CANADIAN CELEBRITY FASHION: WAYNE GRETZKY

SEARS CANADA IS PUTTING HOCKEY-LEGEND-WAYNE-GRETZKY’S NAME BACK ON A CLOTHING LABEL. “THE GREATS” FIRST NAME-ON-A-LABEL VENTURE WAS WITH THE HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY IN 1999 WHERE HIS NAMESAKE LABEL WAS COMPRISED OF CORPORATE CASUAL ESSENTIALS. AFTER SEVERAL SUCCESFUL SEASONS, IT WAS DISCONTINUED FOR UNDISCLOSED REASONS. WELCOME BACK WAYNE!

April 23, 2015 Updated : April 23, 2015 | 11:45 am

METRO

WAYNE GRETZKY

Sears Canada Inc. announced Thursday that it is partnering with Wayne Gretzky to launch a new line of better casual menswear in the fall of 2015, exclusive to Sears.

The struggling retailer has also scooped up the popular Cherokee clothing line and Liz Lange Maternity, both of which were exclusive to Target Canada before it closed its last stores earlier this month.

The Cherokee and Liz Lange lines will launch at Sears in the spring of 2016.

The partnerships were announced by Sears Canada president and chief executive officer Ron Boire at the Sears Canada annual general meeting, held at head office at Toronto Eaton Centre Thursday morning.

Boire spent little time discussing the department store retailer’s dismal 2014 performance, focusing instead on what lies ahead.

The company recorded a net loss of $338.8 million in fiscal 2014.

“Clearly 2014 was a year of transition,” said Boire.

Boire said the company will continue to focus on selling high-quality products at fair prices to attract consumers and on cutting costs. It plans to bulk up in areas with higher margins where it does well, such as mattresses, while exiting electronics in full-line department stores.

It will continue to invest in technology, launching a new website next month.

Sears Canada remains open to the idea of more real estate deals, Boire said.

The most recent deal saw Sears Canada sell three properties in B.C. and Alberta to a real estate development firm for $140-million and lease them back.

The Gretzky clothing line will provide men with a “neat, contemporary look centered on reinventing the classics,” according to the details of a company release.

“The Wayne Gretzky brand will give men a complete look that can be worn from the office to dinner, from the arena to the café. Featuring knit tops, pants and sports jackets starting at $39.99, this new brand focuses on classic pieces with rich fabrics such as mercerized cottons, cashmeres and merino wool.”

http://metronews.ca/news/canada/1348802/sears-canada-teams-up-with-wayne-gretzky-for-menswear-line/#

About 550 cheering fans attended Wayne Gretzky’s official launch of his new collection of corporate casual essentials for fall 1999 on October 2 at the Bay department store in Vancouver, Canada.

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CANADIAN DESIGNERS ABROAD: ERDEM

I’M CALLING THIS THE “ERDEM” ISSUE…
THE BRITISH (BUT FROM CANADA) WOMENSWEAR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR GETS SOME NICE ATTENTION:

VOGUE  MARCH 2015

VOGUE
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IN A MULTI PAGE AD FOR NEIMAN MARCUS;

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ERDEM
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“A NICE MENTION “AND, YES, IN THOSE DREAMY NUMBERS FROM ERDEM AND ROBERTO CAVALLI”;

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ERDEM
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A FULL PAGE IN AN EDITORIAL ON PLATFORM SHOES “WHAT TO WEAR WHERE” TOPPING A PAIR OF GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI DESIGN PLATFORMS;

ERDEM VOGUE  MARCH 2015

ERDEM
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ON AN IVANKA TRUMP BIO, INSTEAD OF ONE FROM HER OWN COLLECTION;

ERDEM VOGUE  MARCH 2015

ERDEM
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MARCH 2015

COUNT ‘EM, THREE, YES, THREE, PAGES OF BIO;

ERDEM VOGUE  MARCH 2015

ERDEM
VOGUE
MARCH 2015

ERDEM VOGUE  MARCH 2015

ERDEM
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MARCH 2015

ERDEM VOGUE  MARCH 2015

ERDEM
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AND IN AN EDITORIAL ON WHITE, ONE IN A GROUP OF MAJOR TALENT;

ERDEM VOGUE  MARCH 2015

ERDEM
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MARCH 2015

BRAVO ERDEM!

Posted in CANADIAN DESIGNERS, CANADIAN DESIGNERS ABROAD, JAMES FOWLER | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

O CANADA / CANADIAN HERITAGE MINUTE

We started from the bottom and now the people will know we were here.

HERITAGE MOMENT

https://www.historicacanada.ca/blog/a-part-ovo-heritage/

An amazing minute for Historica Canada, the organization bringing-Canada-to-Canadians with their “Canadians Heritage Minutes”. This time they give us a mash-up video showcasing some of Canadian history’s greatest moments, set to the beat of Drake’s “Started from the Bottom”.

Find Historica Canada @

https://www.historicacanada.ca/blog/a-part-ovo-heritage/

Posted in CANADIAN ARTISTS, CANADIAN CULTURE, JAMES FOWLER, O CANADA | Tagged , , | Comments Off

CANADIAN DESIGNERS: SID NEIGUM

Sid Neigum’s Mathematical Approach

BOF NEIGUM

This month, our Spotlight shines on Canadian designer Sid Neigum, whose preoccupation with mathematics has spawned collections that are anything but formulaic.

Sid-Neigum business of fashion 16 04 2015

TORONTO, Canada — Although Sid Neigum grew up watching his grandmother make outfits for his sister from scratch (his grandmother’s pattern-less dressmaking methodology still informs his work today), like Giorgio Armani before him, the Canadian designer planned to become a physician before he turned his attention to fashion design. Indeed, the Alberta-born designer, and self-professed maths nerd, studied science at university for one year until, following a Eureka moment in 2009, he enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and took up a place as an intern at Yigal Azrouël. As a student, Neigum showed at various fashion weeks across Canada, but he has made Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week his home since 2011. In 2012, Neigum won the Toronto Fashion Incubator New Labels award, receiving C$25,000.

In the past 12 months, Neigum has won C$30,000 (about US $24,000) from the Mercedes-Benz StartUp competition, funding to stage his Autumn/Winter 2015 show, which took place in Toronto in March of this year, and, C$10,000 from the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards. In addition, the designer is one of ten selected to participate in the British Fashion Council’s Next in Line exhibition, part of the International Fashion Showcase. Finally, in what has been a banner year for the emerging designer, Neigum was recently invited to apply for the prestigious annual ANDAM fashion award.

