Rudsak channels ‘cool rebel’ at 20th anniversary show

Rudsak channels 'cool rebel' as label turns 20
Models walk the runway in the Rudsak show, part of Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto on Thursday March 20, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Rudsak had some high-profile company on hand to mark a major milestone for the homegrown brand, as its fall-winter showcase doubled as a celebration of the label’s 20th anniversary.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier and Toronto Raptors point guard Julyan Stone took in the action from the front row on Thursday at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week.

While some brands are inclined to merely mimic of-the-moment trends, Rudsak doesn’t typically deviate from much from the styles that have helped the label endure.

“When you see a perfecto (a leather motorcycle jacket), you really can’t reinvent that in multiple ways. You can make it fitted, looser… But it has to be timeless,” said founder and creative leader Evik Asatoorian backstage prior to the show.

Asatoorian described the “cool rebel” look as central to the label’s DNA. Rudsak did its part to offer a slight twist on its rock ‘n’ roll-inspired styles, with pointed hems and floral patterns on leather jackets and the bold pops of green, navy and bordeaux hues peppered throughout the line.

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The collection contrasted the slick, skin-tight leather minis with more voluminous accents on outerwear, notably the clusters of textured fur trimming coat collars, jacket fronts, hoods and hems.

The unification of contrasting fabrics was a distinctive design element in outerwear in particular, like shiny leather sleeves on matte coats and leather patches affixed to puffer jackets.

The pro athletes in attendance gave the new line their stamps of approval.

“I’m big into leather. I liked the tie with the leather – it was nice,” said Stone, who attended his first-ever fashion show.

A leather-clad Bernier already had his eye on several pieces to potentially add to his own collection.

“I thought it was great. They had a few nice jackets that I’ll be anxious to wear next fall.”

Asatoorian credits his passion for the work as one of the key’s to the brand’s enduring success after two decades.

“For me personally, after this many years to still have the drive to look for something new, constantly for something exciting, it is a hard industry. You have to really have the love for it.

“I was fortunate to be able to consistently build our brand with product that I’m always passionate about, which is leather. About 20 years down the line, I’ve learned so much, and every year I look back, I go: ‘Wow. There’s so much more I can learn.”‘

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Rudsak has a showroom in New York and sells wholesale to major retailers like Nordstrom and Saks. But Asatoorian said they have their sights set on potential expansion, ideally first in the Big Apple – then hopefully beyond.

“For me, it would be amazing to see if I could bring this brand one day to Europe, to Asia, to the international level.”

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