Home » FEATURES » Feature: Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Emerging Designer Award Finalist: Andrew Coimbra

Feature: Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Emerging Designer Award Finalist: Andrew Coimbra

Emerging Menswear Designer Award FinalistAndrew Coimbra image

Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist Andrew Coimbra image


National Pride.

By: Tessa Johnson

Toronto, Canada


*As part of our ongoing focus on unique global perspectives, we are thrilled to be the Digital Media Sponsor for TOM* (the first annual Toronto Men’s Fashion Week) — the 8th one in the world. In that spirit of celebrating emerging Canadian talent, TOM* launched the we had the  EMDA –Emerging Menswear Design Award Competition.

“EMDA is part of the Designer Menswear Fund, in initiative with the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), to promote and nurture home grown talent and to inspire young designers to specialize in menswear. The grand prize winner will be selected from group of five finalists after they present their collections as part of TOM* grand finale runway presentation. Each collection will be scored based in visual appearance, style, brand communication and marketability. 

The 2014 EMDA winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 towards their next collection, a spot-lighted show at next season’s TOM* and global recognition from the esteemed attendants of media, buyers and editors.–TOM*FW

In the next coming days we will be presenting you an exclusive series of Q&A with each of the finalists. We chat about inspiration, the world of fashion, the art of competition and of course their grand plans!


Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist: Andrew Coimbra


Toronto Mens Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award finalist Andrew Coimbra

Emerging Menswear Designer Award finalist Andrew Coimbra


When did you know you wanted to become a designer?

I knew, I wanted to become a designer, probably half through high school, up until then I really wanted to do illustration because I have always been very visually inclined with art. Half way through high school I switched to [a] performance art high school and they had an annual fashion show and they really encourage that sort of growth in the study body. So, I was like okay I’m going to try it my grandmother had taught me how to sew long before because she did home sewing.


You started as a ladies wear designer, when did you decide to venture into menswear?

I always wanted to do menswear, but there is no menswear specific schooling in Canada and ones outside of Canada are a little expensive, but I kind of had to learn and work my way through ladies wear into menswear.


Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Contemporary art is a stretch in this particular example or this collection, I really wanted to look into Canadian identity and exploring different levels and created a contemporary Canadian identity. I think it is really important especially since I am a men’s wear label from Canada. So what I did I looked at stuff that I was influenced by over the course of my life and I did two years at OCAD.


The colour scheme for Andrew Coimbra's designs

The colour scheme for Andrew Coimbra’s designs


During his attendance, Coimbra was exposed to various Canadian artists and gravitated to a few.

I was looking into the Group of Seven and there is two artists and one of them is Lauren Harris and one of his paintings is called ‘Afternoon Sun Lake Superior’, I thought it was such an interesting and beautiful piece the colour work, composition everything about is really strong.  I thought it was a really interesting idea that these artists from our past went across Canada lugging around their oil paints, canvasses and sketch books and they would create a new identity for Canada based on what they saw.

I thought it was really enriching. I took that as an inspiration and used a little bit of high tech technology called Google (he laughs) to get a map of Lake Superior and I used that map to influence my designs and to print work on my designs. So you will be seeing a bit of fun stuff and the colours in the designs are directly influenced by other painting in the Group of Seven scheme. I thought it was kind of fun because why mess around with something that is amazing, their colour work and colour theory is beautiful to begin with. Each colour balance represents so I really want to pull from that.


Toronto Men's Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award finalist Andrew Coimbra

Love the lining!


Where have you interned?

My first internship was at Pink Tartan and that was for three months and then I did an internship with Philip Sparks for a year part-time and later worked part-time for two years with Philip.  This past fall I did an internship at Proenza Schouler in New York which was really enriching, I think all three internships were really amazing but the Proenza Schouler wrapped everything up and put it a nice little bow on it for me.


How does it feel to be a finalist?

It feels pretty good, I spent four or five years working the fashion industry [and], as much as a I love working for other people and helping out others in general and other brands, I’ve always selfishly wanted to do my own thing so this is nice bit of validation and it’s a good challenge in general so why not.


Photography courtesy of AndrewCoimbra.tumblr.com 

Black & white portrait of designer by J R Bernstein

*Tessa is a freelance writer, obsessed with menswear fashion, women’s accessories and a clutch fanatic.  She currently writes web and print articles for ANOKHI Magazine .

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