TORONTO — After spending three years working by day at a mineral exploration company to make ends meet and by night on her fashion label, Sarah Stevenson Design, fledgling designer Sarah Stevenson has won the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels contest and the chance to create a clothing line for Target.
The win, which included a 25,000 Canadian dollar, ($24,750 at current exchange) cash prize, was revealed on April 30 after a runway show before 700 buyers, industry insiders and media on hand at Toronto’s historic event space, The Carlu.
“I was in shock when I heard my name. I kept squeezing my stylist’s hand backstage because I couldn’t believe it,” Stevenson, 32, said.
Since launching her label in Toronto in 2010, Stevenson has single-handedly made the fabrics for her designs, which are clean, simple and embellished with beautiful, laser-cutting techniques.
“It’s been double the work and tough do to with no financial help. This win has made every struggle worthwhile,” she said.
Stevenson, along with 19 other emerging Canadian designers, entered the annual competition in December. Four finalists were selected by a judging panel that included John Morioka, Target’s senior vice president of merchandising and Elisha Ballantyne, Target’s divisional merchandise manager of apparel and accessories.
This year’s finalists included the edgy Canadian-Japanese design duo SevenThirtyOne, Paria Shirvani and contemporary dress and separates brand Christopher Paunil.
“Sarah put together the most cohesive collection and showed lots of consistency in terms of thinking through her vision and who her brand is for,” said Ballantyne.
Inspired by the still-life paintings of Dutch Baroque artist Rachel Ruysch, Stevenson’s collection features richly hued florals and hand-painted textiles transferred onto silk. The collection also showcased Stevenson’s laser-cutting techniques, which she honed while studying at Toronto’s George Brown College from 2006 to 2008 and in Milan in 2009, where she pursued a master’s degree in fashion and textile design.
While in Milan, Stevenson turned down an internship at Giorgio Armani to return to Toronto and launch her label.
“The first thing I did when I got home was contact the Incubator. They helped me figure out how to run a business,” said Stevenson.
The nonprofit organization was created in 1987 by the City of Toronto to boost the fashion industry and offer support and mentorship to budding Canadian designers and entrepreneurs. Since then, the Incubator has spawned similar organizations in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Dublin, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Milan.
The organization introduced its New Labels competition in 1992 and has since launched the careers of Canadian designers Joeffer Caoc, David Dixon and Todd Lynn, as well as top models Daria Werbowy and Shalom Harlow. This year’s partnership with the Minneapolis-based Target has sweetened the winner’s pot.
According to Ballantyne, Target will meet with Stevenson over the next month to begin work on an exclusive, limited-edition apparel collection that will be sold across Canada in 2014.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)