As artists, we have to give ourselves the time to dream. I’ve started to give myself some days off and it has been really helpful.”

The cover of Em Rata's podcast show, Highlow
(Photograph: highlow.fm)

Apple AirTags

“My luggage was lost in transit over the holidays and still hasn’t been found. I am still upset with myself that I didn’t have an AirTag on it! I don’t shop very often, but when I do, I become attached and love the clothes I purchase. So now, the AirTag will never leave my luggage.”

An Apple AirTag with a key holder attached to it
(Photograph: Apple)


Kaye headed to Europe in 2012 after design school to visit friends attending school in London. She zipped over to Paris for a solo weekend as well, and wandered into a fabric manufacturing warehouse, and, she says, as soon as she touched the embroidered fabrics, she felt an odd sense of familiarity: “like a remembering, like I’ve been here before and worked with fabric before.” It was love at first sight—she was home. “Paris is my favourite city in the world. I am hopeless romantic. I get lost in the romance of it all.”

A landscape of Paris including the Eiffel Tower
(Photograph: iStock)

Attico cargo pants

“They are cool and pretty much go with everything.” Kaye sources them from her number-one online shopping spot, Monica Rose.

A pair of grey cargo pants
(Photograph: monicarose.com)


Recently Kaye has been spending lots of time in L.A. working on a new hotel project—and she finally caved and officially became a smoothie person. Her go-to order? “The Hailey Bieber smoothie at Erewhon is my favourite: It’s absolutely delicious!”

A pink smoothie in a plastic glass on a yellow background
(Photograph: Getty Images)

Annie Leibovitz

One of Kaye’s great loves after design? Photography. “Leibovitz is one of my favourites. I recently just put together a mood board for a new print inspired by her work.”

Rihanna on the cover of Vogue, shot by Annie Leibovitz
(Photograph: Vogue)


“Her album SOS has been on repeat.” When Kaye is in a more dance-y mood, she throws on tracks by LA-based DJ Things You Say.

An album cover of SZA's record
(Photograph: SZA)

Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch

This 10-part book series started in 1995 and shares the author’s queries to the man upstairs—along with the deity’s answers. “It’s an interesting perspective on how as humans we’re in charge of creating our own lives. How important it is to dream and imagine the life we want for ourselves. And how powerful our thought process is.” 

The cover of Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch
(Photograph: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd)


“Most of the time, my clients need responses within the hour, so I constantly need to be checking in with them to make sure everything is good!” Kaye is always on the go and travelling, so being able to answer emails via phone is a life-saver, she says: “There’s nothing better than multi-tasking and getting work done in the back of an Uber when en route to various meetings and appointments.”

The mail icon for the Apple product
(Photograph: Apple)

Kaja Erika Jørgensen bracelets

Kaye purchases jewellery whenever she travels to remind her of specific moments or places in the world. “I love looking down at these pieces and being reminded of beautiful memories,” she says. Her daily go-to is a set of bracelets by Canadian artist Kaja Erika Jørgensen. “I have three pieces from Kaja Erika Jorgensen that I haven’t taken off since I bought them. They are 18k gold and made by hand. I love her style: effortless, chic and one of a kind.”

A gold bracelet
(Photograph: Kaja Erika Jørgensen)
Briony Smith
Briony Smith
Briony Smith is a writer and editor who covers barrier-breaking businesses and social-justice issues like pay equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and salary transparency. She lives in Toronto with her partner, corgi and ragdoll.