Sid Neigum was studying science and working at a clothing store when he first got a glimpse of the world of fashion.
“I realized I wanted to be designing clothing rather than just selling it,” says the Alberta-born designer. “I felt like I had some decent ideas, so I started studying fashion in Edmonton and eventually in New York.”
When his visa was up in New York he made the move to Toronto, and shortly after took up residence at the Toronto Fashion Incubator, a space built to foster the city’s emerging fashion industry talent.
“(TFI has) a competition every year called the New Labels Fashion Design Competition,” he says. Sid entered it and won, earning himself a free studio for the year. He’s been there ever since, taking advantage over the past three and a half years of the mentorship and resources.
“There’s 15 sewing machines and massive cutting tables, I do all my sampling and all my production here,” he says.
The mentorship has also proved invaluable.
“There’s a lawyer, a banker, people that are in retail and PR – (mentors in) all the different areas that you might need at some point and they also do different workshops for members,” he says. “There’s no obligation to stay, the space is just amazing.”
But from a design perspective, Sid hasn’t abandoned that initial interest in math and sciences.
In March, he told Fashion magazine he was obsessed with geometry” calling his chosen discipline of designing clothes a “3-D puzzle that can fit a body.”
A package-design textbook showing how to fold a box from a single piece of cardboard inspired his Fall 2014 collection and his Spring 2015 drew from modular origami – with Sid sewing together 600 parallelograms of nylon mesh for one item.
Hudson’s Bay’s The Room dug the collection and bought several pieces. Toronto boutique Jonathan and Olivia also took interest in some of Sid’s designs. His designs have also turned heads globally with boutiques in New York, Los Angeles and London selling some of Sid’s creations.
He’s hoping to expand that further with the help of global logistics company DHL and IMG, which owns Toronto Fashion Week. In September, DHL and IMG announced Sid as one of four winners of the DHL Exported program which offers business strategy consultancy, PR and social media support to selected talents of the fashion industry keen to further their businesses.
Sid will be showing in January and September next year in London.
“They pay for all of the shows, the venues, the model’s hair and makeup among other things as well as flights and accommodations to get to and from,” he says.
He admits it’s huge both in potential and scope.
“It’s very intimidating putting together a massive plan and then them saying, okay you can do it, and now its like oh man, now I have to do everything I just said,” says Sid with a laugh. “But I'll make it happen.”
If London bodes well, it’ll be another box checked in the proliferation of Sid’s designs. But when it comes to calling somewhere home, he has no intention of leaving Toronto.
“I just want to be here,” says Sid. “I feel like Toronto is going to be home base for me for a long time.”
By Andrew Seale