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TFI News - September/October 2004

A fashion industry newsletter fo innovative designers and small business entrepreneurs

Brought to you by:
Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI)
1987 – 2004
17 Years of TFI

Contact TFI at tfi@fashionincubator.com

September/October 2004
Volume 12, Issue 6

1. Look At Our New Web Site!
2. Toronto Fashion Week Spring 2005 Review
3. New York Market Week Review
4. Upcoming Events
5. Scene + Heard
6. Top Picks


We’ve redesigned the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s (TFI) web site with the help of a Toronto-based firm Room 101 and a generous grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation. You’ll find that our new look is fresh and user-friendly but, more importantly, brimming with information that can help you with your fashion business or career.

Take a look at our new mentor’s forum and send your question to one of our fashion and business counsellors. Want to find out what it’s really like to be a designer? Read diaries from two TFI members, Sandra Oikawa and Carolyn Rohaly, to get the behind-the-scenes ups, downs and daily dramas.

All of your favourite pages are still here too, like a listing of fashion happenings and trade events taking place around town and around the world, and a directory of TFI members.

Looking for a list of public relations’ firms or a samplemaker? Visit TFI’s e-RC, our online Resource Centre, to find what you need 24/7. As our site evolves, TFI’s e-RC will expand and develop too. In the meantime, there are hundreds of other files, trend-forecasting books and resources waiting to be explored at TFI’s head office located in Toronto, Canada. Access to all of these resources and more is as simple as joining our non-profit organization.

So take some time to discover our revised site and send us your comments. We’d love to hear from you! Email us at tfi@fashionincubator.com.

By Doris Montanera

Toronto Fashion Week is on an upswing. Perhaps it was the mix of designers—some of the best from Quebec, Ontario and Alberta—that created a strong showing. Perhaps the jury made the difference by improving the caliber of the shows. Or maybe the presence of socialites and Canadian celebrities, such as actor Sandra Oh, record producer Jake Gold from Canadian Idol and Queer as Folk star Michelle Clunie, sprinkled it with glamour and created a buzz. Whatever the case, September’s event was infused with potential.

Next season promises more. Fern Mallis, who heads IMG, one of the world’s largest sports, leisure and entertainment marketing organizations and now Toronto Fashion Week’s exclusive sponsorship agent, was on hand observing. “Look for subtle changes,” she said at the Holt Renfrew press breakfast. “A lot of it has to do with sponsorship. When you see a gorgeous interior in a home, most of the things are part of the infrastructure of the home. It’s relationship building.” She should know. She also started and runs New York’s Olympus Fashion Week, otherwise known as 7th on Sixth.

As for trends, with all the travelling done on the runway, Toronto Fashion Week could have been renamed The Great Escape. Designers took us around the world in four days.

The first day we landed in Tahiti with Montreal’s Andy Thê-Anh’s safari-style shirts, satin wrap sarong skirts and dresses, in shades of rust, green and tropical florals, inspired by Gauguin paintings. Soon after, Bustle went to a more common but no less wild locale with its body-baring beachwear and hibiscus prints. The word Cruisin’ and a pair of pink flamingoes flanking the runway tipped off the setting as spring break in Florida.

Still Canada’s boy wonder, Arthur Mendonca flew us to Greece. Sheer peasant blouses, Greek goddess dresses and sexy white suits summed up his muse, a vacationing Jackie O in the 1970s. His vivid finale was a red evening gown made with nine metres of hand-painted silk and his big sack handbag, designed as an accessory for the show at the last minute, may eventually lead to an accessories division. “Already three people are asking for them,” Mendonca says.

David Dixon capped the first-day tour with a trip to Lake Rosseau, part of Ontario’s cottage country. He designed his 10th anniversary collection of casual-chic clothes as a homage to his newly adopted son Joshua, who inspired a need to find a balance between work and family. “Everything had to be easy, had to be comfortable,” says Dixon, who set the tone with slim walking shorts and a hooded mesh bug jacket as his opening, following up with such pieces as pretty flirty, full skirts sporting 3-D swirls and polite silver bubble-patterned coats.

