This month, models at Western Canada Fashion Week will strut down the runway draped in Derek Jagodzinsky’s newest collection, inspired by his Native heritage. The Edmonton-based fashion designer created the line using the colours of the four directions (north, east, south and west) on a medicine wheel: Red, white, yellow and black.
“Each colour represents something,” says Jagodzinsky. “White represents winter season, achievement, perfection, deep connection; yellow is spring time, birds, second chances. Black is the fall season, harvesting, adulthood, emotional understanding; and red is summer, time for growth and development.”
This is the first time the 29-year-old designer has used elements of his heritage in one of his collections. There will be other nods to his heritage in the line – Native artists will paint some of the bags and Native women will help Jagodzinsky with beading some of the items in the collection. But the line won’t have the look of historical clothing. “I want it to be regal, interesting but still modern,” says Jagodzinsky. “It’s more abstract, not so in-your-face headdress kind of stuff.” His previous lines featured at WCFW have focused on neutral palettes with pops of rich colours. After four years of participating in the show, his work has evolved to reflect everything he has learned from the experience. He says participating in the show has taught him a lot – it even resulted in his first internship with a major designer. Jagodzinsky met couture designer and Edmonton native Michael Kaye at WCFW in 2009, which resulted in Kaye eventually offering the young designer a one-month internship in New York in 2010.
Jagodzinsky creates women’s wear out of his Edmonton studio for his brand, Luxx ready-to-wear. A graduate of the U of A’s design program, Jagodzinsky’s clothes have made impressions on Edmontonians and Hollywood alike. In May 2010, reality star Kim Kardashian hosted Edmonton City Centre’s Underground Sound Urban Style Parkade Party, an event that included a fashion-design competition. Jagodzinsky’s work caught Kardashian’s eye and she ordered one of his dresses, a coup that will be tough to top – but the young designer has nothing but time to try.
WCFW runs September 19 to 26 at the TransAlta Arts Barns.