The Toronto Fashion Incubator is known for discovering emerging Canadian talent and this year's New Labels Design Competition was no different. Here, we take a look at the four finalists who made the cut.
THIEVES By Sonja den Elzen
Passion for fashion "I grew up sewing and looking at magazines dreaming of beautiful editorial outfits. I didn’t go to school for fashion design; I’m self-taught! I literally went to the Ryerson book store and got out all of the books that fashion students used and then taught myself pattern drafting and grading. Because my schooling is in interior design, I thought I had a good foundation to work from!"
Collection faves In my Fall 2009 line
Northern Nomad, I would have to say I my favourite pieces are the "Siberian Vest" which has organic wool flannel with hand-knit organic wool horns around the sleeves and the "Warrior Jacket"; a vegetable-tanned leather jacket with pointy shoulder details."
Cause celeb "If I could dress any celebrity, I would love to dress Scarlett Johansson, or Daryl Hannah, Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt."
Inspiration point " I am inspired by natural texture, colour, shapes and the human form. For me, design is a complete compulsion; an outlet to create and express the beauty I see in the world."
Oh, Canada! "I love being a Canadian designer; the fact that I am part of such a diverse culture is very inspiring to me."
Favourite designer "Rick Owens."
One Fashion Week, one show "If I could show my designs at one Fashion Week, it would have to be Paris; I love how Parisians have such an easy and natural sense of style and well, because it’s Paris!"
Can’t live without… "Shoes!"
Jody McMillan for Jody Leigh
Collection faves "In my latest Fall 2009 collection, love the olive green dress because I think it is a very classic piece that will look beautiful on many women; it brings out their femininity."
Cause celeb "What celebrity would I dress? Where do I start?! Cameron Diaz would be my number one; I think she is absolutely stunning and she looks as though she would be a lot of fun to work with."
Inspiration point "I am inspired by so many things, it differs for each collection. In my current collection I was inspired by 1940s photographs of my grandparents."
Oh, Canada! " I find that Canada really supports its homegrown talent in the artistic and creative fields. I love the fact that the Canadian industry is still on the cusp of being something huge!"
Favourite designer " Alexander McQueen."
One Fashion Week, one show "I would love to show in Milan; I’ve never been there before and I can only imagine how wonderful it would be. To be surrounded by such fashion legends would be an honour and a dream come true."
Can’t live without… "A big purse! I love having everything I need with me at all times."
GUSHUE SWIM BY CHERYL GUSHUE
Passion for fashion "I went to Seneca College for design many years ago and designed club wear for a junior market, sold in stores like Urban Behaviour."
Bikini girl "Back in 2003 I found this fabric I just loved for a bikini I designed for myself. Before I knew it, the idea somehow turned into me starting swimwear shows where I would show my designs at parties all across Toronto. Now I make custom bikinis and plan on wholesaling my latest collection
Blame it on Rio."
Collection faves "In
Blame it on Rio I love the halter-style bikini tops which is super-comfortable and doesn’t dig into the skin too much, no matter how long you wear it. The low-slung, super-wide sheer pants are also another favourite; I get compliments every time I wear them!" "Gwyneth Paltrow always has a great, classiy style with an edge … I’d love to dress her."
Inspiration point "I design swimwear because I love the beach, sun and I travel often. I’ve had a hard time finding styles that are comfortable, but also with a chic edginess to them."
Oh, Canada! The support that Canada gives to its creative talent is incredible — so much talent exists here!"
Favourite designer "Roberto Cavalli and Rick Owens."
One Fashion Week, one show "It would have to be Milan. I’m Italian! They love sexy and hot styles."
Can’t live without… "A wrap-neck scarf I bought in L.A that I wear just about every day."
FAREN by Faren Tami
Passion for fashion "Unofficially I started my line back in 2004 when I was one of the founding members of a collectively run retail store called Freedom Clothing. I sold one-of-a-kind pieces while studying Fashion Design at Ryerson University."
Collection faves "In my Fall 2009 collection
Futurology, every piece is so special to me because of all the time it took to create each one! If I had to choose, I’d say my favourite piece is the multi-draped chiffon cocktail dress in jersey — it’s wearable for all body types."
Cause celeb I think Angelina Jolie is so edgy — and I love her attitude. She is a nice mix of classiness and sexiness; she’s exactly the kind of star I try to portray through my designs."
Inspiration point "I am inspired by life: people, nature, music, art, architecture… anything that evokes aesthetic appeal. My passion is what motivates me to design. Fashion, to me, is not just clothes – it’s a persona. Fashion can create a mood, a feeling, it can be functional or it could be art-to-wear."
Favourite designer "Rick Owens is such an inspiration to me. Even though most of his collections are usually black with dark neutrals, he plays on shape and silhouette. His design innovation and tailoring give me something to aspire to."
One Fashion Week, one show "Milan! It has always been an ambition of mine to live and work in Italy, so to be given the opportunity to show in Milan would be the ultimate dream come true."
Can’t live without… "I have a million scarves! I can’t go a day without wearing at least one or two. A scarf is so versatile, but you really can’t go wrong with wrapping one as a simple neck accessory to spruce up an outfit."
To see all of the four finalist collections shown at the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels Design Competition (2009), please click here!