Day two was for first-timers, beginning with 2004 New Labels alumni Juma. The chiffon palm-leaf prints, sage and moss linens and sandy silks offered by brother and sister duo Alia and Jamil reflected a Brazilian rainforest. New kids on the block, Cindy Custodio and Cynthia Florek of CinCyn, also went south with a Miami meets Rio feel inspired by the textures and colours of Abalone Pearls. Their panel pants and fluid jersey dresses, which can be wrapped into different configurations, are worth the trip.

Although a fashion unknown, Jay Godfrey brought out the city’s socialites. The son of Blue Jays owner Paul Godfrey launched his first collection amid much hoopla after apprenticing in New York with Oscar de la Renta.

He made a memorable debut with his Dynasty-style wear, which, as one observer noted, would have been better without his excessive use of the Bedazzler. The tube detailing that ringed the hems of a coat and dress was also puzzling.

The heavy-hitters came out at night. Calgary’s Paul Hardy retained his co-starring position as Canada’s other boy wonder with a collection called Mary Poppins Goes to New Delhi. The result was wearable feminine fantasy—full chiffon skirts dotted with silk rosettes, crinkled azure bubble skirts, ruffled jackets and empire-waisted pink coats over tulle-hemmed dresses. Meanwhile, Montreal’s Renata Morales and Denis Gagnon were standouts, offering more artisanal fare such as a basketweave rock-star coat and gold foil basketweave pants at Morales and a punky take on ballet with cutout ribbed cotton tanks over tulle tutus, raw-edged trenches and sequinned tanks with ruffled linen skirts at Gagnon.

Day three brought visions of 1930s Paris at Harebell by Shelli Oh, who offered a collection of her signature ultra-feminine styles in lingerie-inspired pieces such as pretty petal-sleeved dresses in champagne layered over red and floaty handkerchief-hemmed confections. Ottawa’s Rosa Costanzo kept us rooted with contemporary patchwork bustiers, soft rose chiffon tops and gored skirts for smart and sexy working girls.

The highlight of day four was a tour of the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s (TFI) Press Breakfast. The main floor of The Drake Hotel was filled with the collections of 21 TFI Resident and Outreach member companies from as far away as Vancouver, designing everything from men’s and womenswear to accessories.

The atmosphere was upbeat, with more than 70 companies attending, including buyers’ who seized the opportunity to book new lines, and media such as FashionTelevision, which was filming for upcoming segments.

Informal modelling and a photo shoot area, which allowed media the opportunity for pictures, offered added benefits to the breakfast, which was also appreciated for the chance to see lines that weren’t showing on the runway and also the collections upclose of those that did produce shows.

With the positive responses of all who showed and attended, this could lead to the start of a TFI trade show.

By Susan Langdon

In late September, the Canadian Consulate General’s office in the Big Apple invited Canadian apparel and accessories producers on an export market mission to the city to visit selected retail stores, trade shows and showrooms. Having been very active in that scene years ago when I was a designer, I went along this time for a refresher course.

These export missions are really informative. Contact the Canadian Consulate General’s office in your targeted city of choice to see when or if a mission is planned. There is no better way to explore market opportunities than to DIY, in person.

The plan was to see as much as possible in two days as humanly possible, feet withstanding. After enduring a three-hour queue to pass through U.S. Customs at Toronto’s Pearson Airport and a mix-up with my boarding pass causing even further delay, I finally arrived in New York, where the temperature felt like 90 degrees with humidity.

After quickly realizing that I had brought all the wrong clothes, I grabbed a cab and headed off to join the export mission tour that had already commenced. I caught up with the rest of the Canadians at Linda Dresner, a high-end designer boutique on Park Avenue. Labels here included Stella McCartney, Rick Owens and Proenza Schouler. An entire ensemble by Alexander McQueen was even artistically laid out on the floor. Didn’t see any Canadian designer goods however.

