Homegrown talent FTW: this Saturday, Canada’s fashion elite will celebrate the industry’s best talents—established and emerging—at the second annual Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards in Toronto. FLARE will be there (again!), and in the lead-up to the big night, we’re spotlighting some of the most exciting nominees.
So far we’ve chatted with Matthew Gallagher, Jon De Porter and Jenny Bird; next up, Montreal’s Mackage, nominated for the Accessory Designer of the Year Award. Designers Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan—friends since elementary school—launched the cult outerwear brand in 1999, and recently expanded into handbags and ready-to-wear. You may have heard of a few of their fans: Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively, Eva Mendes, Madonna, Halle Berry…
In five words or less, how would you describe the woman who wears your brand?
Stylish, sexy and on-the-go!
Tell us about the first time you felt awestruck by fashion.
Elisa: We both grew up knowing this is what we wanted and needed to do. When we were younger, we would always work on little projects together. We would find cool sweaters, revamp them and sell them to our friends. We always knew we wanted to work together, so this was the perfect opportunity.
Eran: Our adventure together began with my brothers’ company [APP Group, Inc.] and their involvement in the leather industry. I joined them to do a contemporary leather collection and it was very well-received, so Elisa joined us as well and we started working on what Mackage is today.
It can be difficult for Canadian designers to resist the urge to set up shop in other countries. Why did you decide to establish your brand at home?
Montreal is where it all began, and this is where we wanted to continue growing the brand. A lot of who we are is influenced by this city and as time went by, it only made sense to set up our HQ here! And let’s be honest, who better to create winter outerwear than people living in a climate that gets some of the worst winters!
Can you share one major source of inspiration for you?
No. 1: we travel a lot. Seeing different cultures and places around the world inspires us constantly. We started the brand at the young age of 19, so we often look at our older stuff to see how much we’ve matured. We try to improve every season by using our knowledge of everything we’ve learned over the years. We are continuously motivated by the fact that we can continue to evolve and grow as a brand!
It’s 2025: what does your brand look like? What do you hope to accomplish by then?
There are so many exciting things in Mackage’s future! We would love to expand more in the European and Asian markets and have standalone stores all over the world. Eventually, we envision Mackage being a full-circle lifestyle brand.
The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards take place Saturday, Jan. 31. Visit Flare.com throughout the week for more Q&As with the nominees!