5 Canadian Designers to Watch for Now

These talented, inspiring, and stylish young women all have a lot to offer the fashion industry in the months and seasons ahead. You may not have heard of some of them yet- but you will definitely hear their names again.

1) Amanda Lew Kee
A 21-year-old recent graduate of Ryerson’s fashion design program, Lew Kee made her grand entrance at LG Fashion Week in October. Although young, she has made great progress in the world of fashion, attracting attention from editors, celebrities such as actress Shenae Grimes, and the media. Her accomplishments to date include a showing at Holt Renfrew, a spread in Flare magazine this summer, and clothing from her collections being sold at both a downtown boutique and online. Described as a high-end street designer on her website (www.amandalewkee.com), the native Torontonian featured leather, bright blue lipstick, and trendy dresses in neutral shades at her LG Fashion week show.

2) Rita Liefhebber
Born and raised in Toronto, 26-year-old Liefhebber has seen every side of this glamourous industry as a former model, stylist, and fashion editor. She’s finally found her niche as a designer, bringing our attention to the simplicity and understated elegance of wardrobe basics at LG Fashion Week this year. With flowing cotton tank dresses in gorgeous soft blues, lace-up ankle boots, and oversized blouses as part of her spring 2011 collections, she’s ahead of the game when it comes to trends and doing a fine job on the other side of the runway. Check out her latest and greatest work at www.ritaliefhebber.com

3) Chloe and Parris Gordon (Chloe comme Parris)
There doesn’t seem to be much sibling rivalry in this Toronto-bred, Halifax-educated sister act! Both of the Gordons attended the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University, where their natural differences eventually allowed them to complement each other’s work. 20-year-old Parris focuses on jewelry design while 22-year-old Chloe takes care of the line’s clothing. With organic fabrics, an emphasis on comfortable and wearable garments, and an eye for fine details (such as silver jewelry pieces inspired by forms of transportation), Chloe comme Parris presented their first show at LG Fashion Week this year. To learn more about the talented duo, check www.chloecommeparris.com.

4) Sarah Stevenson
All of my fabrics and clothing are made locally which minimizes the carbon footprint and also invests in the Canadian economy, states the Toronto-based Stevenson on her site, www.sarahstevensondesign.com. After studying fashion at both George Brown College and Milan’s Institute of European Design, the 29-year-old began working on her own label earlier this year as an LG Fashion Week newcomer. Her spring 2011 line boasts beautifully patterned shift dresses, silk blouses, floral sheaths, and draping. Inspired by gardens, Stevenson’s unique pieces are delicate, feminine, and highly artistic at the same time.

5) Nicole Bridger
After receiving a BAA in fashion design from Ryerson, Vancouverite Nicole Bridger interned at Vivienne Westwood in 2002 before returning to Vancouver to eventually start her line of women’s eco-friendly clothing. Linen, hemp, alpaca wool and organic cotton are all mainstays in her collections (www.nicolebridger.com), which remain stylish while respecting the earth. Fall and winter pieces include a great maternity collection, draped tunic tops, and the adorable Content Cardi wool cardigans.

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Tags: Amanda Lew Kee, Chloe comme Parris, new Canadian designers, Nicole Bridger, Rita Liefhebber, Sarah Stevenson Designs

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