Homegrown talent FTW: this Saturday, Canada’s fashion elite will celebrate the industry’s best talents—established and emerging—at the second annual Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards in Toronto. FLARE will be there (again!), and in the lead-up to the big night, we’re spotlighting some of the most exciting nominees.
Today it’s David Dixon, who’s up for Outstanding Achievement Award. Born and raised in Toronto, Dixon studied fashion at Ryerson and launched his label a year after graduating; 20 years later, his sumptuous eveningwear has graced Coco Rocha, Nicole Kidman, Linda Evangelista and Katie Holmes, and last year, he launched a bridal line. He believes in evolution, not revolution—i.e., no bouncing from trend to trend—and above all, luxury.
In five words or less, how would you describe the woman who wears your brand?
The David Dixon woman is authentic, aspirational, approachable, smart and sensual.
Tell us about the first time you felt awestruck by fashion.
As a child, I was always awestruck by my now-late mother’s style. On Friday nights, she and my father would go out for dinner and dancing. For my siblings and me, it was also the same night for TV dramas, and The Love Boat was on the agenda. One particular episode featured American designers: Halston, Geoffrey Beene, Gloria Vanderbilt and Bob Mackie. I was hooked! I began sketching the next day.
It can be difficult for Canadian designers to resist the urge to set up shop in other countries. Why did you decide to establish your brand at home?
My decision to keep my studio in Canada is quite simply because I am Canadian and it is my home. The world is now a small village, so we are not alone. For me, having the support of family and great friends nearby makes the journey that much more exciting.
Can you share one major source of inspiration for you?
For me, inspiration can come from any source: observation, experience, or concept. Inspiration really depends on how you look at, listen to and process things. Inspiration for me usually comes in the form of what I am generally feeling at a particular moment of time, and or when I feel compelled to tell a story.
What does it mean to you to be nominated for an Outstanding Achievement Award?
The CAFA nomination, in the category of Industry Achievement, is extremely humbling. I love what I do, and every collection feels like I’m just starting my very first one. To be acknowledged within the fashion community is very touching, as David Dixon celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015. I am so excited to be acknowledged, and, especially, to be in great company with designers that I truly admire.
What advice would you give to young people who dream of a career in fashion design?
I’m a mentor and advocate for new designers—both at the post-secondary and emerging levels—and my most solid advice is to surround yourself with people who are honest and encouraging. The fashion business is extremely difficult, and can discourage someone very quickly. I also advise them to build solid relationships and to listen. These are the key to success.
The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards take place Saturday, Jan. 31. Visit Flare.com throughout the week for more Q&As with the nominees!