Spring in Canada: Fashion trends to stay on top of this upcoming season

By Mia Maaytah

Although this winter seems to be endless, spring is approaching and Toronto designers have been busy cultivating new fashion trends for the city.

In the past, spring has been an opportunity to softly reintroduce colour back into our closets and a time to pair lightweight material with classic, dainty jewelry. However, this year the trends seem to be roaring into existence with bright red and green pieces, mixed with eccentric patterning and bold accessories.

This year, bold is an understatement, as all shapes, colours, patterns and types of fabrics are skillfully crafted together.

Major designers such as Coach, Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade New York have hit the runway featuring designs that incorporate fusions of primary colours and classic patterns like stripes and polka dots.

Photo courtesy of coach on Instagram

Courtesy of Rex Leung and Ryan Feng via marcjacobs on Instagram

Courtesy of katespadeny on Instagram

Not all runway attire is exactly suitable for the constant hustle and bustle of the working crowd in Toronto. Sara Duke, a Toronto-based independent fashion designer and Ryerson University graduate, just released her new collection of pieces that encompass both style and functionality.

Made with all Canadian material, Duke says she strives to create clothes that are not only rich in quality, but are also suitable for day-to-day use in their comfort and versatility.

Courtesy of sarasaraduke on Instagram

“Overall, spring this year is a lot darker. There is a lot of primary colours being used,” said Duke “Everything is sort of darker and duller and grittier as far as colours go, plus, stripes. Stripes are a big deal.”

Duke’s designs feature timeless T-shirts, dresses and pants that are handcrafted and targeted toward a working woman. Her use of dark blues and baby pinks fit the trendy theme of the blending of contrasting colour palettes. Her neat use of stripes adds a classic aspect to her spring 2019 collection.

Courtesy of sarasaraduke on Instagram

Although Duke remains trendy with her creations, she said she does not rely on pieces made by major designers as an outline. Instead, she uses fashion forecasting brought to her by fabric contractors.

“When I build a collection, I look at what did really well from the collections before that. I look at what shapes and styles did really well,” she said.

“I don’t really pay attention to runway stuff. I pay attention to my customer, because this is clothing that needs to be practical enough to be worn in public.”

Numerous other Canadian designers share Duke’s vision. They aim to satisfy their customers by staying updated with the global fashion trends while ensuring practicality.

Kollar Clothing, a Canadian fashion line for men, recently showcased their spring collection. It offers a rugged, yet classy approach for the upcoming season.

Courtesy of kollarclothing on Instagram

Kollar Clothing’s denim jackets and pants are paired with sleek button-up shirts and black leather jackets. The brand’s newest line follows the ominous theme of dark hues, accented with touches of pastel purple on a patterned, collared T-shirt.

Andrew Coimbra, a clothing line based in Toronto, reverses the trend of a primarily deep colour palette, as their Spring 2019 collection is alive with colour and vibrancy.

Courtesy of andrewcoimbra on Instagram

This collection features both casual and elegant styles. It offers felt blazers and simple white T-shirts. The blend of bright colours and busy patterns, accented with pops of black and navy blue, make the line fresh and unique.

As comfort is a concern for many practical brands, some Canadian artists do not miss an opportunity to dazzle their clientele with dressier pieces. Greta Constantine, a women’s clothing label founded by Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong, released a new collection for the upcoming season featuring fairytale-like designs for fancier occasions.

Courtesy of Peter Tamlin via gretaconstantine on Instagram

This collection’s pieces range from dresses, to jumpsuits, to matching two-pieces. Pickersgill and Wong followed this season’s stripe trend just like Duke, in a couple of designs. Their Spring 2019 line features cheetah print and primarily metallic fabrics. The collection is unique and bold, in comparison to other Canadian designers’ newest lines.

The #10YearChallenge: Canadian fashion in 2009 versus 2019

By Meghna Sarawat

The #10YearChallenge has been blowing up our social media feeds since the beginning of the new year. You’ve seen it: two contrasting photos of your friend, on the left a photo of them in 2009 and on the right a photo of them today. Some also refer to the challenge as the ‘How hard did aging hit you’ challenge. 2009 was literally and figuratively a different time and we’re throwing it back to the good old days.

2009 was the year Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released and everyone was listening to “I Got a Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas and obsessing over Eminem’s Relapse album. Harem pants were today’s Champion sweatpants and boots with shorts were today’s equivalent of a skinny dress with suede over-the-knee boots.

2019 has already brought all new music, movies and pop culture trends. As for the world of fashion, it has come a long way since 2009. Last year was somewhat revolutionary, because that was when politics and fashion collided on a global scale. Today it’s trendy to use fashion for political messaging, like with the Me Too movement and the larger feminist movement, which inspired graphic t-shirts with feminist expressions.

