SID’s Hat Trick at CAFA

Last Saturday’s Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA) proved at least one thing. There is a future for a fashion awards show in Canada.

CAFA hosted its second annual awards show to celebrate and support the Canadian fashion industry by honouring designers, stylists and other fashion influencers. Twelve awards were given out during a gala dinner at the Fairmont Royal York.

NEWSFLASH: Sid Neigum is officially a triple threat. He’s won the TFI New Labels (2012), the Mercedes Benz Start-Up (2014) and now CAFA’s Emerging Talent, Fashion award. Hey Canada, don’t they call that a hat trick in hockey?

Sid Neigum by MJC Photography

Sid Neigum by MJC Photography

Neigum has netted a combined total of $70,000 in cash prizes plus valuable services and mentorship to help push his career forward. All eyes will be on his next move. I think Neigum is perfectly poised to break out of Canada in a serious way.

This year CAFA added a second emerging talent award for Accessories, won by Beaufille. Swarovski sponsored both Emerging Talent categories. Winners each received $10,000 plus time with a six-panel team of mentors. The panel will offer their expertise and services. Vicky Milner, CAFA managing director, explained,

Mentorship is so incredibly important for designers. We approached different individuals who would be able to offer different skill sets and services, helping them save money on things that are normally quite expensive (i.e. PR and digital support) while at the same time providing them honest and valuable advice about  business, finance, marketing , manufacturing, distribution, etc.

Bravo to Tommy Ton who took home two CAFA trophies including the Sephora Image Maker Award and Fashion Blogger of the Year for his (now shuttered) JakandJil.com. I have mad love and respect for Tommy ever since we spent an afternoon in my closet in the early days of his blog (way, way back). He knew every designer and every season of everything I owned.

In the Closet on JakandJil.com

In the Closet on JakandJil.com

It is worth noting how many of the gala’s attendees appeared to be non-industry folk – you know, regular people who don’t work in fashion. This is a good thing. More people supporting the industry leads to better resources for designers, more attention from retailers and media and ideally, more success all around.

The list of 2015 CAFA winners includes:

The Womenswear Designer of the Year Award – Mikhael Kale

The Menswear Designer of the Year Award – Philippe Dubuc

The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Fashion – Sid Neigum

The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Accessories – Beaufille

The Outstanding Achievement Award – Marie Saint-Pierre

The Accessory Designer of the Year Award – Jerome C. Rousseau

The Sephora Image Maker Award – Tommy Ton

The Hudson’s Bay International Canadian Designer of the Year Award – Erdem

The Yorkdale Stylist of the Year Award –  Zeina Esmail

The Model of the Year Award – Anaïs Pouliot

The Fashion Blogger of the Year Award – Tommy Ton

The Vanguard Award – Joe Zee

Photos by the F-List except where noted.

Canadian Fashion House Party

This past weekend brought the inaugural Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA) to life at the Fairmont Royal York. The official raison d’être, “CAFA was created to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievement and emerging talent in Canadian fashion design.” 

But this was not just another awards show. This was the first time the fashion industry gathered to honour the best in our country. I repeat, the first time. As a member of the official nominating committee, I am proud to have been a part of the process.  Unlike the music, literary, stage and screen industries, Canada’s fashion world – until now – didn’t have an event to crown its own for their outstanding talents.  Only time will tell if receiving a CAFA has a positive impact on one’s career. Until it does, we’re just shouting in a bubble. And since it’s our first bubble, I vote we get dressed up and have a party. And party we did! 

But wait!  What every black tie gala in Canada needs is a snowstorm, right?  I love that Canadians are such a hearty bunch. By the outfits you would never know we all left our boots at coat check. 

Coco Rocha, Lisa Tant and me

Arriving at the gala, I was soon accosted by four young fashion design students who were volunteering for the event. “We love your dress,” they exclaimed in unison. “It’s a Jay Godfrey,” I responded. “Do you know him?” Blank stares. “Consider this your first lesson, ladies, look him up.” 

Welcome to the underground world of Canadian fashion!

I love Jay Godfrey‘s designs. His sizing is consistently perfect, I don’t even require a fitting.  In fact, I rented the dress from Rent frock Repeat for that very reason. (Although locals can schedule in person fittings.) I wanted something new without plunking down a few hundred for a dress I would likely wear once.

The CAFAs did a fine job of getting some big names out for the first annual event — Dean and Dan from DSquared2, Coco Rocha, Joe Mimran and Jeanne Beker, who took home the 2014 Vanguard Award. Ten awards were given out for excellence in fashion, styling and image maker categories: 

Womenswear Designer of the Year Award – Jeremy Laing

Menswear Designer of the Year Award – Travis Taddeo

Emerging Talent Award – Sarah Stevenson

Outstanding Achievement Award – DSquared2

Accessory Designer of the Year Award – Want Les Essentials de la Vie

Canadian Style Award – Joe Mimran

Image Maker Award – Chris Nicholls

International Canadian Designer of the Year Award – DSquared2

Stylist of the Year Award – George Antonopoulos

Model of the Year Award – Coco Rocha

Truthfully, only Sarah Stevenson stands to benefit from her award, with a $10,000 prize, a spring/summer ’15 lookbook and mentorship from Joe Mimran, this year’s Honorary Chair.  I’ve had my eye on her since her humble design beginnings a few years back.  As a Canadian she’s still humble, but with the right direction this young talent could follow in the footsteps of fellow Canadian, Erdem Moralioglu or Mary Katrantzou.
 
Sarah Stevenson Fall Winter 2013

CAFA to Celebrate Canadian fashion


Elisha Cuthbert (left) with Vicky Milner, CAFA Managing Director 

Last week, near the opening hours of World MasterCard Fashion Week, about a hundred or so well-heeled guests filed into a Ritz Carlton ballroom for a little star sighting and the first CAFA announcement. CAFA, or Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, was recently created to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievement and emerging talent in Canadian fashion design. Its lofty goals include helping spur the economic development of the Canadian fashion industry.
That said, there actually is a $10,000 prize for the Emerging Talent Award. It’s the one category eligible to self-nomination and refers to someone with fewer than five years in business. Otherwise it’s mostly bragging rights for winners. Outside of Emerging Talent, the award categories include:

Womenswear Designer of the Year
Menswear Designer of the Year
Outstanding Achievement
Accessory Designer of the Year
Canadian Style
Image Maker
International Canadian Designer of the Year
Stylist of the Year
Model of the Year

Elisha Cuthbert, Canadian darling and a front-row-at-Toronto-fashion-week kind of celebrity, was there to announce the first-ever CAFA nominees. (As part of the nominating committee, yours truly had a hand in picking them.)

The CAFA website publishes online interviews members of their inaugural jury. ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief Noreen Flanagan is among those industry experts profiled, along with TFI’s Susan Langdon and FLARE Magazine’s Tiyana Grulovic. Check back for new profiles. The awards show takes place February 1, 2014 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

See the CAFA website for ticket information and a full list of nominees.