“I like to fuse the high-tech with the artisanal,” says Neigum, standing in the century-old building that houses his shared studio in Toronto’s West End, where he works with his seamstress. Central to Neigum’s aesthetic is modular origami. He discovered the technique nearly two years ago on a fabric-sourcing trip to Paris. Neigum begins by folding paper into a module, and assembling modules to form a larger structure. Neigum’s favoured material for the clothes using this process is double bonded nylon with polyurethane sandwiched in between, a fabric that lends itself well to laser cutting and holding structure.

Creating a single garment takes a minimum of eight hours, and involves laser cutting the fabric before folding it into hundreds of modules, and finally sewing the modules together by hand. The resulting dimensionality brought to the garment is reminiscent of some of the work of celebrated Japanese designers such as Junya Watanabe, but the approach is his own. Neigum’s collections also include garments constructed using a single sheet of paper for a pattern. Italian designer Massimo Vignelli, who works in packaging design, was a key inspiration of Neigum’s for the last two seasons. Instead of folding a single piece of cardboard to form a box, Neigum folds a single piece of fabric to create a garment.

For this month’s Spotlight, Neigum has designed a custom BoF logo that incorporates his signature modular origami. The “O” is comprised of 18 identical modules, which are woven together and hand sewn in place.

Web

Retailers have taken notice. The line is carried by Jonathan+Olivia in Toronto, ØDD in New York, Des Kohan in Los Angeles and Eizenstien in London. Historically, Canadian department stores are slow to embrace home-grown talent. As a result, arguably, Neigum’s crowning achievement to date is securing prime floor space in The Room at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto. “Women who are buying into big European brands like Alaïa are also buying into Sid’s collection,” says Nicholas Mellamphy, buying director at The Room. “When a consumer has the ability to buy anyone but buys someone new, it shows that the designer has the ability to penetrate the market.”

Looking to the future, Neigum is focused on scaling his manufacturing and growing his retail presence. He also dreams of having a research lab to develop and test his ideas. “Myself, an engineer, an industrial designer, an architect — people that have the technical skills and know-how, and together, we’d go nuts.”

http://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/spotlight/sid-neigums-mathematical-approach

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CANADIAN DESIGNERS / SID NEIGUM

Why Sid Neigum is the Canadian designer to watch right now

One-man-show Sid Neigum on what it takes to make it as a Canadian designer in the international fashion world.

SID NEIGUM 1

Mar 05, 2015
By Ava Baccari

SID NEIGUM 2

It would be really easy to lose sight of Sid Neigum in his Toronto studio were it not for his quick movements. Dressed entirely in black, he blends in with the puddles of dark fabric that have spilled over into the crisp white space.

When I arrive, he emerges from behind a rolling rack of black scarves and darts over to a skirt from his latest collection. Taking it from the mannequin, he tries it on himself to demonstrate its movement. “He really is the best model!” shouts Yin, his seamstress, from a sewing table across the room.

Neigum grins and leads me to a lounge where we sit down to chat, away from the distractions of the work in progress. But this doesn’t temper his frenetic energy. He fidgets constantly, and I imagine his mind racing with ideas in much the same way. When he speaks, though, he is calmly assured—all his hard work has led, finally, to a breakthrough: “Support from Canadian retailers has been really difficult to get,” says the Edmonton-born designer. “But now that’s changing for me.”

For the first time since Neigum launched his eponymous label in 2009, his clothes have been picked up by two major Canadian retailers: His spring/summer 2015 collection, an architectural feat inspired by modular origami, is now available at The Room at Hudson’s Bay and Toronto boutique Jonathan Olivia. Neigum, who produces every garment in his Toronto studio with Yin, worked right through the Christmas holidays to get those orders finished for February.

No easy task: His designs feature intricate laser-cut details, meticulous draping and careful folding, demonstrating a mastery of technique that puts him leaps ahead of his peers. Few attendees were surprised when that collection won him the Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto last October.

The $30,000 prize, which helped fund Neigum’s fall/winter 2015 collection and runway presentation, seems to be part of an ongoing winning streak for the young designer, who most recently claimed the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent, Fashion, at the glitzy 2015 Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards gala in January.

Beyond indicating that Neigum might just be the most exciting young talent working in Canada now, these cash prizes have enabled him to financially break even for the first time in four years. But the designer, who graduated from New York’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology, is the first to admit that they’re not enough to guarantee long-term financial security—Jeremy Laing, after all, won an inaugural CAFA award in 2014 and quietly closed up shop the same year. “That money only lasts so long, so you need to think about a way to have longevity,” says Neigum, adding that the business side of the industry can be foreign to many designers.

Having a father who is a business owner has given him a critical advantage, says Neigum. Susan Langdon, executive director of Toronto Fashion Incubator, where Neigum’s studio is located, has seen that paternal advice at work. She describes how Neigum invested early prize money to attend the Coterie trade show in New York and a fabric-sourcing event in Seoul and to hire a sample maker. “He has talent and wonderful designs, of course, but he’s a smart business person as well, and that’s why his business is now accelerating.”

Neigum also knows how to put himself out there, constantly emailing and cold-calling stores he wants to be sold in. “It’s like a global attack,” he says, shifting forward to the edge of the couch. “I’ll try to get an appointment with anybody and then fly to that city and try to lock down a sale.” He leans back and lowers his voice. “I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Often the conversation about the struggle faced by Canadian designers turns to examples like Erdem and DSquared2, who both reached international acclaim only after leaving Canada. But, according to Neigum, the solution is not as simple as making a break for London or Milan. “I would never be able to have this in either of those cities,” he says, gesturing to his vast studio space and noting that the monthly rent of $1,000 would likely be 10 times that amount elsewhere. “It wouldn’t be feasible, plain and simple.”

But staying at home comes with the unique challenge of attracting attention from local and international markets, both of which are apprehensive about taking a chance on Canadian labels. “American designers get huge support from their own retailers, and then they’re able to start expanding into Europe and Asia,” says Neigum. “But Canadian retailers buy more conservatively; they follow what’s happening in New York rather than make their own judgments. I think Nicholas Mellamphy [vice-president and buying director] of The Room at Hudson’s Bay is someone who’s going against that grain.”

Neigum intuitively knew that being carried at The Room was critical to his success in Canada—so he set his mind to it. He enticed Mellamphy to visit his studio last fall. “We were really impressed with not only the quality of the garments but also his vision and the way he is able to speak about what he wants to achieve,” recalls Mellamphy. His new collection was introduced at The Room in February with a splashy installation at the entrance—something previously reserved for internationally acclaimed designers such as Thom Browne and Roksanda Ilincic. “He is doing things in this market that no one else is really doing,” says Mellamphy. “He’s as good as anyone else around the world.”

