The Best Fashion Designers in Toronto
Some of the best fashion designers working in Canada today call Toronto home. Damn, are we ever lucky. Well, naturally - the Big Smoke is arguably Canada's fashion HQ: we have the biggest Fashion Week, the Holt Renfrew flagship store, most of the fashion magazines, and dozens and dozens of well-edited stores.
And the talent has stepped up to populate our stylish city with well-clad citizens. Whether you're girly or glam, punk or proper, there's a talented Toronto designer for every taste. (Want some more options? Other local faves include Label, Evan Biddell, Eliza Kozurno, Jenny Bird, House of Groves, Hoi Bo, and Pink Cobra.)
Here are the 12 best Toronto Fashion Designers as voted by readers of this site.
The always-grinning Philip Sparks is beloved for his old-school suiting and natty separates: need a preppy sweater or a well-cut pair of wool trousers? Philip's your man. Now the ladies can sport his fresh designs, too: this fall saw the launch of his first women's collection, which has garnered a lot of buzz from the fashion press.
Supermodel Coco Rocha is but one of Greta Constantine's many celeb fans. Perennial high-fashion editorial favourites Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong (who co-starred on the first season of Project Runway Canada) got famous with their Grecian-inspired jersey dresses, but recently the boys debuted an admirable men's collection (Ezra Constantine) and have branched out into new fabrics and styles.
This relative newcomer to the fashion scene and recent Ryerson graduate may only have a couple collections under her belt, but a well-received turn on the Fashion Week runway (sans her trademark black leather) and means this blue-lipsticked scenester definitely has some longevity in her. (Even Flare's Lisa Tant tweeted about her debut!)
4. Pink Tartan
Kim Newport-Mimran forms one-half of Toronto fashion's power-couple (her hubby is Club Monaco and Joe Fresh titan Joe Mimran), but she holds her own with Pink Tartan, the sporty line of bright separates and simple daywear. Pink Tartan fans can also get more of Newport-Mimran's designs at her new Toronto flagship store.
5. Jeremy Laing
The shy, bespectacled Laing is one of Toronto's most successful designers: the Vogue darling regularly shows in New York, where his dark, streamlined urban warrior designs have won him much acclaim. Hometown hero bonus: despite all his non-Canuck success, Laing continues to happily make his home in Parkdale.
6. Jules Power
With just a few pieces (couture sweats, gingham button-ups, and the perfect floral minidress), Jules Power has become the flame-haired sweetheart of the Toronto design scene over the last several seasons. Her easy pieces make dressing as simple as sweats, but with twice the chic.
Every girl needs at least one grown-up purse. Thank goodness we have Jessica Jensen to make them for us. The bubbly blond makes exquisite leather goods of all shapes and sizes: satchels, hobos, totes, clutches, and wristlets come in plenty of colours to choose from. Let's keep our fingers crossed that she keeps her holiday pop-up shop open year-round!
Arguably one of the most visionary young Canadian artists working today, the down-to-earth designer specializes in sexy knit minidresses and catsuits, eye-catching shapes, and battle-ready fabrics. This year, she even provided the costumes for the underground production, Opera Erratica.
The boyfriends Thomas (Drew and Mikey) started off with hipster-approved cobwebbed, ripped-up jersey tops, and have moved on to crafting solid, future-fantastic pieces with subtle, unique details and a certain heft and badassery about them. Their recent triumph? Showing one of the best collections at Spring/Summer 2011 Fashion Week.
A menswear staple for years, Bustle continues to clothe Toronto dudes in cheery, tongue-in-cheek fashions (floral shirts, pastel pants, and patterned blazers for days). Need a sure bet at Fashion Week? Husband-and-wife duo Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow always pull out all the stops when showing their collection, from cameos by local fashion folk to a performance by Die Mannequin.
11. Virginia Johnson
Textile designer Virginia Johnson has been around for almost a decade, and she's been busy these last ten years--her products are carried in many prestigious stores all over the world (including Barneys and Selfridges), but locals still flock to her flagship on Ossington for clothes and accessories featuring her earthy, colourful designs.
Why throw away an old sweater or pair of pants when you can make something new out of it? That's what Julia Grieve and Peter Friesen figured - now, their line Preloved sells upcycled dresses, sweaters, scarves, shorts, and skirts that allow unwanted clothes to get another chance (a kids line and home line have also been launched). Reported fans include Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway, and Kate Hudson.