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TFI News - March 2005

A fashion industry newsletter for innovative designers and small business entrepreneurs


Brought to you by:
Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI)
1987 – 2005
18 Years of TFI

Contact TFI at tfi@fashionincubator.com

March 2005
Volume 13, Issue 3

1. TFI New Labels® And The Winner Is…
2. L’Oreal Fashion Week Review by Doris Montanera
3. TFI Volunteers are the Best!
4. Scene + Heard
5. Membership Has Its Perks
6. TFI Retail Seminar Recap
7. Upcoming Events
8. Top Picks

Hot, young designer finalists, Cincyn, PierreJale and Nostalgy, showcased their fall 2005 collections to a packed house at the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s TFI New Labels® Fashion Show on March 16 at The Hudson Bay’s lavish Arcadian Court. Before the show, guests and celebrities savoured delicious wines and hors d’oeuvres from party host sponsor, Vin de Pays d’Oc.

Design Rivals Chris and Steven, actress Wendy Crewson, Canadian Idol judge Jake Gold, Canadian media and industry supporters, including buyers from Saks Fifth Avenue and members of the U.K. and Australian media, were all in attendance at this over-capacity, high-energy event.


“The backdrop of classic film clips added dimension to each designer's inspiration, but the whole effect was ratcheted up by the glossy grandeur of the Arcadian Court setting. I loved the clusters of furniture settees where, in lieu of a front row, fashion arbiters sipped vanilla tea,” said National Post style writer Nathalie Atkinson.



At the end of the show, Cincyn was named the winner of the ELLE Canada New Labels® Fashion Award, which involved free participation in the show, a $1,000 cash prize and a fashion editorial. PierreJale was named the winner of the Toray Ultrasuede® Award, which included a $500 cash prize for the most innovative use of the fabric.


This year’s competition judges included Rita Silvan of ELLE Canada, Susanne Hiller of the National Post, Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman of Design Rivals/So Chic, designer David Dixon, Hugo Boss’ Dawn Thorpe, and Wendy Medina of Toray Ultrasuede America Inc. (TUA). Sponsors included ELLE Canada, Vin de Pays d’Oc, Toray Ultrasuede® America Inc., Hbc, TD Canada Trust, M.A.C, Salon Daniel and Laven Industries.

“Elle Canada is delighted to continue our partnership with the TFI to help build the fashion stars of tomorrow,” says editor, Rita Silvan. “Original ideas and new talent are the lifeblood of any industry, but they are essential in fashion. The New Labels program goes beyond the platitudes and provides real support to designers in Canada.”

ELLE Canada, the country’s premier fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine, is the 33rd edition of the global family of ELLE titles and one of its most successful launches in history. ELLE Canada is published 12 times per year by Les Publications Transcontinental-Hachette Inc.

For press inquiries and runway images please contact Faulhaber PR at 416-504-0768 or at info@faulhaber.ca. More info is available at www.fashionincubator.com.

Toronto’s fashion week is growing up nicely, thank you
By Doris Montanera

Like a teenager who’s grown past that gawky, awkward stage, Toronto’s fall 2005 fashion week, now officially, L’Oreal Fashion Week, appeared seamless this season. It was polished and refined, with a higher calibre of designs and designers than in the past, which made it, for the most part, a pleasure to attend. The requisite socialites and domestic celebs, again provided cachet, while two of Canada’s top models, Heather Marks and Lisa Cant, pumped up the volume and added to the pattern of success.

Arthur Mendonça
Arthur Mendonça aimed to create a collection that captured the confidence of a well-travelled woman, and proved his global focus in terms of his design esthetic by capturing all the key international trends.

His tailored suits were deceptively sexy: pinstripe wool blazers, matching pencil and tulip skirts and high-necked plaid shirts, all hugged the body. Discreet ruffles—at jacket sleeves, blouse collars and backs of skirts—softened his sharp cut with touches of femininity.

“Arthur has good potential,” said friend and mentor Alfred Sung, sitting in the front row. “He understands women’s bodies. I like his evening things. His chiffons are sexy and he’s surprisingly good at tailoring.”