Neigum knows it too, as he contemplates where in the world he would like his collections to end up next. “There’s not really a plan of attack in terms of location,” he says after a careful pause. “It’s global domination.” And his takeover has started right here at home.

http://www.ellecanada.com/fashion/trends/why-sid-neigum-is-the-canadian-designer-to-watch-right-now/a/99458#.VQ19RWeBEw2

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CANADIAN FASHION EDUCATION: EXCHANGE WITH INDIA

Canadian colleges to partner with India in skills development

globe and mail fanshawe

KIM MACKRAEL
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Apr. 13 2015, 10:21 PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Apr. 14 2015, 1:08 AM EDT

Canadian colleges are poised to sign agreements with India’s national skills development corporation this week, part of an effort to provide job-related training for India’s rapidly growing youth population.

Twelve educational institutions, including nine colleges, are expected to sign memorandums of understanding with India’s National Skill Development Corporation at an event with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is scheduled to arrive in Ottawa on Tuesday for a three-day trip that will also take him to Toronto and Vancouver. The event is expected to take place in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister, who was elected last year on a promise to revitalize India’s economy, has pledged to boost job creation by better matching the skills of India’s work force to employers’ needs. His visit to Canada comes after stops in France and Germany that focused in part on enhancing trade and investment.

Speaking with The Globe and Mail last week, Indian High Commissioner Vishnu Prakash said his country’s growing youth population is both a strength and a challenge. “There is an explosion of energy which can propel your economy into a different sphere. Or, God forbid, you have a situation where there are 10 million people that don’t have jobs.”

That’s why India’s government is focusing on skills development, Mr. Prakash said during the interview, adding that he hoped to see more partnerships with Canada and other countries.

Each Canadian college will be paired with an Indian partner that’s focused on a specific sector, such as aviation, health care or agriculture. The Indian partners will pay the colleges for their services, which could include curriculum development, education for Indian trainers and assistance with accreditation systems. The colleges will work through centres of excellence overseas that have been established by India’s National Skill Development Corporation.

The corporation is a public-private partnership that aims to develop large, for-profit vocational institutions across the country.

“The thing about Canada and the skills sector is that we have a very strong reputation,” said Cynthia Murphy, director of partnerships in Asia and the Middle East for Colleges and Institutes Canada. “And you know, certainly the Indian government is aware of that and has wanted to capitalize on that.”

Ms. Murphy said her organization, which represents publicly supported colleges, polytechnics and other institutes in Canada, first signed an agreement with the corporation last year. This week’s memorandums of understanding are the next step in connecting Canadian colleges to institutions in India, Ms. Murphy said.

David Agnew, president of Toronto’s Seneca College, said the school will work with an Indian partner to improve skills training in India’s aviation and health-care sectors. “When you think about where the world is going, and the educational needs of the world, this is a place where Canada, I think, can play an increasingly important role,” he said in an interview on Monday.

Fanshawe College will begin by focusing on textiles and apparel in India but could later expand to other sectors, such as automotive and aviation, said Wendy Curtis, executive director of the London, Ont., school’s international centre.

Other schools that will be signing agreements with the corporation this week include Bow Valley College in Calgary, the College of New Caledonia in Prince George and Algonquin College in Ottawa.

Mr. Modi’s visit to Canada will also see him deliver a landmark speech to 10,000 Indo-Canadians in Toronto and attend a banquet dinner with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Vancouver. It is the first bilateral visit by a sitting Indian prime minister in more than 40 years.

The politician will be greeted by excited fans who view him as a celebrity of global politics and by protesters who hope to draw attention to his record on human rights. Mr. Modi, a former chief minister of Gujarat, has been criticized for failing to prevent deadly riots in the Indian state in 2002.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadian-colleges-to-partner-with-india-in-skills-development/article23910625/

 

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CANADIAN MANUFACTURER: JOSEPH RIBKOFF

58 years of fashion: Joseph Ribkoff

JOSEPH RIBKOFF KILL APRIL 2015 2
Riccardo Tucci, Sylvain Blais and Fritz

APRIL 2015

Joseph Ribkoff is a Canadian fashion pioneer who, at the age of 21, went into business to share his love for fashion, women, and quality. Working through the iconic eras of the 60s and the 70s, Joseph Ribkoff continues to create and innovate today.

Joseph Ribkoff is a name known from North America to Europe. From humble beginnings, he built an empire and has earned his place as a top player in the world of fashion. His wit, charming demeanor, and the wisdom that comes with 58 years of experience make him a truly interesting and delightful man.

JOSEPH RIBKOFF KILL APRIL 2015 1

What brought you to the fashion industry?

It was a happy accident. I dropped out of school when I was 15 be-cause I was bored and I didn’t know what I was doing there. I had some friends that were working, so I would go visit them on lunch hour at the Bay, which, at the time, was called the Henry Morgan Company. They worked in the stock room and they had caps on and they were giggling, throwing sweaters at each other, and I thought this looked like fun. What the hell was I doing in school? I quit that day. My parents were immigrants. My mother was illiterate and my father dropped out of school in the sixth grade. They berated me with words and threats and told me I had to work. I said I would work but that I wasn’t going back to school. My brother gave me my first job. He was a cutter; the guy was so talent-ed it was disgusting. He didn’t really want to do what he was doing, but he had to help out and pay the rent and food for the house. He worked six months of the year, and the other six he traveled to California and to Europe.

On my first day, he said, “You’re going to work. Don’t give them any headaches and you’ll bring in some money.” We were poor. We had ice on the walls, and we slept three in a bed just to keep warm. My brother showed me what he was doing, and soon I was cutting fabric too. At twelve o’clock, on that first day, my brother said, “Okay, let’s go for lunch.” I responded, “You’re going to lunch, but I’m going home. I quit.” “Quit? You haven’t even started yet!” I’ll never forget it. I took a couple more jobs after that, but I lucked out through a friend who was getting promoted in a dress factory. He said, “I’ll teach you, but the first two weeks are without pay. If you’re good, I’ll hire you at 16 bucks an hour.” I didn’t know the value of 16 dollars; we would spend the money at the racetracks anyhow.

I took the job. He taught me for two weeks and I was happy. I was a sweeper and a message boy, but he was training me to take over the shipping area. The boss’s wife came in one day and said, “Irvine, did you call in a cleaning service in here?” He said, “No, it’s the new guy.” He introduced us and she said, “You’re unbelievable.” I never heard that before. I got a few whacks from my father or my mother, but her telling me I was unbelievable was just wow. We became lifelong friends. In four months, I was doing the shipping and I really liked it. I needed to make a contribution or do something that made me feel satisfied with myself. It was my inner dissatisfaction that kept me moving.

You worked through the iconic eras of the 60s and 70s. What was it like for you?

