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HomeArts & CultureTyagi warms up with THAW clothing line

Tyagi warms up with THAW clothing line

“Black. Clean. Simple.” These are the three words Halifax fashion designer Akshay Tyagi uses to describe his own personal style.

“I keep it as neutral as I can. I don’t want to think about myself when I’m dressing. I want it to be easy to get up and go,” says Tyagi, 23. “I’m lucky if I can get as far as cutting my nails and shaving my beard.”
Tyagi’s “no muss, no fuss” approach to his own appearance is a matter of function. He has been busy working around the clock since June to get his 2010 spring/summer collection ready for Atlantic Fashion Week (AFW).

His first solo show, entitled “THAW”, is sure to be anything but simple. The collection is presented in shades of gray and white, with sheer materials like chiffon, set against opaque fabrics to create visual tension. Tyagi says each piece is heavily inspired by the winters of Halifax, the concept of melting and the moment of transition into spring. His 16 looks include women’s dresses, skirts and coats, as well as accessories such as organza scarves that are textured like the Eastern shoreline.

“My biggest inspiration was the drive along St. Margaret’s bay where along the cove the ocean is frozen over but the rocks crack through the surface,” says Tyagi, who is also inspired by designers such as Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior.

“I saw that little moment and I knew I wanted to make something.”

Halifax winters and the East Coast winds are definitely not environments that Tyagi is used to. Born in India where he completed the International Baccalaureate Art program, Tyagi came to Canada and enrolled in NSCAD. He was 18. Last year he graduated with a BFA. He majored in textiles and minored in fashion.

Since graduation, he’s been working as an associate manager at Club Monaco six days a week. Tyagi also participated in last year’s AFW, and was a top-three finalist in Argyle Fine Art’s Off the Cuff competition.

“This is not going to be your typical runway fashion show,” says Tyagi. “I want this show to be more than a runway. I want people to walk away from an experience, thinking about what they just witnessed.”

“THAW” is in collaboration with the young women’s choir, Camerata Xara. The 24-piece choir will be functioning both as Tyagi’s models and soundtrack, creating an avant-garde style performance.

Tyagi’s models come in all different shapes and sizes. From size double zero and under five-feet, to size 14 and six-feet tall, Tyagi is not limited in the shapes that he can dress. “There’s variety,” says Tyagi.

“They all have different personalities but come together as a group. They’re intense performers. They do not at all step away from any challenge. This event, for them, is an attempt to push their own boundaries.”

A self-described trendsetter, Tyagi hopes that his collection will inspire everyday people to push their own fashion limits as well, and not be too afraid to wear something a little more edgy.

“You wear clothes every day, so why not have fun with it?”

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