Toronto: On fashion stardom

Carol Ching's winning design

A young hopeful aspiring to be a fashion designer is no foreign tale. While the young Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld debuted their talent at the International Wool Secretariat competition, modern hopefuls look for success on reality TV, and some…do it with toilet paper.

Before even setting foot in fashion school, 18-year-old high school student Carol Ching created a luscious gown (shown) out of 66 rolls of TP–the winning entry in a design competition held by Cashmere (the bathroom tissue, not the wool). Every September, the company has Canadian designers like David Dixon and Joeffer Caoc create the White Cashmere collection of dresses and this was the first time they opened their tissue couture showcase to talents from the general public. Who knew toilet paper could be so glam? As part of the winning prize, Ching will be attending New York Fashion week this fall (oh, if only she could bring me along!) but she also got a head start on her design career.

The design contest was promoted in part with the reality show, Project Runway Canada. The primetime attention being paid to fashionable creatives through these shows and competitions is noteworthy–behind-the-scenes fashion is generating public interest like never before. Outside of the networks, two major fashion documentaries are hitting theatres this year: The September Issue featuring Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, and Valentino: The Last Emperor, a documentary that follows the last two years of the legendary designers career. We’ve entered an era where fashion is embraced beyond sales racks and advertising. Like an art lover’s adoration towards artists, the public shares a genuine appreciation of the people and the artistry of fashion.