For the past few years, I have been part of the nomination jury for the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA). This committee is in charge of shining a light on industry peers, including artists, stylists, designers, models, content creators and brands, and the awards are presented at a gala that has been taking place in Toronto annually (barring 2020) since 2014. Another jury, made up of various people from the fashion, arts and media industries, votes to select the winners.

I mention this event because at the most recent one, this past October, something struck me: Canada is incredibly rich in creative talent. Several of the nominees and presenters who were there have made their mark globally, including Outstanding Achievement Award winners brothers Rami, Bassel and Firas Atallah, who are the co-founders of fashion retailer SSENSE; international curator and 2019 Vanguard Award recipient Thierry-Maxime Loriot; and International Canadian Designer winner Jennifer Zuccarini, who founded Fleur du Mal. Then there’s Marie Ève Lecavalier (some of whose creations you can see on pages 20 and 31), who won Womenswear Designer of the Year for her label, Lecavalier; the Maguire sisters, who won the Emerging Talent award in the accessories category for their eponymous shoe brand; and Melanie Auld, who received Accessory Designer of the Year for her jewellery. I’m also in awe of those who help propel us forward, like the recipients of the Change Maker awards: Sage Paul, executive and artistic director of Indigenous Fashion Arts, a multi platform arts organization that she co-founded, and George Sully, fashion designer and founder of Black Designers of Canada.

Then there are incredible up-and-coming talents like Emerging Talent in fashion winner Kathryn Bowen and Fresh Face of the Year winner Willow Allen, both of whom have been featured in our pages. We speak with Bowen in this issue (page 28) about the return of glamour and interview her fellow nominee in the same category, Maria Karimi of MAR (page 34). There are also some behind-the-scenes people we’ve worked with who were honoured, like Stylist of the Year winner Nariman Janghorban and nominees Nadia Pizzimenti and Amanda Lee Shirreffs, Makeup Artist of the Year nominee Leslie-Ann Thomson and Hair Artist of the Year winner Janet Jackson.

These are just a few of the countless names that were present at this year’s CAFA gala, and they are among an even greater pool of talent that propels our fashion industry forward and helps us make a mark on the global scene. So for this holiday issue, I want to celebrate all these creators and how hard they work to make an impact. I would like all of us to make an effort to include pieces made by Canadian designers in our wardrobes. (Check out our gift guide, starting on page 108, for some ideas.) But most of all, I want to promise our fashion-industry talents that we at ELLE Canada will never stop supporting them and bringing their work to light.

Royal Gilbert

The December-January 2022/2023 issue of ELLE Canada is available on newsstands now, in print and digitally.

Read more:
An Ultra-Cool Lucy Liu Shines on ELLE Canada’s Holiday 2022 Cover
Getting to Know Lucy Liu