Paul Hardy
Paul Hardy had us talking again, not only about his Chronicles of Narnia-inspired collection, with its Depression-era slinky dresses, tweeds and beautiful embroidered, faded velvets that had a refined but slightly fallen-on-hard-times look, but about model and fellow Calgarian, Heather Marks, who opened and closed his show.

“I’ve been battling with this the last couple of seasons,” says Hardy. “Canadian fashion week should be on par with other fashion weeks. I was adamant about wanting top models in the show. I got word from her agent, who is a friend, that she was available.”

It was fitting. Hardy and Marks have been friends since she was 12 (she’s now 16) and practiced her walk in Hardy’s shows long before she made it on the international stage.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy was the opening song, but Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want Have Fun would have been equally appropriate. For their first full collection, the Toronto-born Beckerman sisters put together a cohesive colourful grouping that would have made Betsey Johnson proud. Styled Beckerman-way, the clothes were wild. Worn separately, as items, they would add a touch of whimsy to an outfit: a funky “worry doll” corset, silk taffeta pleated skirts that could be dressed up or down, black stretch velvet pants with heart-shaped back pockets, green cashmere cardigans with yellow bobbles.

The twins, 24-year-old Caillianne and Samantha, are already FIT grads. Little sister Chloe, 21, is finishing an art history degree at McGill and preparing to join her siblings in New York this fall, while she attends FIT. The plan is for Chloe to design original textiles for the label.

Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish managed to create a collection that simultaneously moved forward but still retained that Comrags signature look of utilitarian chic. Along with comfy black mohair hoodies and tux skirts was the sleeping bag collection. The long, puffy skirts and coats, made of Thinsulate-lined windbreaker nylon, were inspired by Canadian winters. “How do we take that tragedy in February and look good?” said Gunhouse. They started with a long skirt you can wear while walking the dog, with a hook for the plastic bag. “It was fun to take something so sport-oriented and make it glamourous,” said Cornish. They didn’t plan to sell it but their customers had other ideas.

David Dixon
With a bagpiper piping us in, it wasn’t hard to ascertain the theme of David Dixon’s collection. Groupings of wool plaid and tweed dresses, skirts, and both long and cropped pants, were ideal for weekending at the Scottish country manor. Fine, fringed seam and ruffle details, as well as the plaid lining under his muskrat wrap, ensured it was a visit circa 2005. “He was right on trend with the contemporary customer who wants to look pulled together,” said Beth Kanfer, the market editor for Saks, New York.

Jayn Simpson
Jayn Simpson knocked us dead with her runway debut and her theme, Murder on the Orient Express. She set the atmosphere with a roving porter to greet us, old-fashioned lampposts set at intervals along the runway, a pile of luggage trunks at the top and dry ice, like steam, announcing the arrival of the first model. From there, Simpson kept right on chugging. Her collection was elegant, sophisticated, ladylike, not to mention well-made, and was polished with detail: lace on pant pockets and black silk tweed skirt hems, antique brass buttons on plaid tweed coats and camel houndstooth jackets, men-style shirting with discreet ruffled sleeves. With these production and design values, she’s on the fast track.

Brother and sister team, Jamil and Alia Juma, are mastering the art of sexy tailoring. Their collection, while primarily wearable and saleable, featured a few pieces worthy of mention: a midnight blue silk chiffon skirt with horizontal seaming at the waist, grey cashmere baggy pants and a deep V-necked ruffled blouse. These were their strengths. Their florals bordered on dowdy.


Joeffer Caoc
This is Joeffer Caoc’s 10th anniversary but few people knew it. Caoc, with his eponymous label name change from Misura, continued his low-key mantra in his collection. Although based on the book, The Sexual Life of Catherine M., his usually über-sexy styles were toned down. “It was borderline dowdy but still sexy,” said Caoc. “I wanted it presented in an intelligent, thought-provoking way.” Aside from his fur chubbies, luxe elements were subtle: hints of glitter outlining the seams of the little black dress, a lame lining under flocked devore, making it sparkle in different lights, suede insets and silk-lined organza. “I wanted inner reactions,” said Caoc. The result was solid saleability.

