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The collection ‘Layers Upon Layers’ focuses on the use of layers of fabric, garments and textiles. Concentrating on these aspects allowed the collection to coincide with the theme of Fashion Arts Toronto this year, which is ‘We Are All In This Together’. This is reflected by the understanding that we are all layers within society, within communities, and within the city of Toronto. Each cultural background or different ethnicity represents a layer within. All these ‘layers’ help form the societal fabric that we have created here in Toronto.

On March 14th 2020 COVID-19 shut everything down and everything stopped. This was especially true for the label even though this was Nova and Jeff’s 10 year anniversary from when they first met . While in the midst of finishing the 'Layers Upon Layers' Spring/Summer 2021 collection the whole outlook changed, as did the inspiration. While still following the original layers upon layers concept, the collection turned its attention to a new direction, which was the clothing that the hospital workers were wearing. While looking at the clothing they currently wear, it appeared plain and dull except for the face shields. After researching the clothing that the doctors and nurses wore during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, that clothing was much more structured, tailored, layered and sophisticated. Details such as A-Line silhouettes, pleated masks, wide cap shoulders, and high-collars were considered standard attire for the hospital workers 100 years ago. This helped influence and inspire the collection. 

The textiles choices for this collection involve light and heavy fabrics in which some have lifelike miniature bowls and trays of food embedded into them as ornamental details. The accessories that have been chosen are decorative face shields and keepsake boxes. Face shields are an unique piece of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that have been embellished with motifs and sequin encrusted edges. The keepsake boxes were originally meant for jewelry but now they have been filled with more meaningful items that represent essential workers such as; health care workers, protective service workers (police and EMTs), cashiers in grocery and general merchandise stores, production and food processing workers, janitors and maintenance workers, agricultural workers, and truck drivers.

As the start of the pandemic in North America was on Nova and Jeff’s 10 year anniversary, a wedding dress was created to mark the occasion. “The thought of white puts me off.” Nova has always stated, but these times are different, as is Nova. She decided to create a wedding dress that has been dedicated to all the brides who had to postpone their big day due to the pandemic. This dress represents a resiliency to obstacles and that no matter what is thrown our way, we can resolve anything and come out of difficulties stronger than when we went into them.

With all of these elements of research and design; a modern day, fashion forward collection was developed, created, and inspired by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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