Story by Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.
Anastasia Lomonova has been called “Montreal’s rising star” seemingly forever. Now, after winning the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s (TFI) New Labels competition (and a $35,000 grant) in April, she’s sprinting toward fashion star status.
After four grueling months under the watchful eye of the Canadian fashion scene’s elite (including the womenswear buyer for Holt Renfrew and the editor-in-chief of ELLE Canada), Lomonova emerged with a collection so brilliantly simple that it won over both the judges and the crowd. From a self-professed “wannabe painter” to one of the most promising talents to come out of Montreal since Denis Gagnon, Lomonova is looking to move into more custom, one-of-a-kind work for Spring 2011. She won’t move to Toronto (or anywhere else for that matter), but we won’t hold it against her.
Tell me about your journey. How did you get into fashion?
“I wanted to be a painter—I had formal training and everything. Somehow, though, I never really felt that I had much to offer to the world with painting. I was looking for a way to express myself in an everyday setting, where my creations would infiltrate day-to-day life. To me, fashion is the ultimate means of self-expression—clothes really tell so much about a person, they can make us feel a different way. That aspect was very attractive to me, so I enrolled in Ryerson’s fashion program. I only lasted two years there before moving to Montreal to intern with designers, and finally start my own line.”
You won the TFI New Labels competition. How did you stay focused through the process and not let the hype of being a finalist get to you?
“I never compete with anyone else—ever. I don’t think that life is really about being better than someone else, but rather being better than yourself, if that makes any sense. I don’t compete with anyone else other than myself and it’s usually a pretty intense battle!”
What were the most challenging parts of the competition?