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Mark Fast/Calgary/Danier Design Challenge

Person: Mark Fast

Forget Paul Smith and Burberry. After Winnipeg-born Mark Fast became the talk of London Fashion Week for sending decidedly Rubenesque models down the runway in his body-hugging knitwear dresses, Topshop announced on Tuesday that it had enlisted him to design a capsule collection. These sorts of collaborations pop up, er, faster than new episodes of Gossip Girl, but Fast's status as a bona-fide star has transpired at warp speed. Whether his clothing range does better than Kate Moss's designs for Topshop remains to be seen. But for nothing more than drawing more attention to Fast's acceptance of all body types, the high street chain is certainly living up to its name.

Place: Calgary

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Has Cowtown gone haute? All signs point to yes if the retail scene is any indication. Not only is Hermès setting up shop in the country's boot capital this month, but Holt Renfrew will also be unveiling a larger, swankier flagship that includes 5,400 square feet devoted to footwear alone. Finally, Calgary fashionistas will be able to treat themselves to a little Gucci, Jil Sander and Oscar de la Renta without leaving the city limits.

If the urge to leave town does arise, though, new Bentley, Aston Martin and Spyker dealerships will be on hand to offer ultra luxurious modes of transportation. There's only one potential peril in such an influx of posh: a stampede for Birkin bags.

Thing: Danier Design Challenge

In an exercise with echoes of various reality-TV shows - think Project Runway meets Canadian Idol meets Survivor - Toronto-based Danier has teamed up with Ryerson University to launch a jacket-design competition open to third-year fashion students. Over the next 11 weeks, Canadians are invited to vote for their favourites at alongside a panel of experts that includes Globe Style's Jeanne Beker and Tiyana Grulovic. The winner, who gets $5,000 and the inclusion of his or her design in Danier's fall 2010 collection, will be announced on Dec. 21. Two runners-up, meanwhile, get $3,000 and $2,000 respectively. None of them, by the way, will have to eat live crickets or belt out I Will Survive.

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