05/03/2012 05:00 EDT | Updated 07/02/2012 05:12 EDT

Sid Neigum New Labels Winner: Edmonton Designer Takes Home $25,000 Cash Prize

Canadian Press
TORONTO - Sid Neigum's twist on classic styles earned the up-and-coming designer top honours and a $25,000 cash prize in the TFI New Labels contest.

The Edmonton native was named winner of the lucrative grand prize Thursday night in the annual competition dedicated as a showcase to spotlight emerging Canadian designers.

Neigum was awarded the honour following the TFI New Labels fashion show at the Royal Ontario Museum, part of the Toronto Fashion Incubator's 25th anniversary gala.

In addition to the monetary prize from philanthropist and honorary gala chair Suzanne Rogers, Neigum will also receive a design studio at TFI sponsored by TNT boutique and a feature in Flare Magazine.

The winning collection featured a sleek succession of separates awash in a palette of black, grey, beige and white, with cashmere sweaters, linen skirts and dresses, bamboo leggings and pants fashioned from wool and lamb leather.

The range of outerwear offerings encompassed lamb shearling jackets and slick blazers in silk and leather, while wool coats and capes featured embellishments like kimono-style or lace-up sleeves.

"I wanted to take really classic pieces and just really update them," Neigum said backstage following the show. "I just sort of wrote myself a list ...trench, bomber jacket, motorcycle jacket, varsity jacket.

"Whether it be through updating the fabric, doing it in an unconventional fabric, like a waterproof nylon and mixing that with leather or updating the cut and just modernizing the cut. So essentially, it's modernizing classic pieces."

The winning women's collection showcased at TFI New Labels is a companion to the fall-winter menswear line Neigum unveiled in March at Toronto Fashion Week. The collection featured a largely slender silhouette in the structured designs with slim-fit cable-knit sweaters, henley shirts, mock-neck turtlenecks and harem-style pants. Fitted waist-length leather jackets, overcoats and varsity-style jackets in the men's line boasted subtle yet standout details, such as asymmetrical hems, oversized draped collars and leather braided ties on sleeves.

Neigum packed up his belongings in Edmonton to relocate to Toronto at the beginning of April. Previously, he had been living in New York for the past two years where he studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

He said he plans to use his cash prize to purchase equipment needed to make samples. He will also invest the winnings in producing his fall-winter line in addition to the forthcoming collection for spring-summer 2013.

The 23-year-old said having a good support group has been beneficial as he charts his course in a challenging industry.

"Besides the obvious, I just like making clothes, and I have a great team and family and friends around me that keep me motivated."

Neigum was one of four finalists vying for the New Labels title, which included Montreal-based designer Patrick Larrivee.

A pair of Toronto-based design duos also made the final cut: Diego Fuchs and Helder Aguiar of designer streetwear label [blak]- i and Genevieve Pearson and Stanley Capobianco of outerwear label Jameson Kane.

TFI is a non-profit, small business centre that offers support and mentorship to budding Canadian fashion designers and entrepreneurs.

The organization's concept has been adopted by cities worldwide, including New York, London, Milan, Melbourne, Auckland and Amsterdam.