The fashion runway show is expanding fashion in Canada and internationally
Supporting and facilitating the visibility of Montreal fashion designers on a national and international scale is the goal of Fashion Preview. For its eighth edition, the event gathered over 2,000 visitors from Oct. 17 to 19. “Fashion Preview, in its three days of parades and presentations of collections, allows us to discover the talents of tomorrow and to understand, through their work, the culture and the esthetics of the young people of Montreal,” said journalist Elisabeth Clauss from the magazine Elle Belgique.
To support the local industry, each edition of Fashion Preview is a thematic runway show featuring the latest creations of students from local fashion programs at Cégep Marie-Victorin, École des sciences de la gestion de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (ESG-UQAM) and LaSalle College. “The idea behind Fashion Preview is to showcase the work of up-and-coming fashion designers,” said Marie-Eve Faust, a professor at UQAM’s fashion school.
On Oct. 18, Fashion Preview hosted four runway shows featuring the collections of local brands, including Oneself, Coquette en Soie, Oscar Mendoza and Helmer. Oneself presented an elegant collection that approached women’s femininity with naivety and youthfulness. “It’s inspired by the 70s. It’s the contrast between the young adult and the mature adult,” said Sophie Cardinal, the designer of Oneself. “Even though, as women, we grow up, we still have this inner child within us. In this collection, I tried to point towards that aspect of women.”
This was the designer’s third collection for Oneself, and Cardinal is already anticipating a flair of colour for her upcoming summer collection. “The colours will be brighter because I find that Montreal is lacking in that area,” she said, adding that colours such as red, green and purple will be trending next summer. “I’m currently inspired by the sun and its tones. Everything that is rainbow-like and flashy because it’s in style these days.”
The core of Cardinal’s designs are inspired by vintage styles. “Three quarters of my wardrobe is vintage clothing so it’s important for me to have that touch in my collections,” she said. According to Cardinal, featuring her collection at Fashion Preview took a lot of preparation. “Doing it alone, it was a lot of work, but the team here at Fashion Preview are very attentionate,” she said. For the show, Cardinal was given the freedom to choose models who fit her brand image and develop a connection with them before the event.
“It differs from the old stereotypes of mannequin girls that don’t speak or show any emotions,” she said. “Here, I was able to establish different relationships with people and be able to be open to different body types, nationalities and personalities.”
One of the models for Oneself, Fatou Alhya Diagne, told The Concordian about her experience modelling for Fashion Preview. “I already did fashion shows previously, but this was my first official one with press and media,” she said. “It was interesting to see how Oneself’s adapted diversity to their collection.” “Every time I do a show, it reminds me of how important it is to create platforms of representation in order to showcase unity and diversity of people of colour and our communities to the larger fashion industry,” Diagne said. “I’m happy that I was able to be part of this whole fashion show and to have a view of the industry from a closer perspective.”
Fashion Preview also featured several pop-up shops attendees could visit during the show’s intermissions. One of the stands featured the handmade jewelry brand Bijoux Pepine. Founder and designer Perrine Marez is already selling her jewelry in 25 stores across Canada after just one year of designing jewelry full-time. “I want to have jewelry that is made by sand, pigments and spices,” she said. According to Marez, her inspirations come from architecture, graphic art and ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Chinese and Aztecs. “My inspiration makes me more open to the world. It reflects my clientele that are more international,” she said.
The second runway show featured a collection of silk dresses by Montreal brand Coquette en Soie. The dresses were elegant and feminine with lots of bold colours. According to the designer, Marie-Josée Mercil, her collection respects the fair trade industry by supporting independent silk producers. Her inspiration for bold colours and creative designs stems from her years spent traveling the world.
Oscar Mendoza, a former UQAM fashion student, also presented his new collection at Fashion Preview. “My collections are the story of a dream, created in a place where reality touches the surreal,” he explained. “I try to metamorphose feelings into shapes, into textures, into ideas that will decorate people’s behaviour or be the expression tool for people’s personas.” “What is fashion for but an instrument to demonstrate who we are, to excel our own self-expression to surpass us and show the world the strong opinions we have,” Mendoza added.
Photos by Sandra Hercegova