A St. Clair Fashion Design graduate has showcased her skillset in shows across North America and is now introducing her own clothing brand, Maison Louise Canada.
Tomoko Oxenfarth graduated from the St. Clair Fashion Design program in 2020 after winning the school's top designer prize. She has shown her collections at Michigan Fashion Week, Toronto Startup Fashion Week and Vancouver Kids Fashion Week. Despite the challenges present during the pandemic, Oxenfarth is ready to showcase her entire Maison Louise Canada collection to the world with a website and social media platforms.
Oxenfarth is a descendant of a Japanese family from Suita, Osaka whose heritage has intertwined with the design industry for over a century. After Oxenfarth graduated from college in Japan studying English Literature, she started a small business but ultimately decided to move to Canada to study Fashion Design at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario.
An opportunity to submit her collection of designs to the Michigan Fashion Week event in Detroit in 2020 introduced Oxenfarth to buyers from some of the biggest brands in the industry.
"In second year, I applied to the Michigan fashion week for their student showcase, and they asked me to produce ten original outfits in one month. It felt impossible, but I knew I could make the deadline," Oxenfarth said. "Once the organizer saw my designs, she liked them so much she added them to the couture collection. I talked to a buyer from Macys, but I didn’t have a website or anything else ready yet. So, I lost that chance, but it pushed me even more to open my own business. And within a year, I opened www.maisonlouise.ca."
The brand name is derived from one of Canada's largest tourist destinations, Lake Louise, Alberta, which Oxenfarth visited many times as a child with her parents. She uses a kaleidoscope of colours in her designs, particularly turquoise, taken from the rich colour of the water in Lake Louise.
The various women's wear and kids' wear items in Maison Louise Canada's collections feature simplistic, yet graceful designs inspired by Oxenfarth’s home country of Japan. The theme for the 2022 spring and summer collection is French Flower Garden.
Elaine Chatwood, coordinator and professor of the Fashion Design Technician program at St. Clair, said as soon as Oxenfarth came into the program her talent was apparent, showing an eye for design and going above and beyond to perfect the skillset she sought to gain in her time at the College.
"Tomoko is a well-organized and has a great work ethic but on top of that she has the eye for detail and the eye for design," said Chatwood. "She really understands the principles of design and does really nice workmanship. I am so proud to see Tomoko has been getting her designs out there for the world to see, even during COVID."
More information about St. Clair’s Fashion Design Technician program can be found at this link - Fashion Design Technician | St. Clair College (stclaircollege.ca)
Follow Maison Louise Canada on Instagram and Facebook: @masionlouisecanada.
- Brett Hedges