Western Canada Fashion Week
Thursday, Sept. 13 – Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.
TransAlta Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave.)
Tickets $25 at Tix on the Square and the TransAlta Arts Barns
The arrival of a stunning autumn in Edmonton brings with it a season of another kind entirely. Western Canada Fashion Week kickstarts Edmonton’s fall fashion season, and after eight years and 15 seasons, the immensely successful WCFW shows no signs of slowing down.
Showcasing the incredible talent of Edmonton’s arts community, WCFW features not only new and returning fashion designers from Edmonton and area, but also makeup artists, hairstylists, dancers, singers and other local talent.
The TransAlta Arts Barns provides the ideal setting for this spectacular event. With local art, jewellery and fashion featured in the grand lobby, the warm and inviting atmosphere summons guests to mingle over sips of wine before shows.
But WCFW isn’t just for the socialites and industry insiders — creative director Sandra Sing-Fernandes and her team make an effort to entice anyone with an interest in art and fashion to come experience the shows.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun this year. We are growing and expanding, and the designers are getting better and better all the time,” Sing-Fernandes says. “We try to embrace the whole arts community, and we hope that maybe some of the people that love fashion that are there will appreciate other art forms as well.”
WCFW strives to provide opportunity and exposure for everyone who wishes to be involved in the glamour of the fashion and arts industry — from amateur models to up and coming designers.
One of these opportunities is the Emerging Designer Competition, a showcase for new designers hoping to enter the world of fashion. Contestants stand to win a professionally produced runway showcase to present their collection at the next WCFW and a scholarship to advance their education and design careers.
“It has really become a big thing if you win this Emerging Designer Competition,” says Sing-Fernandes. “A lot of our winners have gone on to do amazing things. If someone sees that someone has won the emerging designer contest, suddenly it’s realized, ‘Oh, they must have talent.’ It gives them credibility.”
This year’s Emerging Designer Competition winner, Nicole Campre, is still experiencing the excitement of the opportunities following her win. After presenting a preview of her collection at WCFW, she’ll leave for Toronto to present her full collection as a finalist in the Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition for young and emerging designers. Competing against fellow Edmonton designer and Start Up finalist Malorie Urbanovitch, Campre confirms she’s been hard at work preparing her designs for the competition.
Nervously looking through her collection at her downtown studio, she tenderly pulls aside her favorite piece — a silky pastel blue shirtdress, easy to picture on the rack of a high-end boutique. Campre’s designs are soft, sweet and gentle — a direct reflection of her own personality. With neutral tones and flowy feminine shapes designed to emphasize a woman’s body, her talent for design is undeniable.
Even before her success with WCFW, Campre was involved with marketing and designing for popular local stores in Edmonton like Loft 82 and Oak and Fort. While she’s still a relative newcomer to the industry at the young age of 22, Campre has a broad understanding of the design, manufacturing and consumer demand aspects of the fashion industry — though she hasn’t let this go to her head.
“I’m not expecting much (at the Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition) because I am so new and competing against (Urbanovitch) and all these other designers,” she says. “I just feel so happy to be here. I’m nervous because I feel like I’m almost not ready — maybe I’m too young, but maybe they will like that as well. I really have to show them that not only I can make a collection, but I can also market myself and do the business part of it as well.”
While her modesty does her credit, Campre’s timeless and beautifully simple designs show she clearly has what the industry is looking for. Crediting WCFW for her newfound success, she acknowledges the contributions they’ve made in elevating Edmonton’s status as a national fashion and arts capital — efforts that Edmonton will benefit from as the city continues to grow and expand on its wealth of arts-related opportunities.
“I really think Edmonton has a growing fashion market,” Campre says. “It’s so exciting to be a part of it, to be here at this time and doing things and trying things that haven’t really been done in this city yet.
“(The Emerging Designer Competition) is really nice because it’s helping Edmonton designers step it up a little bit. It’s just pushing other Edmonton designers, which is great.”
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