Rogue fashion week: Jeremy Laing & Sid Neigum

This past week was an interesting reflection on Toronto’s fashion reality. While conjecture flew around what to expect at World MasterCard Fashion Week now that IMG Worldwide is our new big fashion daddy, two very different groups set up camp for a series of offsite shows. 

The shOws featured four international designers with a Canadian connection including Tanya Taylor, Jean Pierre Braganza, Antonio Azzuolo and Jeremy Laing. Laing has long been a darling of Canada’s fashion media. Dividing his time between Toronto and New York, he typically eschews a Toronto showcase for presentations in New York. (It’s nothing personal, Toronto. It’s business, baby.) And while I always find Laing’s work interesting, I don’t always relate to it personally. Not this time. Loved loved loved. 

Jeremy Laing spring 2013
Jeremy Laing at the shOws

On the opposite side of town (and on the same days) were The Collections, produced by the Fashion Collective, which featured up and coming designers like Chloe Comme Parris, Klaxon Howl and Sid Neigum. Neigum is the winner of Toronto Fashion Incubator’s 2012 New Labels competition. Having watched him progress over five months while developing his winning fall/winter 2012 collection, it was a treat to see what he’d do with spring 2013.

Sid’s unisex approach to design has always set him apart from his Toronto design peers, and it seems he’s found a beautiful balance of unisex features and feminine fit. (Praise must be given to TFI New Labels for mentoring him to a stronger, better place.) I found this collection incredibly wearable, while still maintaining that unique aesthetic that’s all Sid. Here’s hoping we can find it in stores six months from now. And may you be our next Jeremy Laing.

Sid Neigum spring 2013
Sid Neigum spring 2013
Sid Neigum spring 2013
Sid Neigum at the Burroughes Building

HBC Goes From There…to Here

Above, a model wears an original HBC point blanket coat.

Above, Comrags’ designer Joyce Gunhouse poses with their sculptural re-creation.

Above, Jeremy Laing took a modern approach with a cinched waistline on an A-line cut.

Above, Smythe’s take on the HBC point blanket coat.

If you felt a slight breeze in the downtown air last night, it could have been a new breath of life blowing across the floor of the Queen Street Bay store. The retailer is again making great use of their past with the launch of the Hudson’s Bay Company collection, 120 deliciously Canadian items including their classic point blankets, coats and scarves along with everything from boxed maple sugar cubes to scented candles, hand-knit sweaters to made-to-order canoes.

Ten Canadian fashion designers were hand-picked to create one-of-a-kind coats using a Hudson’s Bay Company Point Blanket in the colour of their choice. The participating designers include Comrags, Erdem, Harricana, Jeremy Laing, Klaxon Howl, Krane, Lida Baday, Pink Tartan, Smythe and Todd Lynn. The showpiece coats were on display for the fashion VIP crowd last night and will be part of a national exhibition, as well as a feature installation in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The iconic stature of HBC’s point blanket came up in conversation frequently throughout the short launch party. The coats were a huge hit, but we think the entire collection has legs to move beyond 2009. Stylist George Antonopoulos shared an interesting thought on its future. “This is our Burberry. [This collection] needs someone to take the helm, to come and lead as head designer of…well, the House of Hudson Bay.”

We can dig that. How long ’til we see the House of Hudson Bay at LG Fashion Week? Not long, we hope! Not long.