2012 marks FASHION Magazine’s 35th Anniversary! To celebrate, each issue, we’re pairing up with a different Canadian who is also celebrating a milestone. We invite our readers to enter for their chance to WIN the designers’ featured show pieces. Good luck!
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Sparks fly: Canadian designer Philip Sparks celebrates five years in business and heads to the French seaside this spring.
By Sarah Casselman
Philip Sparks is an old soul. From his heritage-infused label (think pleated skate skirts, fisherman sweaters, shirtwaist dresses and plaid blouses) to his old-school personal style (bow ties and brogues), this 30-year-old designer knows how to package nostalgia and make it feel new. He developed his interest in heritage tailoring and period-inspired silhouettes while working in the design departments of the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and he finds inspiration in vintage fabrics and Canada’s great outdoors. He launched his menswear line, Philip Sparks Tailored Goods, in 2007, and expanded into womenswear in 2011. He’s also designed a men’s footwear line for Town Shoes and recently debuted a limited-edition collection of men’s accessories for Danier Leather. What about opening a flagship store? He checked that off his to-do list in March. Clearly, he has his sights set on the past, present and future.
What is the inspiration behind this dress?
“Vintage photographs of Deauville, France, in the 1930s. We’ve incorporated the long, lean lines of the clothing as well as a sun-bleached colour palette into the collection.”
When are you most creative?
“In the morning, after a good swim, when no one else has arrived at the studio yet.”
What three words best describe your studio?
“Industrial, inviting, full.”
What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your label?
“Learning that I can’t do every- thing myself.”
When it comes to fashion design, what feels modern today?
“A fresh interpretation of tried and true details, fabrics and silhouettes.”
How will you celebrate your fifth anniversary?
“By opening our first flagship store on Ossington Avenue in Toronto. It is a unique multi-level space [that houses] the entire collection: wom- enswear, menswear, bags and accessories.”