Toronto Fashion Week: Three Hot Designers To Watch

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Toronto Fashion Week (a.k.a. World MasterCard Fashion Week) kicked off on Monday with a stellar lineup of three designers who could possibly be the Canadian fashion stars of tomorrow.

Mikhael Kale, Matthew Gallagher and Sid Neigum each presented their spring/summer 2016 collections to a packed audience in the big white tents set up at David Pecaut Square.

Get to know these three names and keep an eye on what they are doing.




Not exactly a design ingénue, Kale honed his considerable skills studying at Central Saint Martin’s in London and working at several European labels. Since returning to Toronto several years ago and developing his own label, he has become known for his detailed designs, inventive cuts and unexpected materials, winning this year’s CAFA Womenswear Designer of the Year. And none one other than Beyoncé has sported his designs.

For next spring, he seems to have upped the ante – even by his standards – with a floral-inspired collection that featured handiwork on a single garment that included embroidery, white paillettes with generous sprinklings of dazzling beads, pearl-like seeds and silver balls.

It’s the kind of handiwork that’s becoming rare in the ready-to-wear world where is fashion is fast-paced and produced to maximize profits. But as the designer said backstage after his show, “I’d rather pay myself less than cut back on what I really want to do.”

Spoken like a true artist who will sacrifice for his passion.


This designer won the 2015 Toronto Fashion Incubator New Labels competition and was awarded a cash prize of $25,000.

With all eyes on him since winning the competition (many of Canada’s top design talent were finalists and winners in past years), Gallagher delivered a sophisticated and polished collection of lady-like looks. But Gallagher put a modern and edgy spin on some of these looks with razor-sharp slits across bodices that were held together with tiny bows. And below-the-knee sheath dresses – a stalwart of feminine chic – looked constructed of mesh interwoven with coloured ribbons.

He is a fresh young designer doing grown-up clothes and, if these offerings are any indication of what’s to come, his future looks bright.


His clothes can often be dark and moody with a few hard urban touches and, for next spring, he continued in that vein. But toward the end of his show, a few white outfits emerged. Neigum took the classic white shirt and did his version, which essentially was billowing and architectural and with a sense of lightness. It showed there is range in Neigum’s oeuvre, and this designer perhaps has a few surprises up his sleeve. Definitely one to watch.