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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Chloé and Parris Gordon
Hail from: Toronto
Home base: Toronto
Chloé and Parris’ assessment: “Canadian fashion is an evolving industry that is ready for the next step, and to be recognized on an international level. The industry has taken a step back to really assess what it is doing and strategize as to how to actually make a difference and garner real recognition.”
The designer sisters never left Toronto, but now present their collections in New York: “Toronto is where we are from and was the most cost-effective place to start our business. New York has access to international media and editors, industry leading retailers and recognized influencers—it’s a city that has been leading the industry since its inception.”
How the international press can play a role in galvanizing the Canadian industry—and what we need to commit to here in Canada: “The articles [in the New York Times and Business of Fashion] are amazing and exactly what we need to keep growing and developing into a real player in the game. Now, there needs to be coverage from Vogue Runway like they do for Berlin, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Sydney and other smaller fashion weeks around the world. There also needs to be showrooms that attract international buyers to come and purchase collections. We have ambition, talent, drive, goals and hard-working people. We should focus on making what we offer attractive enough for international media and buyers to make it a part of their travel schedule.”
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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.