World MasterCard Fashion Week March 23-27, 2015 @ David Pecaut Square, Toronto

by: Gillian Moody

Mercedes Benz Start-Up Winner Sidney Neigum Opens Fashion Week FW2015

Have you been following the Toronto Star and The Canadian Press coverage? It’s all so exciting, really. After earning a lucrative emerging designer prize at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week last Fall, fashion designer Sid Neigum returned to the Toronto runway on March 23rd in David Pecaut Square, as the 2014 Mercedes Benz Start-Up Winner and with a fully produced show.

Mercedes-Benz Start Up is an ongoing initiative that provides a national platform to discover and support emerging Canadian fashion designers. Explains Mr. Neigum, It’s a lot more difficult than it seems to start a fashion business and it takes a lot of time just to get to a breaking-even point. There are a lot of things that are not the way they seem from the outside. It’s kind of unexpected how difficult it would be. I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t know how difficult, so that was kind of an eye-opening experience. I got very lucky and there was a lot of hard work involved as well; it’s allowed for some pretty huge changes.”


In its fourth year, the MB Start-Up program travels from coast to coast to coast, identifying the next generation of rising Canadian talent and providing them with access to fashion business experts that help them to hone a broad range of skills. Start-Up participants gain both the knowledge and the skill sets required to develop a sustainable career in the fashion industry, while elevating their professional profiles via exclusive, innovative opportunities. (More about the 2015 MB Start-Up Finalists later.)

Sid Neigum, Fashion Designer

Born in Alberta, trained in New York, and based in Toronto, Mr. Neigum described his collection as “minimal and unconventional” then proceeded to win the Toronto Fashion Incubator‘s New Labels Award of $25,000 in 2012. As per above, in the Fall of last year, Mr. Neigum earned rave reviews for his Spring-Summer 2015 collection then, won the WMCFW $30,000 bursary, exclaiming that “it was a huge opportunity”.


In addition, he won an additional $2,500 last October for another victory tied to the MB Start Up contest: a winning outfit inspired by Minnie Mouse. Then, in January 2015, Mr. Neigum added yet another emerging talent prize at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards of $10,000, as well as the production of a professional look book. Have you added it all up yet? Yes, folks, that’s right. Mr. Neigum has won over $68,000 in cash and prizes. Wow. “A lot of financial freedom has come from that …to make the next collection and to do production… It’s usually coming down to cash flow. To raise that awareness is definitely a good thing, and I think that more and more of these competitions are catching on and … allowing that to be part of the prize.”


Aesthetics and Standards

As mentioned earlier, Mr. Neigum describes his collection as “minimal and unconventional”. Mr. Neigum claims that he will continue to explore the modular origami theme exhibited in his recent spring line, explaining that he knew nothing about modular origami prior to spending months and months voraciously reading about it then experimenting with different ideas. “Instead of folding the shapes, I was laser-cutting the shapes out of fabric and then hand-weaving them all together. Some of the pieces were 600 parallelograms hand sewn together to create the geometric 3-D geometry pattern. That was the starting point.” Though a complex technique, he reassures us that “it’s getting easier to laser-cut shapes out of fabric and hand-weave them together to create a geometric 3-D pattern. I’m starting to develop new ways to do it, so I’m kind of excited to show it off.”


Mr. Neigum now dresses celebrities that include Azari and III and Boys Noize, and sells to stores in New York, L.A, Hong Kong, Seoul and Toronto. With his line now carried by The Hudson’s Bay Company’s luxury department The Room and the Toronto boutique store Jonathan + Olivia. Feeling slightly more pressure to show a successful collection, he’s “more realistic” and “a bit less naive” about such an incredibly tough industry. “I always want to improve season after season, but there are also people watching that haven’t [seen my designs] before, so I want to please everybody–including myself.”