STYLE
09/04/2014 01:06 EDT | Updated 11/04/2014 05:59 EST

Mercedes Benz Start Up names wild card entries in emerging designer contest

TORONTO - A trio of Toronto-based womenswear labels have earned a second shot at success in a national contest for up-and-coming Canadian designers.

Beaufille, BLAK.I and Laura Siegel have been named the wild card entries in the Mercedes-Benz Start Up program.

The trio participated in the semifinal runway show in Burlington, Ont., but didn't initially make the final cut.

Beaufille, BLAK.I and Laura Siegel will now join three previously announced finalists in the annual contest: Vancouver Island's Eliza Faulkner, Alberta-born, Toronto-based Sid Neigum and Montreal-based Valerie Tolila of the label Vaiken.

All six labels will take part in the national finale at Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week next month. Each is competing for a prize package that includes a $30,000 bursary and a fully produced runway show during Fashion Week next March.

Sisters Chloe and Parris Gordon — the designers behind womenswear and accessory brand Beaufille — have had a consistent presence on the Toronto runway, presenting their fall-winter collection at Fashion Week last March.

Design duo Diego Fuchs and Helder Aguiar launched lifestyles brand BLAK.I in 2010, and were finalists in the Toronto Fashion Incubator's New Labels contest for emerging designers in 2012.

Award-winning designer Siegel is known for her ethically handcrafted garments. Earlier this year, she partnered with artisans in India on Project Eleven27 to create a collection of 1,127 scarves — one for each victim of the fatal factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013.

Designers competing in Start Up must have a registered Canadian business that has been operating for less than five years. This marks the fourth year in the nationwide search for Canada's emerging fashion talents. In addition to Burlington, semifinal runway shows were also held last month in Victoria and Gatineau, Que.

The cash award is a new addition to the Start Up initiative and will be administered by a mentoring team.

Previous Start Up winners include married design duo Danielle Martin and Pao Lim of Martin Lim and Montreal's Duy Nguyen. The prize was most recently shared by co-winners Cecile Raizonville of Montreal-based label Matiere Noire and Edmonton's Malorie Urbanovitch.

Fashion Week runs from Oct. 20 to 25.

———

Online:

http://mbstartup.com/