Canada’s fashion community takes centre stage as artists and influencers from around the world celebrate outstanding achievement and emerging talent in the Canadian Fashion industry, honoring Céline Dion, Aldo Bensadoun and Nadja Swarovski.

Suzanne Rogers announces first recipient of Designer Grant for International Development and H&M announces first recipient of its inaugural Sustainability Award.

TORONTO, April 20, 2018 — The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) celebrated their 5th Anniversary by paying tribute to the 2018 winners and honorees at a red-carpet gala in Toronto. The event was hosted by style maven Joe Zee and took place at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Following the success of the 2017 event, which honored fashion leaders like Imran Amed, Erdem Moralioglu, and Iris Apfel, this year’s gala brought together the fashion industry’s top artists, influencers and business leaders from across the country and around the world to celebrate a new prestigious group of deserving individuals and brands.

Céline Dion was honored with the 2018 International Style Icon Award. The award recognizes an individual whose unique personality and style has commanded the attention of the global fashion industry. Ms. Dion’s fearless approach to fashion has captured the attention of top fashion designers and has captivated audiences around the world.

Annie Horth accepted the 2018 International Style Icon Award on stage on Ms. Dion’s behalf. Ms. Dion was unable to attend the gala, as she is undergoing minor surgery, however released the following statement:

“It’s an honour to receive the Canadian Arts and Fashion Style Icon Award. Fashion is all about creative expression for me, and to be recognized for being able to have fun with the way I look and feel is truly an unexpected reward. I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to be surrounded by some very talented and creative stylists during the course of my career… for many years, Annie Horth provided her great imagination for me, and in recent years, Law Roach has been guiding my fashion looks. I thank them both, and the many other collaborators who have contributed to the fun and fantasy that I’ve experienced in this field.”

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The 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Aldo Bensadoun, founder of International footwear and accessories retailer, The Aldo Group. The award pays tribute to an exceptional Canadian designer or brand, in celebration of their career achievements and significant contribution to the Canadian and global fashion industry.

Upon accepting his Award, Aldo Bensadoun said, “To receive this prestigious honour in Canadian fashion is incredibly humbling. I have loved growing our brand and company in Montreal – it’s beautifully diverse and it has been a wonderful place to inspire our global collections.”

Nadja Swarovski was honored with the Global Fashion Business Leader Award, acknowledging her significant contribution to the global fashion industry. Nadja Swarovski is attributed with Swarovski’s successful repositioning within the fashion industry as a leading crystal purveyor for major fashion brands such as Mary Katrantzou, Christopher Kane and Jason Wu. She has also championed emerging fashion designers through creative partnerships and collaborations with Swarovski and Atelier Swarovski, and the company’s sponsorship of international fashion awards, including the CFDA, the Fashion Awards and ANDAM, as well as CAFA.

Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, commented: “It is a true honour to be recognized by CAFA and the Canadian fashion industry as this year’s Global Fashion Business Leader. As we celebrate the fifth year of these awards, Swarovski is delighted to once again partner with CAFA to reaffirm our shared commitment to emerging Canadian fashion talent, and to support the hard work and dedication of the 2018 Swarovski Emerging talent winners.”

Suzanne Rogers presented Greta Constantine with the first Suzanne Rogers Designer Grant for International Development. The $20,000 grant honours an outstanding Canadian fashion designer or brand that has demonstrated significant impact, growth, and maturity, and is poised to expand their business internationally. The winner was chosen by a panel of three judges consisting of Suzanne Rogers, esteemed international designer, Erdem Moralioglu, and one of Canada’s most celebrated fashion icons, Wayne Clark.

“It is with such pleasure to present this award to Greta Constantine so they can continue to elevate their profile and enrich their brand internationally. It is important to showcase our wonderful Canadian talent,” said Suzanne Rogers.

Alek Wek, H&M Foundation Ambassador, presented Triarchy with the inaugural H&M Sustainability Award which celebrates and recognizes a designer or brand joining the change towards a sustainable fashion industry. The H&M Sustainability Award, CAFA’s first award recognizing sustainable fashion, includes $10,000 and a paid trip to attend the globally-recognized Copenhagen Fashion Summit taking place on May 15-16, 2018 in Denmark’s capital.

“A company of our size and scale has a responsibility as well as a great opportunity to lead the change towards a more sustainable fashion and design industry. By sponsoring the H&M Sustainability Award, we hope to help champion the cause among Canadian designers,” said Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability, H&M Group. 

The Womenswear Designer of the Year Award was presented to Marie Saint Pierre by Sylvia Mantella. 

The Menswear Designer of the Year Award was presented to Atelier New Regime by Kardinal Offishall.

The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Fashion, presented to an innovative Canadian designer who is emerging as a true creative force in Canadian fashion, was awarded to Markoo.

The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Accessories, presented to an innovative Canadian designer who is emerging as a true creative force in Canadian fashion accessory design, was awarded to Sofia Zakia.

