Day 4: Fashion week reflections
My last day at Montreal Fashion Week wrapped up with shows by a roster of smaller, Quebec based labels including Fairyesque, Helmer, Dinh Ba and a group show by the Centre International de Mode de Montreal. Stand outs from the night included Soku menswear which featured a beautiful line-up of tailored overcoats (think men’s Mackage) and BSD, a label that twisted the down parka (Finally! It’s all Montrealers wear but it took a while to see one on the catwalk) with frilly French maid hems, bands of sequins twisting around puffy arms and tuxedo ruffle tendrils.
After two weeks and 43 Canadian fashion shows, it’s clear that we have a booming designer class that is hungry for press attention and buyer dollars. Canadian media have responded to the growing local talent pool and seem more curious than ever to search out unknown labels and launch them into the style consciousness of readers and viewers. The call for greater buyer attendance at both Toronto and Montreal’s fashion weeks is finally being heard and we hope the small number that attended this season continues to grow with the support of trade groups and government organizations.
The unfortunate thing about all this momentum is that we all seem to be on a different page. Media either want theatrical messes of fabric and sequins that they can run on their front pages, further stumping the Canadian consumer’s perception of local design or blandly sellable international knock-offs that they can snidely categorize into a one, two, three or four-star rating system.
Buyers might want to sell Canadian but few Toronto or Montreal shops are invited to take in each season’s shows. Many international retailers and trade professionals in Montreal simply didn’t get the frilly and dramatic looks that dominated the runway. And while we respect Holt Renfrew’s growing support of fashion weeks across the country, their buying office could do way more for the Canadian fashion industry with those promotional dollars.
It’s easy to pick on the big industry players but it all comes down to us consumers at the cash register. If you read NOW’s style section regularly, you know how many great local lines you can find in Toronto. They’re stylish, priced right and often have a very sustainable philosophy behind them to produce locally.
Buy something “Made in Canada” this weekend. Pretty please.
P.S. For Montreal Fashion Week photos, log on to www.mfw.ca.