Inside the Life (and Closet) of Lian Leng

Engineer by day, fashion photographer by night, this double threat shares her life and style inspo

Lian Leng

On Toronto’s Ossington Ave., Leng wears a top, $495, T by Alexander Wang, and a skirt, $550, Issey Miyake, both Holt Renfrew.

Lian Leng is not short on passions. The 30-year-old is a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at the University of Toronto, where she’s currently developing a 3D printer that creates artificial blood vessels and skin for burn victims. When she’s not at the lab, Leng fixes up vintage cameras and shoots for her blog, Toronto Street Fashion. Her schedule not sufficiently full—or her creativity exhausted—she recently signed on as a photographer with Next Models Canada, where she captures the agency’s fresh faces for their portfolios, satisfying her appetite for conceptual shoots.

Watch and learn “I get most of my style inspiration from the people I photograph. I’m fascinated by their creativity with the simplest pieces—often from little-known brands.”

Closet treasure “A gorgeous bohemian skirt from my mom. It was the very first thing she purchased after we moved to France in the late ’80s. She always takes such good care of her clothes, so it looks like it’s never been worn.”

Most worn “My black high-rise jeans. I tend to wear a lot of black, so I’ve been told I look like Catwoman.”

Accessory lust “The perfect camera bag that’s both practical and stylish. The ones on the market right now are too sporty for my taste.”

Ideal playlist “I’ll never tire of French music from the ’90s: Jil Caplan, Elsa and Mylène Farmer are at the top of my list.”

Night moves “I love the Ossington strip. My perfect evening would start with elk sliders on the cozy back patio at Union. Then I’d stop at Sweaty Betty’s for a few drinks while waiting for a table at Bellwoods Brewery.”

Java house “Café Pamenar in Kensington Market—they make the most delicious macchiatos. The first time I ordered one, I interrupted myself in the middle of a sentence to take another sip.”

Lian’s most stylish list


“With her classic striped shirts, Jean Seberg was the quintessential French girl”

Alexander Wang Bag

“I really like Alexander Wang’s clean aesthetic.” Bag, $842,

Oak + Fort

Leng regularly shops the luxe basics at Oak+Fort on Toronto’s Queen Street West

RUDSAK boots

“Combat boots are a must for everyday.”
RUDSAK boots, $275,