Pink Tartan
As one observer remarked, the full house was for the most conservative line. It was Pink Tartan’s first time on the Toronto stage and likely one of its last. After the show, principal Joseph Mimran agreed it was a dress rehearsal for the big time in the Big Apple, next fall.

The bulk of the collection was basics for the working woman—white shirts with pale pink plackets, plaid pencil skirts with wide belts tied into bows at the back, pretty knee-length skirts in layers of chiffon and feminine military coasts with a ’40s influence in the velvet buttons and trim. While it was a gracious collection, it suffered from a not-so-gracious presentation, with models who looked like they were dressing up in clothes from their mother’s Rosedale closets—an impression intensified by their difficulty walking in high-heeled shoes, as well as the head band and tiara details.

Calgarian model Lisa Cant saved the show—she was one of the few who could walk in her heels. As if Pink Tartan and the superpowers behind the label weren’t enough to draw a crowd, this rising star brought her own buzz.

Harebell’s collection, themed Tipsy, isn’t about getting drunk. It is, however, about the loss of inhibition and the freedom it gives you. How it translated might be a new direction for designer Shelli Oh, known for her romantic, ethereal qualities. She’s added prints, checks and colour and her plaid military jackets, with fur epaulettes, have already received a great response from clients. For once, lace hasn’t been the unifying factor of the collection. Although, not by design; the fabric was stuck in customs at the border.

Denis Gagnon
“I love Denis Gagnon,” said Saks market editor Beth Kanfar. “The leathers, the Japanese feeling. It’s avant-garde.” Gagnon’s premise, Winter Wonderland, translated into subdued colours and blousing and pouffing effects: for example, beneath the bottom like a pseudo-peplum, at the side of a little black dress and at the elbows, triceps and shoulders of a top. Details, such as the faux double-waistbands on his pants and his supple, worn leathers, cut like a jacket with tails, or with external seams, set him apart.

Andy The-Anh, Pow
For those who didn’t know Andy The-Anh’s work from his past as a designer at Parasuco and Tristan & America, they will now. The-Anh presented a cohesive collection inspired by the early 19th-century Slavic winter. Mohair and cashmere redingotes, with epaulettes, empire-waisted chiffon gowns, and cropped Hussar jackets paired with Cossack pants, reinforced the Napoleonic impression.

Envers’ fall collection by Yves Jean Lacassse is best described as theatrical. Inspired by a 21st century Romeo and Juliet, the mood of the clothes is medieval, “created with musketeers in mind,” according to the program notes. Sashed blouses and shirts, with balloon sleeves, wide-stitched knit tunics and sheer jade tulle skirts trimmed with ribbon, all added to the romantic effect.

Renata Morales
Renata Morales combined classic shapes with bohemian flare. She took opposing patterns and put them together eclectically, such as in matelassé patchwork jackets and Liberty-inspired paisley prints on pants and skirts. Handcrafted details included tweed capelets with cutout lace appliques and skunk whisker accents on the shoulders of a trapeze halter with jewelled collar, continuing her artisanal feel.

Photos By: Paultoogood Photography


A team of more than 70 volunteers helped make this year’s TFI New Labels® show a huge success. From sewing on program labels to moving furniture, dressing models, managing the registration table, selling tickets, greeting guests and more, our hard working group really showed us how dedicated and professional they were. “We could never afford to present our annual TFI New Labels show without our volunteers,” said Susan Langdon of the Toronto Fashion Incubator. “They are absolutely essential to the success of our event. On behalf of everyone at the TFI, we’d like to thank our incredible volunteer team.”

Len Henry, the TFI New Labels® show director/producer, was ecstatic with his group. “They were eager and they were awesome!” he said. “They were great backstage and they were great at setting up the room.”

Sandra Oikawa, TFI’s marketing and special event co-ordinator, who was also the volunteer co-ordinator this year, concurs. “This year’s crop brought a contagious excitement and enthusiasm to everything they did. They were wonderful to work with and I hope to see them all back soon. We have many upcoming events and, of course, there’s next year’s show.”

To volunteer with TFI, please contact Sandra Oikawa at 416-971-7117 x 31 or sandra@fashionincubator.com.


