Fajo Magazine has profiled many emerging designers in the last couple of years. But what many readers might be wondering is – what are these designers doing now and what are their latest accomplishments?
We catch up with some of them.
Ali McEwen; Baby On Board Apparel (BOBA)
Last featured in FAJO – November 2010
Company established December 2008, officially launched April 2009
Website Baby On Board Apparel
Projects since then Since November 2010, BOBA has expanded into Western Canada and the U.S. One of our products – the Juliet Nursing Shirt – won Creative Child Top Choice of the Year Award in the Mommy-to-be Nursing Category. More celebrities are also wearing our clothing, including Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. And our new Monster Mania T-shirts were seen in the “Backstage Bag Celebrity Baby Bags.”
Biggest success since last article in FAJO My biggest success is getting more Canadian presence. BOBA is now found in just under 10 stores in Western Canada and has been featured in Today’s Parent Pregnancy section and some fabulous on-line magazines. We’ve also had some amazing mommy-bloggers review our products. I’ve been invited to sit on the Humber College Fashion Institute Board and I have been a guest speaker at Humber and the Academy on entrepreneurship in the fashion industry.
Favourite thing about being a fashion designer Being an entrepreneur and finding a solution that helps Moms-to-be dress in comfort, but still look fashionable. I also love the business of fashion – from sourcing fabrics and attending trade shows, to being creative with design and marketing initiatives.
Favourite person who has worn your clothing to date It would have to be my best friend Angela, who just had her baby a few weeks ago. She was my biggest ambassador in my home town. There is something special when your best friend is pregnant and you are able to dress her in your label!! She was also fabulous at providing lots of feedback!
An anecdote about your projects since your last interview in FAJO When I started my company I thought I could easily run the business out of my home and use my 700 sq. ft. condo as a distribution centre. As my company quickly grew, my condo became overrun by boxes. At one point, I had a box wall separating my office area from my personal living space. I never even thought to source a distribution centre! What you don’t know, you really don’t know! Thank heavens, now I do know and I am no longer shimming through boxes to get to my kitchen. Next step is to find a small studio.
Do you ever wear your own clothing? There are a few t-shirts I wear, as well as the leggings! I love the leggings. I primarily don’t wear the clothing because it is maternity/post-maternity clothing. I love to see my clothes on others though! Just the other day I was walking through the St. Lawrence Market and I saw a Mommy-to-be who wore the Lila Hoody!
Natalie Good; Andy Hall
Last featured in FAJO – November 2010
Company established Summer 2009
Website Andy Hall
Projects since then I’ve participated in the Humber College “Walk It Out” fashion show with Todd Lynn and Taessa Chorny, The Clothing Show and the Guilty Pleasures sale at the Drake Hotel.
Biggest success since last article in FAJO Seeing my clothes walk down the same runway as Todd Lynn and getting orders from stores.
Favourite thing about being a fashion designer I get to use all the different sides of my brain!
You have to be creative and pragmatic, experimental and careful, artistic yet business-minded.
Each day is so different from the next.
Favourite person who has worn your clothing to date I honestly don’t have a favourite.
I’m just so happy that people are wearing my clothes!
An anecdote about your projects since your last interview in FAJO It was very exciting to meet Todd Lynn! There are so many designers who don’t make it and he has become a huge success. He was very nice and told me that if I just keep working hard I will get there. It was very motivating!
Do you ever wear your own clothing? Of course! But not as often as I should, it’s hard when it’s a small collection. Nobody wants to wear the same thing every day.
Christopher Bates; Christopher Bates
Last featured in FAJO – August 2011
Company established February 2008
Website Christopher Bates
Projects since then I completed my new capsule collection, which is now available at Gotstyle Menswear. I also just finished shooting a short film to promote my line – it will be launching early in the new year.
I’ve been expanding my men’s and women’s custom business.
Right now, I’m busy working on my new website.
Biggest success since last article in FAJO Completing production of my new capsule collection.