I went into business when I was 21. It was 1957. I must have had horse-shoes all around me because I did everything right. I remember, I need-ed my father-in-law to sign for me for the banking, but he wouldn’t do it until I had some orders. Theoretically, he was right. He advised me not to go into business.

This couple that I loved from a pre-vious job—they had a small busi-ness—fired me because they had a brother coming out of jail. I trained him for a little while, but it was so he could take my job. It was hard because they were like my family. I cried like a baby. After that I didn’t work. I went to my friend Lou’s office for six weeks. He had a business by the age of 14 and was doing well by 21. He saw me looking at a newspaper and said, “Why are you reading The Herald? You’re not going to find a job in there.” It took me six weeks and a day when it struck me: I was going to start a business. I had just gotten married and had some money from the wedding. It was $3800 that we were planning to spend on furniture. I asked my wife if I could use it. She said, “No, what do you want to do?” She was 18 and didn’t know business. And, I was so young. It was all quite ridiculous. We both didn’t know what it meant. She ended up being very good help. She worked with me for a year before she got pregnant and gave birth.

I was fortunate. I did have some very good friends in retail, two in particular. I have their pictures in my office. They believed in me. They both used to say, “Why aren’t you going into business. You’re so good at what you do.” I said that I didn’t have the money and didn’t know what I was doing. This guy Ernie told me it didn’t matter, that I was smart enough and that I was going to learn and figure it out. I said, “Ernie, just who are you talking to?” He said, “You, and when you go into business, I want to give you your first order.” That stayed with me. Going into business was the best decision I ever made.

Montreal was a great fashion hub at the time. Can you tell us about some of the best memories from your early days?

It was a very good period for styling—an exciting period. I think if you ask me when my best years were, it was those early years. The first 10 years stood out. The reason for that is that we did very well. I even won an award in the first year in business. That was good for me. I was hot and I was selling. From the begin-ning, many people were going to the U.S. for styling, and I did that as well. I was up against retailers who would pay a yearly fee to have a brand or line in their store. I was determined to be different and to work with somebody on designs, but I didn’t know who yet. Designing was not something that everybody did here. I met a woman by the name of Alison. She was excellent, and she just opened a design studio on Sherbrooke and Peel. I chased her down and didn’t let up until she joined me. Then, I traveled to Europe four to six times a year. I built a life there with other photographers, models, and designers, like Kenzo. I was doing the nightlife there, as well as the day life. I met a music manager from Montreal living in London; he managed a band called Stone the Crows who were big in Britain.

In France, I knew Sylvie Vartan and Françoise Hardy, French singing stars at the time. So, I was in the mix. It was a wild time for me. I was able to be in touch with the trends that were taking place. I met a fellow; his name was Jack Litt. He passed away, but at the time he owned the second biggest dress company in the U.S. His company, Arpeja, had two clothing lines: Young Edwardian and Young Innocence. We were friends for the next 25 years, and we used to trade information. When I visited, I used to live at his house in Holmby Hills, California. Hugh Hefner was his neighbour. Everyone was working in the United States, and, as far as traveling went, I had never gone anywhere before, except on my honeymoon. We were one of the first brands to open up in the European market. I had friends there, and I just knew that everything was happening in Paris and London. So, I went.

What was your first sign of success?

Well, on the first day that I went into business, I had my worst sign. I went out to sell. I brought dresses to the retailers, and they told me I wasn’t any different; they didn’t need me. That’s what motivated me to sell. At the time, you had firms, like Algo, who were very big, and it was hard to break down the doors and get in because they were well established. I was offering too much too soon for a guy who just started. A little grandiosity took over and even some insecurity, I would say. I told my wife that night, “Dolores, I think we lost our money.” My wife, God bless her at the time, she was a good sport. She told me I had so many great designs in my box, and then it struck me. I told her I was going back to the retailer tomor-row. I realized that I had gone in with too many garments. I zeroed in on what I knew wouldn’t be asking for too much from a young guy and what I thought would sell. When I opened up the box they asked, “did you have these pieces yesterday?” I told them I did, but that they didn’t see them because there were too many of them. That was it. That day I must have signed 18 accounts and only one guy refused me.

I went back to visit my friend Ernie, and his brother stopped me at the door because he had taken over the buying. He said he wasn’t buying and didn’t need my designs, but Ernie heard my voice and when his brother told him it was me, Ernie had him bring me right in to see him. He said, “So you’re in business!” We went downstairs and opened my box. Ernie said, “You’re going to be unbelievable.” He said, “Ship to me first because if they sell I want everything you have in the works.” So my success really and truly started right there. There’s no magic—just a lot of hard work.

58 years in the business says a lot about who you are. What has been the most rewarding aspect of this journey?

I would say the people around you, the ones you really like to work with, real life connections, and honest relationships. I’m nobody’s boss. I was never anybody’s boss. I trust people. If it doesn’t work, you got to let them go, but if they’re good, you want to take them from one place and try them in another, until the fit is right.

What was the hardest choice you had to make?

It was to let go of a very important person in the company. I’m not going to mention his name in case his mother is reading this. We’ll call him M. He was a very important piece of the puzzle. It wasn’t entirely his fault. I felt guilty, but I had another partner and M wasn’t taking certain things seriously. I loved M be-cause he was committed and loyal and doing the right thing for the company. He had a lot of wisdom. I went to examine the complaint for myself. I went to the contractors, and I saw he wasn’t using his head, and he had a good head, but he wasn’t using it. I said it’s not working; you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. He said he respected my opinion, and so I let him go. It broke my heart and I’ll never forget that. He tried his hand at getting a new partner, but it didn’t work out. His wife called me one day and said, “Joe, he misses you, and he misses the place. He’s driving me crazy. I’ll pay you to take him back.” So, I called him and I told him I needed his help. I told him to lay it on a little thicker and I said I would like to see him back. He was back on the same day. He stayed with us until he passed away recently. Of course I had other tough decisions, but his one was tough because of who he was.

What else would you enjoy doing if not for working in fashion?

Well, I go to school now. I go to school at night and I take humanities courses: philosophy, psychology, history, business, how to live a life, basically. It’s like everything else. Business opened up to me because I was open to the world, but I never had time for this. I had parents who were quite good, but who couldn’t expand on a lot of these areas. You learn that you can’t do it all. But, at this time, that’s my passion. I’ve been going to school for 30 years now.

Are you the designer?

When you say designer, I don’t want to mislead the readers. I would say I was responsible for the styling and putting it all together. But, I worked with Alison. She was working through me because I didn’t have the training. She was bright. We had discussions. I wanted certain things and she would sketch them. We would look at fabric and travel through Europe together, but I wouldn’t take the credit. I would say that I have a good eye and that I was good at business, so I was able to access our consumer. It took a while to discover, but I made a study of it for myself. I would say that my fingerprint is on it, but I don’t actually sit there and design.

