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Designer roundup

Canadian fashion houses are making their mark here and around the world.

Canadian fashion houses are making their mark here and around the world.

Andy Thê-Anh Canada Inc.
Established: 2006
Price: $285-$2,100
Key words: Sensual, functional and pristine.

Try it on: The Bay; Boutique Andy Thê-Anh and Daniel Boutique, Toronto. Visit www.andytheanh.com.

Brains behind brand:
Born in Vietnam and trained at College La Salle, Montréal, Andy Thê-Anh
likes to imagine he’s creating clothes for the Mildred Pierces of this
world. “I always think clothes should be tight enough to show that you
are a woman,” says Thê-Anh, “And loose enough to show that you are a
lady.’”

Latest inspiration: Coco Chanel. “I just finished reading (her) biography,” says Thê-Anh “What a woman! I admire her determination.”

Designer admiration: Claude Montana, Thierry Mugler and Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Challenges of designing in Canada:
1) Convincing customers to buy Canadian fashions (versus
internationally recognized brands); 2) Getting financial backers to
trust in Canadian talent and invest.

Five years from now… To have an accessory line and a menswear collection.

Thieves by Sonja den Elzen
Established: 2006
Price: $150-$1,200
Key words: Soft, woman and strength.

Try it on: Thieves, Toronto. Visit www.thieves.ca.

Brains behind brand:
Sonja den Elzen is a self-taught Toronto designer who believes clothes
should always work with the body. The fit, detailing and her use of
sustainable fabrics make her designs unique and perfect for someone
with a strong sense of personal style or, in her words, a “stylish
urban nomad.”

Latest inspiration: Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.

Designer admiration: Denis Gagnon, Rick Owens and Threeasfour.

Challenges of designing in Canada:
“Some Canadians want the international market to validate their own
(work),” says den Elzen. “The market for designer clothing is not big
(enough) yet.”

Five years from now... Still be designing beautiful clothing and making a good living at it.

Greta Constantine and the newly launched men’s collection, Ezra Constantine
Established: 2006
Price: $600-$3,500
Key words: Structure, timeless and unique.

Try it on: Holt Renfrew, Canada; Harrods, London, England; Sample Studio, New York, USA; and Paris Texas, Copenhagen, Denmark. Visit www.gretaconstantine.com.

Brains behind brand:
Jamaican-born Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong don’t sketch their
garments before they start construction, something nearly unheard of in
fashion design. “We have a look in mind and execute it to a point where
we both are satisfied,” says Pickersgill, “Which is never!” Both
started designing in their late teens and have worked for such
designers as Comrags, Susan Dicks and Dsquared2.

Latest inspiration: Scarab beetles and feathers.

Designer admiration: Alexander McQueen, Nicholas Ghersquiere and Riccardo Ticco.

Five years from now... To be at the same level as the three designers mentioned above.

Aime
Established: 2007
Price: $95 - $655
Key words: Comfortable, sustainable and effortlessly chic.


Try it on: French Accents and TNT Women, Toronto; TNT Women,
Montreal; and Body Politic, Eugene Choo and The Velvet Room Boutique,
Vancouver. Visit www.aimeluxury.com.


Brains behind brand: Monica Mei Chiu has combined her
fascination with the fashion world with her desire to create functional
flirty garments. “I want wearers of Aime to feel comfortable and
confident so they can concentrate on today’s pressing issues and live
their lives,” says Chiu. “It’s all about fit and proportion, while
highlighting the areas you love about your body.”


The Aime Woman: “I would love Angelina Jolie or Oprah
Winfrey to wear Aime as they’re both strong, intelligent women with
generous hearts,” says Chiu, a graduate of Ryerson University School of
Fashion and the Stratergic Management program at University of Toronto.
“They embody the Aime philosophy to ‘Love yourself. Love others. Love
luxury.’”


Latest inspiration: The cafe culture of post-Second World War Paris.


Designer admiration: Coco Chanel, Chloe (in the days of Karl Lagerfeld), and Yves Saint Laurent.


Five years from now... To work with charities that support youth and women.

BROSE
Established: 2009
Price: $525-$995
Key words: Fresh, clean and feminine.


Try it on: Holt Renfrew, Toronto and Montreal; and Jacflash and Finn Boutique, Toronto. Visit www.marikabrose.com.


Brains behind brand: Marika Brose designs dresses women love
to wear. That shouldn’t come as a shock with training in pattern
drafting from ESMOD, Paris, and fashion merchandising management from
F.I.T., New York, under her belt. The psychology degree from McGill
doesn’t hurt either. “I want my dress to be the one that you look
forward to wearing,” says Brose, “Rather than the one that hangs in
your closet and stresses you out because you didn’t lose those last
five pounds.”


The BROSE woman: “I imagine her just throwing on one of my
frocks and catching a glimpse of herself as she runs out the door,”
says Brose, “Very little fuss, but lots of personality.”


Latest inspiration: Miami. “The neon lights in fun pastels and the overall joie de vivre made me want to get up and dance!” says Brose.


Designer admiration: Karl Lagerfeld, Phoebe Philo and Stella McCartney.


Five years from now… Paris.

 
 
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