Looking at Jean Pierre Braganza's early years, his story is typical of any Canadian designer. Here's a guy whose family moved to Canada from the UK when he was an infant. He grew up in Montreal and Toronto. Once in university to study fine arts, he realized his fashion dream and enrolled in fashion school in Toronto. Just like so many designers I know.
His story then moves back to London to the famed Central St. Martin's College and well, that's where the similarities end. Seeing his spring 2013 collection in Toronto this week, I wondered if other Canadian-based designers secretly swelled with envy.
Jean Pierre Braganza's line is edgy, sophisticated and, in my opinion, jaw droppingly hot. While his talent is clearly innate, he didn't jump into his own label fresh out of design school, even though he had a few accolades under his belt by then. Instead he chose to continue his schooling in the real world, working under designers like Roland Mouret. That experience shows in his impeccable tailoring and complex construction.
As much as I fell in love with Jean Pierre, his look isn't made for the North American customer. Look at his stockists and there's only one store on the entire continent - of course, in New York City. But he's out there, all over in places like the UK, Hong Kong and Saudia Arabia. (Somehow it's no surprise he had a Canadian upbringing, eh?)
Jean Pierre Braganza wasn't on my radar prior to the shOws bringing him to Toronto's rogue fashion week, but he's one I will watch. I think he sets a great example for young designers on how to succeed in fashion. Get out there after school. Experience life. Work for others. Stay true to yourself. And maybe, just maybe, your hometown will be feting you for the fashion masses one day.