The CAFAs – Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards


Canadians have a quiet way of making their way onto the entertainment industry’s A-list. Watch a movie (Jim Carrey), change the TV channel (Keifer Sutherland) and turn up the radio (Celine Dion) – they’re everywhere. They’re also quite prevalent in the fashion and beauty worlds. Elizabeth Arden and MAC Cosmetics? Canadian. Supermodels Linda Evangelista and Daria Werbowy? Canadian. Designers Erdem and Jason Wu? They, too, have Canadian connections.

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Although the Canadian industry has awards for TV, film and theater, they didn’t have for fashion one until recently. Similar in concept to the CFDA’s (Council of Fashion Designers of America), the inaugural Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA) was created to honor outstanding achievement within the fashion industry north of the 49th parallel.

While guests gathered at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto to catch a glance of their favorites style stars, two things are quickly revealed: much like the film/TV/music celebrities, people who work in fashion are much thinner than expected (but much, much taller) and are usually dressed better.  And up close, it’s easy to be in awe of their shiny hair and poreless skin is (i.e. Elisha Cuthbert) and striking they are (like Versace campaign model, Travis Smith).

Inevitably, the goal is shine a spotlight on Canadian artists and the fashion industry, hoping it will encourage its development into the powerhouse it deserves to be.

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The list of award-winners included Jeremy Laing (Womenswear Designer of the Year), Travis Taddeo (Menswear Designer of The Year), Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2 (Outstanding Achievement and International Designer of the Year), Dexter and Byron Peart of Want Les Essentiels de la Vie (Accessory Designer of The Year), photographer Chris Nicholls (Image Maker of the Year), Joe Mimram of Joe Fresh fame (Canadian Style Award), George Antonopolous (Stylist of the Year), Coco Rocha (Model of the Year) and Sarah Stevenson (Emerging Talent Award, which comes with a $10,000 cash prize, an exclusive mentorship, and assistance with the production of a lookbook with The Collections).

For those who went home empty-handed, there’s always next year. Even Meryl Streep didn’t win an Oscar the first time she was nominated. Then again, she probably wasn’t as well dressed.

(Photos courtesy of George Pimentel, WireImage)

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