Canadian Designers Aurora James & Sid Neigum Win Big At The 2019 CAFAs

Photographed by George Pimentel
Aurora James of Brother Vellies.
Canada’s gatekeepers of glamour descended on the Fairmont Royal York Hotel Thursday rocking their red-carpet best to honour the fashion industry’s top designers, artists, stylists, influencers, and business minds at the sixth annual Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA). Hosted by TV and Facebook personality Jessi Cruickshank and featuring two performances by Montreal’s Charlotte Cardin, the gala celebrated established Canadian brands as well as emerging talent.
Fresh off dressing Nicki Minaj for the Met Gala in strappy, thigh-high blinged-out sandals, Aurora James of Brother Vellies took home the International Canadian Designer Award. The eco-friendly footwear and accessories line is handcrafted in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco, and James credited her Canadian upbringing for the brand’s international appeal. “My business and I could never have existed without the cultural infrastructure I was raised with in this wonderful country,” James said.
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The award with the biggest prize attached — a $20,000 grant — went to Alberta-born, Toronto-based Sid Neigum. He won the second annual Suzanne Rogers Designer Grant for International Development, which was presented by Rogers. Neigum was also awarded Womenswear Designer of the Year. In the past year, the internationally revered designer has been featured in Vogue, WWD and hailed as the future of Canadian fashion.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.
Nicki Minaj wearing Brother Vellies to the Met Gala.
Canadian singer Roy Woods presented Christopher Bates with the Menswear Designer of the Year Award and the Swarovski Awards for Emerging Talent went to Marie-Ève Lecavalier and Corey Moranis for fashion and accessories respectively. They both win $10,000 and a year of mentorship with industry leaders.
The Meghan Markle effect is going strong for Mackage, a favourite of the Duchess of Sussex, who took home the Outerwear Brand of the Year award. The makeup artist behind the faces of celebs like Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, Bella Hadid and Joan Smalls, Hung Vanngo, won the first ever Makeup Artist of the Year Award. It was also the first time the CAFAs honoured hair styling, with celebrity stylist Harry Josh (he’s worked on the tresses of Rose Byrne, Gisele, and the Olsen Twins) taking the prize.
Pioneer supermodel Dayle Haddon presented Chilliwack, B.C., native Tasha Tilberg with Model of the Year for her triumphant return to modelling after taking time off to raise twins. A star of the '90s, Tilberg made her comeback in Vogue with her wife and kids after a long hiatus.
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Here is a full list of the 2019 CAFA winners:
The Accessory Designer of the Year – Dean Davidson
The Joe Fresh Fashion Innovation Award – Focals by North
The Simons Fashion Design Student Award – Marie-Eve Aubry
The Image Maker of the Year – Max Abadian
The Stylist of the Year – Cary Tauben
The Fresh Face of the Year – Krow Kian
The Fashion Impact Award – Matt & Nat
The Digital Fashion Influencer of the Year – Fecal Matter
The H&M Sustainability Award – KOTN
The Womenswear Designer of the Year – Sid Neigum
International Canadian Designer – Aurora James
The Menswear Designer of the Year – Christopher Bates
The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Fashion – Marie-Ève Lecavalier
The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Accessories – Corey Moranis
The Outerwear Brand of the Year – Mackage
The Model of the Year – Tasha Tilberg
The Makeup Artist of the Year – Hung Vanngo
The Hair Artist of the Year Award – Harry Josh
2019 Vanguard Award – Thierry-Maxime Loriot
2019 Outstanding Achievement Award – Douglas Kirkland
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