Drawing on inspiration from a melting pot of cultures and a 10 million square kilometer coast-to-coast natural wonderland, only recently are Canadian designers starting to leave a distinct impression on the industry. The country’s charming Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has resulted in the world showing a little more attention to the scenic land, and deservedly so. From self-taught artists to designers of clothing for the elements and women who exemplify what it means to be girl boss, here are four Canadians in fashion to keep an eye on this year.
Raised By Wolves
Canada is known for its extreme climates and breathtaking landscapes – two inspirations for the foundation of the aptly named Raised By Wolves. Created by Pete Williams in 2008 as a side project while working for Highsnobiety in Montreal, Raised By Wolves is a streetwear brand designed and produced in Canada focusing on high-quality goods with a touch of utilitarian purpose. Influenced by 90s and early 2000s hip-hop and skateboard culture, Williams has stayed true to his inspiration. His Black Sabbath and most recent ‘fuck-off’ capsule are especially notable.
It’s hard to imagine winning an LVMH award and canceling a show in New York City to debut your AW16 collection in Paris without anyone really knowing your name. This is the social media age, after all. But that’s exactly what 20-year-old self-taught designer Vejas Kruszewski of Toronto has done. After deconstructing garments from Chloé and Balenciaga that he would find thrifting, Vejas taught himself how to make patterns and began creating avant-garde pieces together with his business partner, Saam Emme. Now the brands reconstructed denim, asymmetrical hemlines and unusual tailoring have become Kruszewski’s signature.
She refers to her studio space as “the nest” and her followers as “bird girls,” and has won the CAFA Accessory Designer Award consecutively for the last two years. Jenny Bird
is the designer behind the eponymous brand, now co-owned and operated with her husband, Adam. She launched her first collection in 2008 and is now stocked at over 600 retailers worldwide. Her Instagram offers a behind-the-scenes look into her production, visual inspiration, and refreshingly honest and inspiring self. In her most recent collection, she steers the brand away from fine jewelry and has created rhodium dipped brass and 14k gold covered statement pieces while keeping true to her minimal design and simple finishes.