Today, we have a team of 14 in the design room; they are involved in the whole process. I can’t do it all now. I am 79. I’ve done everything from the beginning; I was the only employee. Until she gave birth, my wife was packing garments and making in-voices. We had part-time cutters and pattern makers but no full-time staff. It developed like that. I had to do the styling and I had to do the design one way or another, and that’s how I evolved. I didn’t like the roller coaster. One season the designs were good and the next the designs were no good, and you’re on the skids. It was tiring, but I found a method that works and we still use it to this day.

Are you designing for the same type of woman today as you were when you started?

Yes, just about. Times change, but the women we design for are the same. We design for a state of mind—for a woman that feels young. I have a granddaughter who’s 22. At 16, she was wearing our clothes to her graduation, but it’s too expensive for that age group. We focus in on a fit for a woman who is anywhere from 40 to 80 years old. However, the women who wear our clothes don’t see themselves as older; they feel young. I was at lunch with some friends who are 70-80, but in our minds we’re still kids. It’s ridiculous.

You have travelled around the world. What do you have to say about the way Canadian women dress?

Well, they’re as good as anybody else! Quebecers them-selves are very good dressers—trendy— and the rest of Canada at one point was not like that, but today it is. The garments that sell best here are the same as the ones that sell best in Spain, Paris, or England, all the western countries. The same consumer that lives there lives here. We have a niche business; we have a particular consumer and we pay attention to that consumer.

Joseph Ribkoff is made in Canada. You are proof that it’s absolutely possible to produce in this country and still have a competitive product on the international market. What advice do you have for designers and brands that want to produce in Canada?

It’s very possible, but I wouldn’t tell anybody what’s best to do. We’re doing what is best for our business. I’d like to say we’re very Canadian. We think about Canadians and about creating Canadian jobs. We’re selfish and it suits us very well, thank you! If another company has a business model that works for them in China or Singapore, then that’s good for them. I remember Sam Walton in the day wrote his book, Made In America; it was a joke! The companies just want to drive the stock up for investors. Some suppliers Wal-Mart buys from make products in America, but 98% of them are from China and everywhere else in the world. That’s what business is; anybody who says they’re doing it to be more Canadian or more American, that’s bull. It’s a whole other game. I don’t judge them, but made in Canada works for me.

You love casual wear for yourself, yet you design dresses for women. That’s interesting. Is there a reason why you never designed clothes for men?

It was “par hasard” that I got involved with women. I usually like to undress them. [laughs] Dressing them up is not quite as much fun. When I was a youngster, and I started working that job, I still thought that the man was supposed to be the boss. But, there, the boss’s wife was the real boss. She wanted to see what I could do. To this day I still visit her. She’s 91 and she can’t even see, but she knows my voice. She was responsible for helping me pick out fabrics and cuts. She asked for my opinion even though I had no background in it, and that’s how my interest in designing for women developed. If I had another run at this I would like to design for men.

I know you have a love for quality. Where do you think that comes from?

From being exposed to it during my travels. When I was maybe 25, there was a shop in Montreal called Brisson & Brisson. When the owners started out they were very poor. But, back then people like Pierre Trudeau went there. Families from the wealthy classes, both Anglo and French, went there too. I went there at 25 and I was buying the best. I didn’t buy many things, but I loved the quality. The guys I met in Europe and the United States were all from wealthy families, business people. I was in this crowd and it rubs off. You start appreciating what is out there. I didn’t know the difference as a kid; I was happy to have my brother’s clothes or hand-me-downs. Maybe that’s why I treasured everything that was new and different.

You are passionate about what you do and, at 78, you’re still in the office working. What are some of the challenges that you face? What are the best parts of it all?

I do love what I do, although I don’t work as hard as I used to. One of the challenges is just getting up in the morning. I’m in the midst of doing as little as possible at this point. If you want a company to carry on, you can’t continue to be its centerpiece. You have to allow others to grow and develop if the company is going to grow and develop too. We have a very good team. The idea is to do it while you’re healthy and alive, rather than fall down when nobody’s ready. Then they’re all waiting for this great father figure to make all the decisions. I’m a great believer in being responsible in a handover. It’s not just about me. It’s a good company and it would be criminal just to close it because Mr. Ribkoff died. It doesn’t make any sense to me. It would be irresponsible to make it all about me, so I would rather give it away a little earlier than wait before it’s too late.

Who inspires you most and why?

The people who inspire me are very creative and energetic about things that are new and exciting. I think people with a passion for what they do. The word “passion” is frequently bandied about, but it is something. To be alive in your skin, those are the people that excite and inspire me. When you’re in the company of someone who gets high on what they do, you’re automatically going to be transmitted into this creative energy.

Once I had a relationship with a woman who was a world champion skier. I always come back to her. She was married to a pilot and they split, and I was divorced at the time. I met her at Saint-Sauveur with some friends. She gave me her number and asked me to call if ever I wanted to ski. One time we were skiing down Saint-Sauver and I said, “You’re bored of this. How could you do this here?” She had skied in the Alps and all over the world. She replied, “I think you’re missing something. When I go down this mountain, it’s always fresh and new. I’m always playing with the mountain in different ways. I never just go down.” She said that if we see life that way, there’s no longer that been there and done that feeling. She opened my mind. These are the kinds of people who inspire me.

What do you like to do on a day off from work?

Be with the people I like, but part of me is also just a loner. I like to read and go for walks. My wife would ask if we could go for a walk and I would say not today. She knows it’s not because I don’t like her. I just like alone time. I’m a mix of these two worlds. When I was young it was all so fresh; I was a party animal looking for action. Today, quality time is more important than anything.

What do you wish you had more time for?

There’s never enough time. I do less now and there’s still not enough. There are too many things that I would like to do. It will drive you crazy if you start thinking about this too much! I’d like to be able to look over my readings for class twice or three times before I get to class the following week, but it’s impossible because of the kind of reading it is. It can break your head just trying to understand it, but that’s what I love. The more time you take for whatever you want to do, the richer the experience is going to be.

You are currently in 55 international markets. What have you learned about people?

I’ve learned that they’re all the same; they’re different but the same. Business peo-ple are business people and an accountant is still an accountant—no matter where you are in the world. Everyone is unique and everyone is different. What’s interesting are the differences in cultures and where people come from. Just to think of all the languages and foods and habits. We’re very fortunate in North America to have a mix of cultures; we’re exposed to them all the time.

You barely had a plan when you started this adventure. What’s next for you? How would you like to see your brand and its heritage evolve?

