There are likely many things that come to mind when you think of Saskatchewan. Farming, prairie skies, Roughriders, bunny hugs. The list goes on and on. You probably wouldn’t feel inclined to put a thriving fashion scene near the top of that list, if at all. Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival has spent the past five years trying to change that through pop ups, mixers, fashion shows and various other events. Many of these events are free or have low ticket costs so that they can reach a wide audience.
Some of Saskatoon’s best dressed got together on November 5th & 6th to celebrate local & international brands as well as a number of Saskatoon’s favorite boutiques.
The event was held at the Delta Bessborough hotel, also dubbed as Saskatoon’s “castle on the river” and is nothing short of grand with all of its historical details. The two day event featured a marketplace, conference & workshops and a nightly Runway show. There was also a 5th anniversary celebration following the runway on Saturday night.
Conference & workshop topics ranged from marketing business development ($10 per session or $40 for all), industry development (FREE), photography (FREE) and modeling ($20). Totally reasonable fees, and all sessions were taught by experts in the field. I didn’t attend any of these but looking back on it, I totally regret that. I’m sure I would have benefit from some of the marketing sessions.
The marketplace was open throughout the weekend and was free to access. There were 16 vendors, many of whom had items that were featured in the two runway shows.
There were multiple ticket options for the SFDF Runway. There was VIP seating, including a luxury swag bag ($60), general admission ($30), and standing room ($25). You could also purchase tickets to the 5th anniversary celebration ($25) or you could buy a ticket to attend the celebration and Runway on both nights ($120).
The Runway was held in the Adam Ballroom which made for a stunning backdrop for the show with it’s architectural detailing. The first night six different designers and boutiques were showcased, featuring both men’s and women’s fashion with approximately 10 styles per brand.
The show started off with two brands whose styles are both geared towards the trending street-wear style. The first, Eleven03, is a new brand with this event marking the official launch of their handmade collection. The two childhood friends take their inspiration from sports and music to create their men’s and women’s clothing. Their pieces featured bunny hugs (hoodies for you non-Saskatchewan people), t-shirts and plaid. Items had an oversize fit and seemed to have a focus on comfort.
The second street-wear brand, Rude Vogue, is approximately four years old and has been worn by celebrities like Drake. Films are an inspiration behind this brand with sayings like “Cult Classic” on their items. Similar in style to the first brand, Rude Vogue also featured bunny hugs & sweatshirts as well as on-trend patterns like camouflage.
Soulfari Jewelry has been in operation since 2010 and takes it’s name from a combination of “soul” and “safari”. The handmade jewelry is influenced by a variety of cultures from all over the world and uses all authentic materials. This jewelry is gorgeous. There was a variety of delicate & statement pieces and they were all right on trend with bohemian styles like shoulder chains and classy items like chokers. This was the only jewelry brand showcased between the two nights and it was a great addition.
White Dhalia by Dutch Growers was up next and was the only local boutique featured during the first night. There are two locations in Saskatoon, one of which is actually in a greenhouse! You can find a wide variety of affordable, on trend clothing there. They had a variety of different styles showcased from casual graphic sweatshirts, items with fringe and dressy, beautiful fur coats. I’m thinking I might need to go buy the jacket in the second picture!
Bano eeMee was founded in early 2012 and features luxurious, genuine leather items. As taken from the website “The brand promotes ethical realization of its designs with a focus on helping support the social fabric in communities ravaged by war, poverty and destitution through creating opportunities, paying fair wages and transferring knowledge.” The jackets had gorgeous colors and different features like mixed media hoods, asymmetrical zippers and fringe. I gotta say, if I had the budget the white jacket with floral would SO be mine. That jacket is amazing!
Melissa Squire was the final designer of the night and someone who was also featured in last years show. Her upbeat style is generally geared more towards rockabilly and she uses recycled materials in her items for some unique detailing. Last year it was announced that she was working on a men’s line and this year we got to see some of that. She showed some fun, flirty styles and some glamorous items featuring some mixed prints. Here again we saw some camouflage included in the styles.
The first night seemed to go off without a hitch. We saw a wide variety of styles across the 6 local and international designers, all of which featured current trends like mixed patterns, fur, fringe, street-wear and camouflage. The audience spanned across all ages and included men and women. It was great to see men’s fashion included in the Runway this year.
Tune in next week to find out who was featured in night two of the Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival Runway!