Favourite thing about being a fashion designer Living for style.
It’s an evolution.
Favourite person who has worn your clothing to date James Elliott: he is my best friend and an international top model, so he is the ultimate brand ambassador – although he has a propensity for trashing my clothes!
An anecdote about your projects since your last interview in FAJO I was wearing one of my sweaters to the gym and my buddy Will thought it was our friend Krista’s…
Do you ever wear your own clothing? I strictly wear my own clothing. As the chief brand ambassador for my line, it’s my job and I love it.
Sarah Stevenson; Sarah Stevenson Design
Last featured in FAJO – December 2010
Company established 2010
Website Sarah Stevenson Design
Projects since then I’ve had and participated in the following shows: LG Fashion Week fall/winter 2011 & spring/summer 2012 collections, Rock the Runway charity fashion show at the ROM, A Heel of a Good Time charity event at the Bata Shoe Museum. For the Toronto International Film Festival’s George Stroumboulopoulos Celebrity Lounge, I designed a custom print for Cheeky Green reusable bags. I’m also collaborating with accessories designer Eliza Kozurno to create a tutu for the Tutu Project organized by the Fashion Collective through the National Ballet of Canada.
Biggest success since last article in FAJO Three LG Fashion Weeks in a row!
Favourite thing about being a fashion designer Freedom of my creative expression. It’s very therapeutic to channel emotion through my art in response to what I’m going through at the time. I also love the opportunity to work with other creative people – I’ve met so many wonderfully talented and interesting artists!
Favourite person who has worn your clothing to date It’s exciting to see my clothes on all types of women! Seeing my clothing on my friends and family is really cool, as is seeing it on celebrities. Actress Skye Collyer wore my Art Nouveau dress to TIFF and she really channeled the 1920s vibe of the dress. I will be dressing some more celebrities soon, which I’m excited about!
An anecdote about your projects since your last interview in FAJO It’s interesting to read all of the reviews, and see how different people interpret my prints. I find it fascinating what people take away from them – it’s really quite fun!
Do you ever wear your own clothing? Of course! I went to a lot of weddings this summer and I wore my dresses to all of them. I wear my pants, blouses and scarves all the time, and my fall coat is really warm, so I’ve been wearing that lately!
Rachel Sin; Rachel Sin
Last featured in FAJO – June 2011
Company established 2009
Website Rachel Sin
Projects since then The Ottawa Fashion Week in October 2011 at the Ottawa Convention Centre was exciting because my runway designs were presented in a building I helped design with BBB Architects. BIB Marketing and PR Management also chose me as the official winner of a branding makeover valued at $30,000 in September this year. The competition was fierce; they received a variety of Canadian entrants with businesses in jewelry, handbags and fashion.
Biggest success since last article in FAJO The Ottawa Fashion Week and the BIB/PR Management branding makeover.
Favourite thing about being a fashion designer Designing a new collection is still my favourite part of the whole creative process, with seeing your hard work walk down the runway following a close second. There is nothing like choosing your own fabric, creating the initial sample and seeing the finished product for the first time.
Favourite person who has worn your clothing to date Olivia Chow. She dropped by Canadian Boutique Pho Pa on Queen Street this summer and took her time to shop. Her late husband, Jack Layton, patiently waited while she tried on many dresses. I was delighted to hear that she ended up leaving with the Sandra Dress.
An anecdote about your projects since your last interview in FAJO Organizing a photoshoot is another item high on my list of favourite things to do as a designer. This is mostly because we get to work with both talented and good people. It’s always a day of hard work and craziness, but when you get the right group of people together, creating something beautiful can be a lot of fun.
Do you ever wear your own clothing? As a designer you feel obligated to self-promote yourself at every event. There is always a charm to wearing a dress for the first time, but this moment happens early in the design stage. By the time a dress hits the boutique sales floor, it would have already gone through a photoshoot, a runway and would have already occupied a space in my mental closet for over a year.