Mercedes Benz Start-Up LGFW

Mercedes-Benz Start-Up finalists get their report cards

When Mercedes-Benz and the FDCC made their big announcement a few months back, it wasn't to say they had officially taken over our fashion week (as it is in New York and Berlin), but rather the launch of a new mentorship program for young Canadian talent with burgeoning brands. After months of judging, showcasing, voting, and scouting the country for the finalists, day two of LGFW saw the ultimate showdown between five labels vying for the top prize. What is it? A fully-produced and sponsored show in next season's official schedule, a mentorship track with the industry's top names and a spread in FASHION magazine. There can only be one, so here's a yearbook of the time all finalists spent on the runway.

Cassie Dee, Founded: 2010

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Voted:

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Most likely to surpass the winner

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Comments:

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It's her third full collection, with inspiration based on a Canadian road trip. She has a tailored aesthetic, with pretty prints that look as if she collected leaves and photographed them. There are great burnt oranges that run throughout, blazers with tonal patches, white spaghetti strap dresses, and sleeveless ones that make me love everything even more. My one piece of advice? Lose the piping on blazers; no serious woman with money (a.k.a. those that would buy this line) would wear them.

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Final Grade:

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A+

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Travis Taddeo, Founded: 2008

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Voted:

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Most likely to keep doing what he's doing

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Comments:

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I'm a big Taddeo fan, but that doesn't mean he's going to win. Feathered minis and sleeveless shirt dresses stand out, while loose Bermuda-esque shorts make sense for him for spring/summer. Leather shorts for men aren't readily available, and he did them. Then again, who would wear them? (I would.) He shows diversity, and that's why he falls just a little short. Pick a vision, and stick to it - at least in a program like this. That's what people expect, but Taddeo doesn't follow rules.

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Final grade:

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A

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Triarchy, Founded: 2009

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Voted:

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Most likely to enjoy a following outside of the 416

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Comments:

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Triarchy, a line between three siblings, was built on building motorbikes. It's one adventure after the next with their signature style, or whatever they think is signature. I like enough of it, and immediately, I get the impression that I can buy all of this - or I already own all of this - from H&M or Topshop. But I'd be wrong. A close look at the denim line (as seen on blogger and former BlogTO-er Anita Clarke) reveals it's well-made and seems durable, with colour that doesn't run and a fit that does nothing but accentuate all the right parts of the body.

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Final grade:

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B+

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Unttld, Founded: 2011

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Voted:

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Most likely to make it, regardless of any of this

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Comments:

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There's a freedom here; it's all about exploration. Sheer gowns with back slits, it's a contrast between constructed and deconstructed. There are perfect linen pants, and white in everything else. The black feels out of place, and the crotchet work somehow belongs on tea cozies. I'm not mad, though, because the biker jacket needs to go into production no matter what.

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Final grade:

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B-

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Martin Lim, Founded: 2010

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Voted: The winner

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Comments:

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Martin Lim is a collaboration between Martin and, well, Lim. They appear soft-spoken, and shy, and their intent is to bring a little optimism to uncertainty. Well, their effort is optimistic, but it's uncertain. I'm not sure what the judges saw that awarded them the top prize, but from where I sat (next to supermodel-cum-guest judge Jessica Stam proclaim them the top talent), everything seemed so unfinished, uneven. But the judges have spoken, and they know better than all of us. So that's that then for the first annual Mercedes-Benz Start-Up.

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Final Grade:

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Does it really matter?

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Photos by Jesse Milns


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