STYLE

As Joe Mimran steps down from Joe Fresh, a look at 5 noteworthy moments for label

03/17/2015 04:19 EDT | Updated 05/17/2015 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Joe Mimran surprised many in the fashion and retail world by stepping down from Joe Fresh, the famed brand that bears his name.

As Mimran cedes control of the label he's led since its launch nearly a decade ago, here's a look at the five noteworthy moments in the life of the affordable apparel brand.

1. JOE FRESH DROPS "STYLE" FROM BRAND NAME

When the label launched in 2006 with men's and women clothing, it was introduced by parent company Loblaw Cos. Ltd. (TSX:L) as Joe Fresh Style. The low-priced lined was initially only available at select Superstores.

The brand continued to evolve, introducing children's wear in 2007, cosmetics in 2009 and its first stand-alone store in Vancouver in 2010.

As the fast-growing brand forged forward, the label dropped "Style" from its official moniker in 2011.

2. MARQUEE MODELS ON THE RUNWAY

Prior to pulling the plug on runway presentations last fall, Joe Fresh shows at Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week were among the biggest draws on the event's calendar.

The label generated big buzz by enlisting some of the fashion industry's top talents to take part in its showcase.

In 2008, Toronto-born, Richmond B.C.-raised supermodel Coco Rocha was 19 when she made her Canadian debut on the Joe Fresh runway to cheers and applause.

American model Crystal Renn also made a splash walking for Joe Fresh, as did strutting fashion legend Pat Cleveland, whose career dates to the '70s modelling for fashion heavyweights like Halston.

3. SCOUTS CANADA STYLE REDESIGN

Scouts Canada uniforms got a Fresh makeover for the first time in two decades when the label partnered with Canada's largest youth organization to revamp its official ensembles in 2011.

The redesign was a collaborative process between the two camps, in addition to consultations with thousands of Scouts members.

Canadian flags were featured in the retooled design, which also saw the emergence of spruced-up colours and the elimination of badges on sashes for Cubs and Scouts, who now wear the symbols of achievement on their sleeves.

4. BANGLADESH FACTORY COLLAPSE

The production practices of Joe Fresh and other brands were in the spotlight following the fatal building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which claimed more than 1,100 lives.

Items carried by the Canadian label were among those produced on-site, but a number of other clothing makers were also housed within the illegally constructed Rana Plaza.

In the aftermath of the 2013 tragedy, Loblaw provided financial compensation to workers and contributed $1 million to Save the Children Bangladesh and the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, in support of programming for workers in the garment industry.

Loblaw also teamed with several retailers in signing an agreement to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh. The pact required the companies conduct independent safety inspections, make their reports on factory conditions public and cover expenses for needed repairs.

5. JOE GOES GLOBAL

The label has grown well beyond its supermarket origins to stand-alone stores and locations beyond Canada's borders.

Joe Fresh is available in more than 340 retail locations, including 16 freestanding and studio stores, and operates six freestanding stores in the U.S. The label's products are also available in more than 650 J.C. Penney stores.

Joe Fresh opened its first storefront outside North America with a flagship in Seoul which launched last year.

The rollout in Korea is part of a four-year plan to launch 141 Joe Fresh stores in 23 countries, including in the Middle East, North Africa, eastern Europe and South America.

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