Introducing the new archival section “CANADIAN FASHION ORGANISATIONS”
There have been many organisations developed to promote CANADIAN FASHION DESIGNERS.
I have posted information from several of these (catalogues and clippings etc.) in the past.
Putting some sort of order (archivists like myself thrive on order, and the minutiae, the who, what, where, when, why) to this has been tricky.
HUGE THANKS to NORMA MENEGUZZI SPALL, for sharing her information, anecdotes, and personal reflections.
Norma’s list is the backbone and catalyst to this new section.
If anyone else has more info, and I know you do, please (and yes I know I am whining, but I know there is so much amazing stuff to add), let me know…
FASHION DESIGNERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA / (FDAC)
Represented 24 of Canada’s top designers including names such as LEO CHEVALIER, MICHEL ROBICHAUD, ROBERT CHERNIN, JOHN WARDEN, CHRISTOPHER RYAN, GABRIEL LEVY, MARILYN BROOKS, WAYNE CLARK, LINDA LUNDSTROM, etc.
A department of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, who provided partial funding
LISA TAYLOR headed up FASHION CANADA and MARY STEPHENSON was the Executive Director of the FDAC
For a time, the FDAC was based in Montreal which is where Mary lived. And then in Toronto when Mary moved to Toronto
FDAC TREND SHOWS
Held two times a year – Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter.
The shows were held in hotel ballrooms and featured capsule Collections from the designers.
The Trend Shows were ‘the’ fashion event to attend. The Shows were shown in Toronto and Montreal.
LEO CHEVALIER was the President of the FDAC.ROBERT CHERNIN later took on the role.
In 1974, I (NORMA) was working for a public relations company called Infoplan. Our client, Borateem Plus, began to work with some of the designers such as PAT MCDONAGH and MARILYN BROOKS in doing education media junkets to promote these designer fashions and Borateem Plus. In 1975, the client wanted a consumer-oriented show to be developed and my role was to find women’s focused charitable groups in major cities who would be interested in undertaking local ticket sales and the sourcing of venues. All proceeds would benefit their cause. It was quite an undertaking but at the time these charities were excited to take on the task. We then worked with FDAC in taking their Spring/Summer Collection to major cities across Canada. The show was called CANADIAN DESIGNER SHOWCASE and we initially went to 10 cities over three weeks. By the time I left Infoplan in 1979, we were going to 30 cities over 6 weeks. It was a two-hour show that became co-sponsored by Air Canada. We travelled as a group of eleven including MARY STEPHENSON. We got tremendous publicity for Canadian fashion and CANADIAN DESIGNER SHOWCASE was instrumental in raising awareness for Canadian designers outside of Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.
The last CANDIAN DESIGNER SHOWCASE was around 1979/1980 and the FDAC, I believe, also disbanded at around that time
TORONTO ONTARIO DESIGNERS (TOD).
Toronto designers MARILYN BROOKS, PAT MCDONAGH, WAYNE CLARK and LINDA LUNDSTROM were instrumental in its start-up.
These designers wanted to make sure that there a formal designer group existed to help promote their Collections
FESTIVAL OF CANADIAN FASHION
The FESTIVAL was STEVEN LEVY’S (ONE OF A KIND SHOWS) brainchild and it took the City by storm opening the event to both trade and consumer audiences
For several years the fashion show was the one to be in and to see.
FESTIVAL OF CANADIAN FASHION was later sold to the City of Toronto
Montreal designers were also banding together and securing provincial funding for their own fashion events. For many years, there was a competition between Montreal and Toronto as to which city was Canada’s fashion capitol.
FASHION INDUSTRY LIASON COMMITTEE
FILC was a division of Toronto’s Economic Development Office.
THE TORONTO FASHION INCUBATOR (TFI)
Formed by the FASHION INDUSTRY LIASON COMMITTEE.
TORONTO FASHION WEEK
The City of Toronto, through FILC, started this week to support the Toronto fashion community and Toronto fashion retailers.
