Top Picks: TFI New Labels 2016

INTERIOR 2 Cover TFI New Labels

Four designers, one runway. On May 3rd, TFI New Labels, organized by the Toronto Fashion Incubator celebrated Canadian fashion and crowned one new Canadian label as the Most Promising of 2016.

The evening took place at One King West and was hosted by veteran fashion and design journalist Glen Baxter. Up for grabs was $25,000 presented by Suzanne Rogers and a full page spread in FLARE Magazine. Cash is always needed by new designers as is media exposure, so it was an appealing prize pack for the competitors just as was taking part in professional produced runway presentation featuring their work.

I sat on the edge of my seat as each designer sent their looks down the catwalk for Toronto’s most fashionable to critique before a panel of judges scurried to a private location to make the final decision. As they contemplated, I reviewed the looks and decided on my top nine and here they are below. (Eager to find out who the winner was? Keep reading…)

What is a fashion show without a few amazing dresses?

DRESSES TFI New Labels 2016

1- PEGGY SUE COLLECTION – @peggysuecollection
The fit. The cut. The stripes. The fur. This look was sexy and powerful.

2 – GUN CONTROL – @gunctrl
Great volume in the skirt and an interesting two tiered layered technique finished with a bold tone-on-tone belt.

3 – KQK – @kqk_clothing
Can we just take a moment to talk about the lapel use here? Nice.


Top Layer
Welcome to Canada where we complain about the heat for about two weeks of the year and look for an extra layer the rest. These three looks included coats/jackets which keep the fashion factor visible, instead of buried beneath the final layer.

That Jacket TFI New Labels 2016

1- PEGGY SUE COLLECTION –@peggysuecollection
The extra finishes on the cuffs, hems, clasp and pockets paired with a timeless colour and quality tailoring result in an overall garment with a good balance of comment worthy and conservative.

2 – ANGELËNE – @angelene_net
Clean and lady-like dancing between modern and vintage. This jacket will help you make an entrance.

3 – GUN CONTROL –@gunctrl
Lead, don’t follow. Love the simplicity and incredible versatility of this zip up. Instant staple!

Fav Looks

Here are my three fav retail ready looks. They have the power to please buyers and belong in stores.

Overall Looks TFI New Lables 2016

1- PEGGY SUE COLLECTION –@peggysuecollection
Stylish, bold and regal. This well edited ensemble will turn heads and demands your attention.

2 – ANGELËNE – @angelene_net
Loving the bold golden wheat tone-on-tone here. A very sexy confident look.

3 – KQK – @kqk_clothing
Great use of asymmetrical lines. Fun cuffs. Perfect for the creative individual who needs a “don’t over think it” outfit.

While my top picks came from all of the designers, only one designer could be the grand prize winner. Thankfully I didn’t have to make that decision, Suzanne Rogers, benefactor of the cash prize, Cameron Williamson, editor-in-chief of FLARE, David Dixon, Canadian fashion designer and Suzanne Timmins, senior VP and fashion director for Hudson’s Bay and Lord and Taylor acted as judges. Their final decision awarded the prize to Peggy Sue Deavan-Smiltnieks for her line Peggy Sue Collection. The line features materials the designer works with to create and source from farmers, start up mills and artisans. This young designer is on the mission to revitalize the North American farm and fibre industry and she is doing a damn good job of it so far if I do say so myself!

Congrats to all the designers and the Toronto Fashion Incubator on their 29th year of #TFINewLabels. Watch for their 30th anniversary competition next year.

Photos by Raymond Chow of

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