As part of POP Montreal, six Montreal-based designers battled it out this past Wednesday night at the Rialto Theatre for Fashion POP, a fashion show and design contest. Each was given two months to create a mini-collection of six unique looks, which were shown on the runway and judged by five industry panelists. The designers found a common theme, all using structured silhouettes, sheer fabrics and a hint of androgyny.
Natasha Thomas, a fashion design student from UQAM was the victorious designer, winning $1,000 cash, a $500 gift card from Le Ch’teau, the events major sponsor and a 12-page spread in Worn Fashion Journal.
The winning collection
Thomas says that the clothing in her collection was inspired by the blur between illusion and reality. She distorted simple, basic pieces to the point that they became new. “You need to get imaginative with your fashion,” she said. Her collection featured structured pieces, blacks and whites and dresses and blazers that encompassed her underlying theme of simplicity. The staple of her collection was the trench coat, but with a unique take featured cut outs at the elbows.
Despite coming out on top, Thomas is humbled by her win. She described her competitors as very strong and admitted “they were all so good.” With the money, Thomas plans to keep making clothing and is already working on several ideas, like her printed scarf and knit projects. Thomas is also currently in the works of launching her own website, which should be up shortly. Based on what she has shown at this year’s Fashion POP, it would be best to keep an eye out for her name since her simplistic and beautiful designs scream “next big thing.’
The other looks
JosÃ© Manuel St-Jacques: Inspiration came from Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory, who murdered virgins and bathed in their blood for eternal youth. Shocking, yes. But, although gory in words, this serial killer vision transformed beautifully onto fabric. Silky, flowing dresses with subtle patterns, almost seeming hand-painted, came down the runway. Muted reds and creamy browns gave the collection a romantic, poetic look.
Market Market: AmÃ©lie Tessier and Isabel Vinuela are the vision behind this unique brand. As graduates of Ã‰cole supÃ©rieure de mode de MontrÃ©al, they have worked with Montreal’s Harricana, a line that recycles old fur apparel. Their collection is soft in fabrics and colours and surprisingly boasts a mature look for the youthful 20-somethings behind the brand.
“The collection is inspired by masculine clothing,” explains Vinuela. “We take basic clothing, street wear, so the shirt, t-shirt, pants, trousers, and we mix them with pieces that are a little more classic.” Vinuela also explains that they try to deconstruct the pieces and mix them with materials that are unusual for that type of clothing.
THIRD EYE: Created by Marie-Julie Dessaivre, this brand is both exciting and very current. Dessaivre uses only ecological fabrics and recycled furs which has helped her start up her brand because the cost of eco-friendly textiles is cheaper than any other fabric.
Prototype: Designed by LaSalle College graduate Catherine Durocher, the muse for this collection was zoology. Complete with a fish purse and fox adorned jacket, the collection was full of animal hints and geometric lines.
& many others: A mini-collection by Caroline Laquerre, a UQAM graduate in fashion design. The layering of thoughts and how they transfer onto fabrics was the designer’s main influence for her collection. The line was complete with bodysuits and translucent fabrics.
Fashion can be costly and at times it may seem impossible to stay on top of all the latest trends. JosÃ© Manuel St-Jacques suggests students save their money and splurge on one or two killer items. “I would rather have less stuff and mix it with Value Village, or whatever,” says St-Jacques whose chosen item is his shoes. “They were really expensive but [they are] amazing, I’m going to use them forever.”
It is also not all about copying high-end trends. Market Market designer Vinuela explains that people can ignore fashion trends in order to create a unique style. Designer Dessaivre from THIRD EYE has similar advice and emphasizes the importance of personal style, but also suggests scouring sale racks for some of those more expensive items.
Angie Johnson, the owner of label Norwegian Wood and last year’s Fashion Pop winner guest judged this year’s event and is used to the frugal lifestyle of students.
“Mix high and low,” suggests Johnson. “And my high is not designer high, it’s like: wow I spent a little bit of money on this and I mix it with something vintage or taking something old and trying to wear it in a really new way, wearing skirts as dresses, cardigans upside down, just getting really creative.”