The Toronto Fashion Incubator welcomed Nina Budman and Mary Symons, two new members, to its Advisory Committee in March. Nina Budman is founder and owner of Budman and Associates, a full-service bilingual public relations firm specializing in corporate, consumer, development and retail communications. The company has been providing public relations services to clients across Canada for more than 16 years. Combining a successful background in the fashion industry, media relations and event organization, Mary Symons now runs her own communications company, Mary Symons & Associates. Mary is also district director for Fashion Group International (FGI), overseeing Toronto, Chicago and five other American cities. Most recently, she chaired the FGI International Conference held in Toronto during August 2004.

Tune into the Life Network on Sunday, April 24, at 10:00pm (in the U.S. on Monday, May 16, and Wednesday, May 18, at 8:00pm on the Oxygen Network) and watch three up-and-coming fashion designers compete to create a fabulous cocktail dress in just two hours. The best designer will win an opportunity to be mentored by fashion design icon Cynthia Steffe and have his or her work displayed at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York City.

In an effort to help the emerging Canadian Aboriginal fashion industry, and help traditional fashions meld with the modern world, a group of designers have joined forces to create a new Aboriginal Design Council. “When you think of Canadian fashion, we want you to think of Aboriginal designs first,” said Angela DeMontigny, a Cree/Metis who recently wardrobed the hosts and presenters of the Aboriginal Achievement Awards. A mini fashion show, with designs by DeMontigny, D’Arcy Moses and Tammy Beauvais (whose work has been worn by Robert DeNiro and Eric Roberts), among others, demonstrated the subtle Aboriginal design details and marketability of the clothes. A database of fashion design and traditional artisans in the country’s native community is currently being compiled.

Buy Design is a gala charity event celebrating the best in wearable design and benefiting Windfall, Canada’s only new clothing bank. Buy Design takes place on Saturday, April 16, 2005, in the Distillery Historic District. Event highlights include interactive “get styled” stations staffed by Toronto’s top stylists, deconstructed gift bags that guests can fill and adorn during the evening, limited-edition T-shirts designed by top Canadian graphic designers, interactive product sampling and a live and silent auction. Tickets are $75 in advance/$80 at the door and available by calling 416-703-8435.

TFI thanks the following contributors for their recent donations to our non-profit organization: Eveleen Dollery, Patricia Harris and James Maxwell Khan, a new TFI Outreach member. Special thanks and acknowledgement goes to Kim O’Brien and the staff at TD Canada Trust (Queen and Spadina branch) for their spectacular effort in selling tickets to TFI’s New Labels® show. Each month, TFI News will recognize those who support our non-profit organization. To make a donation that will help us to continue offering benefits and support to new fashion entrepreneurs and to the fashion community, please visit our online shop.

Only TFI members get EXCLUSIVE invitations to participate in outstanding sales and promotional opportunities!

On March 17, 2005, a select group of TFI apparel and accessories designers got a chance to show their stuff to Elizabeth Kanfer from Saks Fifth Avenue and Canadian Trade Commissioners from around the world.

“Thank you for inviting us to be a part of today’s events,” said Jennifer Kluger and Suzy Orol of Foxy Originals, who were part of the group. “The connections we made this morning were incredible. We value the many opportunities that come from membership with the TFI!”

Other participating designers included TFI Residents Wonderlust, Juma, Edward Chu and House of Spy; TFI New Labels® designers PierreJale, Cincyn and Nostalgy; and accessory lines Bebis, Loranne K. and Jabberdust.

The next day, TFI Outreach member Mark Belford was invited to outfit actor Wendy Crewson in the TFI Eveleen Dollery showroom. Crewson wore Belford’s red-carpet-worthy blue silk and black lace gown trimmed with ostrich feathers to the 25th annual Genie Awards ceremony on March 21.

TFI’s Sales Clinics with Paula Shneer, another exclusive opportunity for TFI members to fine-tune their showroom sales techniques, were an immediate sell-out with 20 companies participating in the month of March. Members commented that the clinics provided highly useful information tailored to suit their individual needs. TFI’s Sales Clinics were sponsored by Industry Canada.

