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SPECIAL TFI New Labels Issue

Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TFI News
A free fashion industry newsletter

Brought to you by:
Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI)
A dynamic non-profit organization offering made-to-measure business solutions for new & established fashion designers, entrepreneurs, professionals & students

Sponsored by:
City of Toronto Economic Development





Volume 23, Issue 3, 2015
1. The Event
2. Scene & Heard
3. Top Picks
4. Fashion Calendar

1. The Event
After six long months, Canada's original, national fashion design competition, TFI New Labels®, concluded with a stellar fashion show on May 4th at One King West where Toronto-based designer Matthew Gallagher (third from right, below) took home $25,000 and a feature in FLARE.

The winning fall/winter 2015 collection found inspiration in an Alex Colville painting called "Family and Rainstorm" (1955). Gallagher imagined a woman who is torn between the reality of being a mother and the Hollywood starlet she dreamed to be. Separates and evening dresses sprinkled with crystal and ostrich feather trim were shown in a palette of soft nude pinks, ivory, pale blue and black.

The three other finalists competing for the title of "Most Promising New Label" and the cash prize, which was donated by philanthropist Suzanne Rogers, were Valerie Tolila of VAIKEN, Benji Wong Zhen Wang for Benji WZW and Jennifer Torosian and Raed Ali for Jennifer Torosian.

Montreal-based VAIKEN favoured sporty, feminine and sexy silhouettes while channelling French model Caroline de Maigret's eclectic style. In a mostly black and grey-toned line, Tolila mixed carefree bohemianism with rocker chic attitude as seen in a black suede dress and a criss-cross laser cut top with slashes of skin, and thigh-high leather leggings worn with a mesh dress under a herringbone coat.

High-end streetwear brand Benji WZW combined street tribalism with a narrative called "Saccharine Grave" which told the story of high school outcasts who idolize the Cross Bones Graveyard in London, UK. In his first womenswear line, Wong Zhen Wang showed a colourful line of mostly leather separates and baby-doll dresses adorned with ribbons to emulate the cascade of ribbons that are tied to the gates of the London cemetary. Underpinnings in nude jersey and mesh were seen under sheer tunics and under jackets.

Jennifer Torosian and business partner Raed Ali showed a line of sporty, sleek and tailored separates and dresses with a utilitarian spirit and hints of work-wear elements. Grey, pink, navy and olive green comprised the fall/winter palette. Standouts included a pink mohair oversized coat over a long silk shirt, a midi-length dress in navy silk taffeta with jersey sleeves and a grey tunic dress with draped hem.

The annual event, a fundraiser for the non-profit Toronto Fashion Incubator, also generated buzz for the SpongeBob Design Challenge that saw Toronto designer Ryan Alexander Smith win the $10,000 first prize for his SpongeBob SquarePants-inspired couture gown (below right, top).

Emceed by television personality Brad Smith of Entertainment City, Breakfast Television and The Bachelor Canada, the event attracted over 300 guests to TFI New Labels® 2015, including 23 top Toronto media and influencers. Print, broadcast and online coverage for the event reached an audience of over 22.5 million (and counting). Additionally, Twitter activity surrounding #TFINewLabels and the #SpongeBob Design Challenge generated 15,249,399 impressions. Notable coverage included: FLARE, Toronto Star, The Kit, Winnipeg Free Press, CTV News, Post City, Yahoo Shine, HELLO! Canada, CityTV, National Post, Women's Wear Daily and more. Expected coverage includes: Cityline and FLARE's feature on Matthew Gallagher.

Runway models featured stunning beauty looks by M.A.C and hair styling by Salon Daniel; show production was handled by Hans Koechling of The Image Is. TFI would like to thank the many members, media, supporters, patrons and sponsors who attended this year's event and helped to make it a huge success.

Photos: George Pimentel
For more event images check out our Facebook page
2. Scene & Heard

EMDA Submission Deadline June 15
Attention emerging menswear designers: Apply to win $10,000 and a one-year membership to the Toronto Fashion Incubator by entering EMDA 2015. Now in its second year, the Emerging Menswear Designer Award will be presented at TOMFW, Toronto Men's Fashion Week, taking place August 17 - 25. For entry details and qualifications, visit

Skechers Moves Ahead
Earlier this month, US-based SKECHERS’ stock rose above $100 USD per share for the first time in the Company’s history. SKECHERS USA, Inc. (NYSE:SKX) announced that The Wall Street Journal (May 18, 2015) and (May 19, 2015) have both reported that the company moved ahead of competing footwear brands Adidas, New Balance and Asics to secure the number two brand share position in the American athletic footwear market for the first quarter 2015. Recently the company’s charitable footwear donation program, BOBS from SKECHERS, donated more than 62,000 pairs of new shoes to support children affected by the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal.

