I decided when I was six that fashion design was what I was going to do when I grew up,” says Halifax designer Katrina Tuttle, who recently presented her debut showing at LG Fashion Week in Toronto to enthusiastic reviews from the fashion community.

The 21-year-old, whose clothes have only been available in her home province of Nova Scotia until now, actually made LG Fashion Week history, becoming the first designer from the east coast to participate in the Toronto event. “It went fantastic,” she says of her whirlwind time in Toronto, showing her Spring 2010 collection, meeting with prospective buyers and doing interviews with the press. “There was a lot of great buzz and excitement,” she says enthusiastically.

Three years ago, when Tuttle turned 18, she says she really started researching how clothes were constructed and how patterns were made. “I’ve been sewing my whole life, but when I turned 18, I decided I really wanted to put this into gear and start doing it.”

Aside from designing the collections for her eponymous women’s clothing line, Tuttle does the photography and styling as well. And in order to transport all her equipment, material, sketches and designs to shoots and showings, she relies on her 2007 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited.

“It has the space I need to get anything I need anywhere,” she explains. “We’ve gone in absolute snow storms to do photoshoots and I love having the four-wheel access and the capability to go absolutely anywhere.” This comes in especially handy when Tuttle heads to her family’s cabin in rural Nova Scotia for winter getaways.

Tuttle is definitely a car person. In fact, she used to drive a corvette. “I’ve always had a love for cars,” she says. Her absolute dream car: a 1967 Shelby GT 500.

As for her burgeoning fashion business, Tuttle has big designs for expansion across Canada and even into the U.S. “The plan is to build an even stronger collection and have it reach more stores across Canada,” she says, adding that she also has her sights set on one day making it across the pond to London Fashion Week.

Check out Tuttle’s collections at www.katrinatuttle.com.

– Heather Buchan is a Toronto-based journalist whohas worked at Homemakers,Canadian Living, Canadian House & Homeand, most recently,Hello! Canada, where she cut her teeth in the world of celebrities.

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