TFW diary: All the action from last night’s Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition

Photography by Jenna Marie Wakani

Photography by Jenna Marie Makani

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If there’s one main takeaway message from fashion week, it’s that we must recognize, foster, and promote our home-grown talent so that it can grow both here and abroad. With this in mind, the inaugural Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition was held last night, and up for grabs was a year of mentorship from industry leaders (including us at FASHION!) to kick-start a fledgling collection. After a rigorous selection process (preliminary competitions, meetings, tense deliberations) the short list was whittled down to Cassie Dee, Martin Lim, Travis Taddeo, Triarchy, and UNTTLD, and united in Toronto for a runway showdown. Short video montages introduced each designer, their vision, and their inspiration for the coming season. We saw a dark, leather-laced collection (UNTTLD), a western-inspired line (Cassie Dee), a denim parade (Triarchy), some disheveled streetwear (Travis Taddeo), and bright billowy silks (Martin Lim). After a brief designer bow, a surprisingly flustered Jessica Stam took to the podium to announce the winner. Drumroll please… Husband and wife team Pao Lim and Danielle Martin of Martin Lim! Now comes the real hard work—keeping our promises and making sure they get the attention they deserve! Stay tuned for the duo’s wears in an upcoming issue of FASHION.