Started in the by BRIAN BAILEY and CAROL OUTRAM with support from the City of Toronto and the government of Ontario.
DESIGNERS ONTARIO showed Ready-to-Wear Collection Shows twice a year.
Designers from Toronto and Montreal participated.
Each designer paid to participate in the shows.
The shows took place in hotel ballrooms throughout the city.
MATINEE FASHION FOUNDATION(MFF)
Matinée (Imperial Tobacco cigarette brand) formed the MATINEE FASHION FOUNDATION(MFF).
The mandate of the MFF was to support Canadian fashion designers by providing grants to help grow their businesses.
In return, the designers receiving grants agreed to promote MFF through hang tags as well as participate in an annual MFF show which toured to three or four major cities in Canada.
Matinee also heavily advertised their grantees in consumer magazines, transit shelter advertising, etc.
The MFF was instrumental in helping major designers such as WAYNE CLARK, PAT MCDONAGH, FRANCO MIRABELLI, BRIAN BAILEY, DAVID DIXON, etc. to grow their businesses.
The MFF would also sponsor breakfasts or the media room at the DESIGNERS ONTARIO READY-TO-WEAR COLLECTIONS shows.
The recession of the early 1990s was brutal and affected the apparel industry considerably. By 1995/1996, Designers Ontario was barely surviving. Government funding for the shows was dwindling as was support/participation from designers. It was simply becoming too expensive for the designers to bear the costs of showing their Collections. At the end of 1996, FRANCO MIRABELLI was named President of DESIGNERS ONTARIO. He and BRIAN BAILEY met to discuss how to keep DESIGNERS ONTARIO afloat and to save the Ready-to-Wear Collections. They went to Matinée and proposed that they become the title sponsor of the Ready-to-Wear collections. Matinee was reluctant to become the sponsor as they already had their own shows to promote the designers they were supporting. Brian and Franco were very persuasive
March 25th 1997
THE MATINEE FASHION READY-TO-WEAR
Participating designers came from Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
On January 27 1997, I was hired as the Event Producer for the first ever MATINEE FASHION READY-TO-WEAR. I had six weeks to pull together a team of people to produce the show as the show was to take place over two days from March 25 to 26 1997. CRYSTAL SIEMENS, FRANCO MIRABELLI, MARILYN BROOKS, and BRIAN BAILEY were the key designers providing support behind the scenes. However, there was much too do including: finding a venue, finding other sponsors (Matinee’s support did not pay for the entire show), finding other designers (18 in total); design and printing of the program, lighting and staging, choreographer, music, etc. etc. It was madness for six weeks but the team pulled it off and on March 25th the MATINEE FASHION READY-TO-WEAR to a full house of media, fashion influencers and retailers at the Masonic Temple on Yonge Street. Everyone knew that Matinée was the white knight saving the day for the Collection shows and in the opening ceremonies, they were given a standing ovation.
In April 1997, I (Norma) was named the new Executive Director of DESIGNERS ONTARIO reporting to FRANCO MIRABELLI who was the President of the Board. One of the first things we did was to introduce non-designers to the Board of Designers Ontario. We brought in fashion influencers such as BERT DEVEAU, Visual Merchandiser at The Bay, RICHARD LOCKHART, Buyer at The Bay, DEBORAH FULSANG, Flare Magazine, JANE HARVEY, lawyer, Jane Harvey and Associates.
Designers on the Board included CRYSTAL SIEMENS, DAVID DIXON, ROSS MAYER, BRIAN BAILEY, MARILYN BROOKS, FRANCO MIRABELLI (PRESIDENT) and ROBIN KAY. Participation in the MFRTW was done by jury selection.
Other sponsors of the show included Mac Cosmetics, Schwartzkopf ProfessionaL. VISA Canada, The Eaton Centre, FASHION Magazine, Bell Mobility, Perrier, Phantom Hosiery, Town Shoes, etc.