If possible, I would like to see it continue—for a lot of reasons. My name is attached to it, but I don’t think that’s the big one. I believe that when you put your life into work, it’s like making art; you have to detach yourself from it and see it live on. That’s part of the process. Many brands live on, but it takes people that understand what comes with the territory. You’re giving a gift over to someone. It took 58 years of work to get to where I am. You try to select people who are committed to the brand and have the poten-tial to do the right thing with the business. With that potential comes freedom of expression, and maybe that means trying something different.

Photography, Sylvain Blais.
Fashion Editor, Fritz.

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BREAKING NEWS: CANADIAN FASHION SUPPORT / JOE FRESH

 

Joe Fresh announces $1-million investment in Canada’s fashion future

JOE FRESH NEWS 1

JEANNE BEKER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Mar. 23 2015, 5:00 AM EDT

JOE FRESH NEWS 2

The burgeoning, accessible style and beauty brand is teaming up with Ryerson University’s Fashion Zone to create Canada’s first fashion innovation centre
(Darren Calabrese/CANADIAN PRESS)

Great creative ideas are a dime a dozen in fashion. But having the savvy to make those ideas come to life and soar is quite another story. At a time when more and more Canadian fashion businesses are struggling to stay afloat in rough seas increasingly dominated by foreign interests, one successful home-grown brand is stepping up to the plate to help nurture emerging entrepreneurs

On Monday, with World MasterCard Fashion Week getting under way in Toronto, Joe Fresh is announcing an investment of $1-million into Canada’s fashion future: The burgeoning, accessible style and beauty brand, which plans to open 140 of its own stores in 23 countries over the next four years, is teaming up with Ryerson University’s Fashion Zone to create Canada’s first fashion innovation centre.

“We’re aiming to identify businesses that have compelling ideas around all areas of fashion innovation, whether it’s building the next e-commerce app or inventing a powerful new manufacturing process or starting a new label,” said Joe Fresh president Mario Grauso, the former head of Vera Wang, who was brought up from the United States 18 months ago to help take Joe Fresh global.

Partnering with the Fashion Zone, part of Ryerson’s learning network that also includes the successful Digital Media Zone, the new Joe Fresh Centre will incubate, develop and support up to 21 of this country’s new fashion-inspired businesses over an 18-month period, allowing carefully selected, fledgling companies to benefit from the experience of both Joe Fresh and Ryerson teams, as well as Canadian business executives and fashion experts. But though the majority of young fashion talent I know would love to be able to pick the brains of Joe Fresh’s founder himself, Joe Mimran, who stepped down from the company just last week, he will not have any personal involvement with the program.

Since the notion of mentorship is currently one of the most important and buzzed-about topics in circles concerned with passing the torch to the next generation of leaders, the concept of this new incubation centre is timely.

“I’m extremely pleased that a major Canadian brand understands the value of entrepreneurial thinking, that will be critical to our creative economy,” said Robert Ott, chair of Ryerson’s fashion school and executive director of the Fashion Zone. “I’m interested in linking more opportunities for students to take their ideas that have been developed within an academic context to another level, and commercialize these ideas.”

But the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation is not confined to those with diplomas from Ryerson, or any other fashion school. The application process is open to all individuals, 18 and older, or any business with a plan and prototype. Applicants will be chosen via a screening and evaluation process overseen by a panel from Joe Fresh, Ryerson, Canadian business and media. During their time at the centre, successful applicants will work with both academic and business advisers to develop their business models, products, and marketing strategies. The participants will also receive dedicated workspace in the centre, and have the opportunity to seek seed funding.

It’s no secret that Canadian fashion insiders are concerned about the viability of our own brands and companies at a time when bigger foreign counterparts with much deeper pockets and greater international presence are all vying for attention. Perilous times indeed. So it’s heartening to hear that a successful Canadian fashion company that understands how to build a strong brand has hopped on the mentorship bandwagon, poised to guide our future visionaries forward.

“My goal is to foster a 360-degree approach to mentorship, drawing from every aspect of business and design that can impact the success or failure of a startup,” Mr. Grauso said. “Our goal is to create a true launch pad for new ideas and new businesses that have a real impact on the Canadian fashion landscape and beyond.” The first wave of innovators will be admitted to the Joe Fresh Centre this September.

Loblaw Companies, the parent company of Joe Fresh, previously donated $1-million to Save the Children Bangladesh and the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, to help those in the country’s garment industry after a Bangladesh factory that manufactured Joe Fresh products collapsed, killing more than a thousand workers

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CANADIAN DESIGNER ABROAD: JASON WU

It’s quite a way from Richmond BC to the “International Market Place”.

BRAVO to a CANADIAN DESIGNERS ABROAD!

And good on “The Independent” to bring it up…

The Independent Tuesday 10 March 2015
INDEPENDENT

When you think of Hugo Boss, what do you think of? Starchy white shirts, maybe? Slick city suiting, tailored pinstripes, a mannish leather brogue?

Chances are you probably think of men, rather than women. And if they’re women, they’re mannishly dressed. So then, imagine a designer of frilly, fluffy and unabashedly feminine fashion taking the reins. Sounds like a risk. Actually, in the current tentative fashion landscape of softly-softly treading, it sounds like an impossibility.

But that is just what has happened at Boss. Jason Wu, the 32-year-old New York designer best known for expansive evening dresses worn to events such as, say, the presidential inauguration (he’s dressed Michelle Obama for two of them), was appointed artistic director of Boss’s womenswear line in 2013.

New York Fashion Week: It’s fleshy or furry as the autumn/winter 2015 shows begin

No one is more aware of the incongruity of the situation than Wu himself. “If you did a survey of the person that would be the best match I don’t even think my name would come up,” he says, laughing a little. “I don’t think people think of me in that way at all.” He’s talking in the New York HQ of Hugo Boss – on Seventh Avenue, in the heart of the city’s fashion district. It isn’t glamorous: it’s a distinctly working space. All around, painstakingly sewn samples glisten inside polythene bags, the bare bones of the winter 2015 collection due to be shown on Wednesday afternoon. Sewing machines whirr with last-minute alterations, but there’s none of the frenzy usually associated with the final countdown to a fashion show.

jason wu 1

That’s because Hugo Boss is as enormous and well-oiled machine. It’s one of the things that drew Wu to the collaboration. A few other fashion houses approached him about lending their flagging creative direction a hand. “But I thought, do I want to work for a $200m company, or a $2.5bn [£1.6bn] company?” says Wu, laughing a little. Actually, it’s a tad more: Boss’s worldwide revenue, in sterling, amounted to £1.8bn in 2013. The company has more than 6,000 points of sale in 124 countries, employing almost 10,000 people.

