“I have no words,” said Urbanovitch, bouquet in arms, just moments after her victory was announced. “I’m absolutely overwhelmed, I gave it my all.”
A Canada-wide program helping young fashion designers understand the business side of the industry, Mercedes-Benz StartUp selected five designers to compete in the Edmonton leg of the competition, the first of four stops. Halifax, Ottawa and Quebec City are next.
The event at Edmonton’s Dave Morris Fine Cars saw stunning styles from local designers Urbanovitch and Nicole Campre, as well as Lauren Bagliore and Rebecca King of Calgary and Eliza Faulkner of Vancouver Island.
Urbanovitch won over the judges, which included Avenue style editor-at-large Jared Tabler, and moves on to the World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto this October, where she’ll compete against the finalists from the other cities. The grand prize winner gets his or her own title show in Toronto and an editorial feature in Fashion, as well as mentorship from industry experts.
Urbanovitch said that deciding which looks to choose was one of the hardest parts. Contestants had to put together eight looks, but Urbanovitch’s Fall-Winter 2012 collection — focusing on colours in the blue, green and brown spectrum and featuring calf-length skirts, loose tops and eye-catching textures — was twice that size.
“It was really hard, my collection was 16 looks,” she said. “I chose ones that I got the best feedback on, but I even featured ones I got negative feedback on [because] I wanted to prove that they could work, that they were better than that.”
Urbanovitch wasn’t the only one who was overwhelmed. Her mother, Bernie, erupted in tears after her daughter’s name was announced as the winner. “Everything she’s ever done has payed off,” she said. “I remember when she was a little girl, she’d put these outfits together, and I’d say, ‘That doesn’t match at all.”
She’ll be accompanying her daughter to Toronto in October.
Launched last year, Mercedes-Benz StartUp offers mentoring and advice to designers who have been in the business for less than five years, said Michael Minielly, the public relations supervisor.
“We give them tools to jumpstart their business because they might not understand the business aspect,” he said. “They have help with legal advice, copyright — all of that stuff. They’re not taught how to run a business in school, so it’s really something of value.”