It’s hard not to notice Quinn Taylor. And the six-foot-two, 17-year-old aspiring model certainly hopes that’s the case this weekend.

The Bell High School student hopes that she’ll be offered a job that gets her foot into the door of a tough industry to crack when she prowls the catwalk for eight local designers during the first-ever Ottawa Fashion Week.

“I’m hoping it goes really well and that I’ll get a few jobs,” she said.


In his first big fashion show debut, 19-year-old Matt Gutman is also hoping to get picked up for modelling jobs. A lot of dreams like that can come true this weekend, said Samar Rashid, co-founder of the Ottawa-based Canadian International Modelling Agency, which is the main host of the Ottawa Fashion Week happening at the Arts Court through Saturday.

“There are buyers from Toronto and Montreal coming in to see what Ottawa has to offer. There’s a huge chance that some of these designs will be picked up by buyers or stores or the models will be recruited.”
Rashid said the event is the first large-scale fashion event for Ottawa — a city that too often sees its best and brightest leave for Toronto and Montreal to seek their opportunities.

“There’s a lot of people here interested in fashion and there’s a lot of beautiful people here. But they don’t have a place to show off their talents.”

Ottawa Fashion Week is a great idea, said Ashley Struthers, 25, who, along with fellow Richard Robinson Fashion Design Academy graduates Jessica Struthers, 26, and Emma Campbell, 21, are there to promote their company, Me et Moi.

“It allows designers to stay in Ottawa. They don’t have to leave to be successful.”

Gatineau swimsuit designer Veronique Boileau, who co-owns One of Us Swimwear, said she “jumped at the chance” to participate. “It’ll be exciting to see the (swimsuits) on the models.”

“I’m just amazed by the talent that Ottawa has,” said Rashid. “The designers, when you see their clothes, you think, ‘you mean you didn’t go to school in Paris?’ A lot of them went to school at Algonquin or at Richard Robinson.”