Recipients of the Emerging Talent Awards, in collaboration with Swarovski, both received $10,000 and a year of mentorship with industry leaders, which include: Richard Simons, Vice President of Merchandising and Co-Owner, Simons; Suzanne Timmins, Fashion Strategist; Paulo Leone, Brand Strategist and Creative Consultant; Demet Tepe, Partner, KPMG; Ashlee Froese, Founder, Fogler, Froese Law; Emily Williams, Divisional Vice President Merchandising, TJX Companies; and Jan Gandhi, Client Partner, Ecommerce, Facebook.

The Accessory Designer of the Year Award was presented to Ela by Elise Bauman and  Emma Hunter.

ShopShops received the Joe Fresh Fashion Innovation Award, presented to a company that is innovating how we experience, consume or interact with fashion through technology. The award was presented by last year’s winner, Oscar Sachs, Founder of Salesfloor.

Bronwyn Seier received the Simons Fashion Design Student Award, presented to an exceptional fashion design student who has recently graduated from a Canadian fashion design program.

Petra Collins received the Image Maker of the Year Award, presented to an outstanding Canadian fashion photographer or filmmaker who has made a significant impact within the Canadian and/or global fashion industry.

Karla Welch took home the Stylist of the Year Award, presented by Ladyfag.

Aleece Wilson received the Fresh Face of the Year Award, presented to an emerging Canadian model who the industry recognizes as one of Canada’s newest and brightest fresh faces.

The Model of the Year Award was presented to Simon Nessman by Meghan Collison and Shawn Hook.

Triarchy was awarded the Fashion Impact Award, presented to a Canadian designer or brand that has made a significant social or philanthropic impact in the Canadian and/or international community

The Digital Fashion Influencer of the Year Award went to Maripier Morin, presented by Zombie Boy.

The first ever Outerwear Brand of the Year Award was awarded to Canada Goose, presented byArisa Cox.

To commemorate its 5th Anniversary, CAFA celebrated with a unique and original photography exhibit entitled XPOSED. The images were unveiled during tonight’s CAFA Gala and are now available for purchase, with proceeds generated from the sale of artwork going to support The 519 in honour of the late Will Munro. Themed ‘The Disruptors Series’, the inaugural exhibition is under the creative leadership of George Antonopoulos and Honorary Chair of the exhibit, Ladyfag.

“It is truly surreal to be celebrating our 5th Anniversary of CAFA,” said Vicky Milner, President, CAFA. “When we started CAFA back in 2014, we only dreamed that five years later the awards would turn into what they are today. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to shine a spotlight on the outstanding talent we have here in Canada. We could not be prouder of the achievements of our community over the past five years and we look forward to what lies ahead.”

The gala and ongoing programming is made possible by CAFA’s generous sponsors, including returning and presenting sponsor Rogers Communications, Platinum sponsor, Mantella CorporationHudson’s Bay, Swarovski, Simons, Joe Fresh, Palettera, Porter Airlines, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Simons, Facebook, The Kit, and National Post as well as new sponsors The Aldo Group, H&M and Infiniti Downtown.



The Womenswear Designer of the Year AwardGreta ConstantineMarie Saint Pierre*, Stephan CarasUNTTLD

The Menswear Designer of the Year AwardAtelier New Regime*, Christopher Bates, Dalla,Reigning Champ

The Accessory Designer of the Year AwardBikoCuchara JewelryEla*, Herschel Supply Co.,Zvelle

The Joe Fresh Fashion Innovation AwardAuthentic or NotNorth AwarePassenShopShops*,Tulip

Simons Fashion Design Student Award: Bronwyn Seier*, Jessy Colucci, Larry Frederick Alan James Weir, Lesley Hampton, Mary Marino

The Image Maker of the Year Award: David Picard, Gordon Von Steiner, Malina Corpadean, Norman Wong, Petra Collins*

The Stylist of the Year Award: Cary Tauben, Corey Ng, Karla Welch*, Leslie Fremar

The Fresh Face of the Year Award: Aleece Wilson*, Elizabeth Salt, Fred Juneau, Natalie Ludwig, Ryan Keating

The Model of the Year Award: Adrianne Ho, Amber Witcomb, Grace Mahary, Simon Nessman*

The Fashion Impact AwardNiminimiPeggy Sue CollectionShine The Light On, The Pin Project,Triarchy*

The Digital Fashion Influencer of the Year Award: Ania Boniecka, Caillianne and Samantha Beckerman, Jillian Lansky, Maripier Morin*

The Outerwear Brand of the Year AwardARC’TERYXCanada Goose*, MackageSentaler


The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Fashion:Andrew Coimbra, Angelene, Markoo*,WRKDEPT, ZOFF

The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Accessories: Alynne Lavigne, JY Gao, Laurie Fleming,Poppy Barley, Sofia Zakia*

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