Interviews

Izzy Camilleri Discusses New MIZ Collection

She may have designed edgy, fashion forward looks worn by the likes of Meryl Streep and Jeanne Beker, but when 49-year-old Canadian designer Izzy Camilleri goes clothing shopping for herself, she says that she often doesn’t find things to suit her. This, combined with her unique designer perspective, inspired Izzy Camilleri to create her new MIZ by Izzy Camilleri collection aimed at female baby boomers. After doing a bit of research, she found that there was a demographic of fashionable women out there who were searching for something.

“Ninety-nine percent of designers are not speaking to an older woman. They are speaking to the younger generations or they are speaking to celebrities who can wear their stuff so that they can sell it. The thing about the ageing population is that it is the biggest demographic in the world. A lot of people think of older women as not attractive or sexy. At the same time, a woman who is 50 today is not the woman that she was 20 years ago. When I look at my peers, who are the same age that I am, I don’t feel my age at all. I don’t want to dress like my mother. We are all dressing a lot younger these days. At the same time, we are the age that we are physically and we need to take that into consideration.”

Don’t picture the old lady clothes of days gone by though. When Izzy Camilleri debuts the first MIZ collection at Toronto Fashion Week, you won’t see grey-haired models walking the runway. MIZ may be aimed at boomers, but Camilleri promises it is just as fashion forward and sexy as any other collection under the tents.

“There are a lot of differences, but there are a lot of similarities. When you see the collection on the runway it’s a fashionable women’s collection. Our pattern sizing is a little bit bigger than regular sizing. We have taken a more realistic approach to the way that we have cut our patterns. It is about not wanting the collection to look too young…I’m sure a lot of people who look at the collection when it’s walking down the runway, may not even realize what our target is, because it’s still extremely fashionable, on trend and a slick looking collection. But when you are sitting there and you are 55, you can think ‘I could wear that’ instead of thinking ‘Oh my god, I could never wear that.’”

If Camilleri’s ingenuity and out-of- the-box thinking surprises you, then you are not alone. MIZ stemmed from her other collection that is completely unique to the fashion world. The IZ Adaptive Collection is a line of fashionable clothing made specifically for people with disabilities. Izzy takes their needs and even wheelchairs into consideration when creating fashion forward looks for clients around the world. When asked if she enjoys the challenge of going boldly where no designer has gone before, Izzy says she doesn’t see the point in doing the same thing as everyone else.

“I work with these people who are so under-served and so ignored that it is sad that no designers have ever really worked for this demographic. A lot of these people are just like you or me, and could have been in a sports accident or a car accident or they have developed something over time. It is work that is really important and really needed. Whereas regular fashion is not really needed and it’s not really that important. We make it important with celebrities and trends and international runways shows. We have created this big buzz about fashion, but at the end of the day, there is just so much of it. For me to be putting all of my energy there isn’t really needed. To be doing something that is needed, and the clothes are even secondary to what they deliver to my clients. It’s a huge sense of personal satisfaction to be doing something like this.”

MIZ by Izzy Camilleri opens World Mastercard Toronto Fashion Week today at 5:30 pm. Stay tuned for our report on the show and all of the shows during Toronto Fashion Week.



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