A well traveled and trained designer, Leah Rossi studied knitwear and textile design at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Followed by a series of work placements in New York, Los Angeles and London with luxury menswear brand DuChamp, Leah headed home to start her own line. Settled into a local studio, Leah has developed a seasonal collection of sophisticated, ready-to-wear women's wear that "loves you back".
What are the perks/challenges of being a Canadian independent designer?
Perks - because there's such a melting pot of culture, especially in Toronto, we have access to such an eclectic choice of art, fabrics, music, etc. Challenges - very little support and absolutely NO support from the government makes our jobs so much more difficult and expensive. It's super competitive because it's so over-saturated, it's difficult to weed out the big talent and the hard workers. Toronto Fashion Week is so far out from the international schedules that we rarely get any international reviews, making it INSANELY difficult to have your designs seen in the US, European, and other markets. But, there's a great fashion scene here (in Canada) and I'm proud to be a part of it.
Where do you source materials? I source all over, specifically Italy, Toronto and New York.
Where do you see Canadian fashion in the future? I'd really love to see our government getting involved to help build some sort of CFDA-type association we can ALL benefit from. I also see a lot of designers getting a little more ballsy and 'out there' with their designs. There's a lot of talent here, we just can't be afraid to run with the big guys.
What were you doing before designing? I was a physiology student, prepping to go into orthopedic surgery.
What it your favorite piece? I personally really love the fur snoods. I source vintage coats and re-purpose them into the collections. I know fur is always an uncomfortable topic, but vintage coats have been made and are sitting around rotting. I think it's better that they be re-used than thrown away in vain.
Tell us something we wouldn't likely guess about you. I have a ridiculous obsession with old murder mystery shows like Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Poirot, Hart to Hart.....I can't get enough.
Remember the name, we expect to see great things from this designer! Here's a peek at Leah's FW15 collection. Shop elan + castor online.