As stated by the infamous Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” While this timeless adage has underpinnings to various facets of success-laden stories, I’m bringing it back to one of the most modern, trendy events in the prairies: Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival.

When I had agreed to write the “experience” blog for the SFDF my mind instantly became engulfed with anxiety. At that point, I felt as though I had channelled my inner Roosevelt as I enthusiastically—albeit anxiously—accepted the offer. Although I have a passion for writing and discovering the exploding trend-setting scene found in Saskatoon, I questioned what I would soon be strutting my four-inch leopard-print booties into. It quickly became apparent that the SFDF had successfully transformed a ballroom in the middle of the prairies into an eclectic, contemporary escape—much like what I would expect to find in the centre of New York.  

As the elevator doors within the Delta Bessborough opened, one of the men aside me questioned “fashion show,” to which I ecstatically replied “yes”—with a satisfied smirk. That was the validation I needed to feel as though my pink, faux-suede trench-coat and leopard-print booties had secured me a spot amongst the high-fashion attendees that I would soon be acquainted with. As the doors began to open, thus introducing me to the Convention foyer, my eyes had instantly widened. Atop the various floppy hats and musk of Givenchy perfumes, pink fluorescent lights danced daintily across the ceiling that was strung with exquisite vintage chandeliers. The DJ, The Gaff, who was skillfully playing an eclectic array of house music ensured the vibrations reached every limb on my body. We’re a long way from home, Dorothy—or so it felt.

As the crowd took their seats, the MC for the first night stood front and centre in the runway that the seemingly flawless models would soon be engulfing. “My name is Amanda Park,” she confidently stated. In a mere instant my eyes were augmented as I was seated in front of one of the women responsible for my favourite brand of accessories: Park and Buzz. Little did I know that the abundant VIP “swag bag” placed below my seat featured one of her exquisite pairs of earrings that I’m wearing as I write this.  

The night commenced with a modern dance routine performed by an unquestionably talented local from Dance Ink who—amongst her other various achievements—has worked with Grammy-award-winning Macklemore. Upon conclusion of the audience's heartfelt approbation following her dramatic exit, it was time for the "main event of the evening," as the UFC's infamous Bruce Buffer would so eloquently state. The runway was about to be "lit"; I hope I'm correctly using today's adolescents' accepted term. In the midst of the evening's enchantment, singer Shahana Ross performed both evenings.  Her upbeat, energetic performance ensured the crowd remained wide-eyed. 

As the various designers' lines were showcased on the runway, each had a correlating soundtrack setting the mood. The musical stylings ranged from thrasher—while Basic Bleach was featured—to that of a Bollywood sound. However, my senses were immediately captivated when Emily Ann's Designs took the stage. As I have formal piano training with the Royal Conservatory of Music, my ears were enlightened when they heard classical crescendos and blatant augmentation roaring over the speakers. The music was soon complemented by one of my favourite collections of the evening. Her designs are timeless, classy and boast a hint of sex appeal. The backless black dress left me in a state of envy. As the models took their final walk off stage, the audience was provided with the largest surprise of the weekend: the designer is 15 years old. As I write this, I continue to be at a loss of words.

As the event neared an end, Zoe Pravda and Hailey Morgan undertook a hip-hop routine and left the audience wanting to "whip their hair back and forth," as Willow Smith would state. My weekend at the 2018 SFDF exceeded my expectations.

Each of the expressive, unique designers unquestionably had the "it" factor when creating their collections that were showcased.

 1. Melissa Squire 2. Academy of Fashion Design 3. Academy of Fashion Design 4. Academy of Fashion Design 5. Academy of Fashion Design 6. OUTSaskatoon  7. Cassie Danielle Designs 8. Emily Ann's Designs 9. Emily Ann's Designs 10. SS River Designs

1. Melissa Squire
2. Academy of Fashion Design
3. Academy of Fashion Design
4. Academy of Fashion Design
5. Academy of Fashion Design
6. OUTSaskatoon
7. Cassie Danielle Designs
8. Emily Ann's Designs
9. Emily Ann's Designs
10. SS River Designs

I wholeheartedly commend the following designers for allowing me to witness some of the most stunning designs I have ever seen:

Academy of Fashion Design

OUTSaskatoon

Colors of India

Viahera Canada

Ashnita Mehjabeen

Made Ya Wanna Accessorize

Basic Bleach

Cassie Danielle Designs

Melissa Squire

Fashions by “MEE” Ltd.  

SS River Designs

Emily Ann’s Designs

Kathleen O'Grady Designs

Missie and Tife Accessories

The Sandbox in the City

Lennard Taylor Design Studio Inc.

My attendance allowed me to boast my brown lipstick and flamboyant outfits while I temporarily escaped to an upscale boutique in central New York, although I never left downtown Saskatoon. Now, I'm left with one final task: finding what to wear for 2019. 


Written by Ali Fedrau, SFDF Attendee

I: @ali.fedrau

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