SEEING GREEN: Fledgling Canadian designer Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks and her sumptuous, farm-to-fashion fabrications emerged victorious at Toronto’s Design Exchange on Tuesday, beating a long list of cross-disciplinary contenders to win this museum’s Emerging Designer Award for 2017, which is worth 10,000 Canadian dollars.

“Males in the past have won this award, so it’s great that a fashion designer — and a woman — won this year,” said Deaven-Smiltnieks, who defeated architects, graphic designers, as well as furniture, interior and industrial designers to nab the prize and the chance to have her own Design Exchange exhibition, running from Wednesday to Feb. 16, 2018.

Calling the win “hugely validating,” the Toronto designer, who trained at Rhode Island’s School of Design, works directly with farmers, start-up mills and artisans to design her sustainable clothing.

This year’s judging panel included Burdifilek cofounders Diego Burdi and Paul Filek; architect Omar Gandhi; Concrete chief executive officer and graphic designer Diti Katona, and Saks Fifth Avenue Canada’s marketing director Shayne Stephens.

“If we’re talking about the future of fashion, Peggy Sue is going the right way,” said Nina Boccia, design exchange director of programs. “Her dedication to sustainability and garment construction set her apart. But it was also about the way Peggy Sue works. She’s involved right from the start with the farms and mills that help bring her design vision to life. That’s why it was important to showcase her story.”

The Design Exchange’s exhibition of visuals, videos and fashions dedicated to the Peggy Sue Collection also pays tribute to the process behind this eco-conscious label.

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