Stacey Bafi-Yeboa never thought she’d be a fashion designer.
After all, the lifelong Ottawa resident, who found work as a professional dancer directly out of St. Pius X Secondary School, couldn’t find very much spare time between performing on Broadway, Saturday Night Live and in TV commercials for Gap and Nike to give to her second passion, designing clothes.
But time after time, fate gave her little hints.
The ballet, tap and jazz dancer would wear her own creations — comfy little numbers made from bamboo lycra and cotton lycra — to her auditions and people would ask where she got them.
When she went to a yoga class, the studio asked her to design a line.
Seven years ago, she gave in to the designer bug, creating clothes that would allow wearers to be “comfortable and glamorous at the same time.”
And while business has been so busy it’s actually taken her away from dance — for now — the 30-year-old hasn’t looked back.
Bafi-Yeboa was one of dozens of designers from Toronto to Montreal who exhibited at the Capital Clothing Show over the weekend, an event that’s a great opportunity to showcase designers people may not otherwise learn about, said Capital Clothing Show manager Catherine Knoll.
The semi-annual Capital Clothing Show — which has doubled in size since the first show last fall, said Knoll — features new and vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories.
Ottawans have long been fighting a reputation as being less fashionable than their counterparts in Toronto and Montreal, but Knoll said she doesn’t believe that’s true.
“People here are more conservative,” Knoll observed, “but they aren’t afraid to step out in something different. I’ll see people pull signature pieces. They want unique, one-of-a-kind stuff, something that’s different.”