Posted Apr 9, 2010 in Events, Made in Canada | 2 Comments

Mtl + T.O. = 1 Canadian Fashion Week

Dear Mtl and T.O Fashion Weeks,

Thanks so much for allowing us to attend both of your stellar events.  We enjoyed ourselves, saw SOME great collections, posted fabulous coverage and met amazing people (bloggers and journalists) during the time we spent in each city.  I would also like to thank Nikon for the use of their COOLPIX S8000, which we used to take all of our pictures and videos at LG Toronto Fashion Week.  All in all, I found the quality to be great including their video capabilities (HD-most def)! The sound is not overbearing like most cameras and their microphones.  It was pretty easy to use (if I took pics and video without using the manual, then anyone can). One thing I found the battery ran out earlier than I expected.  I enjoyed the experience and hopefully will have the opportunity to test another camera for another major event.

Back to the fashion – the recurring point of discussion at both fashion weeks was the fact that many think both fashion weeks would be much stronger for Canadian fashion if they would unite (a sentiment that I have been expressing for many years).  Yes UNITY!

As a country that has 35 million people, it is quite misleading to think that all of a sudden we have enough show-worthy designers to fill an entire week by city.  Even more disheartening is the fact that Ottawa, BC, Alberta and the Maritimes have all thrown in their respective hats to host their own fashion weeks.

The fact that none of the fashion weeks are spectacular enough to attract international media or buyers should say it all.  As an industry vying to promote Canadian designers, it has become too provincial and in some cases way too commercial. Department stores such as Sears should sponsor designers that they would be purchasing versus staging their own shows.  Imagine what could be accomplished by having one national Canadian fashion week featuring 30 – 40 strong lines to do Canada proud.  Then and only then do I think buyers and media from other countries will stand up and take notice.

In a time of economic uncertainty where cutbacks at the various media outlets and amongst buying houses are common and designers do not have the necessary cash to take their show on the road, I think centralizing the fashion weeks, calling it a Canadian Fashion Showcase (or something of the likes) would greatly help all involved.  Here’s an idea, regrouping menswear designers and concentrating them into one day may encourage menswear buyers and publications to attend, buy and/or spread the word.  Our designers who are out there taking the world by storm (Rad Hourani, Erden etc…) have never even shown in Canada (pretty sad).

Superstar retailer Holt Renfrew even held their own private breakfast featuring five labels who shared three pieces from their fall collections while Holt’s Fashion Director Barbara Atkins and television hostess Jeanne Beker hosted a live Q&A with the designers Greta Constantine, Jeremy Laing, Mikhael Kale and Denis Gagnon (the fifth being Lida Baday who ended up calling in sick), endorsing those designers who they feel merit mention.

The driving force behind all fashion weeks is money!  Personally I think that sponsors would benefit considerably from a collaboration between the two major cities (more bang for their buck, hitting both English and French markets). Friday’s, which are usually lost, should be dedicated to a collective show for the public and feature other retail based collections (a la Joe Fresh Style) for the public’s viewing pleasure (keeping designer collections industry oriented).  Hence no fashion gawkers hoarding the places of accredited media.  A weekend trade show featuring more commercial fashion brands and catwalk presentations would also help the cause big time, therefore bringing together designers, manufacturers and retailers to celebrate Canadian fashion. On that note, what about an awards show a la CFDA?

Let’s think of fashion week like the Olympics.  Toronto hosts for one year and then passes the torch to Montreal who then would pass it on to Vancouver (just a thought) to then start all over. Shows should run from 12 noon – 9 pm giving a full day/week of shows.

Enough ranting and suggestions!  Based upon this year’s participants from the 2 larger Canadian fashion weeks, here is my wish list for a proudly Canadian showing (in no particular order of importance): IZMA, VAWK by Sunny Fong, Evan Biddell, David Dixon, Jules Power, Gaudet, Barila, Cocolilly, Bodybag by JUDE, Denis Gagnon, Dimitri Chris, Envers by Yves Jean Lacasse, Helmer, Eve Gravel, Marie Saint Pierre, Micalla, Nadya Toto, Phillip Sparks, Philippe Dubuc, Andy The Anh, Bustle, Orange by Angela Chen, LOVAS Wesley Badanjak, Comrags, Lucian Matis, Basch by Brandon, Rudsak, Zoran Dobric and Pink Tartan.  Those who did not participate but definitely should: M Siamo, Franke Studio, MERCY, Tavan and Mitto, Carlie Wong, Mackage, Romona Keveza, Lizares, Paul Hardy, Greta Constantine, Jeremy Laing, Travis Taddeo, Mikhael Kale, Denis Gagnon, Lida Biday, ComplexGeometries, NADA, Joeffer Caoc, Tassoni Brasil and Thieves. Designers such as Rad Hourani and Erden (to name a few) should be invited to show their collections and inspire the homeland talent.

Now that would be a hell of a week!  If only to dream…

Until next time!

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