by Stephanie Hilash
The Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival has been creating and inspiring a fashion hub in our city for the past five years. Every year, the founding members; Jacqueline Conway and Mandy Pravda among a group of awesome volunteers spend countless hours ensuring every year trumps the previous.
I sat down with Mandy this past week in hopes of getting the inside scoop regarding what we can expect at the coming festival November 6th & 7th. Read below to get insider details that will make you want to buy your tickets immediately (pssst.... tickets on sale today)!
1. Start off by telling me who you are and your role with Sask Fashion and Design Festival.
I am Mandy Pravda, Co Founder and Sponsorship/Production Director of SFDF. I also own my own Event and Marketing company Mane Productions, specializing in large scale scale events, marketing and communication and community building.
2. What inspired you to start this festival?
My love of community, YXE, events and fashion! It all started when a small group of us got together at The Broadway Roastery 6 years ago and had a dream about building a fashion hub for Saskatoon. We recognized there wasn't a current market for local designers to come together to thrive by showcasing and making their collections accessible to purchase. At the time there wasn't many fashion designers here in YXE. We wanted to grow the community and build awareness about shopping local. We wanted to create opportunities from pop up shops, film screenings to high end production runway shows. We wanted to build a culture!
We all had personal interests in why we wanted to be involved, for me, I had produced a large scale fashion show which wow'd guests of YXE a couple years previous as part of a fundraiser for the Haiti disaster relief fund and I wanted to recreate that level of production and style for local Saskatoon designers to showcase annually. Having that level of platform would help grow their portfolios, to apply, and show in other major markets. The Haiti show sparked my love in producing cutting edge high end runway shows and I wanted to make magic happen that was different than what you would traditional see around the globe. I wanted to create an experience that was not only about fashion but about music, theater, art and other mediums. I wanted Saskatoon to shine!
3. What can we expect to see in this upcoming event?
While we are on topic, high end produced runway shows! SFDF Runway has evolved in many ways over the years. Originally starting in Mercedes Benz dealership, and this year taking place in the Adam Ballroom of the Bessborough Hotel, we create an experience like no other here in Saskatoon by using many mediums including visual art, theater, choreographed dance, and of course beautiful collections designed right here in Saskatchewan. Non traditional runways and cutting edge technology make it all possible, it is an experience you don't want to miss!
We are also celebrating our 5th year anniversary of the festival by hosting a "Deconstructed" party Saturday Nov 5th after the SFDF runway show. Unique and edgy we will toast to a great 5 years and all that we have accomplished, we have a few surprises up our sleeve and we invite everyone who has been involved in helping build this fashion hub to come out to celebrate with us! If this is your first time hearing about SFDF we would love to see you as well!
4. What new additions are you most excited about?
Aside from working with a new location, we are implementing a conference to the festival. By providing workshops and knowledge sharing opportunities we can expect that the fashion industry will benefit and grow by collaborating and educating in areas such as marketing, branding, merchandising, reputation management, business development, hands on model and photography workshops, and networking. We have many professionals right here in Saskatoon that have now grown to have international reputations and businesses. We want to provide the opportunity for them to share and pass on the knowledge to up and coming designers, models, photographers and entrepreneurs who can then thrive and expand their own dreams.
5. WHERE DO YOU SEE THE FESTIVAL GOING IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS?
In the next 5 years we will continue presenting the style, innovation, and design culture of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan in order to develop and elevate our fashion community. We hope to expand our conference across western Canada and continue to build international relationships, giving opportunity and access to our Saskatchewan industry.
In our 5th year we can already see the impact we have made in Saskatchewan through our marketplaces and runway shows. We know that with the support of the community we can reach new heights in the next 5 years.
TICKETS ON SALE TODAY!
With Mandy's insider details venture over to our SFDF RUNWAY page to find an evening and ticket just right for you.
Special thanks to Mandy Pravda for taking the time to speak with me. As well, special thanks to all the men and woman volunteers who spend countless hours ensuring Saskatoon's fashion and design hub gets the recognition it deserves. On behalf of everyone - Thank You.
If you, or anyone you know is interested in helping with the volunteering, modelling or selling in our marketplace, apply now!