Miriam Baker on get­ting her start from the Toronto Fash­ion In­cu­ba­tor

North Toronto Post - - Life - By Sarah Kidd

“If you have your niche and have your vi­sion, you can make it.”

For Miriam Baker, the idea of pur­su­ing a ca­reer in fash­ion was one ini­tially curbed by prag­ma­tism.

“I al­ways had an in­ter­est but never con­sid­ered it a vi­able ca­reer op­tion be­cause I was think­ing more along the lines of tra­di­tional pro­fes­sions,” she says.

While in high school at Freemont Acad­emy, Baker strug­gled to find her foot­ing and her niche. “I think I was just feeling re­ally lost,” she says.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, Baker worked in re­tail. It was dur­ing this time that she de­cided to think about what she wanted to do. She even­tu­ally landed on fash­ion.

Fi­nally pur­su­ing her dream, Baker en­rolled in Ge­orge Brown’s fash­ion tech­niques and de­sign pro­gram. Once fin­ished, she con­tin­ued her ed­u­ca­tion, at­tend­ing Ry­er­son School of Fash­ion. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing in 2013, Baker be­gan her ca­reer.

She learned of the Toronto Fash­ion In­cu­ba­tor’s New La­bels competition, where each year emerg­ing talent across the in­dus­try com­pete for TFI’s pres­ti­gious Suzanne Rogers Award for Most Promis­ing New La­bel. Baker de­cided to take a chance and en­ter the competition, pre­sent­ing a col­lec­tion she had de­vel­oped dur­ing her stud­ies at Ry­er­son. The col­lec­tion’s de­signs were in­spired by a wed­ding she had at­tended in the English coun­try­side.

“It was on a Vic­to­rian es­tate,” she says. “I think it was nos­tal­gia, the colours and the ro­mance of the coun­try­side that in­spired me.”

Baker also sought to cre­ate clothes to fit and flat­ter women with larger busts, a group that tra­di­tional siz­ing of­ten doesn’t ad­e­quately ac­com­mo­date.

The judges were in­spired by her vi­sion, and af­ter sur­viv­ing the ini­tial se­lec­tion process, Baker was se­lected to present her col­lec­tion. “It was like [re­al­ity TV show]

Project Run­way,” she says. “They ended up with four de­sign­ers who showed at the TFI New La­bels competition.” Baker was not only one of those four, but won the en­tire competition.

With her win­nings, she was able to join the TFI as a fash­ion res­i­dent with her own stu­dio space. Since then, she has suc­cess­fully launched her own line but con­cedes that break­ing in to the in­dus­try is a dif­fi­cult task.

“It’s re­ally hard to get meet­ings with buy­ers, un­less some­one makes the in­tro­duc­tion for you. It’s a strug­gle, but if you have your niche and have your vi­sion, you can make it worth­while.”

Cur­rently Baker op­er­ates an on­line busi­ness and launches two col­lec­tions each year that are avail­able at bou­tiques such as Tucci Ar­ma­dio and House of An­ge­lis.

“It’s dif­fer­ent ev­ery sea­son,” she says. “Of­ten what in­spires me is travel. I’m also very in­spired by the fab­rics them­selves, but it’s al­ways dif­fer­ent. Some­times it’s just a his­tor­i­cal pe­riod.”

Most re­cently it was an art nou­veau fash­ion plate painted by Gerda We­gener that she pur­chased on a trip to Paris.

Baker won the TFI New La­bels Award in 2014

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