Today marks the start of the Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival and who better to feature than Mandy Pravda and Jacqueline Conway, the co-founders and directors of SFDF! Get ready to meet the girls with a little Q and A, get to know what this annual festival is all about, and learn how you can take part in the fabulously fashionable weekend ahead.
SFDF has made a name for itself in just a few short years. How did the whole thing begin?
The girls: SFDF began four years ago and is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization focused on growing the fashion culture and industry of Saskatchewan. Through various events such as designer focused marketplaces, fashion shows, and now a 4-day festival, SFDF has grown to include fashion illustration to high-fashion designer fashion shows to style workshops.
What's the goal of SFDF?
The Girls: Our organization aims to create experiences that educate on the different forms fashion can take. For example, last year's retrospective showcased fashion that dated to the 1920s all the way to the 1980s. This year, we wanted to showcase fashion illustration and how it serves a functional role in the design process, but can also be admired as art. And of course we are all about our local designers! As an organization we focus on promoting the designers that have roots in Saskatchewan and provide a platform comparable with other Canadian fashion weeks where they can be professionally showcased. In addition, we strive to allow our designers to reach as many people as possible, which is achieved through our free, community-based event at River Landing.
Are there any highlights from past years that you'd like to share?
Jacqueline: I am a huge aficionado of fashion exhibits and retrospectives. Some of my favourites would include Prada and Schiaparelli in New York, The Golden Age of Couture in Quebec City, Yves Sainte Laurent in Montreal, 50 years of British Fashion in London and I'm hoping to add Charles James to the list this year and Alexander McQueen come summer 2015! (I'm a bit of a fashion nerd you could say.) So, when I convinced the SFDF team to do a retrospective of fashion history I was so proud to see it come to life. Jennifer Machnee and Laura Langen coordinated and styled the exhibit and they did a fabulous job!
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Jacqueline: I am most looking forward to the Industry Mixer! It's an evening where all those involved and fans of the festival come together and celebrate how far we've come. For the team (in particular) we actually get to attend and enjoy the event prior to a weekend of fashion fun!
Mandy: I'm most looking forward to the SFDF Runway at Mercedes-Benz! This evening is one of my favorite high end events that takes place in Saskatoon. From live mannequin models, flare bartenders, and some seriously killer collections to fashionistas and gentlemen at their finest, it's a great night out and the swag bags to take home are exceptional!
Who are some designers whose work we'll see on the runways?
The girls: We are proud to be working with the Academy of Fashion Design students from right here in Saskatoon. As well, we are very excited to be presenting recent Parsons graduate Breanne Harrison-Pollock who's graduating collection motivates us at SFDF to do what we do!
Why should people take in the festival?
Jacqueline: I encourage people to take in the different elements of the festival because every event as a different intention. At IN FASHION you will find the best finds from our downtown fashion oasis; at the MIXER you can meet the designers, models, hair-up and makeup teams, and the SFDF team while enjoying a beautiful setting and discover why fashion illustration is a respected art form; at RUNWAY you will see the designers put their FALL and EVENING collections on the catwalk for us to enjoy; at POSE you will find SPRING collections on the boardwalk and up in the SFDF Shop to purchase. You gain an all-around perspective on Saskatchewan fashion through carefully crafted experiences.
And now a bit about the two of you fashionistas...
What has been your favorite fashion moment?
Jacqueline: When the first model hit the runway at SFDF RUNWAY last year it was an amazing moment. We have worked so hard to build SFDF and seeing the vision come to life was an incredible feeling. Now there's new visions to come to life!
Mandy: Every year our designers amaze me with props and creative flares to their collections. Last year we had some jaw dropping features, from two little girls running out from beneath a huge gown blowing kisses to mechanical moving pieces and detailed fabrics that were stunning. We also have an amazing production team who works hard at some of the best lights and visual graphics I have yet to see at any fashion show. Watching the faces in the crowd light up in surprise is the highlight of SFDF Runway!
Have you ever had a fashion faux pas?
Jacqueline: Oh geez! Unfortunately, I'm guilty of wearing a black bra with a white shirt.
Mandy: I am actually guilty of the same thing! Also, wearing scarves in the middle of summer!!
What summer trend are you most excited to see?
Jacqueline: Not necessarily a new trend, but I'm loving cut-out boots. So fun!
Mandy: I am loving the pattern choices this year and am very excited to see what our Saskatchewan designers have in store!
Any beauty product that's changed your life?
Jacqueline: I'm a slave to my Clinique 3-step skin line, and MAC cream blush (moisturizing and rosy!) Oh, and Too Faced No Make-up Make-up Palette from Sephora is one of my daily faves!
Mandy: I am a simple gal... who doesn't get much sleep in my line of work. I depend on SHISEIDO Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream to keep my eyes looking fresh!
A big thank-you to Mandy and Jacqueline for answering our many Qs. Dear reader, you've just gotta be looking forward to the events the team has planned this weekend, are we right? Can't wait to see all of your #sfdf photos light up our Instagram feed! (Oh, and if you haven't got your tickets yet, click on through to reserve them now.)
Maygen & Karyn