Two Ryerson grads were among the nominees for the 2016 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA) announced on Jan. 27.
Hamish Thwaites, a fashion design graduate, is nominated for The Fashion Design Student Award and Lucian Matis, also a fashion design graduate, is nominated for The Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.
Having only graduated last year, Thwaites said he was flattered to be recognized amongst all the talent in the Canadian fashion industry.
“It always feels wonderful to feel that your voice and vision are appreciated or respected,” he said.
The two nominees were selected by a group of 44 industry professionals from across the country. A separate jury, also made up of industry professionals, will decide the winners.
Matis completed the well-known fashion program at Ryerson in 2003. Since his first collection was presented at Toronto Fashion Week in 2007, the Lucian Matis brand has been internationally recognized with appearances on Fashion Television and Entertainment Tonight.
Thwaites is currently an intern with another Ryerson-born designer brand, Erdem, in London. His goal is to expose himself to as much of the fashion industry as he can before he applies for a master’s degree and one day starts his own brand.
Thwaites described his application as a “heavily documented design process from ideation and inspiration to final garments.”
Robert Ott, chair of the school of fashion, was a member of the team at Ryerson that nominated Thwaites for this award. The winner will receive $5,000 and one year mentorship from industry professionals.
Ott said he also encouraged Thwaites to submit his work in the first place.
“What he presented was really beautiful. I think presentation is as much as content,” Ott said. “I think it says Hamish (Thwaites) all over it.”
Ott said he credits Ryerson’s elite fashion program for giving Thwaites and Matis an edge on the competition.
“(Ryerson’s fashion program) is very intense … and students are not just working on their design skills, but developing a DNA and developing a signature that will define a designer’s way of being.”
Thwaites discovered his love and curiosity for the technical process of design — draping, drafting and construction — during his time at Ryerson.
“(Ryerson) contributed to me finding my voice and vision as a designer, which many of the staff at Ryerson supported and believed in, and I feel it likely led to my nomination,” he said.
A winner will be announced at CAFA’s third annual award show on the night of April 15, a red-carpet event that draws fashion industry pros from around the world.
“It was so wonderful to see that the rest of the industry is recognizing that early talent,” Ott said. “It’s really rewarding.”
This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Feb. 3, 2016.