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My Art & Sole Custom Shoemaking Experience with Buick

Cars to me is what clothes are to most people. A way to make a statement without having to say a word. This sentiment is also shared by the design team at Buick who has put a considerable amount of time to help reposition the brand and create a vehicle that represents the highest quality of Buick luxury to date. The new Enclave Avenir has single handedly changed the way the way the world, myself included, will view Buick going forward. I know some of your perceptions have already changed just from reading my blog posts and following along on my IG stories. This brand transition has been successful because Buick has been taking cues from other industries that have a high regard for craftsmanship. The design team has used interior design, fashion and beauty trends as their main source of inspiration with one simple goal in mind. To create a vehicle that would be an expression of a discerning, fashion forward and conscious consumer.

BuickStyle Art & Sole Academy Event - So Sasha

BuickStyle Art & Sole Academy Event - So Sasha

BuickStyle Art & Sole Academy Event - So Sasha

Buick Style Art & Sole Academy Event - So Sasha

To celebrate this new direction and their successes with the new premium Avenir trim line found on the Enclave and Lacrosse, I was treated to an intimate evening with the Buick team and some friends at the Art & Sole Academy; the first shoemaking school in Canada that offers workshops and classes in the art of custom shoemaking. I was chauffeured to the event in a white Enclave that has the same Avenir trim as my own and it was pretty nice actually to be able to to relax and enjoy the ridiculous amounts of legroom that’s available in the middle row. Learning the ins and outs of the shoemaking process from Art & Sole’s owner Jennifer Allison was amazing but what blew all of our minds was that we all got to design a custom pair of leather driving shoes for ourselves that night. Not just any old leather either may I add. We got to choose from the same leather options that are available in the 2018 Buick Enclaves. Now  that should say something about the quality materials used inside these vehicles. We each traced and measured our the bottom of our feet and instep and then went on to choose the base style, colour of leather, leather type, uppers, lace and trim details. So fun, yes, but the plethora of options made it pretty stressful, not going to lie. Then we went on to learn a basic stitching technique for leather fabrications from Jennifer. This was definitely not my strong suit but I will soon have a custom shoe to match the interior of my Buick and that’s pretty damn cool. Before heading home, we even had personalized keychains made by the lovely chap below with our initials on it.

BuickStyle Art & Sole Academy Event - So Sasha

BuickStyle Art & Sole Academy Event

 

Members of the GM and Buick design team were on hand and it is really inspiring to see a group of women behind this dynamic team. Over the past couple years, I have gotten to know Catherine Black, Buick Colour and Trim Design Manager who in my opinion has the coolest job ever. Black is in charge of developing concepts, colours and shapes that reflect Buick’s customer alongside the marketing, engineering, and manufacturing departments. She is also the face of the design team often called upon to brief media on some of the trends they have forecasted several years prior to vehicles hitting the auto show circuit. I actually got to chat extensively with her about the design details for the Enclave Avenir over a year ago during it’s reveal in NYC at NAIAS and she has this to say about about where the Buick teams are today,

The whole synergy and interaction between the designers, clay and digital sculptors, engineering and colour & trim is extraordinary. Together we are charged with evolving the brand and the portfolio with the timeless qualities we value most – beautiful, premium, comfortable, effortless and intelligent.”

BuickStyle Event - So Sasha
Photos by Pamela Lau for Buick Canada

My custom shoes, fingers crossed, should be arriving in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to show you guys what I designed. Even more excited  to own my very first driving shoe that will not only look great but be functional too. Want in on customizing your own pair of leather driving shoes from Buick? Starting May 15th, you can express your own personal style by customizing and designing your own, which is pretty major. They will be available in very limited quantities, but on the upside, they will be made available on www.artandsoleacademy.com/buickstyle for only $189, when trust me, they are probably worth a lot more. Head to Buick.ca to find more information on the Enclave Avenir and full portfolio of Buick’s 2018 vehicles.

This post was created in partnership with Buick Canada however all thoughts and opinions are my own

A Look Into My 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

LIFE UPDATE: Life seems to be moving at warp speed lately. Maxwell turned six months last week.  How this child has just celebrated half a year in the world is beyond me. Work has been busier than ever and feeling truly blessed to be able to have a career that allows me to work and spend as much time with the baby as I do. I actually have some cool new projects in the works that I can’t wait to share with all of you. I’m also back in the gym working my butt off to reach the goals I’ve set for myself post baby. Sold my first investment property a couple weeks ago and pleasantly happy with the outcome (profit). I’m now working on developing a plan to expand my real estate portfolio. Oh, and I also upgraded my car and said goodbye to my 2017 Envision earlier this month because the new 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir is on a whole other level when it comes to luxury, functionality and convenience.

