Carlos Fogelman was announced on Monday as the final designer in this year's competition, rounding out the list of eight finalists. The initiative offers a countrywide platform to discover and support emerging design talents who've been in business less than five years.
A nationwide search for emerging designers included stops in Calgary, Winnipeg, Laval, Que., and Kitchener, Ont., with semi-final runway shows held in each of the four cities.
The finalists will showcase their collections at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto this October. The winning collection will return to the catwalk in Toronto next March to stage their own fully produced solo show. They'll also land an editorial feature in Fashion Magazine and receive continued mentoring from industry experts.
This year's crop of finalists includes a trio of designers who were in the 2012 catwalk finale: P.E.I. sibling duo Hilary and Louanna Murphy of Dreamboat Lucy and Edmonton-based designer Malorie Urbanovitch.
Toronto's Hussein Dhalla of HD Homme, Eliza Faulkner of Vancouver Island, Iranian-born, Montreal-based Pedram Karimi, Cecile Raizonville of Montreal-based label Matiere Noire and Jonathan Shimoni of Toronto-based lifestyles brand Faded are among the contenders in this year's contest.
Married design duo Danielle Martin and Pao Lim of Martin Lim won the inaugural Mercedes-Benz Start Up contest in 2011, followed last year by fellow Montreal-based designer Duy Nguyen of ready-to-wear label DUY.