Sid Neigum, in­dus­trial tex­tiles

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Whether they shock with their spiky rock ’n’ roll vibe or se­duce with their sen­su­ous lines, the sil­hou­ettes of Sid Neigum’s womenswear de­signs are as ar­chi­tec­tural as they are re­bel­lious. Ni­cholas Mel­lam­phy, the buy­ing di­rec­tor of the Room at Hud­son’s Bay, has dis­played the col­lec­tion along­side Ro­darte and Junya Watan­abe, and pro­claimed Neigum “the most ex­cit­ing Cana­dian de­signer to hit the run­way in a long time.”

And yet, when we catch up with Neigum af­ter his spring 2016 show – pre­sented to a packed house dur­ing Toronto Fash­ion Week – the Fash­ion In­cu­ba­tor’s de­signer-in­res­i­dence is as hum­ble as can be. Chalk it up to his small-town Al­berta up­bring­ing. “Def­i­nitely not a lot of fash­ion in Dray­ton Val­ley,” Neigum jokes. But a job in re­tail stirred his pas­sion, and he quit his univer­sity sci­ence stud­ies to pur­sue pat­tern mak­ing, drap­ing and sewing. Be­fore long, he’d been ac­cepted into New York’s Fash­ion In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, and in 2012, he moved back to Toronto af­ter win­ning the Fash­ion In­cu­ba­tor’s New La­bels award.

His big­gest cre­ative break­through – the re­sult of a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for this math and sci­ence kid, who grew up on LEGO and K’NEX – has been to trans­late the prin­ci­ples of both an­cient pa­per art and con­tem­po­rary pack­ag­ing into high-end fash­ion, mak­ing the most of his ma­te­ri­als by fold­ing sin­gle planes into 3-D forms or by re­peat­ing the same shape mul­ti­ple times. For a vi­brant blue vest made of ny­lon web­bing, he turned to the Sonobe, con­struct­ing the gar­ment from 200 of these mod­u­lar origami units; to sculpt a white gown with a re­gal col­lar, he com­bined a dou­ble-bonded ny­lon skirt and a top, each tai­lored with a sin­gle seam stiff enough to hold the rounded con­tours. His fas­ci­na­tion with high-tech ma­te­ri­als (an­other scrunch­able evening gown is cut from dou­ble ny­lon with a metal-fi­bre core) might just lead Neigum to his next dis­cov­ery: in prepa­ra­tion for Lon­don Fash­ion Week in Fe­bru­ary, he’s been ex­per­i­ment­ing with what he calls a “hol­low yarn,” and he’s hop­ing to “grow” a crystal dress. “It would not be su­per-wear­able,” he laughs. “But it’s the kind of thing I like to think about.” SIDNEIGUM.COM

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