WHAT’S UP JOE? I EXCITEDLY POSTED THE “BENEVOLENT JOE” ARTICLE FROM FASHION MAGAZINE LAST WEEK (REPRINTED BELOW). THIS WEEK I AM APPREHENSIVLEY POSTING “SELF PROMOTER JOE”, FROM NOW MAGAZINE. LET’S HOPE THERE IS MORE TO THIS…
Toronto Fashion Week: Joe Fresh says it’s going to support Canadian designers…
…instead throws a party all about Joe Fresh
By Sabrina Maddeaux
Joe Fresh was reportedly making this season all about the little guys. The brand forwent the typical “all about Joe” circus-cum-fashion-show in favour of throwing a party in support of Canadian designers and a new fund the Big Orange is backing for them.
I have to say “reportedly,” because NOW Magazine wasn’t invited.
We didn’t really expect an invite– I’ve presumably, and ironically, been blacklisted for quite some time on account of challenging the brand to up its support of Canadian talent and harshly critiquing its actions before and after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh.
But, back to the party.
“Joe Fresh is turning the spotlight on the industry as a whole, and the many contributors who make this such a dynamic industry,” a Joe Fresh spokesperson told Toronto Star.
For a celebration of Canadian fashion, there didn’t seem to be much to do with Canadian fashion.
The major draw of the night was Solange Knowles, an international name so big she was guaranteed to overshadow all mentions of homegrown fashion on social media. Her presence, if used smartly, could’ve been used to promote Canadian talent. Instead, she was a straw woman used to prop up Joe Fresh’s reputation for always putting on the most entertaining show (a show I thought they weren’t holding this year).
The brand screened a five-minute video featuring quotables from Canadian designers, editors and fashion personalities about how wonderful our country and its creatives are. It was the very definition of too little, too late.
Some of the designers interviewed in that video have expressed serious concerns about making it in Canada and the support systems currently in place. Few of them have ever let me print their words out of fear of the aforementioned blacklisting myself and other writers who bring up these sorts of issues have faced.
A better use of resources would’ve been to give these emerging talents a real voice, rather than using them to amplify that of Joe Fresh.
Perhaps there was more of an effort than I was able to glean from social media to promote Canadian fashion. As I said, I wasn’t there. What I did see were a lot of free drinks, some on-brand glow bracelets and a hell of a lot of Solange Knowles. By midnight, “@JoeFresh” was trending in Canada.
The event’s official hashtag was #JoeFreshFashionWeek– no mention of Toronto, or Canada for that matter.
“I thought there was going to be some sort of announcement about the fund, but I didn’t hear anything,” partygoers told me the next day in hushed whispers.
I scrolled through Twitter and Instagram mentions of the party, but could count the mentions of Canadian fashion or Canadian designers on one hand. The Joe Fresh Instagram feed featured three photos from the evening– all taken with Americans (two with Solange, one with a blogger).
“At least there were Canadian designers at the party?” offered up one guest. Yes, but unfortunately free cocktails don’t pay the bills, lobby the government for increased industry support or convince the public to buy homegrown designs.
Leave it to Joe Fresh to throw the most un-Canadian “Canadian” fashion party this city has seen.
• Oct 23, 2014 at 04:42 PM
FROM FASHION MAGAZINE:
This season, Joe Fresh is all about benevolence. Canada’s largest fashion brand has just announced that it will not be showing at Spring 2015 show at the upcoming world MasterCard Fashion Week. Instead, its Monday night slot will be filled with a party “recognizing the achievements of the Canadian fashion industry.” Co-hosted by IMG Fashion, the party will serve as the launch pad for the Joe Fresh Fund, a new program that will support emerging design talent in Canada.