John McCabe, the business development officer at the Canadian Consulate General’s office in New York, who organized the mission, took us to several other boutiques and chain stores, such as Searle, Intermix and Olive & Bette’s, so that we could scope out the retail scene. All of them carry more moderately priced contemporary womenswear and casualwear but, alas, still no Canadian labels. In TriBeCa, we visited Herbert Chou, owner of Assets London, who gave a brief chat about what he looks for in a line. Quality was the most important factor in his buying decision, however, judging by the lines carried in the store, style and innovation is also important. It was great to finally see Canadian brands Phillipe Dubuc and Mackage represented. Dubuc’s line was also well represented at UTOWA, a Japanese-owned retail shop that sells fashion, cosmetics and flowers. In the Meat Packing District, we visited Scoop (mainly jeans and casualwear), Jeffrey New York (edgy European lines for men and women), Stella McCartney, La Perla and Alexander McQueen and caught a glimpse of Darryl Hannah and Calvin Klein—separately—strolling on 14th Street.

We also snuck into the newly opened Pink Tartan showroom on 13th Street and discovered how important it is for Canadian companies to maintain a year-round presence in the U.S. in order to really make an impact. Hanging in the stunning, all-white, minimalist showroom was Pink Tartan’s spring 2005 collection and a rack of muslins (raw garment prototypes sewn in unbleached cotton) that showed how each piece in the collection had developed. What a novel idea!

End of day assessment: One broken heel, two aching feet, starving to death (no time to eat or drink as I missed the group lunch at Macy’s), hurricane Jeanne forecasted for tomorrow! Day One down; one to go…

Read about Day Two of Susan’s New York Market Week Review, including a visit to New York trade shows the Fashion Coterie, D&A and The Train in the November issue of TFI News.

Here’s a highlight of what’s coming up in the local fashion scene, but for a full listing of local, national and international fashion and small business events go to the Fashion Calendar in our new Happenings page at www.fashionincubator.com.

SAT, NOVEMBER 6, Kool Haus, 132 Queens Quay E., Toronto. This charity event, now in its 6th year, features a runway fashion show, live entertainment, an exclusive exhibit of local artists and exquisite cuisine. Watch as 10 Canadian designers compete for $1,000 with their Hollywood-inspired creations. Tickets, available through Ticketmaster, are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Proceeds to benefit Rethink Breast Cancer. For more information, visit www.artoffashion.org or call 416-760-0360.

TUES, NOVEMBER 9, 9:00am - 5:00pm, Metro Hall, 55 John St., Toronto. Want to start a fashion business? Register for this informative all-day seminar and learn about business planning, cash flow, costing, delivery dates and everything else you need to know. Held in collaboration with the Toronto Fashion Incubator, Enterprise Toronto and the Apparel Industry Development Corporation (AIDC). To register, contact 416-397-4832. Cost $50 per person.

THURS, NOVEMBER 11, 5:30pm registration, 6:00pm seminar, Toronto Fashion Incubator, 106 Dovercourt Rd., Toronto. Get tips and advice to Do-It-Yourself when selling your line to fashion retailers. Find out if you’re sales rep-ready and how to hire one. Cost is $20 TFI members, $30 for others, payable by Visa. Pre-registration and pre-payment required before November 5, 2004, by contacting 416-971-7117 ext. 21 or tfi@fashionincubator.com. Space is very limited.

THURS, NOVEMBER 11, Toronto Fashion Incubator, 106 Dovercourt Rd., Toronto. Today is the last day to enter TFI’s New Labels National Fashion Design Competition. Here’s your chance to win cash and prizes valued at over $25,000 including The ELLE Canada New Labels Fashion Award and a runway show during Toronto Fashion Week. For an application form and full contest details, contact tfi@fashionincubator.com.

TUES, NOVEMBER 23, 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto. Visit http://www.rom.on.ca/exhibits/indigo/index.php to view 15 re-designed Levi denim jackets created by Canada’s leading fashion designers and magazines. The jackets will be auctioned at The Royal Ontario Museum’s fundraiser, The Magic of Indigo Blue. Tickets are $50 ROM members, public $60 and students $30. The event includes a cocktail reception, lecture and exclusive tour of the exhibit, TOUCHED BY INDIGO: Chinese Blue and White Textiles and Embroidery, on display from October 9, 2004, to February 13, 2005, in the European Temporary Exhibition Gallery. To reserve, call 416-586-5797.

