Mar 30, 2010

Designer DNA: Evan Biddell

Elle Canada
Mar 30, 2010

Designer DNA: Evan Biddell

Three years ago, Project Runway Canada judges couldn’t deny they were “addicted to Biddell” when they crowned the self-taught Saskatoon-born upstart winner of the show’s first season, a title that came with a cool $100,000 to start his own line. Since then, Evan Biddell has set out to prove to the fashion set that he’s more than just a blip in the reality TV universe and the proof, as they say, has been on the runway. Since leaving the Project Runway fold, he has quickly become a standout show at LG Fashion Week thanks to his sexy brand of “street couture” and his willingness to push the envelope. “A lot of my stuff is quite theatrical,” he says. “And I’ve started to go really futuristic, especially with the new collection.” After discovering some fabric gems from the late 90s in a friend’s factory north of Toronto, Evan basically let his imagine take the lead. “I’m doing some really outrageous, almost Lady Gaga-inspired stuff out of this old fabric,” he says. “I pretty much thought about what it was originally used for and then did the complete opposite.” Look for inspired uses of surprising materials like cork, copper and plastic. “I’m going a little bit more high-end this season,” Says Evan. “I love streetwear, its definitely in my blood, but high-end fashion is just so fun to make—it’s kind of my new addiction.”

For those not lucky enough to score an invitation to his Fashion Week show this week, his collection will be on display at his new Ossington Avenue boutique OZ Studios (, which opens officially in April.

Amid the chaos of pre-Fashion Week preparations, Evan took on the challenge of our infamous Designer DNA questionnaire. Read on to get to know Fashion Week’s biggest rising star.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being alone, somewhere hot, maybe with one other person, with nothing to do, no phone, no internet. Even if all I had was a cot, I’d be happy.

What do you consider your worst trait?
My worst trait is that I’m completely obsessed with myself. I talk about myself constantly and I’m in my own head all the time. I feel like I must be really hard for people to hang out with. That and I can be rude without knowing it.

If you could choose an occupation other than your own what would it be?
I’ve never really had another job. This is what I do, but it’s also kind of who I am. I don’t really know what else I’d be good at. I’d probably fail and anything else I tried.

Who is your style icon?
Any kind of performance artist who really puts themself out there. I don’t really see it as a call for attention, I just see it as a NEED to be fabulous. Like the Bowies, the Grace Jones, and the Gagas…just the ultra fabulous!

Favorite judge on Project Runway?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Probably “right on.” I usually say it when I’ve stopped listening to someone.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’m not really one to keep things. Honestly, everything in my house right now, I bought in the last two years. I’m not a materialistic kind of guy. Like I said, I could live on a cot on a beach with nothing and I’d be happy.

Get Evan's personal style tips on the next page ...

Check out our favourite Coco Rocha runway moments here!

Runway rocker: Erin Wasson
It's full speed ahead for Mark Fast
evan-biddell-2.jpg What’s your usual?
I’d rather have a smoke than have a drink.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Probably Starbucks. I don’t know what they put in their coffee but you can’t not go back. We call Starbucks, “The Pimp.” I always get a Grande bold and an apple fritter. It’s so bad.

Latest grooming discovery?
I’ve actually been going quite hairless lately. I’ve just been getting rid of all the hair everywhere. My partner’s loving it.

Fashion trend you wish would disappear?

Do you remember those stupid little mini-skirts from the 90s that make girls look like they’re 12? I saw one in the window of a boutique the other day and I was really scared. I don’t want it to happen but I think it’s going to happen. I’d way rather see people wearing snap-pants again than those shitty minis.

How would you describe your personal style?
Black on black on black. It’s totally opposite of what I design. I’m very jeans and a black t-shirt.

What are your five key wardrobe pieces?
My pony skin dessert boots from Chasse Gardee, my jeans that I made, my H&M long-sleeve black tee, my wife-beaters from Chinatown and an oversized scarf of some sort.

Best part of showing at Fashion Week?

The best part about showing is it’s kind of like a sports event. Especially with the stadium seating, its like a basketball game, and when the show ends that’s when the home team wins, and everyone starts cheering like they’re sports fans. It’s so hilarious!

What shows are you looking forward to seeing at Fashion Week?
My own. Once my show’s done I don’t really realize that other shows are going on. But I did see NADA’s 3D presentation a couple weeks back—it was really interesting and her look book was epic and amazing. I also enjoyed Philip Spark’s presentation, plus the whole city showed up for it, which was crazy.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I don’t think I’ve had my greatest achievement yet. I’m still waiting for it.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned in the past year?
I’ve definitely learned that its important to represent yourself at all times no matter where you are or what scenario you’re in. I’m a very open person and I sometimes tell people more than they need to know and its come back to bite me in the ass a few times. So I’ve learned not to necessarily trust people just because they feel trustworthy. The last few years have definitely hardened me up a little bit in that regard.

What do you most value in your friends?
I don’t like forced friendships or friendships that have schedules to them. I think that’s a little weird. If we can have dinners together and just kind of be together without having to be doing much, that’s cool.

What is your Twitter policy?
I don’t want to sit there and just say, “I’m going here now!” or “I’m meeting this person, look at how cool I am!” I don’t really think anyone cares about that. For me, it’s more about sharing my opinion and commenting on what’s happening. Twitter is bigger than what’s in my apartment, it’s everywhere. If you’re going to put something out there it should be relevant for people.

Finish this sentence:
“People think I’m mean but I’m really nice.”

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Designer DNA: Evan Biddell