• 2016 SFDF Runway / Nicole Romanoff Photography

Fashion festival promises homegrown talent on runway

Ask the director of the Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival, Jacqueline Conway where her love of fashion began and she’ll say it’s something she was born with.

“I used to read Vogue when I was five, I used to create outfits out of my mom’s closet,” Conway laughs. “My sister and I used to do photo shoots with our Barbies at runway shows. I’ve always loved fashion.”

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Festival founder Jacqueline Conway says there’s something for every taste at the SFDF Market and Runway shows. (Nicole Romanoff Photography)

Conway and co-founder Mandy Pravda have have taken their love of design and parlayed it into a showcase of Canadian fashion. The Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival is in its sixth year and features local and national designers over the two day event. There’s a conference component for industry, an afternoon and evening market where the public is invited to come and shop local and then, in the evening it’s all about the runway.

“There are a ton of local designers from Melissa Squire with her funky retro rockabilly vibe to Cedar and Vine that have these beautiful flowing dresses, linen and cotton pieces,” explains Conway. “We have this vision for the festival where we bring people together all in one space so they can share ideas and navigate the fashion world.”

It’s a plan that’s already paying off.

2016 SFDF Runway / Nicole Romanoff Photography

The work of local designer Eleven03 on the catwalk at SFDF 2016. (Nicole Romanoff Photography)

“We’re now seeing designers like Eleven03 who were in the audience when we started the festival. They went through fashion school and now they’re in our show.” Conway explains,”We want people to see if they have these creative skills, it is possible to stay and work right here in Saskatchewan. You don’t have to leave.”

The SFDF this year will showcase a special runway presentation of SWAG, the Saskatchewan Wearable Art Gala. These 11 looks will be the most “out there” on the weekend’s catwalk. Local artists making fashion out of unconventional materials like rubber, film and even toilet paper instead of fabric.

And, although this is an event that celebrates to the local industry, it’s also a party for the public. Conway says this is a chance for fashion lovers to dress up and strut their stuff.

“We want to take the pretention out of it. Fashion is about self expression, it’s about wearing what makes you feel good, what represents who you are.” She says, “We want people to get dressed up, or in those unique pieces they don’t normally wear and head out for a night of fun.”

Basic tickets for this year’s Saskatoon Fashion & Design Festival run $30-$35 or you could always go for the VIP treatment for $75 that comes with a swag bag full of goodies from featured designers and businesses. Your ticket purchase also enters you into a draw for the SFDF sweepstakes where you could win even more local fashion finds. The show runs August 26-27, 2017 at the Delta Bessborough Hotel. Click here for full details.