Unconventional Weaves

For Montreal-based couturier Antonio Ortega, fashion is being one step closer to inciting a social movement and evolution he often imagines himself to be part of.
Here are a few things you should know about him

Ortega discovered his passion for fashion at the age of 8. One day, he secretly took his mother’s sewing machine for the sake of designing what was his first dress ever with the help of a pattern he stumbled upon in a magazine. “I turned to fashion to express myself, my sense of appreciation for the aesthetic and the form of the human body, and the desire to create a movement,” he says.

Originally from Morelia, which is a culturally rich metropolis in Mexico, he had the privilege to study at Instituto Modstil where he learnt other disciplines such as theatre, classical and contemporary dance, folklore, music, design, sculpture, painting, and singing. As a matter of fact, they are all still his passions.

Ortega’s fashion dream brought him to Paris in 2001 to study haute couture at the prestigious fashion school ‘Atelier Chardon Savard’. Not satisfied with just mastering theory, he decided to become an apprentice for well-known French designer Dominique Sirop at the same time. It guaranteed him a chance to hone his skills in couture on a more practical level.

Having spent this invaluable time under the aegis of Sirop, he quickly went on to launch his eponymous label the same year. What we have got out of that is Ortega’s edgy yet cool designs that reflect his Mexican-Canadian-French roots blended with his cosmopolitan and multiple life experience. “I love to mix noble materials with technologically advanced fibres and natural ones,” he says.

He is always pushing the envelope with new possibilities like tattoos on leather, patchy finishing. He is also great at juxtaposing neoprene and waterproof material with silk, cotton, cashmere and bamboo. “I just enjoy doing the unthinkable,” Ortega admits. “I feel emboldened by it.”

Ortega’s bold and gorgeous pieces are designed to suit the style of women who are audacious, sensual and elegant. “They constantly enjoy physical sensation, have a lot of self-confidence and feel good about their bodies,” he says. “Touching their senses is what I tend to emphasise upon.”

When it comes to fondly selecting his muses, Ortega is mostly fascinated by opposites and contrasts —the line where the sky and ocean meet, where sadness turns into laughter. “Those are the places where my ideas start coming to me in droves,” he says.

You can read more about this trailblazer designer in our April issue.