March 24, 2015 9:00 am

Canadian fashion designer David Dixon reflects back on 20 years

David Dixon (left) takes the applause as he accompanies model showing one of his creations during Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto on Tuesday March 18, 2014. Dixon is preparing to mark a key milestone at Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week on Tuesday with the launch of his latest collection as he celebrates the 20th anniversary of his label.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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Few fashion labels can boast a decades-long run, especially in the challenging Canadian market, but this year marks the 20th anniversary for Toronto-based designer, David Dixon. This season at World MasterCard Fashion Week marks Dixon’s 40th collection, which he is dedicating to all of his supporters over the past 20 years.

Born and trained in Toronto, Dixon trained at Ryerson University. Shortly afterwards, he apprenticed with celebrated Canadian designer Alfred Sung. In 1995, he took the leap and established his signature label, finding a home at the internationally renowned non-profit organization Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI). Now, himself one of Canada’s fashion elite and one of the nicest people in the industry you could possibly meet, Dixon’s elegant and classic looks have been seen on the likes of Meg Ryan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Pamela Anderson, Suzanne Rogers, Catherine O’Hara, and more.

A model walks the runway in the David Dixon show, part of Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto on Monday October 21, 2013.

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Wanting to know how Dixon feels about this milestone, he kindly answered a few questions we had.

On his introduction to fashion

My introduction to fashion – outside of my mother and her ambition for us to dress in the latest style, despite being on a budget of having six children – was through two sources; Barbie and television, specifically The Love Boat. It was a typical night at the Dixon household; Mom and Dad going out, and I was allowed to stay up to watch both The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. On this particular one episode, Halston, Geoffrey Beene, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Bob Mackie were all playing themselves and showcasing their collections on the show.  Finally, I had my “A-ha!” moment. My sketches finally had a meaning — there was a career in fashion design. I was hooked, and never stopped sketching since.

Models walk the runway with David Dixon in his show, part of Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto on Monday October 21, 2013.

On his mentors, friends, and family

The people who I turn to most for advice are the same people who were there from the beginning and some added along the way. My family — specifically my brother Glenn, my sister Susan, and my partner Jeff.  The others who are I consider my extended family, people like, Susan Langdon, my stylist Peter Fitt, my right hand at the studio, Hang Truong, as well as friends like Suzanne Rogers, Rita Tesolin, and Camille Moore.  My most sacred advice that I still carry with me today is the advice that my parents (also my mentors) gave me while they were alive and to this day every night before I go to bed, in prayer, I still seek their guidance.

A model shows a creation by David Dixon while walking the runway during Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto on Tuesday, March 19, 2013.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

 

On what advice he would give his 20-year-old self

The advice that I would give to myself when I was 20, is the advice I have always followed: Listen. Listen to your instincts and follow your gut.

On memories of the past two decades

My most treasured memories over the past 20 years of designing is meeting and building relationships with some of the most creative, inspiring and talented people that one could wish to meet.

A model walks the runway during the David Dixon show during Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto Wednesday October 19, 2005.

CP PHOTO/Aaron Harris

Advice he would give to aspiring fashion designers

As a mentor and a teacher to aspiring designers, [my advice] is to listen. Find a group of people that are honest and truthful. This industry is a difficult one and you need to surround yourself with people who can guide and support your vision.

Models applaud at the end of the David Dixon show, part of Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto on Wednesday, March 14, 2007.

CP PHOTO/Frank Gunn

David Dixon shows his Fall/Winter 2015 collection at World MasterCard Fashion Week on Tuesday, March 24th at 9:00pm. Limited tickets are available at worldmastercardfashionweek.com.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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