Perhaps, for Wu, his Boss is about contrast. After all, how to reconcile that streamlined Hugo Boss trademark with a designer whose style is perhaps described as the digital generation’s Oscar de la Renta? “We are very opposite,” he says. “When I approach my own collection it’s about my own references and things that I grew up loving; the reasons that I got into fashion. My references are much frothier, I love a lot of embellishment. But at Boss I have to approach it very differently; from the angle of what Hugo Boss is, what it was, and where I would like to take it. It’s me, but I’m translating their heritage.”

Wu’s own heritage is somewhat unusual: born in Taipei in Taiwan, he moved to Canada as a nine-year-old, speaking no English. “I think I knew how to say ‘hi,’ and ‘apple,’ something like that,” says he, self-deprecatingly.

“I needed to find something to relate to in the language and I found this stack of fashion magazines my mom had left around. I was looking at the shoots, and I wanted to read about the fashion designers. So I got a dictionary and was going back and forth, and that’s really how I learnt the language. I always loved art and design, but that’s really when I started to love fashion, too.”

jason wu 2

He also loved dolls: when he was younger, he designed them for a living, creating a range for the American company Integrity called “Fashion Royalty”, which were grown-up collectors’ items rather than toys. Wu, however, was still in high school when he conceived the range, using his earnings as seed capital to launch his own label after leaving Parsons School of Design in 2007, before finishing his degree.

If some of those early collections, with their gleeful ruffles, overblown florals and oh-my-god-I’’ll-never-find-my-ankles-again crinolined skirts, had a touch of Hello, Dolly! to them, Wu is now offering dresses that are sleek and sophisticated. His own-label spring collection riffed on classic American sportswear and elegant, slender evening dresses crusted with bugle-beads – presented just hours after Wu announced the sale of a majority stake to newly established investment company InterLuxe.

His Hugo Boss collection, his second catwalk show for the house, was displayed in a glistening new skyscraper at 4 World Trade Centre. The surfaces of the Manhattan skyline were reflected in graphic embroideries, and on deftly embellished skirts teamed with crisp, mannish white shirts – an appropriately neat marriage of masculine and feminine.

jason wu 3

There was also a deft conversation between European and American styles: Hugo Boss’s headquarters, a Bauhaus-ish campus near Metzingen in Germany, were a point of reference for Wu’s take on geometric decoration. And as for Americana – there’s nothing more American than dressing the First Lady. “I was almost in blissful ignorance at the time,” he says, of designing the 2009 inauguration gown that shot his name from fashion game to stratospheric fame.

“I actually packed the gown and flew it to Chicago myself! I didn’t want to take any chances! I didn’t know she would wear it until the night.” He goes a bit gooey-eyed when talking about it, endearingly. “When I moved to America to be a fashion designer, I never imagined I would become part of American history, that my work would be cemented in a museum long after I’ve gone. For me, that was a really personally significant moment in my life.”

Wu isn’t talking big: that first gown is now in the Smithsonian, just as Wu is cemented in the public consciousness. Example? A 300lb truck driver shouting his name at a New York intersection, just days after Obama’s 20 January inauguration. “He definitely didn’t work in the industry,” Wu deadpans.

That’s the kind of recognition many designers – and brands – would kill for. Couple it with Wu’s talent, and it’s a recipe for startling success. Not looking quite so out-of-place in that big Boss chair now…

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JUST SAYING

CANADIAN FASHION AND SHOWING IT IN CANADA AND THE CONSTANT WHINE OF WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE, WHY CAN’T WE BE WORLD FAMOUS RIGHT HERE?

POINT ONE:
IT’S LONDON FASHION WEEK. TOM FORD, YOU KNOW HIM, THE AMERICAN WHO WORKED FOR CATHY HARDWICK (WHO?) FOR MANY YEARS, BEFORE MOVING TO ITALY AND WORKING FOR GUCCI, WHERE HIS NAME BECAME GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED (BY THE WAY, IT WAS NOT WITH HIS FIRST COLLECTION THERE), SHOWED. NOT IN LONDON, HOWEVER; HE REPLICATED HIS LONDON SHOW SPACE IN LOS ANGELES, FOR THIS SEASON ANYWAY. THAT’S WHERE HIS SHOWPIECE CLIENTS ARE RIGHT NOW, IT IS THE WEEKEND OF THE ACADEMY AWARDS. JULIANNE MOORE, ACADMEY NOMINEE, FOR EXAMPLE, AN ARDENT FAN AND OFTEN SEEN WEARER OF THE LABEL, (WHO, BY THE WAY, JUST TO NAME DROP, WHEN WORKING OUT OF TOWN, I KNOW BECAUSE I HAD THE IMMENSE PLEASURE OF WORKING WITH HER, SHOWING HER HOW TO SEW FOR HER ROLE IN CARRIE, SHOT HERE IN TORONTO, HAS HER MEASUREMENTS FAXED IN PRE ARRIVAL ON TOM FORD LETTERHEAD) WAS THERE, AMONG MANY OTHER BIG NAME HOLLYWOOD TYPE PEOPLE. ANNA WINTOUR (OF VOGUE, OF COURSE, NOT OF HOLLWYOOD BUT OF NEW YORK, TRAVELLED FROM LONDON WHERE SHE HAD LEFT THE SHOWS AND ANNOUNCED THAT SHE HAD COME TO SEE TOM IN L.A. AND SHE WOULD BE STAYING IN LA INSTEAD OF RETURNING TO LONDON FOR THE BALANCE OF THE SHOWS THERE (ALTHOUGH I AM QUITE SURE SHE HAS STAFF PLANTED IN BOTH LOCATIONS). IT SEEMS TO HAVE WORKED, THE SHOW HAS ALREADY, IN 1 DAY, DUE TO SPACE-AGE-TECHNOLOGY AND THE WORLD-WIDE-WEB, GARNERED ENDLESS REPORTAGE.

NOW, DOES THAT MAKE TOM FORD AN AMERICAN DESIGNER, A FRENCH DESIGNER (FOR HIS STINT AT YVES SAINT LAURENT), AN ITALIAN DESIGNER, OR A BRITISH DESIGNER? I AM QUITE SURE IF ASKED MR. FORD WILL TELL YOU HE IS AN AMERICAN, EVEN IF IT WAS ABROAD WHERE HE ROSE TO SUCH HEIGHTS. SO, THEN, IF TOM CAN CLAIM “AMERICAN” THEN A CANADIAN DESIGNER ABROAD SHOULD BE ABLE TO PROUDLY CLAIM, AS THE MOLSON BEER COMMERCIAL SAYS, “I AM CANADIAN”, AND STILL BE A SUCCESS, AT HOME AND ABROAD, WITHOUT THAT TIRESOME COMMMENT OF “SELLING OUT”, OR “WHAT A SHAME THEY HAD TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE”. KUDOS TO THOSE ABROAD, DEAN AND DAN, ERDEM, CALLA, JEAN-PIERRE, JUST TO NAME A FEW.

