Story by Carolyn Hannon-Watkinson
Photos by Candace Meyer
Nicole Bridger, the Vancouver-based designer with a BA in Fashion Design from Ryerson University and a coveted internship at Vivienne Westwood under her belt, is now showing the fashion world that her socially conscious label has the winning formula for style that is both sustainable and chic.
As the recent winner of Design Forward, Canada’s first eco-fashion award, Nicole will be showcasing her collection at Nolcha Fashion Week’s Ethical Fashion Preview in New York City this September. Plaid caught up with her to talk about her recent success, staying true to her values, and what’s next.
Congratulations on winning Design Forward! What does this award mean to you?
It means that I get to go to New York City! This is probably the most exciting part for me because we will be to previewing the line there during Fashion Week and will have the opportunity to get in front of international buyers and media. It’s very exciting that this award now exists. It’s a sign of how things are changing. I’m truly honoured to have been chosen and it’s a rare time to reflect and congratulate myself on the journey so far.
What inspired you to pursue fashion design and, in particular, eco-fashion design?
I had been sewing since I was 13 but never considered it a career until I was 16. The father of my first love is a shoe designer, and that was when it clicked that I could do what I love and make a career out of it. Since then, I wanted to start my own line, and figured out the path that was going to get me there. As for the eco part, in university I always used natural fibres because of the negative impact synthetics have on the environment. As I learned more about the environment and going green it just seemed like a natural fit. Really, there was no way I was going to create a company that wasn’t socially conscious.
What is the philosophy behind your label?
To do what is good and what is right for the earth, its people and spirit.
What challenges do you face as an eco-fashion designer?
Fabric sourcing is always a struggle but it is getting easier and easier all the time. The green market is really growing.
What sets you apart from other eco-fashion designers?
For me, I’m a designer who just has socially conscious values, so I would say it’s [my] designs, draping techniques and silhouettes. People can fall in love with [the] line for the designs, not just the eco part.
What can we expect from your next collection?
The most colour I’ve done yet, and a lot of our signature draping style. Great pieces that you can wear every day and feel very special and totally comfortable in. Really just keeping true to what we do best and improving it every season.