The designer behind the high-end, ready-to-wear label DUY based in Montreal was among eight finalists from across Canada competing in this year's contest, showcasing spring 2013 capsule lines on the runway for a judging panel of industry insiders at Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week on Tuesday.
Chiffon, crepe, cotton and lace were featured in Nguyen's line with a palette he described as one developed with tones of turquoise, light green and sea foam.
Bold infusions of red including a fluid dress with cutout sleeves and a striking monochromatic ensemble featuring a blazer and barely-there mini were teamed with a loose-gauge knit. Pale peplum tops, faded denim, fitted jackets and flowing skirts were also featured in the winning line.
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Designers from across Canada applied to take part in the Mercedes-Benz Start Up. The initiative was launched last year in an effort to offer a nationwide platform to discover and support emerging designers who have been in business less than five years.
Searches for leading emerging designers were staged over the course of five months in Edmonton, Halifax, Quebec City and Ottawa. In each city, homegrown talents presented business plans and collections to a panel of industry experts tasked with whittling down the pool of applicants.
Prior to the revelation of Nguyen as the winner, JoAnne Caza of Mercedes-Benz Canada announced that the semifinal locations for next year's Start Up contest will include Calgary, Winnipeg, Kitchener, Ont. and Laval, Que.,
Nguyen will make a return to the Fashion Week stage next year. As winner of the contest, he'll receive a fully produced solo runway show for fall 2013 collections next March in addition to editorial coverage in Fashion Magazine and mentorship support from fashion industry experts and insiders.
Check out some of the designs from the eight semi-finalists who were featured in the Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition.