Virginia Johnson

Textile Designer/ Illustrator/ Painter/ Author

Virginia Johnson is a Toronto-based textile designer, painter, illustrator, and the author of Travels Through the French Riviera, a beautiful coffee table book marrying dream-like watercolour illustrations with practical travel guides. Her clothing line has been picked up by major retailers like Barneys, Anthropologie, Holt Renfrew and her illustration has been commissioned by Vogue, New York Magazine, Flare and so on. 

Besides Virginia’s humble and warm hospitality made this episode special, our conversation really hits home for me as we touched upon one of the topics that I most deeply care about: Age and relevance. For the longest time, the idea of celebrating “30 under 30” didn’t make much sense to me. Why do we keep applauding those who seem to “get there” much sooner than the rest of us? Why are we so obsessed with the idea that the sooner we climb on top of the mountain, the more valuable we become? Why do we keep ignoring the fact that there are many mountains to overcome in our life while the way up and the way down are just as, if not more beautiful, as the brief time standing on top of A mountain.

To me, I’m always drawn to women who see life in chapters – they continue to overcome, persevere, evolve, learn, unlearn, and relearn. They’ve accumulated a great amount of life experiences, wisdom and grace that can never be accomplished at a young age. Virginia is one of these women I admire. She shares the mistakes she made when starting a fashion label at the age of 23 and the lessons she carried with her; she talks about the advice she took, and the ones she chose to ignore; and she shares how her mom becoming a published writer in her 70s has inspired her to never let herself “age into irrelevance”.

Photography: Vai Yu Law

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