7 Local Designers to Have on Your Radar

The Toronto area is buzzing with creativity, and there is no shortage of great designers who were born in this city or who now call it home. If you haven’t heard of them before, here are seven local designers you should know.

1. Caitlin Power

Power left her hometown of Calgary to grow her fashion line here in Toronto. You’ll find her designing bold, confident, and sophisticated garments in her West Queen West shop, in addition to acting as a consultant for other brands.

Combining classic tailoring while keeping an eye on the future, her signature looks incorporate dark, rich shades, gunmetal and trimmed designs. Caitlin’s pieces focus 100% on her Canadian made “slow fashion” philosophy, which supports women and the environment through the creation of high quality pieces made to last longer.

2. Rachel Sin

Sin’s namesake label designs clothes for the “creative professional”—sustainable garments that transition from a work day to a night out. Sin is Toronto-based but travels between here, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. Her educational background—a Masters in Architect—is the inspiration behind her garments, distinctly noticeable in strong lines, graphic prints, and classic colour combinations.

Feminine and effortless, every piece Sin creates is ultimately functional and designed for the modern woman. She provides understated fashion for the every day look, giving wearers a closet of essential wardrobe pieces.

3. Matthew Gallagher

Hailing from Nova Scotia, Gallagher studied in Italy at the Istituto Manchego and Milan’s Istituto Europeo di Design. He now resides in Toronto, where you’ll find him handcrafting refined luxury pieces in his local studio.

Hand selected fabrics are imported from small Milano shops, which are then pieced together in their entirety here in the city. Clothes are designed on a made to measure basis, and Gallagher ensures clients have a one-on-one visit so they receive the authentic atelier experience.

4. Haley Elsaesser

Bold prints, bright colours, and pop-culture inspired collections define Elsaesser’s collections, with pop stars, such as Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, regularly spotted wearing her clothes. 

Elsaesser’s designs are largely influenced by the current climate, where she intertwines elements of music, film, and literature into her looks. Each item is part of the story, with the collection acting as the main title to connect them all. Her clothes are naturally playful and bright, turning heads in the best way possible.

5. Sid Neigum

Alberta-born yet Toronto raised, Sid’s fashion education includes the Fashion Institute in New York and an internship with Yigal Azrouel. His architecturally inspired garments bode well for those interested in blending the old with the new. He’s known for designs that balance both maximal and minimum features, including modular origami and packaging.

Neigum debuted his Fall 2019 lookbook solely at Paris Fashion Week, where he focused on a “less is better” motto. Slimmer cartridge pleats and essential old wool knits were in style.

6. Greta Constantine

This ready to wear womenswear line, from Kirk Pickerkill and Stephen Wong, is filled with luxurious pieces for the everyday woman.

The pair works out of their Toronto studio to create the next fashion line for ladies, and their clothes can be found in both big box stores, like the Bay and Nordstrom, and online at Moda Operandi, among others.

7. Horses Atelier

Toronto-based best friends Claudia Day and Heidi Sopinka design clothes that effortlessly blend casual and elegant, with a focus on detail that represents both the past and the future. Iconic silhouettes and feminized workwear appear artful and easy on utilitarian pieces.

Sustainability is a huge part of their brand. Their clothes are made of natural fabrics from family-owned mills in Italy and Japan, which are sewn a stone’s throw from their Toronto studio. This trusted brand will have you going back again and again.

In addition to local clothing designers, get acquainted local consignment shops, whose owners are familiar with selling gently used garments. Designer Swap not only resells luxurious, preloved, resale designer clothing, they offer closet concierge services, such as image consultant and personal shopper. Visit their store for the full personal experience!

Who’s your favourite local designer? Let us know in the comments!

Designer Swap is Canada’s online luxury consignment shop and Toronto-based fashion blog. Find gently-used and pre-loved authentic designer pieces to purchase and read about the newest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle trends. Make sure to check us out on Instagram and Facebook!

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