Chair of the Ryerson School of Fashion Robert Ott remembers his 2009 style consisting of predominantly navy and black suits. He described the past 10 years of fashion as going from, “Loose fitting pants to slim fitting pants, from t-shirts to sweaters, from long shirts to short shirts.”

Chair of the Ryerson School of Fashion Robert Ott decorated his office with silk wall art by French fashion designer Pierre Cardin. (CanCulture/Meghna Sarawat)

Chair of the Ryerson School of Fashion Robert Ott decorated his office with silk wall art by French fashion designer Pierre Cardin. (CanCulture/Meghna Sarawat)

Ott said that 2019 has given us the freedom to develop our own individual styles. In an interview with CanCulture, Ott spoke about fast fashion and its important role in 2019. By fast fashion he means mass produced clothing, which aims to keep up with the latest trends, rather than primarily focusing on quality. He also said that in 2019 we, as a society, tend to stay away from purchasing expensive designer brand items.

“We are happy in buying something that was knowingly knocked off from another brand for a fraction of the price,” said Ott.

Shae Lynds, a Ryerson fashion design student, remembers 2009 as the phase of Hollister and Aeropostale, when everyone looked more or less the same. She explained that her style has tremendously changed over the past 10 years. In 2017 she  moved to Toronto from Niagara-on-the-Lake. She said that in her hometown everyone dressed in similar clothing, and since moving to Toronto, the diversity of clothing has influenced her style.

Ryerson fashion design student Shae Lynds credits the diversity of Toronto fashion for influencing her personal wardrobe. (CanCulture/Meghna Sarawat).

Ryerson fashion design student Shae Lynds credits the diversity of Toronto fashion for influencing her personal wardrobe. (CanCulture/Meghna Sarawat).

As for designer culture, Canadian designers have earned much press in the last few years and have shown the world Canada’s talent. Meghan Markle, who resided in Toronto for seven years, has been very well known for her fashion. She supports numerous Canadian brands, like Aritzia and Soia & Kyo.

Canada has gained a reputable standing on the world’s fashion platform since 2009. Designers Jason Wu, Greta Constantine, and Mackage have got the #10YearChallenge in their pocket; see how they changed over the years…

Greta Constantine

Another highly acclaimed Canadian fashion designer is Greta Constantine. Ten years ago Constantine was into bodysuits and revealing outfits. Today, the brand is creating more classy, simple yet elegant pieces.

Jason Wu

Jason Wu has designed beautiful dresses for Michelle Obama, Gemma Chan, Karlie Kloss and other icons. The Canadian designer is known for his elegant and feminine dresses. In 2009 Wu designed Michelle Obama’s dress for her husband’s inauguration. Her one-strap dress was light in colour, texturized, romantic and feminine. In contrast to Obama’s dress, Wu’s design for Gemma Chan’s Critics’ Choice Awards 2019 look was more bold. Chan’s a-line dress was bright pink and flowery, completely strapless and contained a very 2018/19 detail - pockets.

From left: Michelle Obama dances with her husband Barack Obama at his presidential inauguration in a dress designed by Jason Wu. (Photo courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Suzanne Day via Wikimedia Commons) Actress Gemma Chan poses in a custom Jason Wu floral gown at the Critics’ Choice Awards. (Photo courtesy of  Jason Wu  via Instagram) Graphic created by Meghna Sarawat.

From left: Michelle Obama dances with her husband Barack Obama at his presidential inauguration in a dress designed by Jason Wu. (Photo courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Suzanne Day via Wikimedia Commons) Actress Gemma Chan poses in a custom Jason Wu floral gown at the Critics’ Choice Awards. (Photo courtesy of Jason Wu via Instagram) Graphic created by Meghna Sarawat.

Mackage

In January 2009, Mackage, a popular Canadian outerwear brand, mostly came out with leather and sheepskin coats with fur accents around the collar and wrists. This season the brand is focusing on puffer coats and parkas with fur lining this season. Their puffer coats, which have made a comeback the past two winter seasons, fit the simplicity of today’s major fashion trends. For a closer look, you can check out their store location in the Toronto Eaton Centre.

Social media fads such as the #10YearChallenge are a great way to start off the new year. Looking back and reflecting on the past is a good way to appreciate what we personally, and as a society, have gone through; it even forces us to think about where we’d like to see ourselves in the new year.

Canadian designers have come a long way since January 2009. This year they will surely come out with tons of original and trendy styles as they adapt to this year’s popular culture. This year we will surely see more celebrities wearing Canadian brands than ever before, as Canada continues creating a global name for itself within the fashion industry. Perhaps, 10 years down the road, in 2029, we’ll look back at today’s trends and think, “Oh my gosh, how could I have worn those Fila Disruptor sneakers with that little black dress?”