With what seemed to be the final designer showing last week for spring/summer looks, Toronto has beamed over the month as Canada's top designers have shown they are "moving fashion forward." Though there were many happenings, the main event was World MasterCard Fashion Week 2014 Spring/Summer runway shows. We asked some fashion insiders for their take on the week, and why buying Canadian these days is trending.
The Grid columnist and leading go to film and print stylist Loretta Chin has been a fixture at the shows for years. Her stand outs for these shows? Mackage, Pink Tartan, Mikael D, JNBY & Bustle
Chin who has always looked for ways to showcase Canadian designers feels, "[Canadian] designers are often challenged by lack of resources and a smaller marketplace so the fact that they shine in this environment is all the more noteworthy and should be acknowledged. We shouldn't only be consumers of the global market but producers. It serves our economy and creates jobs."
The discerning eye of Magnet Creative Management and Stylist Box fashion maven Gail McInnes was very much present during the week. Her top selects? Maison Matthew Gallagher, Caitlin Power, and Melissa Nepton. A very big booster of Canadian designers in all that she does, she points out that, "many of them source and manufacture in Canada enabling high quality and unique designs." She was seen wearing Canadian designers such as MATIS by Lucian Matis, Skinny Sweat and Hilary MacMillan. And to prove she walks the talk? She wears at least one Canadian piece of clothing or accessories every day. We like.
Leesa Butler, Founder of the F-list.ca, is a trusted veteran of the fashion industry in Canada, so her take was a must for this piece. One designer that stood out for her was Mackage. And why? The line provides a wearable addition to her seasonal wardrobe and they have gorgeous options for any season. On buying Canadian? She points out that, "Canadian-made fashion is naturally going to be more expensive because it costs more to produce in Canada. But that (usually) means high quality craftsmanship so consider that worth (the expense)." She suggests that, "designers design for a particular type of customer, so find out who's designing for you -- your body, your personality -- and you'll have a long-lasting relationship." Smart strategy. Put a face to name. And it all starts with? She is all about finding a great salesperson can help you find the right match.
Founder and EIC, I want -- I gotAnita Clarke never holds back on how she feels, so that's why we wanted to check in with her. What she was wearing? Philip Sparks, Whitney Linen, 3.1 Phillip Lim. On most wearable? Joe Fresh and Target. Most wearable from the designer collections? Pink Tartan and Whitney Linen. On why we should buy Canadian? She feels that, "Canada has designers here and abroad that do amazing and diverse work. There is something for everyone but you need to seek it out." Takeaway? Spend the time and you will not be disappointed.
Stephen Cooper, director of his own consulting company, was a popular fella during the week as he welcomed attendees into the stylish world of Peroni, one of the key partners of the week. He did make time to see some of the shows. A stylish man himself, he was excited to inject a lot of colour into his closet after seeing the always memorable Bustle show. His key to surviving the week? Footwear that was not only stylish but comfortable. And why you should buy Canadian? He feels that, "no matter what your style, there is a homegrown designer that you will fall in love with, and the exploration is all part of the fun." Exploration being fun? Check. On what is trending now? Bragging rights that you are wearing Canadian. His go to looks throughout the week? Joe Fresh-V-neck sweater along with a complimenting printed dress shirt with a navy Hugo Boss suit. Final garnish? A Mackage long wool coat. This man knows. Men, listen.
Special shout outs should go to the team who is behind Mercedes Benz Start Up which once again put the spotlight on emerging designers who are the stars of tomorrow.
On the happiest fashion show you may ever may see? Target impressed with a show that ended with special guest Bullseye taking the cake for "model of the week" as His Royal "Dogness" paraded down the runway making everyone swoon.
Kudos to all the producers (IMG officially runs the week), organizers, partners, publicists, and everyone puts on WMC Fashion Week. It is not easy to envision a world class event, so their efforts should be noticed. Yes, room for growth, but they are laying the ground work to build consumer interest for years to come. "Fashion Saturday," a consumer focused experience is something to build on for future WMC Fashion Weeks.
In the "why didn't I think of that" category, Pamela Simon launched a new line at an off-site show will make you re-think mitts and purses forever. Relevant for the fall/winter season.
And finally, Greta Constantine. Their presentation wowed last week on so many levels. They are at the top of their game in terms of how they market, and what they create. Some sneak peeks here from the spring/summer 2014 collection here c/o the George Pimentel.
So what is the takeaway here? Canadian fashion designers are doing some world class work that should not only be noticed, but should be purchased. Not because it's Canadian. Because it looks world class, it feels world class, and it is world class. So seek them out. If stores don't carry Canadian, ask why. Or share Canadian designers you like and why you think they should carry them. A store selling Canadian designers that has been mentioned of late is Shopgirls.
Fashion is an art (and should have access to funding accordingly) and these designers proved once again that they are designers that can compete on the world stage.
Buy Canadian because they are worth it and so are you.