Final Catwalk: Sask. Fashion Week provides launching pad for 125 local designers
In the midst of a major expansion, local designer Kip Simon is reflecting on more than a decade in fashion.
“The business went from being a side of our desk -type hobby to a legitimate business about five or six years ago,” Simon said.
Simon is the founder of 22Fresh, a contemporary clothing line that blends sport with fashion and lifestyle.
In the early days of the business, Simon says he doubted whether he could make it as a successful designer in Saskatchewan.
“There was a period of time where I thought success meant getting out of this market and growing in the U.S.,” Simon said.
It wasn’t until Simon was asked to present his line at Saskatchewan Fashion Week that he says he truly understood the importance of having local roots.
“It really reminded me why I needed to have a local presence,” Simon said.
Saskatchewan Fashion Week, a nightly fashion show featuring clothing and accessories from local designers, began in 2012 to showcase the province’s growing fashion scene.
Melissa Fiacco, one of the founding committee members of Sask. Fashion Week, says stepping onto the runway meant standing up to critics with cynical commentary about the idea.
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“When people were looking at Saskatchewan and its fashion industry, they were really dismissive,” Fiacco said.
Luckily, the avant-garde idea would take-off across Saskatchewan.
Over the past eight years, the event has been a launching pad for more than 125 local designers and artists with more than 12,000 people attending the shows.
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Fiacco says the event has proven that designers can achieve success in their own province.
“It has been a platform to really challenge those perceptions and prove to Canada the calibre of talent and skill creativity that exists here,” Fiacco said.
She says that success story is showing in businesses like 22Fresh which is now sold online throughout North America and is available in more than 20 retail locations.
The final Saskatchewan Fashion Week runs May 9-11 at The Soundstage in Regina.
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