Home » FEATURES » Feature: Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist: Joao Paulo Guedes

Feature: Toronto Men’s Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award Finalist: Joao Paulo Guedes

Joao's inspiration for his Fall/Winter 2014 collection

Joao Paulo Guedes’ inspiration for his Fall/Winter 2014 collection


Eastern Promises.


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 Designer Award Finalist: Joao Paulo Guedes


How does it feel to be a finalist?

Of course it feels great! It’s exciting and challenging too. It’s great to be involved in the first year of Toronto Men’s Fashion Week. I’m looking forward to seeing all the looks and creativity on the runway


What inspired you to become a designer?

I’ve always loved design. I used to do graphic design but wanted to find a better fit for my creativity. Also, I didn’t see the clothes, I wanted to wear so I learned to make them! When it comes to inspiration I would say I love prints and textures.


Toronto Men's Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award finalist, Joao Paulo Guedes

EMDA finalist Joao Paulo Guedes


What did you take away from your fashion education at George Brown?

Honestly, it was an intense program. People told me not to go to certain teachers because they were harder and have too much work but I chose to take them to learn more. I really felt this helped my drafting and designing skills. George Brown was very supportive. I had the opportunity to be part of the Global Edge program and go to India for a fashion internship with my travel and accommodation taken care of.


Where did you intern in India and how did it differ to your training in Toronto?

Last summer I had a great opportunity to intern for two of the top contemporary fashion designers in India, Shantanu and Nikhil. I was the menswear designer assistant; during my time there I designed some looks for Indian Bridal Fashion Week. I was also sent to Mumbai to coordinate an amazing fashion photo shoot. I got to design restaurant uniforms for a famous English chef. I was able to coordinate a print ad for Vogue India. I created linings for suits, coats and jackets and also sketched designs daily. The difference between India and Canada is the amount of time to produce a collection.  In Canada you have months to produce a collection; In India you have days.

The designers really valued my opinions and would ask me what I thought about the designs. I was trusted with my ideas and many of them went into the actual production of garments. In Toronto, I don’t think I would have had as much creative freedom working under someone else.

In the few months there I learned an intense amount, because you have to work so fast you learned so much so quickly. I was offered to work and stay in India, something I really thought about before coming back to Canada to work on my own designs.


Joao Paulo Guedes' first collection

Joao Paulo Guedes’ first collection


Toronto Mens Fashion Week Emerging Menswear Designer Award finalist Joao Paulo Guedes

EMDA finalist Joao Paulo Guedes



Sketches by fashion designer and Emerging Designer Menswear Award finalist  Joao Paulo Guedes

Sketches by fashion designer and Emerging Designer Menswear Award finalist Joao Paulo Guedes



What is the inspiration behind your EMDA collection?

Prints and textures. The featured print of my collection I created and is images of Indian temples manipulated into patterns. The collection is all inspired by Indian architecture. A blend of black, gold and detail. Also, wearable but decadent clothing. I want my outfits to look amazing and be noticed whether at a fashion event or just heading to work.


What was it about Indian architecture that you find inspiring?

While I was there I visited many places and temples. The architecture there was very detailed and many of the temples had elaborate shapes.  I think the entire culture inspired me with its intense mix of old and new. There is a sensory overload in India that I love! There is so much always going on. And then you have these historical monuments that have been there for hundreds of years and they are still awe-inspiring! The shapes, patterns and details are so rich. I wanted to take the feeling I had when I explored the temples and recreate it somehow into my own designs. Combining history with contemporary.


Beautiful prints as inspiration Emerging Designer Menswear Award finalist  Joao Paulo Guedes

Beautiful prints as inspiration Emerging Designer Menswear Award finalist Joao Paulo Guedes


Does your cultural background inspire your designs? If so how?

Definitely. I feel like all the cultures I’ve experienced have affected me, being a Brazilian-Canadian; colours, fun and passion, Canadian diversity and acceptance and freedom to be creative and make unique designs.


Who is the Joao Paulo Guedes man?

A creative individual not afraid of fashion. He can be as masculine as [he] wants or as wild as he wants. He likes to be an original. He wants to look good on the street, at the bar, at work or on the runway. Whether he’s a famous star or a regular person he will feel just as good in Joao Paulo Guedes designs.


Photography courtesy of Joao Paulo Guedes / Toronto Men’s Fashion Week

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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