Designer Profile: Sid Neigum

A look into the past, present, and future of one of Canada's rising fashion designer.
If someone asked me who my favourite Canadian designers are, Sid Neigum's name would be somewhere in that list.  At a young age (he's only 2 years older than me) he's done what other young designers haven't: figure out who/what the hell he's designing for; also, he's actually selling his clothes. Words like, 'dark', 'unconventional', and 'experimental' have been used to describe his collections. Consistently. Add to that 'thoughtful' too when I learned about the (less obvious) scientific undertones, like golden ratio, he implements in his designs.

Even more, after speaking with Neigum it was clear his designs are reflective of his life so far. Art imitating life, if you will.

"My parents haven't always been supportive. They hated [my pursuit for fashion.]"

Days after showing his Fall 12 collection, I got to sit down with the designer who was dressed in all black, presumably in his own design (at least his jacket was). At a towering 6 foot something - plus more with platform Doc Martens (who sponsored his show) - Neigum could easily fit the daunting rock star archetype. Instead, he designs clothes that could be worn by one. Neigum's appearance is deceptive; he's actually soft spoken and unfiltered.

Raised in a small town in Edmonton, fashion was almost non-existent and an unusual career choice; especially something as forward-thinking as Neigum's aesthetic. "My parents haven't always been supportive. They hated [my pursuit for fashion.]" Sid recalls. "They wanted me to be a doctor."

Instead, he made a dress out of tires.

"I'm just impatient and I didn't want to wait. I wanted it now."

As an angsty teenager, Neigum persisted. He attended Marvel College for fashion design and apparel production. After a handful of student shows, he showed at Vancouver Fashion Week. He just showed his third collection at Toronto Fashion Week - with the help of The Fashion Collective. And already he has his eyes set on new heights. "I would love to show at New York next season."

Despite his accomplishments, even Neigum doesn't suggest fellow young designers to follow his path. "I'm just impatient and I didn't want to wait. I wanted it now" Sid reveals."I recommend to work for another designer. You make a lot of expensive mistakes and if you make mistakes for someone else, it doesn't matter."

Sacrifices and making big decisions has also been part of his journey. At one point, Neigum was juggling school full time at FIT, a well renowned school for design, while making a collection. An overflowing plate of fashion even for the ambitious designer."It was not sustainable. I had to choose one or the other." Sid comments. "Some students were supportive and others were not. They thought I should finish school first." 

There's also the kinda-good-kinda-bad easy but not accurate comparison to Rick Owens. "There's obviously similarities but I think the differences outweighs the similarities."

"I'm glad I did it." says Neigum, who's career continues to flourish. His line can now be found at Eva in New York as well as Chicago and Florida. "Ruins just bought the collection and we're starting right away." The first Toronto store to carry his line; Rac could potentially be the second. He can also be found in Hong Kong and he hasn't forgotten about his roots either. "Hopefully when I go back to Edmonton, I'll get one there too."

Currently, Neigum is also a finalist for Toronto's Fashion Incubator New Labels competition. The winner is awarded a $25 000 cash prize, a design studio, and a full page editorial in FLARE magazine; a prize that can put Neigum's career in to overdrive.

Despite the (fashionable) rollercoaster ride of success and hardships, Neigum seems to be in good spirits about it all. At the end of the interview we took a few photos and I asked we do a serious one. Sid laughs. "I can't do serious!"

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