Ottawa Fashion Week finds a home

Erica Wark
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Ottawa Fashion Week made its mark this past weekend, capping off Winterlude's festivities.

After years of bouncing around trying to find a strong fit, the 2012 season was held at the Westin Ottawa in the heart of downtown, and I think it's safe to say that OFW has finally found a home.

With creative director Bruno Racine, executive producer Hussein Rashid, fashion director Alison Hughes, lead hair stylist Sylvie Prud'Homme and the newest addition to the OFW team – Shawn Hlowatzki, lead make-up artist of Smashbox Cosmetics – the weekend was lead by a talented team of fashion ambassadors.

Eighteen designers showcased their designs on the runway during the past three days, some better than others, but all equally supported by their peers and audience alike. Alums of OFW included !Nu.I, Rachel Sin, Serendipity, Illyria Design, Demoyo, Elizbourk and Jana & Emilia.

Sin was a standout, offering amazing separates and beautifully tailored dresses that every woman can wear. !Nu.I stayed true to her fashion-forward style, pairing leather, tweed and faux fur together in outerwear, jumpers and dresses. Elizbourk had adorable faux fur wraps, cozy sweaters and sweet dresses.

Newcomers Y!DNA, Frash, Loft 604, Turbine and Sukhoo Sukhoo also wowed the audience for both their designs and ambiance. Sukhoo's models donned Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland-esk hair and makeup while Y!DNA created a masked runway that was reminiscent of an apocalyptic movie.

Turbine's designer, Lisa Drader-Murphy, came all the way from Halifax to showcase her collection, which was over 40 looks.

OFW concluded Sunday night with "Runway for a Better Way" in support of UNICEF that was organized and co-hosted by Ottawa native, Kevin Carroll (All Access Kevin).

Celebrity guests including Gabrielle Miller (Corner Gas/Call Me Fitz), Rosey Edeh (ET Canada), Tré Armstrong (So You Think You Can Dance Canada), Cory Lee (Degrassi) and Solange Tuyishime (UNICEF Canada Ambassador) graced the runway, along with local celebrities TL Rader, Elizabeth Manley and Lianne Laing!

I think we can all agree that it was for a beautiful cause, and the women who rocked the runway looked incredible wearing various designers including Turbine, Sukhoo Sukhoo, Demoyo and Rachel Sin.

After a successful and fashionable weekend, OFW has truly made its mark in the Canadian fashion industry. I truly look forward to watching it grow bigger and better each season!

Follow Erica on Twitter @EricaOnFashion

Organizations: UNICEF, ET Canada

Geographic location: Ottawa, Wonderland, Halifax Canada

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