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You. Better. Work… because Toronto Fashion Week is kicking off it’s stilettos early next month with a three days of high style served to you by the very best Canadian designers from across this country. From streetwear to fine jewelry, you’ll find everything a versatile fashionista needs in Toronto this September 3-5.
To prepare you for the sartorial onslaught, we’re introducing you to five need-to-know names in the Canadian fashion game. Check them out:
Lesley Hampton is an Indigenous designer who spent her formative years Canada’s Arctic and Atlantic (with time in Australia, England, Indonesia, and New Caledonia to round things out). Lesley defines herself through the amalgamation of her Anishinaabe and Mohawk heritage, as well as her early nomadic upbringing. Her newest collection, which will debut at Toronto Fashion Weekon September 5th at the ROM, is titled ‘The Preface’ and is inspired by the mental rise out of darkness towards a desire to become the most that one can be (mental health awareness has always been a passion of the brand). The collection uses colour and elemental therapy to instill happiness, self-confidence and self-love in the wearer. It’s dedicated to the memory of all missing and murdered Métis, First Nations and Inuit women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
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Wuxly Movement made its mark as the makers of the warmest Canadian-made and animal-free winter jackets. At the forefront of this growing business is self-made entrepreneur and former B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts player, James Yurichuk. With a love for wildlife as inspiration, the company set out to create a Canadian-made parka that was animal-friendly and warm to the planet. Once this was achieved, performance was next: an elite product, warmer than the rest was a must. Science stepped up to provide the world’s warmest tech-based insulators and fabrics. James’ latest collection is inspired by the place where he lives and works: Toronto. Names of the jackets derive from the city’s hot spots: Queen, Yonge, and Bay Street to name a few.
Montréal native and Rhode Island School of Design grad Franklin Benjamin Elman splits his time between his hometown and Europe. Over the past 18 years, Elman has worked as a design director and creative consultant for a series of design houses including Dior, Costume National, Jil Sander and Rick Owens. After living in six different cities and several different countries, Franklin can resolutely state without reservation that he is a Montrealer. Every paradox that is Montreal has directly impacted what he is drawn to and how he creates. Montreal is French and it is English. It is European yet North American. Montreal is old and new. Montreal is multilingual, multicultural, a collision of highbrow and lowbrow. It is experimental but deeply committed to preserving its history, traditions, and architecture. It took Elman 25 years of living abroad to truly fall in love with Canada — catch his runway presentation at the ROM this TFO.
Farley Chatto trained in bespoke Italian menswear tailoring and worked at Maison Lesage in Paris as a “premier” for couture houses such as YSL, Dior, Chanel, and LaCroix. He’s dressed celebs like Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Drake, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Noth, Laurence Fishbourne, Eve, George Clooney, and Vin Diesel to name a few. He’s also provided costumes for the Toronto cast of hit Broadway musicals like The Producers and Hairspray, as well as for the cast of the television series and films like Hannibal, Suits, Reign, and Crimson Peak. “As we near the century mark since the start of the Jazz Age,” says Chatto, ”this collection is a voyage back to the Golden 1920s. The inspiration for this show is Shanghai, a city where travellers and intrigue move to the sensual beat of the foxtrot.”
Hania Kuzbari makes her Canadian debut at 2019’s Toronto Fashion Week as part of STYLE PLATE at the Hazelton Hotel. Kuzbari’s statement jewelry is basically wearable art. The craftsmanship behind her pieces is an ode to Syrian jewelry making techniques, using raw materials like conflict-free diamonds, ethically sourced gemstones, and fair-trade gold. Her family’s history in metal coating and construction inspired her greatly as a jewelry designer. Her latest collection, ‘Smile’, is dedicated to lifting the spirits of people in the Middle East as well as around the world. Her new pieces are meant to remind wearers to stay hopeful by using the power of a smile to fight negativity.