Oh, Canadian fashion, how do we define you? What does it mean to be ‘Made in Canada’? And what is it really like to work in the fashion industry now that we’re having “a moment in the sun”? That high praise came from a New York Times article about this year’s Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards—the gala’s biggest iteration to date. And the NYT story was followed by an even more glowing Business of Fashion piece that referred to our homegrown talent as “visionaries.”
With this newfound spotlight in mind and a few days before we celebrate the country’s 150th, FLARE asked some of the most prominent Canadians working in fashion—both at home and internationally, or, more commonly, some combination of both—about what it’s like to make a living in the industry, what the rest of the fashion world thinks of Canada, and whether homegrown talent needs to move abroad to truly make it.
Click through the slideshow to find out why living in Canada is the only option for fashion bloggers Samantha and Cailli Beckerman (“When people hear we are Canadian, we get hugs!”) and why a “superstar salary” made celeb hairstylist Harry Josh leave Vancouver for New York.
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Hails from: Drayton Valley, Alberta
Home base: Toronto
Sid’s assessment: “The Canadian industry is much smaller than other countries, but seems to be going through a mini growth period.”
Why he’s based in Toronto… and shows in London, Paris and New York: “Toronto is a nice home base and my favorite city in Canada. I like to be in a multicultural place. It feels like a small town with the conveniences of a big city. That said, it is important to show in a fashion capital to meet with press and buyers. Travelling to New York, London and Paris gives you the exposure that is needed to succeed.”
Why Canada might not need a fashion capital of its own: “Toronto may never be a fashion capital, but sometimes it’s nice to be removed from the action. Perhaps people should stop trying to push Toronto to be like New York. I like Antwerp: it’s totally removed, but home to so much talent.”
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This post is part of The Canada Project, a representative survey of Canadians from across the country. You can find out more right here.