Morning Coffee with Joe Mimran, Joe Fresh's Mastermind

One-on-one with a few of our favourite designers set to show at Toronto Fashion Week. Over a cup of coffee, Emily Ramshaw, Assistant Fashion News Editor, will find out what we can expect from their Fall 2013 collections, why they love working in the Canadian fashion industry, and the unique influences in each of their designs. Check back daily!

Monday, March 18: Kimberley Newport-Mimran, President and Head Designer of Pink Tartan
Tuesday, March 19: Sid Neigum
Wednesday, March 20: Joe Mimran, Creative Director of Joe Fresh
Thursday, March 21: Sunny Fong, Creative Director of Vawk
Friday, March 22: An inside look at Toronto Fashion Week Fall 2013

Joe Mimran and Emily Ramshaw at Joe Fresh HQ

Joe Mimran and Emily Ramshaw at Joe Fresh HQ

Emily Ramshaw: Can you give us a little preview without revealing too much about your Fall 2013 collection?
Joe Mimran: Very inspired by Malcolm McLaren from the early 90s, and the whole Paris street tough looks. I think you’re going to see something quite different from Joe Fresh.

ER: Why is it important for you and Joe Fresh to present at Toronto Fashion Week, especially as a mass retailer?
JM: The way we’ve always looked at ourselves has always been as a brand. And the fashion brand needs to continuously express itself in certain ways, and for our price point, I thought it would be very unusual to do runway. It has morphed over the years as just a presentation to a very important show. I think an important show here in Toronto, it keeps you on your games, it keeps you thinking about it. I think runway is a whole other discipline, it’s another part of the industry, another part of what you do in fashion. You have to think about it very carefully, like you do your ads and your merchandising, and everything else.

ER: I guess the big news now is that you’re expanding so quickly now with J.C. Penney, can you tell us what that experience has been like?
JM: My soundbite now is that I’m moving from the frozen food section to 5th Avenue, and it’s been a circuitous route for the brand. I think that’s why we want to keep it continuously interesting. We went to 5th Avenue and opened a few stores in New York and then we were approached by J.C. Penney to go into their stores. It’s getting a lot of news, some good news, some bad news, and we seem to be in the centre of all the news, which again, seems surprising and challenging. It’s a bit about what we’re like as a brand. We’re willing to take risks, we’re willing to take chances, nothing comes from playing it safe in the fashion game, and we continue to be aggressive.

ER: I know you started in business, why did you decide to take the jump into the creative side?
JM: I’ve always been interested in the creative, the business degree came after my arts degree. So I took fine arts, and Japanese cinema and sociology and all of those fun things, and I had to go get a business degree after that. But I started early in life loving art, and this was the perfect fusion of being able to do something in commerce that also encompass the art and creative world.

ER: I think of you and Kim as the ultimate fashion power couple, do you guys work together a lot on your company?
JM: She’s an amazing muse to have in the house, I get to see all the latest handbag and shoe trends, which is very helpful. She is one of the hardest working people I know and loves what she does, so I think it automatically gives you great connection and relationship because you appreciate so much what the other has to go through with schedules and all of that. There’s no question that we influence each other.

ER: Do you have any advice for anyone that wants to enter the industry as a fashion designer?
JM: You better love what you do, you better work really super hard, make sure you have a point of view, and make sure your point of view has some relevance to the market place or you’ll never get to express it.