The unexpected, emerging fashion capital

Author: Sasmitha Dellawa

London and Paris weren’t always renowned, thriving hubs of fashion. It was the work of an entrepreneurial generation which defined those cities with their modern reputation and it would seem to me that Calgary is also on the verge of such a brand overhaul.

Having shared my childhood between London and Calgary, London seemed the obvious choice to begin my fashion career; debuting at London Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2016 (AW16) with my first collection at nineteen felt as if it was a breakthrough. And it was; but Calgary, this community, has a way of nurturing each other in a way a city as saturated as London never could.

Moving away from London, and setting up shop closer to home, if you will, has been unexpectedly personal. We launched Fireflies for Lanterns, a women’s ready to wear clothing brand in March 2018, and it had been incredible to discover how many helping hands were eager to help us grow. There is a diversity in Calgary’s fashion community that may not be visible at first glance, but if you ever visit a vendor’s market in Inglewood or step into a boutique on 17th Avenue, like a chain reaction you begin to see more and more.

It is in every sense an incubator for the fashion industry, with organizations such as PARK — who we recently celebrated their 10th anniversary with at PARKSHOW 2018, which transformed George C. King bridge into a runway — not only promoting the discovery of local designers and artists, but allowing brands to redefine the cultural fabric of the city and encouraging those watching to question again their pre-conceived notions of what the city is known for. As they see what new brands, brands such as ours have to offer to enliven how they experience their city, changing how they shop, as well as leading them to rethink their career options as these brands grow, this industry has the potential to reinvent this city.


Fashion has the potential to reinvent Calgary.

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