by Maygen Kardash, Creator of Sneakers and Lipstick

Hey, SFDF lurkers, I see you there! You’ve skimmed a post or two about the Saskatoon fashion scene, your friends have been tagged in photos with a runway in the background, and maybe your Instagram feed had you feeling left out in the past, but if you love style and this city of ours, it’s time you scoop up your own tickets to a Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival event. These past five years have seen thousands of Saskatonians celebrate the local fashion scene which may make you feel a little out of the loop, but armed with a few tips on what to expect and how to get the most out of the experience, there’s no reason you can’t go into this August’s SFDF feeling like an old pro. We can just say you’re fashionably late.  

Here are my tips, alongside photos by Erin Crooks and Nicole Romanoff (except the candid of my daughter snapped by me):

1. The dress code is flexible.

What should you wear? Anything your heart desires. Sure, this is your chance to wear a fascinator, faux fur shrug, and bejewelled heels, but there’s no pressure. The spectrum of style is broad and you’ll fit in equally well in a LBD and your favourite sneakers. My advice extends to all genders: be your favourite version of you because it’s your moment if you want it. Remember, there will be photos!

Petra Kardash sfdf saskatoon fashion show

2. SFDF welcomes every age.

Although there isn’t a dedicated children’s showcase, your little one will enjoy the spectacle of a fashion show. I took my daughter here, Petra as a newborn to a SFDF show at River Landing but she officially came to a show as my date at not even two years old—she still talks about that night and puts on fashion shows of her own! This year, I’m hoping to get my grandma out, too.

sfdf menswear runway

3. SFDF welcomes every gender.

There is something for everyone to covet on the runway and you needn’t have a classic model silhouette to shop the Marketplace. Men’s and fluid designs are showcased alongside womenswear.

4. Time your bathroom breaks.

This year, like last year, the gorgeous Bessborough is home to the big event and take it from someone who brought a toddler: it can be challenging to escape if someone's suddenly gotta go. Luckily, all can be averted with carefully planned bathroom breaks. (Good to note that fashion shows generally have a very punctual start time.) 

sfdf 2017 info

5. Make sure your phone is charged.

You don’t want to watch the whole thing through a camera but you’re probably going to see a few pieces coming down that runway that you’ve just gotta Insta, you might want to send a Tweet or four, and let’s face it, you’re going to be looking especially flawless which means there’ll be some selfies with friends. This is no time to be in power saving mode.

6. Some convo is expected but keep the din to a min.

You’ll have plenty of time to catch up before the show and between sets so there’s no need to cram in a whole conversation with your seatmate as the models strut their stuff, but if you’re into the pieces, certainly you’ll have lightbulb moments to share here and there. Share quietly below the loud music, keeping in mind the people behind you aren’t there for your running critique.

cedar and vine sfdf saskatoon

7. Applause matters.

The designers, local retailers, models, hair stylists, and makeup artists work hard to bring each set to life and should be rewarded accordingly after their collection is shown. And if you see something mid-set that blows your mind? There is never a wrong time to clap and nod, even if you’re the only one so overtly displaying your approval (been there, didn’t care).

sasktoon fashion and design festival august 2017

8. Be ready to shop the runway.

Marketplace allows you to see something on a model and moments later, have it in your bag. There are plenty of other pieces to shop as well from designers and local shops (including ah-mazing accessories) so my advice here is: bring money because trust me, you will see something you want. Debit and credit are accepted by many retailers but there's an ATM on site in case you need extra cash.

9. Plan your ride.

Speaking of bringing extra cash, you may want to enjoy the cash bar at the Bes since wine always tastes best in a castle. Plan accordingly.

sfdf dance performance

10. There’s more to the show than fashion.

The events are always a treat for the senses and whether it’s dancers, aerialists, DJs, visual artists, or musicians that are involved, there’s always extra entertainment to enjoy.

11. Your ticket enters you in an incredible sweepstake.

SFDF is holding their first-ever Sweepstakes with prizes totalling over $2,500, and instead of just one lucky winner, there will be four fantastic prize packages to win! All SFDF Runway ticket holders are automatically entered but may enter twice to double their chances. Prizes include a $500 shopping spree from Midtown Plaza, a hair package from Revamp valued at $600, plus prizes from Herschel, Cedar and Vine, Anthony's Fashion, Beneath It All, and more. All you've gotta do is relax and wait to win.

sfdf vip swag bags 2017

12. VIP is totally worth it.

Up-front seating is one thing but the swag bags are another. I haven’t had a peek in this year’s bags but in the past, the contents of that bag alone were worth the price tag of VIP admission. These seats sell out so get yours while you can. 

13. Say hello.

Make a point of looking around to see who you know between sets because all too often, paths that could cross don’t in a crowd and this is the perfect place to have a little catch-up over cocktails. But don’t limit your interactions to familiar faces—everyone at SFDF is there because of similar interests so it’s also a great place to meet new people.

Feeling prepared? Then I've done my job. Now, for you to do yours: get out there and support Saskatoon's fashion scene, *nudge nudge*. Tickets (including VIP) are available now!