Countdown to the CAFAwards

It’s hard to believe that just a year ago the inaugural Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards gala was held at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto. And now, with the 2nd annual CAFA gala is just around the corner, we wanted to see how those involved with CAFA are preparing. Organizers, nominees, attendees and designers dressing the attendees find themselves getting busier by the day and, in anticipation for the big event, we asked a few of them to give us some insight into their pre-CAFA plan.


As the Social Media Manager for the CAFAwards, Alexandra Serrano has a huge role to play. Much of the success of the CAFAwards sits on her shoulders. She says, “It’s not a secret that being active on social media has become an essential facet of thriving organizations. At CAFA, we use social media to keep our supporters and the Canadian fashion community at large informed.” But she reminds us that CAFA is a year-round initiative to support Canadian talent and help it grow. “Throughout the year, we strive to attract partners and create collaborative opportunities that benefit Canadian designers. One of these is the Swarovski Emerging Talent Award in Fashion and Accessory Design. Another initiative is the Mentorship programme for the 2015 Emerging Talent Award categories. Award winners will receive guidance from our 2015 Mentors, (including last year’s Accessory Design winners WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, and President of NKPR, Natasha Koifman), throughout the year.”



Jon de Porter, nominee for The Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Accessories, says that he’s thrilled to be nominated in this category. This time of the year is quite busy for him because he is completing his newest collection, which is sold through Kleinfeld Bridal Boutique at Hudson’s Bay. The talented accessories designer, whose focus is on pearl jewelry, said interest in his line has definitely increased since the nominations were announced, and he’s very grateful for Swarovski’s involvement in CAFA. “Swarovski has a history of supporting fashion and up-and-coming designers,” Jon told us, and said he’s looking forward to attending the dinner for the nominees the night before the gala.

Jon de PorterThe Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent Nominee, Jon de Porter

Covering the event also requires much preparation, which makes things challenging if you only find out you’re going the week before. Writer Bianca Teixeira says, “I never know how I’m going to cover an event until (just before the event takes place), which makes for a hectic few days, as you can imagine. I’ll be gathering as much information on the nominees so I can have a few questions to ask on the red carpet. After the fact, I look at my notes and interviews to see what I have and how to best turn it into something people will want to read. Plus, I have to figure out an outfit, which might just kill me.”


Style Calling East Coast Contributor Jessica Thompson with Dean & Dan Caten

Finding the perfect outfit is a challenge for most everyone. Designer Christopher Paunil, whose stunning gowns are sought after by many attendees, says that this year is different for him from last year. “One main difference is the amount of women reaching out to me to dress them. I always create with a strong woman in mind that isn’t afraid to be sexy and sophisticated. I’m a bit busier the week prior as I meet with people that I’m dressing.” We also picked his brain about trends for 2015. “I think we’re going to be seeing less bling on dresses this year. Don’t get me wrong, I do love me some sparkle, but I think it’s more about subtle embellishments and interesting style lines [this year].”

Chris PaunilDesigner Christopher Paunil on set with one of this beautiful gowns

As for what everyone will be wearing, Jon will be wearing Sid Neigum, who is nominated for The Swarovski Emerging Talent Award, Fashion, Bianca will be wearing Christopher Paunil, and Alexandra is keeping us in suspense. “You’ll have to wait and see!”
We can’t wait.


For a full list of nominees and more information, visit