Between fierce competition and trying to attract the attention of both a national and an international audience, the struggle is real for Canadian fashion designers – it’s no easy gig.
That’s why we have nothing but crazy respect for those who manage to break through, one heavily Instagrammed fashion show at a time.
Here are seven Toronto-based fashion designers to watch in 2018.
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Nothing feels like making a difference. Nothing feels like Cashmere. ? The White Cashmere Collection image of my design shot at the @romtoronto ?? Location: Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) Photography: Katherine Holland & team Make-Up: Jane McKay & Melissa Gibson, from MAC Cosmetics Hair: Marilisa Sears, Jennifer Gutierrez & Gilad Roitman from Marc Anthony Salons & Hair Care Models: one of Sadie & Lily, Sutherland Models & Anastasyia, Spot 6 Models Shoes: Town Shoes Jewelry: Swarovski?? @townshoes @swarovski @maccosmeticscanada @thekittyholland #cashmere17 #cashmere #cashmerebt #fashion #coutureforthecure #bathroomtissue #gown #couture #canadianfashion #madeincanada #canadianmade #native #nativepride #nativedesigner #cancerawareness #breastcancerawareness
Just a year out of graduation from George Brown College, Lesley Hampton is already catching the attention of everyone from major media outlets like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Today Show, to famous faces like Cheryl Hickey and Kim Kardashian. Creations from her body inclusive line of womenswear have graced the red carpets at The Emmys, the Canadian Screen Awards, and the Toronto International Film Festival. On the runway, last year, Hampton made international headlines with her involvement with the Be Body Aware campaign. Look for her new line of athleisure wear, Robust, which launched late last year.
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The Grey PECHANI Skirt in all its #GLORIOUSNESS . A light-weight organza skirt with foil floral detailing , lined beautifully with raw silk . ?? Swipe to see all the ways it's been styled! How would you do it ? #SHOPNOW Available to Purchase at The Mani Jassal Showroom and at WWW.MANIJASSAL.COM . WorldWide Shipping Available .
We can expect to see more of South Asian eveningwear designer Mani Jassal this year. The up-and-coming designer is widely known in the South Asian Communities for her non-traditional wedding gowns, which are decidedly sexier, edgier (including touches like leather), and more boundary-pushing than the typical South Asian wedding dress. Jassal has been a red carpet favourite for celebrities during the Toronto International Film Festival for the past few years, in addition to capturing attention on the carpets at both the BET Awards and the Emmy Awards. This will be a big year for her, as she has her first major industry runway show planned for late February in a converted Toronto church.
Hendrixroe (Jordan Erin McKay)
Hendrixroe’s runway shows are always a hot ticket in Toronto and filled with the city’s most stylish and move-making crowds. Case-in-point: McKay’s celebrity clientele includes Jason Priestley, Jennifer Beals, Lauren Lee Smith, Kardinal Offishall, and the cast of the Real Housewives of Toronto. Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker is also a big fan of the brand, and has stated that designers like her were “the reason she got into fashion,” likening her show to the hay days of New York in the 80s and Betsey Johnson. Look for the designer’s imitative Property of No One, which will help charities dealing with human trafficking.
Toronto-based lifestyle and ready-to-wear designer Andrew Coimbra has captured the attention of an international audience since launching his namesake label in 2015. The designer got his start in menswear, in addition to more gender-neutral pieces before introducing womenswear for Fall 2017. Coimbra’s star in the Canadian fashion industry continues to rise as his name and creations find themselves in the pages of major media outlets.
Ryerson School of Fashion grad Miriam Baker got her start at the Toronto Fashion Incubator before becoming widely known for her coveted bust-friendly (finally) womenswear. The born-and-raised Toronto designer is familiar with the struggle when it comes to finding great tops and dresses for bustier women – and she sought to change that. Her resulting creations are the type of pieces that become closet staples with a years-long shelf life thanks to their timeless, understatedly elegant designs. Baker launches two collections per year that are available at select boutiques, in addition to her online business.
Hayley Elsaesser’s bright, bold, pop culture-inspired, and animated pieces are easy to spot and are praised for being both unique and body positive. Since launching her line in 2013 and opening a storefront on Queen West, she has amassed a collection of celebrity fans that include everyone from Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, to Joe Jonas. The designer has also collaborated with brands like Taco Bell (marking Taco Bell’s first designer collaboration) and Nike, who have been drawn to her playful and eccentric designs.
Now a mainstay on Toronto runways, Hilary MacMillan has quickly become an industry favourite with her animal-friendly womenswear line. This season, the label is expanding its sizing to accommodate the growing demand for the wearable pieces. Last season, the brand’s must-have Feminist varsity jacket flew off the racks and was spotted on a number of notable personalities, including Natasha Negovanlis, the star of the hit cult series Carmilla. Expect to see her FW18 collection back on the runway at Toronto Fashion Week.
Who is your favourite Canadian designer? Share with us in the comments!
Featured image: Instagram/ @hayleyelsaesser
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