Toronto-based fashion designer Chizoba Udeh-Martin is going viral thanks to the stunning couture gown she crafted using toilet paper as a way to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Via Cashmere Bathroom Tissue’s Vote Couture for the Cure initiative, 16 leading Canadian designers — including Udeh-Martin — transformed the brand’s toilet paper into unbelievably striking and fashionable gowns. The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite dress daily — and for every vote, the toilet paper brand has pledged to donate $1 (CAD) to The Canadian Cancer Society and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.
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Nicknamed “Zoba,” the designer’s eponymous fashion label creates everything from couture ready-to-wear clothing to bridal gowns. For this year, the toilet paper brand’s initiative — dubbed “The NEW Belle Époque Cashmere Collection” — Udeh-Martin was tasked with creating a gown “inspired by the innovative, boundary-pushing turn-of-20th Century France.”
“This dress was designed in honor of my aunt Nneka who battled breast cancer before passing on, she had the most beautiful smile,” Udeh-Martin said in an Instagram post on Oct. 1. “The lines across the chest represent the scars from mastectomy and the crystals poured into the vulva area represent the shine, strength and beauty in femininity. I also love hair braiding so the braided strands are my way of weaving both skills together for the first time,”
“Taking this moment to honour everyone that passed on as a result of breast cancer, admiring the survivors and encouraging us to remember to feel for lumps 🎀✨,” she mentioned at the end of her caption.
In a TikTok, she recently shared showcasing her laborious process of handcrafting the garment, Udeh-Martin highlighted the delicate “softness” of the bathroom tissue she used.
In the clip, viewers can see her sewing, pinning, pleating, braiding and going in on every detail of her design as she brought it to life. At the end of the video, the designer says, “Oh my God,” as she records herself reacting to a separate clip of a fashion show attendee saying, “Gorgeous,” as he saw the gown hit the runway.
People expressed their amazement at Udeh-Martin’s talent and process in the comments. They said things like:
“the talent that this needed,”
“OH MY GOD JAW DROPPED,”
and “Absolutely beautiful and talented [heart emoji].”
In the spirit of Cashmere’s French theme this year, the designer set the clip to the song “La Vie En Rose” by Emily Watts.
Udeh-Martin started Zoba Martin in 2016.
Born in Eastern Nigeria, the designer is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and the LaSalle School of Fashion Design.
“Seemingly drawing on global influences, Chizoba turns out unique, hyper-flattering feminine clothes and gowns, bridal and otherwise, from her Toronto studio,” reads a post on the fashion brand’s Instagram account. It further highlighted Udeh-Martin’s “evident gifts for artisitcally draping, rouching, pouffing and pleating delicate fabrics” — all of which were skills that helped her execute her extravagant Cashmere Collection 2021 design.
Your chance to vote for Udeh-Martin in the contest ends on Oct. 31. If you’d like to take sewing classes taught by Udeh-Martin or are interested in learning more about her and her couture designs, find more information here.
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