Real Style - - Contents - BY FA­TIMA SYED

The Cana­dian Arts and Fash­ion Awards spot­light our coun­try’s up-and-com­ing de­sign tal­ent.

Since their de­but in 2014, the Cana­dian Arts and Fash­ion Awards have be­come one of the top fash­ion events of the year. Canada’s an­swer to the CFDA Awards (Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica), the CAFAs rec­og­nize emerg­ing and es­tab­lished de­sign­ers, mak­ing it an im­por­tant barom­e­ter of where the lo­cal in­dus­try is at. The an­nual ex­trav­a­ganza, which takes place this year on April 7th, has spot­lighted such no­table Cana­dian de­sign­ers as DSquared2, Er­dem Mo­ralioğlu, Ja­son Wu and Sid Neigum. From hon­our­ing de­sign tal­ent to cel­e­brat­ing ac­com­plished models and pho­tog­ra­phers, the CAFAs show­case the True North’s evolv­ing fash­ion in­dus­try.

This year is cer­tainly no ex­cep­tion, with a new crop of ris­ing stars en­ter­ing the scene and join­ing the ranks of Canada’s fash­ion finest. One of these stand­out up-and-com­ers is ac­ces­sory de­signer Garima Te­wari, who was nom­i­nated for a Swarovski Award for Emerg­ing Tal­ent for her Toronto-based line Garéma.

Since start­ing her la­bel, Te­wari’s de­signs have been sported by ac­tress Taraji P. Hen­son, who stars as Cookie Lyon on the Fox se­ries Em­pire. Te­wari has even had the op­por­tu­nity to ac­ces­sorize So­phie Gré­goire Trudeau, who car­ried a Garéma clutch at a state din­ner with Mex­i­can pres­i­dent En­rique Peña Ni­eto.

“I was very thrilled and ex­cited by this hon­our. It was a Sun­day evening and the ship­ping of­fices were closed, so I drove down to Ottawa and per­son­ally hand de­liv­ered the clutch as I didn’t want to miss this amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity,” Te­wari says, re­flect­ing on the piv­otal mo­ment.

While Te­wari’s de­signs are proudly Cana­dian, she de­rives her in­spi­ra­tion from var­i­ous global lo­cales, and de­scribes the Palace of Ver­sailles in France as one of her favourites. In fact, a visit to the stun­ning palace in­spired her Chateau de Ver­sailles col­lec­tion of clutches.

When asked where she sees her la­bel in five years, Te­wari doesn’t shy away from the spot­light. “I see my­self par­tic­i­pat­ing at prom­i­nent fash­ion weeks and run­way shows in Mi­lan and Paris,” she says. In ad­di­tion to Canada, Garéma plans to re­tail in in­ter­na­tional cities such as Dubai, Paris, Mi­lan, Rome, Lon­don and New York.

While the sto­ried streets of the world’s fash­ion cap­i­tals may be the ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion for many, Ed­mon­ton de­signer Malo­rie Ur­banovitch is al­ready mak­ing a name for her­self closer to home. Known for its eth­i­cally con­scious de­signs, her epony­mous la­bel is find­ing fans in her prov­ince’s small fash­ion com­mu­nity and across Canada, and has also been nom­i­nated for a CAFA for the Swarovski Award for Emerg­ing Tal­ent.

A Univer­sity of Al­berta film stud­ies grad­u­ate, Ur­banovitch gath­ers her cre­ative en­ergy from the sil­ver screen. “I watch a lot of art house cinema. There is so much in­spi­ra­tion there,” she says. While she may have stud­ied cinema, her true pas­sion turned out to be fash­ion de­sign, and she even­tu­ally launched her own brand in 2013.

Ur­banovitch, who works with nat­u­ral fi­bres such as al­paca and cash­mere, de­scribes the Malo­rie Ur­banovitch wearer as “women who dress for no one but them­selves.” She also strongly sup­ports the eth­i­cal process be­hind her cre­ations, which range from denim shirt­dresses to flared khaki trousers.

“It re­ally comes down to some­thing as sim­ple as mak­ing sure

my fac­tory work­ers are paid good wages and that I am con­scious of where my ma­te­ri­als are com­ing from. Trans­parency is more dif­fi­cult to achieve than you might think, but it’s al­ways worth look­ing into, and it’s some­thing that re­ally mat­ters to me,” Ur­banovitch says.

Pas­sion seems to be the driv­ing force be­hind this year’s CAFA-nom­i­nated emerg­ing de­sign­ers. This is cer­tainly the case for House of Nonie de­signer Nina Kharey, who is up for the Swarovski Award for Emerg­ing Tal­ent. Her struc­tured yet mod­ern pieces in­clude pe­plum dresses and blouses, creamy white frocks and bo­hemian-chic pon­chos.

Kharey launched her line in 2008 in her home­town of Cal­gary, and blos­somed un­der the men­tor­ship of for­mer Holt Ren­frew fash­ion di­rec­tor Bar­bara Atkin. How­ever, the way ahead was not easy for Kharey, who is also a mother of two young chil­dren. She looks back on her per­sonal jour­ney as a re­ward­ing yet cer­tainly ar­du­ous one.

“You have to learn to keep push­ing and never stop be­liev­ing in your prod­uct. Bar­bara Atkin told me in the be­gin­ning that I’m on a very long and dif­fi­cult road—she wasn’t ly­ing,” Kharey says. De­spite the dif­fi­cul­ties, she de­scribes her CAFA nom­i­na­tion as “amaz­ing” and says it has “made all the ef­fort worth it.”

CAFA co-founder and pres­i­dent Vicky Mil­ner would agree. “The ex­po­sure for many peo­ple has been won­der­ful. It’s also been great to give young de­sign­ers the knowl­edge that a plat­form like this ex­ists in their home coun­try,” she says.

A suc­cess in it­self, the CAFAs give Cana­di­ans ev­ery­where a chance to ap­plaud and sup­port lo­cal tal­ent, while launch­ing yet an­other gen­er­a­tion of style stars into the in­ter­na­tional spot­light. Through the an­nual spring event, the awards are a wel­come har­bin­ger of things to come, es­pe­cially from Canada’s emerg­ing fash­ion tal­ent.


House Of Nonie Malo­rie Ur­banovitch

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