Local finishes third in emerging designer competition

  • Local designer and shop owner Cassandra Butt is back from Western Fashion Week with a third place finish in the emerging designer competition.

    “It was an amazing experience,” Butt said when reached by phone. “Runway is addicting.”

    Butt was the only competitor without any formal training. She faced off against eight other designers.

    “I wasn’t really expecting to place because I was the only one there who wasn’t formally trained,” she said.

    Other competitors included students from the MC College of Design in Edmonton, as well as the winner, a woman who had trained in Nova Scotia.

    “I was blown away by the talent and the inspiration that these girls have,” Butt said. “I was blown away by the fact that I even placed among all these people who are formally trained, and I just kind of had a passion and taught myself. It was awesome.”

    Though the judges didn’t give Butt much feedback, she was popular among the photographers.

    “The photographers especially were just blown away. They were fighting over my model,” Butt said. “Even looking online at some of the photographer’s pages, there are more pictures of my design than any of the other girls’.

    “That makes me feel really good and makes me think, you know what, this is something that is actually marketable and well done, and people were really impressed by it.”

    Butt thanked her model, local high school student Lydia Pelchat, as well as her hair and makeup artist, Robin McMillan, a friend of Butt’s from high school.

    “It was Lydia’s first runway show and she totally blew me away,” said Butt. “She looked like she had been doing it for years.”

    Model Lydia Pelchat poses in Cassandra Butt's design. Butt placed third in Western Canada Fashion week with this design. Photo by AnnMarie Aase/Supplied/Cold Lake Sun/QMI Agency

    (Picture:wedding dress)

    Janelle Brown won the emerging designer competition.

    According to Butt, Brown’s design was very avant-garde, but very artistic. “It’s something I would probably see on Sex and the City or something like that.”

    Butt enjoyed the experience so much she wants to return. She plans on entering again in September, as long as she still meets the requirements.

    “Like I said, runway is addicting, and I want to do it again, it was so amazing,” she said. “This time around my mom can be there, and she is my biggest inspiration of them all, so it would be awesome for her to be there for a runway show.”

    If she does get to go back, Butt said she would push the boundaries a little further.

    “If I go back, I need to step it up a notch. I played it a little too safe I think, and if I hadn’t done so, I probably would have placed higher,” she said.

    For now, it’s back to the daily reality of running her shop. Butt is hoping that the competition will bring her more custom work.

    “(Custom work) is where I thrive,” she said. “That’s what I love, the custom design work. It takes a person to put a lot of trust in a designer to trust them to make something that they’re going to like.

    “I’m hoping that this is going to help people to see that I am a professional, I do know what I’m doing, and I love what I do.”

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