Report by FAJO’s editorial team
Seven aspiring designers from across Canada will be competing for the coveted Mercedes-Benz StartUp spot in October this year at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week.
Semi-finals took place across the country in the last couple of months, one of which was held in Kitchener, Ontario, at Mercedes-Benz’s showroom. Six designers were showcasing their work that night to the room filled with media and VIPs.
Hussein Dhalla, HD Homme
Lovas – Wesley Badanjak
Jonathan Shimoni, Faded Lifestyle
Kaela-Kay Collections by Catherine Addai
Seventhirtyone By Husrevoglu-Maiko
The finalists from this group were Jonathan Shimoni, Faded Lifestyle and Hussein Dhalla, HD Homme.
They will be joining Hilary and Louanna Murphy, Dreamboat Lucy (Calgary, AB); Malorie Urbanovitch, Malorie Urbanovitch Women’s RTW (Calgary, AB); Cecile Raizonville, Matière Noire (Laval, QC); Pedram Karimi, PEDRAM KARIMI (Laval, QC); Eliza Faulkner, Eliza Faulkner Designs (Winnipeg, MB); and wild-card label Hip and Bone (Montréal, QC) at the fashion week finals in October.
The winning designer, to be named at the finale in October, will receive continued mentorship from industry experts and a solo runway show at World MasterCard Fashion Week in March 2014.
The judging panel uses a variety of criteria to pick the finalists every year: “They should be in business for less than five years, have their business registered, have a business plan and show us they have a vision for the future,” said Jarrad Clark, director of global production at IMG Fashion Events and Properties.
“We look at the product, make sure the cross points are right. We want to see what they present on the runway because it’s very different to putting it in a store. Sometimes, the one that we think is going to be the favourite just sort of fades into the backdrop.”
The event is presented by Mercedes-Benz Canada.
“This decision [to create this project] was a long process, in terms of deciding how we would approach the world of fashion,” said JoAnna Caza, director of communications and public relations at Mercedes-Benz Canada.
“We wanted to make sure we came to the fashion platform with an intelligent approach, and something that would allow us to give back. Canada has unbelievable talent, but a lot of it is untapped because the designers have the creativity but they don’t have the business acumen or the marketing skills.
“We want to be able to take that energy and take that talent, and bring them through the process to build solid foundations, make money and be successful.”