TheCanadian Arts & Fashion Awards gala in Toronto — that honoured Iris Apfel (International Style Icon Award), Erdem Moralioglu (International Canadian Designer of the Year Award), Beaufille (Womenswear Designer of the Year Award) and BoF’s Imran Amed (Vanguard Award), among others — was brimming with genuine excitement and patriotic pride for Canadian talent and its potential for growth on an international stage.
“I feel like [Canada is] unique and interesting to the rest of the world, we’re almost an untapped market,” said Chloé Gordon of Beaufille while accepting her award alongside sister and co-founder Parris. The label won the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in 2015, which included $10,000 and a mentorship program.
The notable names in attendance also included model Coco Rocha, Tanya Taylor (nominated for International Canadian Designer of the Year) and J.Crew’s Somsack Sikhounmuong, a CAFA jury member. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of the Prime Minister, sent in a video message toasting the crowd. Her attendance at the CAFAs in 2016 was a coup for the awards.
According to a 2014 report from consulting firm Nordicity, Canada’s fashion industry employs more than 12,800 people, exports products of about $2.5 billion in value and contributes $790 million CAD in a gross domestic product (about $590 million USD) to the Canadian economy each year.
The Canadian Art & Fashion Awards was launched four years ago by Vicky Milner and Brittney Kuczynski to recognise Canadian designers and fashion visionaries both at home and working abroad.