 

Can you imagine being able to remote start your car, locate it in a packed parking lot or check how much fuel you have before you leave the house from an app?  What about not having to fumble with your keys to lock/unlock to the doors or get access to the truck? Wouldn’t you love to be able to charge your smartphone without needing a charger? Have you ever wanted full 360 visual access to the exterior of your car for safety or to helping you look like a boss when you’re trying to parallel park in the downtown core?  How awesome would it be to only have the cleanest air running through the cabin of your car at all times keeping your family safe from germs and viruses? If you think this sounds like the future, you’re wrong. This is what you can get in a 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir, plus SO. MUCH. MORE.

I got a sneak peek of the vehicle at its unveiling during the New York International Auto Show last spring, but the presentation barely scratched the surface when it came to all the features unique to Buick’s new range topping Avenir sub-brand. So what exactly makes the Avenir different from the rest of the 2018 Enclave models? The name, signifies an elevated trim design that can be equated to the Denali trim available in GMC vehicles, and is the Enclave’s most prestigious model offering available with unique interior and exterior treatments. The new exterior design is far sleeker and 2 inches longer than its predecessor, but I believe its the luxe design treatment inside that takes people by surprise. The contoured dashboard, woodgrain details, leather wrapped steering wheel, 8 inch colour display in the centre cluster, the Avenir logo etched into the headrests, floor mats and sill plates are all proof of the continued hard work Buick is doing to reposition the brand.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

I’ve never thought of any car I’ve owned in the past as just something that gets me from point A to B. All my vehicles in the past have reflected my personal style and I was proud to say I was the owner of a ______. However, this is the very first time I have truly been in love with a car and can’t stop talking about it to basically anyone who will listen.  Actually, anyone who has gotten a chance to ride in it with me gets out in disbelief, refusing to believe its a Buick. Some of the features have been highlighted on my Instagram stories but I literally have to hold myself back from raving about it every day in fear I will come across as inauthentic.

In less than a month, this my Enclave has become a critical part of my life and helps make even my craziest of days like today more bearable. With my hands perpetually full juggling everything under the sun for both myself and the baby, I’ve come to love the conveniences of some features like the Enclave’s Foot Activated Lift Gate that allows me to open and close the trunk by hovering my foot over the Buick logo that illuminates the ground below the hidden sensor. I also no longer stand outside in a cold parking lot, digging through my bag for my keys to unlock my doors. I think its pretty amazing l that I can simply press the unlock button on the door handle or use the MyBuick app (available for both Apple and Android), which also allows me to start the engine ensuring the temperature is perfect for Maxie before we even get in the car. I use this at least once a day usually before leaving the house in the morning or after wrapping up a meal or meetings. And let me tell you something, I’m not trying to ever go back to that cold car commute life.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

Working on the go has never been easier. The wifi hotspot literally turns the car into a mobile office, not only for myself but my passengers as well. Six USB ports throughout the vehicle, two per row, makes sure nobody is fighting for over who gets to charge their tech devices first, which sometimes happens when you have a creative team rolling with you on shoot day. Plus, I no longer have to worry about transferring that one iPhone charger I have back and forth between home and the car, thanks to the wireless charging station that is compatible with the iPhone 8.

While getting people or cargo into the back of a three-row utility vehicle is usually a nuisance, the Enclave Avenir is designed with a second row SmartSlide seat that provides easy access to the rear of the vehicle. Located on the passenger side, the SmartSlide captain seat provides pitch slide functionality to allow access even with a forward facing child seat (without the child of course) or car seat base installed using the LATCH system.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha
All smile after a quick feed and diaper change in the spacious rear cabin

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir - So Sasha

When you’re responsible for the well-being of a tiny human being, their wellness and safety on the road becomes very important. The Avenir trim model comes equipped with the  Driver Confidence II package that includes Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Safety Alert Seat, Front and Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert and Following Distance Indicator. And if that wasn’t enough, on the days a full car doesn’t allow me to properly see out the rear windshield because it’s jam packed with stuff for a shoot, I not only have cameras giving me 360 views of the vehicle’s exterior but the rearview mirror also turns into a rear cam with the flick of a switch. But what really blew mind is learning how the vehicle is also a healthy choice for my family. The Enclave Avenir comes equipped with an ionizer. So yeah, it’s own air filtration system folks to ensure the cabin smells fresh and to keep allergies, dust, pollen, viruses at bay, leaving only the cleanest of air for passengers to inhale. Cue the “hands clapping” emoji.

Photography by Jess Baumung

Now it’s impossible for something to not have at least one flaw. Its just simply not possible for a car to be perfect and trust me, Réjean and I have tried our best to find something wrong but we just couldn’t find any holes to punch through. Minus the 3rd row being a  bit too tight in my personal opinion and the prices climbing quickly as you add on features (and starts at $61,000), the Enclave Avenir passes my test with flying colours so far. We thought perhaps the air filter system could possibly end up being a pain in the ass to maintain and service but after digging and reading up online, turns out that it doesn’t require any maintenance at all.

I have an upcoming road trip for a very special wellness experience next month in which I will be able to see how the car does with fuel consumption, comfort on a long haul drive and cargo space but in the meantime, you can head to www.buick.ca to learn more 2018 Enclave and Enclave Avenir.

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