ONE OF EDMONTON’S NEWEST AND UPCOMING DESIGNERS SETS HER SITES ON THE MERCEDES BENZ START-UP COMPETITION
Story by D’Loraine Miranda
Photos by Aaron Pederson (3TEN Photo)
Alongside fashion week favourites, Sid Neigum and Caitlin Power, Edmonton-based designer, Malorie Urbanovitch, proves that our neighbours to the west are on point when it comes to harvesting young, emerging talent. Urbanovitch, once an aspiring dentist turn womenswear designer, released her first collection during Western Canada Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2011 shows.
Plaid had the chance to speak with the budding designer about films, her trademark style and what’s in store for this newcomer in the coming months. (She very recently won the Edmonton pool for the Mercedes Benz Start Up competition, and will show her collection during World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto this Fall as part of the final stage of the competition).
How did you get your start in fashion design?
I actually started at [The University of Alberta] in Sciences and I did a year of that thinking I would want to go into dentistry and then pretty quickly I realized that that wasn’t the path I wanted to take. So I switched into a program called Human Ecology and I did a year of that. I started working as a stylist for Mode Models about a year prior and so that’s where I gained my interest in fashion, but I entered this program and I took a few pattern making and textile design courses… In the end I found it wasn’t really giving me what I needed to be a designer… I switched out and I finished my degree in Film Studies but while I was in school I started making some [clothing] collections and I just kept doing it.
Who is the ideal Malorie Urbanovitch woman?
I definitely think about myself when I’m designing, and what I would wear. But I don’t really dress up a lot – I kind of wear the same thing all the time [laughs] so it’s kind of imaginary. When I’m designing I think ‘Would this look good on a 25-year-old?’ and ‘Would it also look good on a 75-year-old?’ and that’s something I really aim for.
As a young, emerging designer, have you established a signature style synonymous with your label?
I have a lot of people telling me that they can always recognize when they’re my clothes – I think colour is a big part of that. People look good in black but I think it’s a shame to not incorporate colour in a collection.
What have been the biggest rewards of your career thus far?
Definitely the people and the responses I’ve got from my work – just all the support and working with a team. Also people who wear [my designs]… It’s always nice to see a garment that I’ve made on someone other than a model.
Where do you gather inspiration for your designs?
I’m a film major, so I watch a lot of films and I definitely get a lot of inspiration from that. But it’s kind of everywhere: nature, architecture, people, and sometimes it’s totally subconscious.
Who are your favourite artists and designers, and who would you love to collaborate with?
I love Miuccia Prada; I think she’s incredible and I think she really achieves what I aim to achieve with my work, and that’s making clothes that look good on everyone. I love Nicolas Ghesquiere – his silhouettes are futuristic yet classic and beautiful… Filmmakers? Jean Luc Godard. I always watch his films for inspiration because colour is such a huge part of them and that’s really important for me and my collections. And Agnes Varda… Her films are very lyrical and beautiful, so I’d love to work with her too.
What are you currently working on?
I entered the Mercedes Benz Start Up contest, and I’m a finalist for that, so that’s kind of what’s going on right now.
Any plans on showing your work at Toronto Fashion Week in the near future?
Absolutely yes, I would love to show in Toronto. It’s just the next step I think for me, to show in a city like Toronto where there’s tons of press and media and productions are huge and beautiful.