Award-winning fashion designer Sarah Stevenson hits her Target

Sarah Stevenson for Target.
Sarah Stevenson for Target.

Canadian fashion designer Sarah Stevenson has been flying high over the past year, not only did she win the prestigious TFI New Labels™ Competition last April, she was also the recipient of The Emerging Talent Award at the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards in February of this year.

Aside from a $25,000 cash grant from one of fashion’s biggest supporters, Suzanne Rogers, she also received the opportunity to be one of the first Canadian designers to collaborate with discount retailer Target on a line of dresses and separates featuring the prints that have made her a name within the fashion industry. The process, according to the designer, took just under a year from the time she won the competition until the time the collection hits select Target locations across Canada on Sunday, March 23 and range in price from only $24.99 to $59.99.

“It has been such a wonderful experience working with Target,” Sarah explained, “I’ve had the best time and I can’t wait to see the collection in stores! I’m very grateful to the Toronto Fashion Incubator and Target for the incredible opportunity!”

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A true Canadian talent, Sarah Stevenson is certainly a label to watch and one which Canadians can wear with pride.

On winning the TFI New Labels ® Competition

It was thrilling! As an emerging designer it is very validating to have received recognition by such a prestigious panel of judges. In addition to winning the competition and receiving a grant from Suzanne Rogers, having the opportunity to design a line for Target was the icing on the cake, really a dream come true!

On the competition process

The hardest part for me was the vulnerability. You have to open yourself up completely and be prepared to receive feedback – good and bad. It is something designers have to do each season. It can be very difficult, but it’s part of being a designer and often is what helps us to grow.

On the inspiration behind her Target collection

The inspiration came from Toronto gardens in the springtime. It was important for me to reference Canada because Target just opened here and I’m a Canadian designer. The collection is really inspired by an urban Canadian woman because the pieces take you from winter into spring. Having the transition is very important because of our constantly changing weather here!

On the difference between designing for Target and her own collection

The process in the beginning was the same. I designed all prints and fabrics by hand. The difference was that I got to work with the amazing Target design team in New York that helped me to really understand the Target guest. Working on a large scale was a very different process, but the vendors are so experienced and detail-oriented that all of my expectations were exceeded. I learned so much from the whole experience.

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On creating her unique prints

I look everywhere for inspiration, I try to keep my mind open and let things move me. I usually gravitate back to florals, so even if my inspiration is Moroccan ceramics or Hungarian folk art I will reinterpret it to resemble my aesthetic. I create all of my prints/fabrics by hand and then finalize the layout in my computer. I spend a lot of time determining the placement of the prints because I want them to have the most impact when worn.

View the Sarah Stevenson for Target collection here: 

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With plans to expand her namesake collection into more retail locations, Sarah is also creating her first line of wool shawls for Fall/Winter 2014 while planning her summer wedding; which she plans to document the entire process from designing her own wedding dress to the invitations on her blog this coming April.

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Select Sarah Stevenson pieces are currently available at TNT Hazelton Lanes and TNT Eglinton West in Toronto.

Find Sarah Stevenson online at: