World Mastercard Fashion Week commenced yesterday in Toronto with a quiet shuffle. Much like the previous season, festival organizers scheduled current Canadian fashion wunderkind Sid Neigum right on day 1. Perhaps they thought it would be an auspicious beginning to an otherwise unpredictable week of shows. It’s not a bad strategy, had Neigum hit it out of the park. Unfortunately, for me, I found that to not really be the case.
To be sure, the collection was pretty and featured monochrome garments that were (mostly) easy to wear. But, as the great Tyra Banks once said, resting on pretty is the kiss of death in fashion. For Sid’s AW15 collection, I found it too derivative of past concepts without showing anything particularly new. I get that Neigum was trying to explore his origami technique from past seasons more in depth for this season, creating new shapes and silhouettes. A few of the pieces that resulted from this deeper exploration were absolutely beautiful—the high-necked cream dresses with all-over folds and pleats were immaculate, as was the black jacket with a textured collar trim that resembled ostrich feathers.
Aside from these standout pieces, everything else was either not particularly memorable or straight up unsuccessful. The garbage bag dresses at the end had a great starting concept, but at two feet away, did not look wholly finished or well executed. The neoprene vests and skirts, although very polished, looked nearly identical to pieces I’ve seen elsewhere or from his previous collections.
Part of me couldn’t help but compare this post-Prize collection with Thomas Tait’s post-LVMH Prize collection in London last month (Sid Neigum was awarded the top prize at last season’s Mercedes Benz Start-up competition). Yes, I know that the two designers are worlds apart, but it also seems clear that Tait went against cliché, while Neigum kind of walked towards it. I missed the painstakingly-constructed textured coats and dramatic collars in his past seasons. I wanted him to work with “difficult” colours like terracotta and gold. Does the industry really need more asymmetrical mini dresses in black? What basic mentors of Canadian fashion are whispering in his ears to work with neoprene and laser cutting again, when every designer and their grandma have gone down these roads so many times before?
Let it be known that I absolutely believe in the talent of Sid Neigum. His collections are what keeps me going back to Toronto Fashion Week. I think he has inventive techniques and a thirst for the weird, which seems truly rare here in Canada. It is my hope that this was just a misstep that, perhaps, some time away from the conservative industry gatekeepers can rectify. Only time will tell.
Thinking about the future of Canadian fashion in my Oak + Fort dress, chunky Zara brogues, and vintage leather backpack.
Click here for more photos from the collection.
All images by The Pack