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Your Mercedes-Benz StartUp Winner is…

Now in its third year, the Mercedes-Benz StartUp competition aims to draw upcoming fashion talent from across the country, culminating in a World MasterCard Fashion Week showdown to select the winner of a coveted prize of mentorship, a Fashion magazine spread, a runway show in the next season and, more importantly, exposure. Previous winners have included Martin Lim and DUY, but let me tell you that this year’s competition, which took place on Day Two at the tents, was a humdinger!

The 2013 MBSU show kicked things off with a parade of tropical vintage summerwear from, my personal favourite, Dreamboat Lucy, before moving into Eliza Faulkner’s athletic linens. Following suit came fellow finalists Faded Lifestyle, Hip and Bone, Pedram Karimi and HD Homme, each showing a strong presence of menswear, while Malorie Urbanovitch and Matière Noire both played with minimalism and structure in their respective collections.

After eight designers sent their troops down the runway, it was then down to the judges to make their decision. A call that was easier said than done for Editor-in-chief at Fashion, Bernadette Morra; fashion director of Holt Renfrew, Barbara Atkin; fashion personality Jeanne Beker; global production director at IMG Fashion, Jarrad Clark; director of communications and public relations at Mercedes-Benz Canada, JoAnne Caza; and president of the Fashion Design Council of Canada, Robin Kay.

This is where things got interesting and the audience got restless as, in an unprecedented move, the judges were deadlocked in their decision to name just one winner and so the award was given to two: Edmonton’s Malorie Urbanovitch and Celine Raizonville of Montreal-based Matiere Noire! It seemed they loved Urbanovitch's command of natural fabrics equally as much as they adored Matière Noire’s bold horizontal striping, snuggly knits and visible fraying. I would contend that the judges couldn’t pick between the two because they were somewhat similar, but each upped the wearability ante more than any of the other six designers.


You can see something of the winners' style in the photos (left Urbanovitch, right Matiere Noire) and, in case you missed the going-ons at Day 1 of World MasterCard Fashion Week, check out the highlight reel here,


Images via WMCFW