Backstage Bits and Bites From Canada’s Top Designers

Last week was World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto. Throughout the week, we had the chance to chat backstage with some of Canada’s top young designers who offered a little insight on business inspiration, advice for emerging designers, and how they stay fuelled and energized in such a demanding industry, among other topics. Here are a few snapshots from our interviews with Travis Taddeo, Sunny Fong (Vawk and Vawkkin) and the brothers behind Triarchy, Adam and Mark Taubenfligel. 

1. On Business Inspiration:

“It may sound cheesy, but Madonna is my biggest inspiration and my collection was inspired by her. I respect her as a businesswoman and the way she has made herself a prominent figure in both the business world and art world. I grew up listening to Vogue in high school and always looked up to her and what she did to take herself to another level.” – Sunny Fong (Vawk and Vawkkin) 

“ACME is always a brand we strive to become like; they have a solid, independent brand and specific market.”  – Travis Taddeo 

2. On Advice for Emerging Fashion Designers:

“Really look at fashion as a business in addition to an outlet for creativity. You need to know how to market and how to sell. If you can’t sell the product you’re pushing out, it is a dead end. You won’t get very far and will likely live as a starving artist. Know your target and your client, all stuff in the business textbooks.” – Sunny Fong (Vawk and Vawkkin)

“Work hard, work harder and don’t give up. With this game you have to keep going, no matter what. Don’t doubt yourself, keep going for it.” – Travis Taddeo 

“The fashion industry is half business, half design. In other words, you’ll need knowledge of both. In the Triarchy family, my brother Mark has the head for business and I am more design-minded, so it keeps me grounded.” – Adam Taubenfligel (Triarchy)

3. On Initial Challenges:

“As a beginner, nobody knows you. The tricky part is getting your foot into door, getting people to know you, especially with establishments that own the markets. It is all about trying to make yourself visible and recognized.” – Sunny Fong (Vawk and Vawkkin)

“The biggest challenge is learning to develop a collection that says ‘look at us, we exist!’ and also be able to sell it. You have to be able to say ‘here we are, this is what we can do and here is what you can wear.’” – Travis Taddeo

4. On Staying Grounded, Sane, Fuelled and Energized During Fashion Week and in Life:  

“Do a lot of dancing, the dance floor is my release. I get a lot of energy and stress out that way.” – Sunny Fong (Vawk and Vawkkin)

“Passion. You’ve got to love what you do. At the end of the day, some of it may become work, but most of it, you just enjoy and do it all the time. Oh, and take time for yourself.” – Travis Taddeo

5. On What it Takes to Execute a Fashion Show:

“Quadruple check everything.” – Adam Taubenfligel (Triarchy)

6. On Exciting Spring Trends:

“We can expect a lot of interesting things for spring. For us, its colour, as we traditionally favour neutrals and black. To do a colour is something I am both getting used to looking forward to.” – Sunny Fong (Vawk and Vawkkin)

“A lot of asymmetrical…it’s going to be really fun.” – Travis Taddeo

7. Favourite Accessory to Wear with Jeans

“Sunglasses” – Adam Taubenfligel (Triarchy) 

“A watch; but nothing too gaudy.” – Mark Taubenfligel (Triarchy)