Get your event listed for FREE! Send TFI News your fashion or small business event with at least 30 days prior notice. Send to tfi@fashionincubator.com.


Wanted: three talented, up-and-coming fashion designers to be featured in an episode in the Life Network’s Making it Big television series. If you’re a professionally trained fashion designer with technical skills and industry experience and if you create contemporary women's urban daywear, contact MIB@forcefour.com with your headshot, resume and photos from your collection. Include a brief explanation as to why you should be one of the three designers featured on the show.

EriAle, a contemporary womenswear store, opened on September 30 in Bloor-West Village. “It’s for career women with an edge in how they dress,” says former TFI Outreach member Angela Gallipoli, who owns the 600-sq.-ft. boutique. EriAle currently carries Canadian designers such as Rosa Costanzo from Ottawa, Iris from Montreal, Cecil Benac from Vancouver and Cindy Seto from Toronto, but Gallipoli hopes to expand the selection for spring. “I want to help designers who are just starting out,” she says. 256A Willard Ave., 416-767-2555.

Check out this carefully curated exhibition of Japanese and Japanese-inspired fashions on display at the Design Exchange from December 4, 2004, to January 4, 2005. Using clothing as a canvas, Japanese and Canadian designers break through established norms, orchestrating a collision of textiles, balance, colour and pattern that defies convention. Opening night festivities include a fashion show and after party at the DX starting at 7:00pm. Tickets are $15 per person. A pre-event launch kicks off with a No Kimono Japanese-themed Halloween party at The Drake Hotel on October 29 at 9:00pm. Tickets are $10 at the door and prizes can be won for best japanime costume. For more information on where to purchase tickets, please visit www.nokimono.com.

Caryn Lerner is the new president of Holt Renfrew & Co., Canada’s leading retailer of luxury brands. Most recently, Lerner was president and chief marketing officer of Escada USA and prior to that, held positions at Bloomingdale’s, Jones New York and On-Q, a former division of QVC. Lerner, 47, succeeds Andrew Jennings who left in February to join Saks Fifth Avenue as president and chief merchandising officer.

In August, Starbucks Coffee Company and the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) held a fundraising event that featured three TFI fashion designers and their fall 2004 collections. Approximately 250 people gathered outside the newest Starbucks store at Richmond Street West and Spadina Avenue to catch the free fashion show. Guests enjoyed free Starbucks beverages and Elle Canada magazines while viewing B&M models in fashions by Nada, Revolve and Greenbaum Clothing Company. Donations from the public and a cheque from Starbucks to the Toronto Fashion Incubator raised almost $1,000 for the non-profit organization that nurtures, promotes and supports new fashion entrepreneurs.

Watch Take This House and Sell It and gain great tips and advice on “fluffing” your home before it goes on the market. Glenn Dixon, brother of Canadian fashion designer David Dixon, co-hosts this new television series on the W Network. The show airs nationally on Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Diana Kurtzer, a fourth-year fashion student at Ryerson University, will be off to Paris this summer thanks to Avomark, Peclers Paris and Fashion Group International of Toronto. Kurtzer won a month-long internship at Peclers Paris, the international trend-forecasting and styling agency, after winning top prize in a student competition. The award was presented at the Avomark/Peclers Paris Gala held at the Design Exchange in late August.

www.gillianmagazine.com, a fashion and beauty e-zine targeting Afro-Canadian women, has launched a monthly e-newsletter titled GillMag. GillMag will serve as a teaser for Gillian, a print version of the web site that will be published quarterly commencing sometime later this year. Womenswear and accessories designers who are interested in being featured in the magazine should send press kits to Gillian Magazine, 2901 Bayview Ave., Box 91138, Toronto, ON, M2K 2Y6.

