Meet the final five: The inspiration behind each Mercedes-Benz Start Up finalist’s Spring 2012 collection

There’s less than a week to go before the five Mercedes-Benz Start Up finalists hit the runway at LG Fashion Week to show their Spring 2012 collections. Ready to see what Cassie Dee, Martin Lim, Travis Taddeo, Triarchy, and UNTTLD have been working on? As the official media sponsor, FASHION Magazine will be live streaming the entire event. But before the grand reveal, find out more about each of the finalists and what inspired their collections.

Get to know the final five »

Cassie Dee got her start as a pattern maker and a fashion instructor before launching her own line in 2010. Produced exclusively in Canada, the Cassie Dee label appeals to a modern way of dressing with unique details and superb fit.

For Spring 2012, Cassie Dee was inspired by rooting her own tailored, city-girl aesthetic in an out west colour story—the city wardrobe on a road trip. This comes through in country-style elements like bold topstitching, beautiful buttons and patchwork, and a few nature-inspired shapes to create cowling and swirling seam lines.

Martin Lim is the merger of two award-winning designers: Danielle Martin and Pao Lim. The pair has worked with renowned designers such as Christian Lacroix and Roland Mouret and also collaborated with well-established Canadian companies.

For Spring 2012, Martin Lim is inspired by recent travel through Europe: ornate doors of Parisian buildings, images from a Madame Grès exhibition, the colours of Berlin architecture, and a visit to the Tate Modern in London. The collection is a mix of sophisticated references that balance fluidity and rigidity.

Travis Taddeo launched his eponymous line in 2008 after graduating from the fashion design program at Montreal’s LaSalle College. Known for minimal lines and using jersey fabrics and leather, Taddeo provokes and pushes boundaries to create a bold marriage between luxury and street wear.

Named Dry Heat, the Spring 2012 collection explores a certain restlessness found in the heat of summer. It captures a dream-like state plagued with an insatiable hot desire for adventure, experience, and growth.

Adam Taubenfligel’s career started in 2007 when working in denim factories in Italy. A self-taught designer, he learned the art of denim construction on the factory floor and, with his brother Mark and sister Ania, implemented that knowledge into the creation of Triarchy. The brand was built on a respect for authentic craftsmanship and prides itself on paying homage to the history of old-world denim while re-imagining it for today.

Triarchy’s inspiration for Spring 2012 is the lifestyle of adventure and exploration from the golden age of travel, both fictional (Indiana Jones) and real (Amelia Earhart). The colour palette is derived from the North American landscape—driving down the West Coast from British Columbia to California, with blues pulled from the Pacific ocean and charcoals greys from burning camp fires and rocky cliffs.

UNTTLD is the ongoing collaborative work of Montreal designers José Manuel St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger. The line shares their very intimate idea of fashion through the meticulous exploration of traditional techniques (knits, crochet, and handmade silkscreen printing) that are reconstructed, modernized, and adapted.

For Spring 2012, the collection has a fluid structure and sporty elegance with luminous blacks and shady whites. It mixes the sexiness of austere fabrics with the organic feel of geometric cuts. Leather, silk and metal are alchemically mixed for the sporty aristo-punk woman. UNTTLD explores the concept of belonging and the eternal desire to be part of the gang, whoever you are.