TORONTO – Whether it’s a partnership with a big-name retailer or having face time with customers, Melissa Nepton sees the value in both forms of outreach to help to further bolster and expand her budding brand.
The Montreal-based designer experienced a whirlwind 2013 with the birth of her first child and a major gift on her 32nd birthday: winning $25,000, a magazine spread and a designer collaboration with Target as recipient of the Target Emerging Designer Award.
The partnership with the discount retailer hit stores last December, but the instant brand recognition associated with the Target name remains of benefit to Nepton as she seeks to foray into the U.S. market.
“When you say: ‘I was with Target last season,’ they know Target,” Nepton said backstage following her runway show at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week on Tuesday.
With the cancellation of Montreal Fashion Week’s winter edition, Nepton opted for a more intimate presentation ahead of her Toronto appearance, presenting at l’Auberge Saint-Gabriel in Old Montreal for 200 people. She’ll be on the fashion front lines once again in Toronto next week as she sets up shop at the One of a Kind Show which runs from March 26-30, billed as the largest consumer craft show in North America
In the meantime, the designer’s fall-winter collection was her primary focus on Tuesday as she showcased her take on sporty styles that have become a mainstay on runways of late. Steeped in a palette of neutral grey, black and white, quilted sweatshirts, tracksuit-inspired coats, jumpsuits and relaxed pants all featured in the new line.
“My signature is casual, sporty and feminine at the same, so I try to keep this characteristic,” said Nepton.
She sought to bring a decidedly upscale feel to athletic-inspired apparel, most notably with the use of shimmering gold and black jacquard in the collection.
“I try to be glam,” Nepton said. “I think when you can buy some designer clothing, it’s for an event or something special. So all my customers for this high-end collection, they need something for a night or a big weekend, so that’s why it’s so glamorous.