In September 1997 MFRTW moved to The Docks where it continued to be held until March 1999. In addition to supporting the Ready-to-Wear, Matinee also ran a consumer advertising campaign to promote the Ready-to-Wear in Toronto.
This would have been the very first time, a sponsor backed the Ready-to-Wear in such a way.
The last show always belonged to the Matinee Fashion Foundation.
Consumer tickets were sold and the show was followed by an ‘after-party’.
My last show was March 1999 and I left DESIGNERS ONTARIO in June 1999. Shortly afterwards, I was named to the Board of the MATINEE FASHION FOUNDATION. Pending government regulations banning tobacco company advertising and sponsorship of events was looming. Matinee’s last sponsorship of the Ready-to-Wear Collections was September 1999. The Matinee Fashion Foundation shut down around 2001/2002. In September 1999, the last MFRTW took place under the tents on a Cumberland Avenue parking lot. Torrential rain with gale force winds almost toppled the tents but the show went on with a few behind-the-scene calamities due to the storm! Media was becoming disenchanted with a cigarette company sponsoring the shows and resultant press was often not complimentary.
DESIGNERS ONTARIO went back to the lean years and struggled to figure out how to continue the momentum created by Matinee’s support of the designer Collections
MARILYN BROOKS took over as President of the Board and worked tirelessly to ensure that some semblance of show was produced for March 2000.
With ROBIN KAY’S support, they managed to secure support from the Windsor Arms Hotel and a smaller presentation of a few designers took place in March 2000
FASHION DESIGN COUNCIL OF CANADA
ROBIN KAY and MARILYN BROOKS were the founders of the FASHION DESIGN COUNCIL OF CANADA.
ROBIN KAY became the President of the FDCC
The Windsor Arms was the home for the shows.
L’OREAL PROFESSIONAL PRESENTS TORONTO FASHION WEEK
L’OREAL PROFESSIONAL announced that they would become the title sponsor of TORONTO FASHION WEEK.
The first-ever L’OREAL PROFESSIONAL PRESENTS TORONTO FASHION WEEK took place at The Liberty Grand in March 2002.
L’Oreal remained the title sponsor of TORONTO FASHION WEEK until 2008.
During this time, ROBIN KAY worked tirelessly to bring in new sponsors and new designers.
Designers from Milan were featured over the years, causing some controversy. One of the sponsors brought in during this time was LG. A key to attracting more sponsorship was increasing consumer attendance. Tickets were sold to evening shows and parties. A buzz started to happen as the shows became a ‘fashion happening’ in the City attracting a cool, hip crowd. Efforts were put into attracting well-known society types and fashion influencers. JOE MIMRAN became Chair of the FDCC Board. Other board members introduced included Lynda Price and Lorne Gertner. Controversy began to develop around the FDCC and a petition was started to remove ROBIN KAY from her position of President of FDCC. Designers were unhappy that the FDCC was not acting as a membership-driven organization and not giving designers a say in the Shows. Shows moved from The Liberty Grand to another larger CNE venue. Media were being charged $100 to cover the shows.
LG TORONTO FASHION WEEK.
L’Oreal remained the beauty sponsor.
The shows moved from the CNE to a tent at Toronto’s Nathan Phillip’s Square and to later at David Pecaut Square, it’s current home.
Controversy continued to surround Robin Kay and the FDCC. The Board of Directors for the FDCC dropped from a group of 10 people to four – Robin Kay, Joe Mimran, Lorne Gertner and Lynda Price. Aside from showing in Toronto Fashion Week, designers were shut out of any decision-making at the FDCC. The FDCC stopped promoting industry membership. Promotion and advertising of consumer tickets increased. Bigger sponsors were added such as Mercedes Benz, Rowenta, etc.
WORLD MASTERCARD TORONTO FASHION WEEK
In August 2012, the FDCC announced it had been sold to IMG, producers of FASHION WEEK in several cities including London, Berlin, Paris, etc.