Peggy Sue Collection wins the Design Exchange’s RBC Emerging Designer Award

Toronto – Can fashion change the world? If you ask local eco-fashion designer Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks the answer is a definite yes.

Peggy Sue Collection took home the top award this week at the Design Exchange’s RBC Emerging Designers Competition. Competitors from across Canada submitted hundreds of applications, all vying for the top stop supported by the RBC Foundation. Jurors selected Peggy Sue Collection and five category winners: Tung in Graphic, Atelier Barda in Architechture, Sage Paul in Fashion, Thom Fougere in Industrial and Andrew Sun in Interior.

According to Design Exchange President Shauna Levy, the jury (drawn from the top tiers of Canadian design) were impressed by Peggy Sue’s sustainable design process. “We were inspired by Peggy Sue’s dedication to sustainability through fashion design,” says Levy. “We were drawn to the quality of her garment construction and the stories they tell. The fabrics and fibres of her designs can be traced back to the farm that raised them, the mill that spun them, and the artisan that made them. This is an important story to share.”

After winning the TFI New Labels Award in 2016, Peggy Sue Collection became well known for hyper-traceable collections that elevated local wool and alpaca beyond boxy sweaters. Her debut runway show at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week in March 2017 introduced organic, colour-grown cotton from California’s rebel biodynamic farmer Sally Fox. And this October Peggy Sue received the title of Canada’s Sustainable Fashion Designer after winning Fashion Take’s Action Design Forward competition.

Peggy Sue’s powerful acceptance speech Tuesday evening focused on the collective nature of her work, highlighting her 75% women-owned supply chain. Farmers, makers, local retailers and sustainable fashion advocates dotted the audience, easily identifiable by their Peggy Sue attire.

“There are individuals from our supply chain and fibre community present here tonight. They are remarkable people who are taking the derogatory term of “women’s work”, which is readily applied to female sheep farmers, knitters, weavers, sewers and hand-makers, and they are smashing through those stereotypes to become champions of industry.”

Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks

But her most powerful words, the ones tweeted out to the world moments after they were said, encouraged us to join her in believing that “Fashion can be a force for good”.

The Peggy Sue Collection Exhibit is on display at the Design Exchange until February 16, 2018.

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