Mikhael Kale is having an incredible year: He kicked it off by taking home the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) in January, and two months later his fall/winter 2015 runway presentation was the most buzzed about at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto. Up next? Designing performance pieces for Beyoncé (#NBD). We spoke to the on-the-rise talent about how he got his start and where he thinks the Canadian fashion industry needs to go next.
Fashion first: “I grew up in a small house with a lot of women, and they all had an interest in fashion. I remember seeing my sisters getting ready to go out in the ’90s. It’s funny; I remember them wearing things that are now coming back.”
Best friends: “The CAFA win was wonderful because it’s your peers voting for you. To have people I’ve grown up with in fashion believe in me is really cool. It means a lot because they’re so much a part of what I do.”
Mod mood: “For fall/winter 2015, I felt attracted to the retro trend. I brought some tweed fabric back from New York and started to cut it up and create textures. The closing look, which had all these hanging vintage beads, took three months to get just right. People are like ‘Why are you doing this to yourself?’ But it’s fun, and it looks beautiful. I’m so proud of my team, and I’m proud of my collection.”
Wise words: “When I was in Italy working for Armani Privé, I was taught hand beading by a woman who once told me ‘Life is too short to entertain monotony. You have to do what makes you happy and makes an impact.’ Hopefully in 30 years I can look back and say I did something new. And I think, as Canadians, that’s what we need to do: We need to build a culture that speaks for itself—to do something different and from our own angle.”
Check out our behind-the-scenes look at the designer’s fall/winter 2015 collection below:
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter