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Volume 21, Issue 3

2. Top Picks
1. TFI NEW LABELS® WRAPTFI New Labels® 2013 Wrap

Toronto-based Sarah Stevenson had the fashionable audience with her opening outfit: a silk chiffon blouse in a “climbing rose” print with a laser-cut black and cream wool skirt. She followed it with a rose-print peplum blouse and black and cream coat, and then a cream wool dress with reversible shawl scarf in a “still life” print. And the hits kept coming with a tightly edited, 12-piece collection.

After six months and four rounds of judging, Stevenson’s hand-drawn laser-cut details and textiles featuring her own artwork inspired by Dutch still life paintings from the Baroque period, won her the TFI New Labels® Fashion Design Competition for 2013, edging out finalists Paria Shirvani, Christopher Paunil Designs and SevenThirtyOne.

Stevenson, 32, has been designing “on the side” for the past three years, she says, while working a full-time job at a mining exploration company. “I needed a breakthrough. This was my breakthrough,” she says. She’s hopeful that the $25,000 cash award from philanthropist Suzanne Rogers will finally allow her to focus on her business and dreams of bringing a textile industry to Toronto.

The New Labels prize package also includes a full-page feature in Flare magazine and, for the first time, a coveted contract designing a special limited-edition collection for Presenting Sponsor, Target, that will be in stores across Canada sometime in 2014.

“What was distinguishing was her manipulation of fabric. She took basic fabrics and made them her own with her own laser cutting, her own prints. The styles are on trend. It was cohesive. She was right from the get-go very polished. She was also keen on hearing what the judges had to say to tweak the collection that much more,” says designer David Dixon, one of the New Labels’ judges. “Being associated with Target, Flare and Suzanne Rogers, all at the same time, she has to be mentally prepared for a change. We’ll be talking about Sarah Stevenson for awhile.”

Fellow judge John Morioka, Target’s senior vice president, merchandising, says that ultimately there were four winners in this contest, but “Sarah just had a strong vision in what she wanted to communicate and her designs were cohesive…. We’ll take the foundation of what she’s done here and we’ll interpret that for whatever season to hone in on it."

The other judges were Elisha Ballantyne, the divisional merchandise manager for Target Canada, Arie Assaraf, the buyer and owner of TNT boutiques, Miranda Purves, the editor of Flare magazine, and Suzanne Rogers, the honorary chair of the event.

MC’d by Dina Pugliese, host of morning show Breakfast Television, the TFI New Labels runway presentation was held Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at The Carlu in Toronto and included an elegant cocktail reception, as well as a plated dinner for VIP and Patron guests, where the table was the runway.


Among the 700 celebrities, buyers and media in attendance were Gabrielle Miller of Corner Gas, Georgina Reilly of Murdoch Mysteries and partner Mark O’Brien of Republic of Doyle. Socialites Sylvia Mantella, representing Leading event sponsor Mantella Corporation, Donna Kuczynski and Simona Shnaider also attended the soiree, along with interior design guru Brian Gluckstein and fashion industry notables Stacey Mackenzie, Arthur Mendonça, Nada Shepherd, Nicholas Mellamphy and Glenn Dixon.

According to Susan Langdon, executive director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), determining this year's winner was a challenge for the judges because all of the competitors were exceptionally strong and focused. “We were overwhelmed by the talent on the runway tonight and are beyond proud of how the four finalists have represented the next generation of Canadian fashion,” she said.

Paria Shirvani presented an understated and elegant collection entitled “A Wave of Rebellion,” which featured angular lines combined with a feminine silhouette. Inspired by armor and women who push the boundaries of the ordinary, Shirvani's tailored, layered, daywear separates and outerwear were crafted from eco-friendly and vegan materials such as faux leather and faux porcupine fur mixed with jersey and wool herringbone. Many of her designs were accented with asymmetric hemlines and zipper treatments.

For their first ready-to-wear collection, designer Christopher Paunil and business partner Chalo Barrueta of Toronto-based Christopher Paunil Designs, showed flirty and feminine pieces featuring flattering silhouettes, mesh cutout details and high-quality workmanship. Stand outs from the line included a black neoprene cocktail dress with sheer inserts and an ivory outfit with circular slit detail at the hem.

Toronto-based SevenThirtyOne, comprised of Canadian/Japanese duo designer Defne Husrevoglu and marketing director Maiko Suzuki, offered a whimsical, Canadiana road trip-inspired collection of fleecy moose prints paired with corduroy or canvas bottoms, dresses and tops cut like hockey jerseys and oversized hoodies made from cashmere or bamboo. Innovatively-cut "bunchie" shorts and skirts showed a refreshing outside-the-box approach to design that gave this line an international feel.

This year's New Labels show production, which was produced by Hans Koechling of The Image Is, featured captivating beauty looks designed by Greg Wencel (make-up direction) and Daniel Fiorio (hair direction) for exclusive Beauty Partner P&G Beauty and Grooming.

The production was further enhanced through the use of video clips provided by David Greener of FashioNation.tv, who captured behind-the-scenes footage of the designers working on their collections. The footage is part of an original, full-length e-documentary series that will premiere on FashioNation.tv in the near future.








“Each one of these finalists have won already because they’ve already had that introduction to the industry,” says Dixon. “Everyone, if they use the tools they’ve been given, will win.”


2. TFI NEW LABELS® Top Picks Media Coverage

Wall Street Journal


Fashion Magazine

Toronto Star

Calgary Herald

Huffington Post

Post City Magazine

Back Seat Stylers

Dainty Girl

Best of Toronto

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Editor-In-Chief, Susan Langdon
Senior Editor, Doris Montanera
Contributor: Gail McInnes

© Copyright 2013 The Toronto Centre for the Promotion of Fashion Design (O/A Toronto Fashion Incubator, TFI). No part of TFI NEWS may be copied or duplicated in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Toronto Fashion Incubator. This publication is distributed for information purposes only and with the understanding that TFI is not responsible for the results of any actions taken by any person in reliance on such information, nor for any errors or omissions contained herein. TFI expressly disclaims any and all liability arising out of the use of this publication or any part thereof by any person.

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