Fall fashion alert: Three up-and-coming Canadian designers
Meet three up-and-coming Canadian fashion talents. ELLE Canada sits down with tomorrow's designers today.
It’s an exciting time for Canadian fashion. Canadian designers are making names for themselves around the world—Erdem and Mark Fast in London, Calla Haynes in Paris, and Jeremy Laing in New York. But who are the next designers on everyone’s lips? We rounded up three up-and-coming fashion labels who fit the bill.
Chloe and Parris Gordon of Chloe Come Parris
Most likely to be claimed by the New York cognoscenti.
Launched line 2009 in Toronto.
High-school cafeteria crew “The underdogs.”
Canadian fashion is… “On the rise!”
In a sunny studio on a leafy Toronto side street, sisters Chloé and Parris Gordon are reminiscing about their first fashion memory. “Instead of going to the park in our strollers, our mom would take us to the fitting rooms at Holts,” Chloé, 24, remembers, laughing. “Or into her friends’ closets,” adds Parris, 22. “At the cottage, one of our neighbours was a model – I can still see her mirror, with super-long necklaces hanging off of it.”
Today, these precocious fashion enthusiasts are among the most exciting design talents in the country. Under their Chloé Comme Parris moniker, Chloé creates the clothes, while Parris—who interned two summers ago with Pamela Love—crafts the jewellery. (Their mother, Eve, is their textile designer.)
Since the sisters’ debut Spring/Summer 2011 collection, their creative realms continue to merge. Take his season’s graceful nipped-waist coats thoughtfully dotted with laser-cut, hand-drilled beads and the custom chain embellishments that add “a badass edge” (as Parris puts it) to a collection inspired by Erté and the delicate silhouettes of the 1920s.
Do the sisters fight? Occasionally, sure, but Chloé says that ultimately their connection is invaluable. I know I can rely on Parris for anything,” she says, glancing at her sister fondly. “It works beautifully – we’re being creative together. And it’s a dream come true for our mom.”
Meet another talented Canadian fashion designer on the next page…
Most likely to show at Paris Fashion Week.
Launched line 2011 in London.
High-school cafeteria crew “The nerds.”
Canadian fashion is… “New.”
It’s said that inspiration can hit you like a bus, but Steven Tai’s inspiration came in the form of a man on the bus. “There was this guy sitting next to me who was the perfect muse,” remembers Tai. “He had a hunchback, and he was wearing a tweed coat and these great spectacles. I took a picture of him. There’s inspiration everywhere- you just have to capture it!”
In 2009, Tai moved from Vancouver to London, England, to attend Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. After working as a design assistant for Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf and Hussein Chayalan, he started his namesake label last year. Now, Tai, 28, is best known for his geek-chic aesthetic-think collared shirts tucked into high-waist trousers, sloping trenches and oversized wire spectacles.
Tai’s unique sensibility has earned him some major industry cred: In April, he won the illustrious Chloé Award at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography. “It was a three-day show, and we had to present our pieces to the jury, which included Yohji Yamamoto,” says Tai. “He’s a really funny guy! I have an electronic dress [in the collection]-it has a motor and it spins. Yohji told me to save the batteries!”
Discover another innovative Canadian fashion designer on the next page…
Most likely to open stores in far-flung locales.
Launched line 2011 in Toronto.
High-school cafeteria crew The athletes.”
Canadian fashion is… “Friendly and eclectic.”
It was a 2008 backpacking trip that inspired Laura Siegel to become a fashion designer. “I went to India and met these amazing embroidery artisans,” explains Siegel, a Toronto native. “That opened my eyes. Then I went to Peru and Bolivia, where artisans naturally dye yarn to handknit and crochet. In Southeast Asia, I met leathersmiths. I asked everyone I encountered ‘Can you teach me?'”
Influenced by her travels, Siegel studied at New York’s Parsons the New School for Design and supplemented her classes with summer courses at Central Saint Martins. In her gradating year at Parsons, she was nominated for Designer of the Year, and Vogue Italia featured her as a “talent to watch” in its September 2010 issue. The following year, Siegel officially launched her eponymous line.
Siegel’s current collection features chunky knits handwovenn Bolivia, tunics embroidered in India and natural-dye prints in flowing silhouettes. This season, she was inspired by “personal dreams, the ones [from] the past or the ones that come out of hibernation and are resurrected from the ground.”
How did Siegel translate that concept to her non- English-speaking artisans? “Sketching is a huge part,” she admits, with a laugh. “That’s one of the biggest ways we communicate!”