Project Runway Canada Winner Goes Green

L’Oreal Fashion Week kicks off on Monday at Nathan Phillips Square — and though someone left a comment on this blog about how the UK fashion scene leaves Canada sitting in the dust, I politely beg to differ.

It’s more a matter of personal taste, isn’t it? And doesn’t a part of it have to do with the fact that Toronto, having only had a fashion week in existence since 2001, isn’t seen as a major contender at this point simply because there’s been less exposure to the fashion world?

I’m pretty excited about the fact that Project Runway Canada winner, Evan Biddell, will be kicking off Fashion Week tomorrow with a 2 p.m. show under the massive white tents outside of Nathan Phillips Square.


picture credit: Keith Beaty/Toronto Star

His Fall ’08 collection has been described as being based on the “eco warrior” — “an environmentally conscious character inspired by stylized Japanese animé,” Erin Kobayashi wrote in last Friday’s piece in The Toronto Star.

Here’s a tid bit from the article:

Using raw silk in jewel tones, organic wools, organic cotton-bamboo blends and organic denim, Biddell has created coats with grand architectural collars, extreme wide-leg jeans and dramatic eveningwear with long trailing trains and full skirts.

“A lot of the silhouettes I am using are egotistical,” Biddell says of the high volume shapes in his collection. “I haven’t seen a lot of really interesting, unique organic clothes … there is a lot of casual wear in organic fabrics but there are only a few luxury designers, like Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs, who are starting to go sustainable.”

What I really hope for — for all of the Project Runway Canada contestants, actually — is a rebirth in the Toronto fashion scene courtesy of all of this awesome talent that we’ve had only a glimpse of on Project Runway Canada.

There’s absolutely no denying the fact that Canada produces talented designers — as evidenced in Project Runway Canada and in the fact that two of the three finalists on the UK’s Project Catwalk are Canadian.

Keep posted for more about L’Oreal Fashion Week.

In the meantime, here’s another interesting article about the designers from Project Runway Canada:

The Canadian Press 

‘Project Runway Canada’ designers hope to measure up on Fashion Week catwalk

TORONTO — The cameras may have stopped rolling on “Project Runway Canada” nearly five months ago, but for the ambitious designers featured on the show, their bid to stay a cut above in the fashion industry remains in high gear.

More than 400 hopefuls completed lengthy applications for a shot on the Slice design competition series before being whittled down to the final 12.

Nearly half of the finalists from the inaugural season, including the winner, Evan Biddell, will be showcasing their fall collections at L’Oreal Fashion Week.

Instead of an intimate judging panel fronted by the show’s host, supermodel Iman, the designers will be putting their work under the scrutiny of a whole new set of style watchers, including domestic and foreign buyers and members of the local and international media and the public.

Biddell, 24, said he hopes to make a “big splash” when he kicks off the festivities inside the white tents at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square on Monday.

“I’m just really hoping to give some fashion industry people some entertainment,” said the Saskatoon native.

“I want to have them sit down and I just want to have them have their eyes wide open for 12 minutes and feel really energized after it.”

Like his winning collection presented last October, Biddell’s work will comprise eco-fabrics, using organic materials like wool and bamboo.

He created pieces fashioned of recycled materials from Value Village a couple of years ago, but insists his new work will have a sexier shape, eschewing the “hippie clothes” label.

Brooklyn Brownstone, designer co-ordinator of the Fashion Design Council of Canada, the producers of L’Oreal Fashion Week, said they like to start the semi-annual event with a “serious kick” and Biddell fit the bill.

“We like somebody who can make lots of noise, and not only is Evan Biddell’s personality worthy of that, but so are his designs,” she said.

“We really wanted something fresh, and Evan felt very fresh and very energetic.”

Vancouver’s Carlie Wong admits feeling a lot of anticipation and stress in the lead-up to Fashion Week and the presentation of her first collection.

The 23-year-old hopes to have 32 pieces completed for her evening wear line that she crafted “100 per cent” on her own full-time since Christmas.

While she admits the recognition from the show has been flattering, she ultimately has her eyes on a larger prize.

“Just regular people on the street, it’s nice if someone recognizes you, but that’s not what it’s really about. It’s about the industry recognizing you,” Wong said. “It’s a very difficult industry to get into, and the show definitely helped for that.”

Kendra Francis will have an informal presentation of her cocktail collection from her label, Franke, which she hopes to have more widely distributed in foreign markets like the U.S., Europe and Asia after Fashion Week wraps.

“I’m much more recognizable and people are, I guess, much more anxious to see what else I do, which is great,” she said of her exposure from the show.

“It allows me for that larger base to have people accessible to my work and potentially want and purchase my work, so it’s done a lot for me in that sense.”

“Project Runway Canada” runner-up Lucian Matis will be doing double duty, showing his fall collection on Tuesday afternoon immediately followed by the Heart Truth fashion show, joining 19 other Canadian designers who crafted red dresses to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke.

Stephen Wong, one-half of the design duo from Greta Constantine, will present the collection off-site at Toronto hot spot Circa on Wednesday night.

Andrea Gabourie, supervising producer of “Project Runway Canada,” said there’s an “absolute satisfaction” in seeing designers move on from the show into the industry.

Their ability to create collections in such a short time frame speaks volumes about their capabilities, she said.

“The world isn’t going to change for you because you’re doing it for the first time and you need some catch-up time. You need to be able to hit the ground running,” Gabourie said.

“The designers who are showing collections, who came off the show and were able to turn around collections at the same calibre of any other designer who’s been out there doing it for 10 or 15 years – to me, that shows they are a true talent.”

Copyright © 2008 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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~ by justj on March 16, 2008.

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