Last week marked the rebranding of Toronto Fashion Week to focus less on corporate sponsorship, and place the emphasis on Canadian made designs. With five jam-packed days of runway presentations, Canadian designers showcased their Fall/Winter 2016 collections. While there’s still a way to go when it comes to funding Canadian talent to help support and launch new designers, this week was a positive step for Canadian talent who were able to present their latest work to an adoring audience of media and industry insiders. Here is a round up the 10 best Canadian fashion designers that should be on your radar.
1. Jennifer Torosian
It is just a matter of time before the designer duo behind Jennifer Torosian becomes a worldwide sensation. Collaborating with her partner Raed Ali, this label is known for their sleek and tailored aesthetic. The latest collection was a modern interpretation of ready-to-wear sport luxe pieces that are not only luxurious in fabric and print but can also be worn in everyday life. With the growing popularity of athleisure apparel, Torosian’s latest collection brings a feminine touch to this trend with soft prints and loose silhouettes.
2. Ellie Mae
Still on a high note from her much deserved press from the Canadian Prime Minister’s wife visit to Washington D.C. sporting her floral bomber, Ellie Mae’s latest collection debuted her first ever runway show and then showcased during the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s Press and Buyers Brunch. Featuring rock’n’roll inspired jackets in feminine colors and soft fabrics, her Fall/Winter 2016 collection is luxurious, full and textured. Studying fashion design in London, Ellie brings the refined British aesthetic in her conscious approach to constructing functional yet fashionable outerwear.
3. Malorie Urbanovitch
Hailing from Edmonton, Malorie Urbanovitch’s unique sense of style has evolved over the years to become one of the most notable contemporary designers in the Canadian fashion landscape. First launching her career as the winner of the Mercedes-Benz Start Up Competition in 2013, this season was arguably one of her best as she brought a vintage inspired looks with contemporary cuts to the runway using a northern winter inspired color palette mixed in with the chic allure of 1980s Industrialism. This season also marks the exciting step her career as the collection will now also be carried in the national Canadian department store Simons as well as online.
While Mackage may already be a household name all over North America, it is important to celebrate the fact that this luxury outerwear brand has its roots in Montreal. Known for the popular winter parka style, Mackage has expanded its outwear repertoire this season to also include impeccably tailored womenswear, menswear and accessories with their signature leather detailing, colorful furs and layered wool vests. Their coats are distributed at boutiques, department stores and renowned online retailers, or at their flagship store in New York’s Soho district.
5. Hilary MacMillan
Re-introducing her brand cruelty-free, animal-friendly collection; Hilary MacMillan founded her design house in 2012 to create wearable designs for the urban modern woman. With clean cuts, in feminine silhouettes, her latest collection brings high-end pieces in rose quartz at an affordable price point. This season, MacMillan’s collection was lined with romanticism featuring soft pink tones set against darker wools and pieces made from an exclusive watercolor lip print produced in various pink tones.
The Montreal-based designer LAMARQUE was another one of the Canadian designers who made their runway debut last week. Fashion designer Ifigenia Papadimitriou infused her French flare into Italian lambs and leathers paired with silk bodysuits and hand-beaded pieces. Her collection was on trend and exquisitely created, but still functional in everyday life. Showcasing as well at the Toronto Fashion Incubator Press & Buyers Brunch, this new designer is well on her way to internal stardom being carried at Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrom Neiman Marcus and other Canadian retailers.
7. CARAS, Stephan Caras
This father-son design duo delights guest’s seasons after season with elegant eveningwear. And, to our delight, their latest collection was no exception. Bringing drama, sparkle and seduction to the runway, this season features daring cut outs, plunging necklines, asymmetric treatments and criss-cross strap details. For over 20 years, Stephan Caras has established himself in both Toronto (where their designer studio is located) and in Canada while continuing to participate in worldwide fashion events. Blending the contemporary ideas of Kyriako Caras with his father’s fine craftsmanship to add a breath and versatility to their collection.
8. Hayley Elsaesser
Season after season, Hayley Elsaesser brings the party to the runway. Known for her bright and whimsical prints, Elsaesser’s latest collection “GUTTER BALL” has a playful retro vibe inspired by “The Big Lebowski.” Elsaesser is a force to be reckoned with in the modern fashion landscape as she is a champion for diversity allowing models of all ages and sizes to walk in her collection and has a celebrity fan base featuring some of the best (and the brightest) stars like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus.
Launched in Canada in 2002 by Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow, Bustle Clothing has become a preeminent sportswear label, known all over the world for their unique twist on traditional menswear pieces. Debuting their Fall/Winter 2016, Bustle Clothing strutted down the runway in their recognizable style, bringing their fun loving approach to upscale sportswear with them. This season also included their adorable Bustle Sprouts collection for children. The future seems limitless for Bustle as they continue to develop their label. They are constantly looking for innovative ways to keep their style fresh by playing with seasonally inspired colors and prints while staying true to their signature tailored design.
It seems as if Montreal has become the unofficial hub in Canadian for outstanding leather design. Over the last 20 years, Rudsak has created a legacy with Canadian fashion as they are known for edgy and advent-garde fashion. Their latest collection featured outerwear, footwear, accessories and apparel inspired by the Nordic warriors of the Middle Ages by mixing leathers and furs in a somber color palette.