ELLE (Canada) - - Style -

When we reach An­drew Coim­bra over the phone, he is walk­ing down Fifth Av­enue in New York City. “This is so clichéd,” says the Toronto-based de­signer, who’s scour­ing Man­hat­tan for tex­tiles to use in his next wom­enswear col­lec­tion. Af­ter all, Coim­bra’s clothes—best de­scribed as an­drog­y­nous streetwear with a lux­ury edge—are de­cid­edly more SoHo than Fifth Av­enue.

Coim­bra got his start at Pink Tar­tan and Proenza Schouler be­fore launch­ing his epony­mous menswear la­bel in 2015. But when fe­male friends started cop­ping his slouchy jog­gers and neo­prene bombers, he ex­panded the range. “I started play­ing around with putting men’s clothes on women, which isn’t a new idea, but it trans­lated re­ally well,” he says.

Here’s what else you need to know about the de­signer: He’s “ob­sessed” with zip­pers, singing the praises of the smooth glide of the Swiss-made Riri (no re­la­tion to Ri­hanna, sadly) zips used in his pieces. He’s also laser-fo­cused on global ex­pan­sion. “Cana­di­ans have this in­ter­est­ing com­plex,” says the 29-yearold. “They don’t trust any­thing un­til it’s do­ing well out­side of the bor­der. I re­al­ized very quickly that I had to think in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

To gain more ex­po­sure, Coim­bra en­tered this year’s New La­bels Fash­ion De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion, an an­nual fash­ion de­sign con­test put on by the Toronto Fash­ion In­cu­ba­tor. (Fi­nal­ists com­pete for a $30,000 cheque and in­dus­try men­tor­ship.) His New La­bels col­lec­tion, made for “a noc­tur­nal city per­son,” fea­tured in­ter­est­ing tex­tures like leather that looked like an oil slick and quilted jac­quard.

Which brings us to the fi­nal thing you should know about Coim­bra: He’s a very gra­cious loser. When asked about the ex­pe­ri­ence, the de­signer praises the con­test as an op­por­tu­nity for de­vel­op­ment and growth. “I didn’t win, but I didn’t lose ei­ther.” We’re call­ing it: This won’t be the last time you read his name.

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