Profile on Canadian Designing Prodigy Michael Zoffranieri

For young Canadian designing phenomenon Michael Zoffranieri, the past few months have been a whirlwind of activity!

“Bitch at the Beach” his SS19 collection made a splash at Toronto Fashion Week (TFW)! The collection echoes a strong message of sisterhood and togetherness during these troubling times. When asked about his bold statement “We need Bitches now, more than ever.” he reflected that the theme speaks to what is currently going on in the world. “People feel that they can speak badly about women’s issues…women’s rights seem to be going backward.”

Set against this backdrop of controversial political times, the ZOFF SS19 collection continued to build on his vision of the ZOFF woman who is carefree, witty, intelligent...and a just bit cheeky. She can laugh at herself, but don’t mistake her femininity and delicate appearance for fragility as she is a strong, confident woman.

Zoffranieri enjoys experimenting with fabrics and unorthodox materials in the construction and design of his pieces. While his collection continued to include silk wool and lace. He further experimented with ostrich and marabou feathers, base paint and power mesh

The final piece of his bridal collection, worn by Canadian supermodel Aluad Anei, was constructed in a truly innovative way. The gown was fashioned primarily with lace, usually used as an accent on bridal wear, and power mesh which is largely used in athleisure wear. The female form was allowed to be seen but only behind the sheer wall of an outer layer.

The subtle statement behind the piece was that of women being caged in between two opposing desires. On one dimension, wanting to be free…yet on the other, feeling obligated to accept the roles and expectations that society places upon them. This message was prevalent throughout the collection.

The line-up of exquisite models included Rachel Romu, a once aspiring track and field Olympic hopeful, later diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a disorder affecting connective tissues that can result in bent joints, weak muscles and chronic pain. For those with no knowledge of Romu’s background, their grace and poise on the runway made their cane appear to be merely a prop in the show.

Closing the show, in a dramatic deep violet jumpsuit and cape, was Toronto based model, Jackie McRae, a favourite on the ZOFF runway.

Right after the excitement of TFW, Michael was off to the U.K. to present his collection at the Canadian Embassy, Canada House. The event, part of London Fashion Week (LFW), showcased women’s wear designers based in Canada in an exciting global design initiative organized by Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI).

“This experience really allowed me to get out of my Canadian focused mindset.” mused Zoffranieri of his visit to Canada House. “I got to meet and network with so many amazing people!” Guests at the event included: Suzanne Rogers, Canadian philanthropist known, among other accomplishments, for funding the Suzanne Rogers Award for Most Promising New Label at the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s annual gala, and The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute (SRFI) at Ryerson University; New Zealand born British fashion journalist and Hello Fashion Monthly editor at large, Hilary Alexander; Fashion Show Producer and Artistic Director, Hans Koechling producer of many big name events including Toronto Men’s (TOM*) and Toronto Women’s (TW) Fashion Week.

What’s next for this rising fashion star? Fans can catch Michael Zoffranieri on Slice TV’s high-fashion, high-stakes show STITCHED. The series introduces a new wave of talented fashion designers, matching wits and stitches in an epic fashion throw-down in three rounds. In every episode, four competitors face off in dramatically themed challenges with one designer eliminated each round. Hosted by Canadian fashion model Kim Cloutier, the series boasts an esteemed panel of resident style experts and guest judges including celebrity stylist Joe Zee and ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa Craft. Michael will appear on episode 9 ‘On The Good Ship Fashion’ airing Sunday, October 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Slice.

Photo credits:

Toronto Fashion Week courtesy of George Pimentel

Canada House courtesy of Darren Bandoo

STITCHED courtesy of Slice

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