Toronto-based jewellery designers Foxy Originals teamed up with CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) to create the CIBC Circle of Strength necklace as a unique fundraising initiative for the 2004 Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. Worn by stars such as Kim Cattrall, Jeanne Beker and Damhnait Doyle, the pewter and silver-coated pendant designed by Foxy features the familiar Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation pink ribbon icon with a Swarovski pink stone detail. “We wanted to create a piece that was symbolic and stylish at the same time,” says Jen Kluger, co-founder of Foxy Originals. “As young women ourselves, we are proud to contribute to the cause that affects so many Canadian women and their families.” The necklace, which sold for $25, raised $40,000 for the foundation.

According to Dun & Bradstreet, businesses with fewer than 20 employees have only a 37% chance of surviving for four years. But compare those stats with the Toronto Fashion Incubator Resident businesses, which boast an average 75% survival rate after four years! Why the staggering difference? By renting one of TFI’s subsidized in-house studios, your design business can use its funds more effectively to develop market opportunities and hire the right staff to help your business grow. You’ll also have access to on-site business advice, a professional showroom and a 2,000-sq.-ft. production facility. Invest in the future of your business for as little as $300 per month. Contact the Toronto Fashion Incubator today and ask for a Resident application form. TFI’s 17-year proven track record speaks for itself. Call 416-971-7117 ext. 21 or contact tfi@fashionincubator.com.

Sportswear International’s online magazine features a review of Toronto Fashion Week.

Start here to get exporting

The Internet centre for Canadian Fashion and Design

Want to start a fashion business but don’t know how? How to Start a Fashion Business is a guidebook developed for new designers. Along with valuable start-up advice, this guidebook provides samples of fashion business forms and a resource index.

Want to prepare a business plan but don’t know how? TFI’s How to Prepare a Business Plan was developed specifically for non-accounting fashion types. The guidebook provides a template that allows you to simply enter in your company’s information. It comes complete with a 3.5” floppy disk (formatted for Windows 95, Word 7.0 and Excel 7.0 for PC) so you can custom design your plan. What could be easier?

Each book is $25 (+ taxes) or buy both at the same time for only $45 (+ taxes). For more information and to order the guidebooks, contact TFI at tfi@fashionincubator.com or 416-971-7117 ext. 21.

TFI sponsors gain exposure to a targeted audience of more than 4,000 young fashion innovators and industry influencers per issue. If you would like to donate a contest item, membership reward or sponsor a TFI special event, contact Susan Langdon at tfi@fashionincubator.com or 416-971-7117 ext. 21 to learn about the benefits and exposure opportunities your company will enjoy.

Contact TFI at tfi@fashionincubator.com or call 416-971-7117 ext. 21.

NETWORK WITH YOUR PEERS: For a list of TFI members, look through Resident Profiles and Outreach Listings on Our Members page at www.fashionincubator.com.

TFI NEWS is published by the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), an innovative, non-profit, small business centre established in 1987. TFI creates a sense of community among its members by delivering its comprehensive programs and benefits with an approach that is professional, passionate and nurturing.

TFI NEWS is a FREE newsletter publication sent to all TFI members and to those who requested it. Please forward this newsletter to other interested individuals and help spread the word! Information is intended for interactive and informative purposes only. Submissions and feedback are welcome from all and should be sent to tfi@fashionincubator.com.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to TFI NEWS please contact tfi@fashionincubator.com or call
416-971-7117 ext. 21.

Toronto Fashion Incubator
106 Dovercourt Road
Toronto, ON
M6J 3C3

Tel: 416-971-7117 ext. 21
Fax: 416-971-6717
Email: tfi@fashionincubator.com

Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm EST, closed noon to 1:00pm daily and statutory holidays. NOW OPEN 11:00am to 5:00pm every first Saturday of the month by appointment.

© Copyright 2004 The Toronto Centre for the Promotion of Fashion Design (Toronto Fashion Incubator, TFI). No part of TFI NEWS may be copied or duplicated in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Toronto Fashion Incubator.

This publication is distributed for information purposes only and with the understanding that TFI is not responsible for the results of any actions taken by any person in reliance on such information, nor for any errors or omissions contained herein. TFI expressly disclaims any and all liability arising out of the use of this publication or any part thereof by any person.



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