Five Canadian Designers You Need To Know

As we celebrate 151 years of Canada, it’s important to remember the past but also look to the future. Meet four Canadian designers who are paving the way for Canadian fashion.

CHEZ BIPPY

What is your favourite thing about being a Canadian designer?

Being a designer in Canada is unique in a sense, compared to designing anywhere else. There is a greater sense of freedom here, and people are so open to hearing about the background and foundation of our brand. For example, when we launched Chez Bippy we knew we would always source our textiles and materials as ethically as possible. What we didn’t know was how much Canadian consumers would love it. We didn’t know how supportive they would be but as it turns out, that concept drives as much interest to our brand as our designs. 

How would you define Canadian fashion?

Young and vibrant—well, relatively speaking. Canada is entrenched in pluralism which in return coats its society in thick layers of colourful paint, all mixing in together to form something new. Canadians have so much to offer, and so do the emerging brands. At Chez Bippy we believe the next 10 years will really bring Canadian fashion, and Canadian art, to the world stage in a way we haven’t yet experienced. It’s exciting to see the broader Canadian society becoming more involved and interested in home-grown arts.

How will you be celebrating Canada day?

This Canada day we will be celebrating from the lake, in true Canadian fashion. A friend of ours has a boat, and sailing alongside a view of the city seems like the perfect way to enjoy the day. 

S.P BADU

What is your favourite thing about being a Canadian designer?

My favourite thing about being a Canadian fashion designer is the ability to influence the reputation of what a Canadian designer is to the global consumer. Also, the support of my Canadian peers always keeps me going. 

How would you define Canadian fashion?

I think it’s really hard to put Canadian fashion in a box. It used to be evening wear, then it became very casual but I feel like we are going through a shift at the moment and it’s very exciting.

How will you be celebrating Canada day?

Hanging out with close friends, watching fireworks in a park most likely.

KATHRYN BOWEN

What is your favourite thing about being a Canadian designer?

In Canada it’s nice to have the room to breathe with less influence and distraction from the immediate buzz of the fashion world, but I think what’s interesting about the industry anywhere is that change is happening quickly. We’re seeing traditions within long-standing fashion houses being uprooted, new rules and more awareness that designers are originating from all over the world, not just major fashion hubs.

How would you define Canadian fashion?

Even with all the diversity in this country I would say it’s a bit safe. I would love to see more bold ideas and originality among new Canada-based designers, especially with fashion week making a come back in Toronto. Fashion is the most fun in a country as seasonal as Canada. There is so much room for a range of products in Canadian fashion just because of the extensive wardrobe we need to survive the whole year, which is great.

How will you be celebrating Canada day?

I’ll actually be in LA on my first holiday of the year! If I wasn’t, I would still be working. So it’s probably better that I’m out of the country, able to celebrate and not locking myself away in my studio.

BRIT WACHER

What is your favourite thing about being a Canadian designer?

I love spending time in nature which inspires my work so much. Canadian nature is so very rich and abundant. 

How would you define Canadian fashion?

It seems that there isn’t an absolute Canadian style which I think is a reflection of our young, multicultural nation. 

How will you be celebrating Canada day?

Morning painting class and then hiking and beach day with my friends! 

ESKE

What is your favourite thing about being a Canadian designer?

Openness. there’s so much going on creatively and culturally at the moment but it’s the openness to all of that that allows people to exist on the same plane. Tools and resources seem more scarce compared to more established countries and cities but with what the internet has become it gives you the ability to educate and search and work hard and never take no for an answer. It makes me appreciate what I have more when I realize how much I had to work to get it. I can only speak about how it is in Toronto as I haven’t really travelled in Canada. Although, from what friends tell me in other Canadian cities, they say similar things. There’s definitely a creative shift happening in this country. I know that’s partly due to the internet but I think it’s also because Canada is so young, we’re still trying to figure out our design, let alone our identity.

How would you define Canadian fashion? 

I don’t know how to define it and maybe that’s a good thing. It’s confusing and interesting. Numbers wise, there’s not nearly as many designers from Canada as other places in the world so there’s a lot of value looking outward for inspiration from around the world while still being able to stay authentic. But that’s only fitting because that’s who we are as people in general, not just in fashion.

It’s the same for when I look inward, especially in Toronto where I’m from. I’m able to be in the center of so much crazy good varied talent it’s hard not to take notice and see how that influences culture. Fashion is just one small part of that. All my peers and best friends have such different cultural and creative backgrounds from all over the place. Just by hanging out we’re exposing each other to our similar ideas/principles but drastically different output.

How will you be celebrating Canada day?

Most likely working then hanging with my mom and friends later on. That’s my absolute best day, where I can fit all that into one so it’s a good way for me to celebrate anything.

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