White Cashmere Rolls Out September 29
The 12th annual White Cashmere Collection™ - Canada's first and only fashion collection made entirely from bathroom tissue, will present a bridal-themed fashion show on September 29 at The Carlu in Toronto. Curated this year by Jessica Mulroney, public relations and marketing specialist for Kleinfeld Bridal at Hudson's Bay, the show will feature gowns by 16 designers including Valencienne, Paloma Blanca, Frascara, Catherine Langlois, Melissa Gentile, VAWK, Anastasia Lomonova, & For Love, Just Ta Designs, Lisa Abi Chedid, Hoax Couture, Christopher Paunil, Sofia Sokoloff and Lee-Ann Belter. Accessories made from bathroom tissue by jewellery designer Rita Tesolin and milliner David Dunkley will also be included.

Gotstyle Celebrates Ten Years
A decade in the making, Gotstyle is celebrating with a Diamond Year Anniversary Fete on June 6th, 7:00pm at 21 Trinity St. in Toronto's historic Distillery District. Audi Downtown will host the Diamond Year Anniversary event which will include a star-studded fashion show, VIP sponsor lounges, gourmet food and live entertainment. To kick off the anniversary the store will reveal its new menswear magazine/catalogue titled GOTSTYLE Man at the celebration. For more information about the event, visit

Spring 2016 & 2017 Women's Trends
For a sneak peek at textile prints for women's spring 2017, check out the print stories by Pattern Curator here.

Apparel Wage Subsidy Renewed
The Canadian government has renewed its Apparel Career Focus Program that offers wage subsidies up to 50% of a new employee's wages, to a maximum of $15,000. Support is available until March 31, 2016 (minimum of 3 months participation). Space is limited and subsidies will be available at a “first come first served basis”. For more info, visit


3. Top Picks
Enjoy a recap of the 2015 SpongeBob Design Challenge fashion show

TFI 2015 New Labels®winner Matthew Gallagher makes news in Women's Wear Daily

Makers Row -Handbags, Small Leather Goods
Check out the supplier site to find US-based contractor to make your bags and small leather goods

How To Negotiate The Best CMT Price
Learn how to negotiate with your contractor

FREE 6-Part Program On Sourcing & Production
Learn how to set brand goals, gain advice on budgeting and the steps needed to get started on sourcing and production

Enterprise Toronto
Feature on TFI member Bojana Nikolic's outerwear firm, Sentaler

4. Fashion Calendar

New York City
June 3, 2015
The Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator hosts a class on the creation and production of organic and naturally-dyed clothing collections, made in the USA.

June 22, 2015
RSVP for our social night and chat with TFI members while sampling scrumptious sweet cake creations by Layercake.

June 20 - 22, 2015
Men’s and women’s tradeshow featuring contemporary collections from international designers

New York City
July 13 - 16, 2015
New York presents its inaugural men’s fashion week

New York City
July 19 - 21, 2015
Spring 2016 trade show

New York City
July 21 – 22, 2015
The world’s biggest textile fair comes to North America

New York City
August 9, 2015
A free walking tour of the city’s garment district starting at 10:00am

August 17 - 25, 2015
Toronto Men’s Fashion Week returns for its third season. Highlights will include the EMDA competition for emerging menswear designers and the Kol Hope Celebrity Fashion Show.

September 10 - 14, 2015
Tradeshow featuring men's, women's, children's, sports & western wear

September 18 - 22, 2015
Spring 2016 designer collections and fashion shows
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Editor-In-Chief, Susan Langdon
Senior Editor, Doris Montanera

© Copyright 2015 The Toronto Centre for the Promotion of Fashion Design (O/A Toronto Fashion Incubator, TFI). No part of TFI NEWS may be copied or duplicated in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Toronto Fashion Incubator. This publication is distributed for information purposes only and with the understanding that TFI is not responsible for the results of any actions taken by any person in reliance on such information, nor for any errors or omissions contained herein. TFI expressly disclaims any and all liability arising out of the use of this publication or any part thereof by any person.