Photography by Irina Luca

For fall/winter 2011, Wesley Badanjak, the outspoken designer behind the womenswear label Lovas, went back to his family’s roots and was inspired by the cultural integration of his mother and her twin sister. Emigrating from Croatia, it was the challenges they met blending Croatian culture and Canadian reality that inspired the contrasts in his collection. Modern tailoring and shiny, metallic fabrics were contrasted with the vintage-inspired knitwear of the collection.

A shiny silver and red floral taffeta print dress, which was reminiscent of Erdem,and a wool cocoon coat paired with a cotton pussy bow shirt and double-knit slim pants demonstrated that duality with their melding of traditional and modern elements. The clothes also managed to balance sexy and modest with body skimming office appropriate designs that were equal parts coquettish and business like.

We caught up with Toronto-based designer after the show to talk about his sartorial journey back to the past.


FILLER Magazine (FM): What was your inspiration for your fall/winter 2011 collection?

The inspiration stemmed from the idea of cultural integration and the blending of cultures and the experience my mom and her sister had [when they emigrated to Canada from Croatia].

FM: So how does that manifest in the palette?

The palette was dictated by the fabric. I found those prints at first so I was pulling colours from the prints. I was pulling the navy, that very rich orange-y red, pulling out the charcoal grays and trying to compliment those prints and by chance it ended up being a dark collection which I’m not know for, I usually do lots of colour.

FM: What was the design experience like?

I was done in January. So I’ve been done for a while because the collection was in Montreal selling but it was fast and furious this season. To be honest the inspiration came when I found those prints and everything just started coming out. I’ve never had that where I’ve sketched the whole collection out in a couple weeks, usually it’s a few here and a few there, but this just came out of me

FM: Was there a piece that was particularly challenging?

Working with velvet is always a nightmare and especially with silk velvet, which is a double nightmare, it’s just so hard to do. So getting those pieces to drape right and to fit right, on a technical standpoint was satisfying.

FM: You founded Lovas in 2008. How have you grown as a designer?

Every season it’s huge growth. Most people know I do most of it myself, I cut my patterns myself and I think that’s where the growth comes because as time goes on you get more and more knowledgeable in creating garments and making things more complicated so your true vision can actually come out.

FM: What’s next for Lovas? Are there any plans for expansion?

For fall we’ve expanded now and we’ll be available for the fall season from the east coast all the way to Saskatchewan so we are selling to more and more locations, we’re available now in a bunch of provinces, which is great, and I hope within a year we’ll be national so that you can get Lovas in every province in the country

FM: Do you think your Croatian background has an influence not only on you designs but how you function as a designer?

For sure. Different cultures work different ways. Croatian culture, we’re a very tight knit community. My closest friends are all Croatian and I’ve known them since I was 11, we speak Croatian at home, eat Croatian food, go to Croatian church, I danced folklore for 21 years and taught for 15. It’s so much a part of my life that everything that I do has a bit of that in it