It’s about time that we Torontonians were less apologetic about World MasterCard Fashion Week (running March 17th to 21st). As Canadians, it seems we have developed a self-deprecating culture predicated around the notion that everything from the Great White North is somehow second-rate compared to equivalencies elsewhere. And while yes, Toronto’s fashion week may be younger than its contemporaries in New York and Paris, this should not in any way imply that it is lesser in fabulously fierce exhibitions of talent.
While I appreciate a good Canadian joke just as much as the next Canuck, our habit of poo-pooing our own takes away from what should be a celebration of homegrown design skill at the country’s largest fashion event. To help get you as excited as you should be about World MasterCard Fashion Week, we have put together a list of the top Toronto-based designers we can’t wait to catch on the catwalk…
Founded in 1995, David Dixon is a veteran label on the Canadian fashion scene. His designs marry the concepts of classic and modern, luxury and function, and aspiration and sensibility for collections that embrace emerging styles without being radically influenced by perennial trends. These healthy balances have doubtlessly played a role in David Dixon’s longevity and popularity, with his designs having been worn by everybody from Nicole Kidman to Laureen Harper.
Founder in 2002 by Kimberley Newport-Mimran, Pink Tartan has grown into a global fashion powerhouse. Carried in luxury retailers across North America and abroad, Newport-Mimran has stayed true to her style philosophy of “simplicity is the secret to elegance” while placing heavy emphasis on structure and tailoring. FYI, her husband is Joe Mimran aka Mr. Joe Fresh.
If Laura Siegel’s FW14 is anything like FW13 we have a lot to be excited about. The young designer, based in Toronto and New York, has come a long way in designing her easy-to-wear, ethnically handcrafted pieces. Created in collaboration with artisans in Asia and Latin America, her choices of unique patterns, heavy draping, and ambiguous cultural inspiration give her collections a look that could be described as “bazaar chic.” This is street style for the streets of Calcutta… and that’s a great thing.
Mikhael Kale has dressed Beyonce. Beyonce! Let’s just let that sink in for a moment as a testament to how fabulous his clothes are. Trained at Central Saint Martins in London, this TO-designer has been featured in the New York Times Style Magazine, Wallpaper, V Magazine, and tons of other pubs you read regularly. His designs are bold, ambitious and totally unique, embracing tight silhouettes, a variety of materials, and a wide colour palette. As Queen Bey herself would say, #Flawless.
Alberta-born, NYC-trained Sid Neigum can boast stockists in New York, Seoul, Hong Kong and his home base of Toronto. The young designer has a lot to be proud of, having received the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels Award in 2012 and subsequently dressing celebs such as Boys Noize. His designs feature bold cut-outs, a variety of textures, and they display a level of taste one would expect from somebody who has been in the biz much longer. This is definitely a talent you’ll want to keep your eye on.
Another young Toronto designer, Michael Thomas Balint studied sculpture at OCAD and you can clearly see its influence on his beautifully structured and tailored pieces. Mostly a menswear designer, his colour palette is largely on the neutral to black side which gives his classically-inspired, forward-looking pieces an air that is chic, urban, and totally wearable.
What designers are you most excited to see at Toronto Fashion Week this year? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.