The White Cashmere Collection hit the runway on Sept. 28, 2017, at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, revealing 16 brilliant new talents on the Canadian fashion design scene and their vision of a future without breast cancer – all crafted in luxuriously soft sheets of Cashmere Bathroom tissue.
The 14th annual collection, supporting the Canadian Cancer Society, featured a National Student Design Competition challenging more than 150 participating students from 11 top design schools across the country to create their interpretation of iconic Canadian style in celebration of #Canada150.
The event not only gave Canada’s hot new student fashion designers a chance to kick-start their design careers, but also contributed to making a difference in lives of Canadian women and their families affected by breast cancer.
First place winner:
Apparently, competition doesn’t faze Chelsea Cox. A third-year fashion design student at Kwantlen Polytech in BC, she’s psyched by the creative challenge posed by the 2017 White Cashmere Collection’s Canada 150 theme. Her answer? A winter coat that nods to the iconic Hudson’s Bay™ four-point blanket.
Second place winner:
Since the age of three, Adrian Arnieri has been fascinated by fashion. In addition to his Ryerson studies, he has delved into myriad aspects of the fashion world as an intern to stylists, a dresser at a Schwarzkopf fashion show, the winner of the Remix Canada Fur contest and the creator behind a collection that debuted at Ryerson’s Mass Exodus show this year. His #Cashmere17 garment is a high-fashion modern twist on the way Canadians dress to shield off harsh winter weather.
Third place winner:
The warrior is the theme that informs Seneca College student Charlotte Li’s #Cashmere17 entry. Her BT Couture creation captures her admiration for those who fought in the World Wars and those who fight diseases like breast cancer into a “Be strong, but gentle,” military-meets-softly feminine silhouette.
Newly-minted George Brown College grad Lesley Hampton brings a fierce pride in her First Nations heritage to her concept for #Cashmere17. Inspired by the Native American jingle dress worn during empowering healing dance during pow wow ceremonies, her design incorporates shimmering elements inspired by Canada’s mineral wealth.
Kel Dumana earned a business degree and studied clothing technology in his native Philippines before coming to Canada in 2010. Now his resume includes a degree in fashion design from the Visual College of Art and Design of Vancouver (VCAD). Dumana sees Canada 150 as “the perfect moment to build a launch platform for the next generation of Canadian fashion designers,” with a garment that reflects the future of Canadian fashion while honouring the power, strength and undeniable resiliency of the female spirit.
Pursuing her long-held dream of becoming a fashion designer, LaSalle College’s Chen Chen is continuously inspired by Rachel Roy’s motto: “A great dress can make you remember what is beautiful about life.” Her 2017 White Cashmere creation incorporates ideas of Canada’s natural beauty, diversity and, of course, proud 150-year history.
20-year-old Brianna West is a textiles and fashion major at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. This Halifax native feels that creating with a unique textile such as Cashmere Bathroom Tissue has certainly honed her skills, while the Canada 150 theme has given her a welcome opportunity to express her national pride. The inspiration behind her original BT Couture design was taken from Canada’s wilderness and the beauty of the nation’s national parks that link the country together from coast-to-coast.
LaSalle College student Vita Nikitenko loves a challenge. So the opportunity to work with a totally new fabric, Cashmere Bathroom Tissue, and hone her creativity and professionalism, has been a wholly satisfying experience. “Plus,” she says, “it’s a great way to participate in Canada’s 150th birthday celebration,” embodying the idea of a beautiful, sustainable and innovative Canada into an elegant evening gown reminiscent of floral structures and modern Canadian architecture.
Gratitude drives Kayley Champagne’s #Canada150 creation for the 2017 White Cashmere Collection. Inspired by the beauty of our northernmost glaciers, this 35-year-old oil-andgas-industry-employee-turned-Olds-Collegefashion- student says her design “reflects most on how blessed and lucky I am to live in this wonderful country where I have the freedom to be anything I please, marry whomever I please, and chase my dreams as I please.”
Turkey-born Asli Katina Bozdag, a recent graduate of the Blanche Macdonald Fashion Design Program in Vancouver, turned to fashion after working as a translator. Today she translates complex pattern-making skills, expertise with custom leatherwork and detailed embroidery into luxury women’s wear that’s steeped in modern romanticism. Her #Cashmere17 BT Couture gown is a contemporary take on a traditional ceremony gown that “can make many different kinds of people with different beliefs and backgrounds feel proud, strong and beautiful.”
Marie Pier Bergeron is a fashion marketing grad whose yearning for the creative side of the field finds her studying fashion design at Collége Marie-Victorin. This 26-year-old is very dialed into the messages clothes can convey; hence the themes of our country’s multicultural society, integrity, gender equality and feminism expressed by her entry for the 2017 White Cashmere Collection.
Seneca design student Nagat Bahumaid isn’t alone in seeing the 2017 White Cashmere Collection competition as a means to sharpening her skills and opening doors for a future in the fashion industry. Her design for a pink rose-strewn gown is “meant to symbolize and reflect the life of a cancer survivor: beauty and fragility,” created with 150 flowers to honour #Canada150.
In 2014, armed with a bachelor’s degree, and years of experience in textile design, Zohre Alipour came to Canada from her native Iran to pursue fashion at Visual College of Art and Design of Vancouver. She sees the butterfly as a poignant symbol of transformation and rebirth. Elegantly integrated into her 2017 White Cashmere Collection gown, the butterfly motif represents a renaissance both for those battling breast cancer and for the country.
Katie Stutheit, who’s recently completed the two-year fashion program at Alberta’s Lethbridge College, jumped at the chance to compete in the 2017 White Cashmere Collection. Having executed a design concept based on Canada’s iconic trillium flower, she calls the process “the most remarkable opportunity to celebrate who I am as a Canadian and who I am as a young designer.”
Juwyriya Hersi is a first-year George Brown College student whose fashion design approach is viscerally visual and unbound by fashion, and social stereotypes. The inspiration for her White Cashmere Collection submission? Breathtaking, blinding sunlight ricocheting off an icy tree limb in a Canadian winter.
Van Yanez sees the White Cashmere Collection Student Design Competition as an incredible opportunity to commemorate his graduating year before he embarks on his dream to become a fashion designer. For design inspiration, he’s taken a deep dive into tulips as a symbol of Canadian inclusion and hospitality, starting with the Netherlands’ Princess Juliana and her Dutch constituents taking refuge here during WWII.
It was such a beautiful show – congratulations to all of the designers! 🙂