POINT TWO:
PARIS IS AND HAS BEEN THE FASHION CENTER OF THE WORLD FOR OVER 300 YEARS. THE FINEST FABRICS, THE SUREST HANDS AND THE MOST LOVING CLIENTELLE. LOUIS XIV PROMOTED IT TO THE WORLD, AS THE ONLY FASHION, IN HIS DAY, AND IT POSSIBLY WAS; AND THE WORLD BOUGHT IT. OVER TIME HOWEVER THE FACTS OF THE STORY HAVE CHANGED, ALTHOUGH THE MYTH HAS ENDURED. (WETHER BY THE HAND OF THE FRENCH OR THE WANT OF THE WORLD). HOW YOU ASK? AT THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY, THE FATHER OF HAUTE COUTURE, THE BASTION OF FRENCH, THEREFORE WORLD FASHION, WAS AFTER ALL A TRANSPLANTED BRIT, THERE TO SELL FABRIC. LATER IN THE 20TH CENTURY DIOR MAY HAVE CLAIMED THAT “HAUTE COUTURE NEED NOT BE DIRECTLY ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE: IT NEED ONLY EXIST IN TH WORLD FOR ITS INFLUENCE TO BE FELT”, ALTHOUGH OTHER COUNTRIES HAD COUTURIERS, HAUTE OR NOT, WHO COULD MAKE CLOTHING EVERY BIT AS PERFECT: THOSE OF THE ALTA MODA IN ROME, A HANDFUL OF DESIGNERS, HARDY AMIES FOR ONE, IN ENGLAND AND CHARLES JAMES IN THE USA, FOR EXAMPLE. LUXURY GOODS ALTHOUGH NOT WITH THE TITLE OF HAUTE COUTURE, THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT MADE SURE OF THAT. IN THE 2IST CENTURY THE FRENCH HAVE CONTINUED MARKETING THEIR COUNTRY AS THE EPI-CENTER OF THE FINEST OF ALL THINGS LUXURY (CAN YOU SAY LVMH , ALTHOUGH OF COURSE THEIR FINGERS ARE ALSO IN MANY OTHER COUNTRIE’S PIES) ESPECIALLY FASHION, AND THE WORLD STILL BUYS IT. THE HAUTE COUTURE REMAIN IN PARIS ALTHOUGH I MIGHT POINT OUT THAT ALTHOUGH THE SHOWS MAY BE IN PARIS, THE DESIGNERS AND THE TEXTILES COME FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE..EXAMPLES, HMMM, KARL LAGERFELD, THE GERMAN GENTLEMAN, IS AT THE HELM, CREATING (OR RECREATING) AT CHANEL. JOHN GALLIANO, THE SPANIARD FROM BRITAIN, BEFORE HIS FALL FROM GRACE, WAS THE TORCH CARRIER AT THE MAGIC WORLD OF DIOR. (OF COURSE JOHN IS BACK WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF ITALIAN MANUFACTURING MAGNATE, RENZO ROSSO, WHO HAS HANDED HIM THE CONTROLLING ROPES AT MAISON MARGIELLA, ORIGNALLY A BELGIAN DESIGNER/COMPANY, NOW ITALIAN OWNED, WHICH PREVIOUSLY SHOWED IN PARIS, ALTHOUGH FOR GALLIANO’S DEBUT, HAS SHIFTED TO LONDON, WHERE HIS SUPPORT SYSTEM IS.)

THERE ARE MANY, MANY, CROSS BORDER CONNECTIONS TO BE FOUND IN PARIS IN THE 21ST CENTURY. IT MAKES SENSE. DESIGNERS AND MANUFACTURERS KNOW THIS IS STOP NUMBER 1 FOR THOSE OF THE MEDIA TO CONVERGE AND TO SEE WHAT WORLD FASHION (NOT JUST FRENCH) IS OFFERING CURRENTLY. ONE STOP, 5 DAYS,300 SHOWS, WHO COULD MISS. TAKE NOTE, THE MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA HAVE BEEN CLAIMING FOR YEARS THAT EVEN ADDING LONDON AND NEW YORK MAKE FOR A VERY GRUELLING SEVERAL MONTH ODYSSEY, WHICH THEY, BARELY HOME, HAVE TO TURN AROUND AND REPEAT, AS IF HAMSTERS IN A WHEEL AND ARE GETTING TIRED OF IT. I WAS TOLD YEARS AGO, BY A MEMBER OF THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS, WHOM I HAD ASKED HOW THEY PICKED WHO THEY WROTE ABOUT, “WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO DIGGING, WE ARE TOO TIRED AND TOO BUSY, WE SEE THOSE WHO MAKE IS EASY FOR US TO FIND THEM”. SO, WHY WOULD THEY COME TO CANADA, AND WHICH CITY WOULD THEY VISIT WHEN EVEN THE DESIGNERS AND MANUFACTURERS HERE CAN’T SEEM TO FIGURE THAT OUT. GO TO PARIS, OR LONDON, OR AT LEAST, NEW YORK. GO TO WHERE THE MARKET IS. OTHERS HAVE, AND ARE BEING COVERED IN THE MEDIA AND PURCHASED BY THE BUYERS.

POINT THREE:
TO COME AT IT FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE, IF YOU WANT WARM WEATHER, AND MOST CANADIANS WOULD LOVE SOME RIGHT ABOUT NOW, IT IS AFTERALL MINUS 20 DEGREES CELSIUS AS I WRITE THIS, GO SOUTH. THE SUN WILL NOT BE WARMING THE TEMPERATURE HERE FOR SOME MONTHS.

POINT FOUR:
ANOTHER ANGLE. IF YOU WANT TO COMPETE IN CERTAIN SPORTS AT AN OLYMPIC LEVEL, YOU GO WHEREVER THE OLYMPICS ARE. IF YOU WANT TO PLAY HOCKEY, COME TO CANADA, AS EVIDENCED BY THE BEST OF THE WORLD PLAYING ON CANADIAN TEAMS.

MARSHALL MCLUHAN, A CANADIAN INTELLECT OF WORLD RENOWN, TOLD THE WORLD, DURING THE 1960’S, THAT IT WAS A GLOBAL VILLAGE. LISTEN UP…

YES, I WISH WE HAD IT ALL, BUT WE DON’T, AND THAT SHOULD NOT BE STOPPING US FROM “MAKING IT BIG”.

JUST SAYING.

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