Don’t miss out on upcoming exclusive events and opportunities! Join TFI today by downloading the membership application.

Held March 15 at The Liberty Grand, the Toronto Fashion Incubator presented a Retail seminar to a sold-out audience. Guest panelists included:

Joel Carman, owner of Over the Rainbow and Canada’s denim guru. He is the mastermind behind the 30-year business that has raised the bar for the way we view denim today. Carman has a wealth of experience in what to buy and why and how stay afloat in an ever-changing industry.

Pat Kline is co-owner of Finishing Touches, Toronto’s up-town shopping hot spot. A long-time supporter of Canadian fashion, Kline has been wardrobing women for 30 years. Her long-term success makes her an expert on how, what, who and where to buy.

Christine Faulhaber is the principal of Faulhaber PR, a Toronto-based marketing and PR firm. With more than 15 years experience in the Canadian fashion and retail marketplace, she has extensive experience driving brand initiatives and sales.

TFI executive director Susan Langdon moderated a panel discussion that offered important tips and advice, including:

* Present samples that are “retail-ready” —no excuses acceptable! Samples must display the fit, quality and finishing of production stock. Show your samples in a standard size six; not in “your” size although it’s a great idea to wear your own garments to buying appointments.

* Do your research. Spend more time investigating what your targeted retailer sells and who they are. The best way to do this is by visiting the store in person.

* Don’t get emotional. Listen, learn and don’t get emotional if a buyer passes on your line. Find out what you can do to improve your product offering.

* Look at your competitor. Visit trades shows in the U.S. to get an idea of the huge range of products offered to buyers each season. Look at what’s missing and where you fit in regarding price and style.

The TFI Retail Seminar was presented by the Toronto Fashion Incubator and sponsored by The Fashion Design Council of Canada (FDCC) and Industry Canada.

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 TFI Fashion Calendar in our new Happenings page.

Financial Assistance for R&D
Wednesday, April 13, 2005, 8:00am to 11:30am, Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr. Find out how your sewn products manufacturing firm can access the federal SR&ED program that provides a 35% cash refund on your research and development costs. Free seminar. Register in advance by contacting the AIDC at 416-397-4617 or ssnder1@toronto.ca.

AIDC Product Costing Workshop
Saturday, June 4, 2005, 8:30am to 4:30pm, Metro Hall. Participants will secure understanding of the phases of garment costing. Practical exercises and hands-on calculations are used to determine a selling price and set a target level of profit. This is followed by a full-day session at each participant’s company where existing costing sheets, production figures and direct labour costs are examined. Each firm will receive a follow-up diagnostic report with observations and recommendations for improvement. Presented by AIDC, the Apparel Industry Development Corporation. Fee $500 AIDC members; $700 others. To register, contact 416-397-4832.

TFI's Members Monthly Networking and Brainstorming Session
Saturday, June 11, 2005, 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Toronto Fashion Incubator. TFI Outreach and Resident members are invited to attend our monthly networking and brainstorming session. This is the perfect opportunity to meet and chat with your fellow members about ideas, interests and concerns you have pertaining to the fashion industry. Pre-register by June 1, 2005. A minimum number of participants is required. Please RSVP to Sandra Oikawa at 416-971-7117 ext. 31or by email.

How To Maximize Sales
Monday, June 13, 2005, 5:30pm networking reception, 6:00pm seminar, Toronto Fashion Incubator. Get expert advice on how to maximize your sales potential through effective market research and product development. Find out what to do and how to do it before you start your next collection. Presented by Paula Shneer, a professional sales rep with over 20 years experience. Cost is $22 + GST per TFI member; $32 + GST non-member. Tickets are available at our online shop.

PART 2: The Anti-Brand—How To Sell Without Selling Out
Back by popular demand, Rose Mastnak of Portrait Branding returns to TFI for PART 2 of her successful "How to Sell Without Selling Out" seminar series. Attend one or ALL FOUR seminar sessions! Cost: $22 + GST per session/ per person (exclusive to TFI members only). All seminars take place at the Toronto Fashion Incubator, 106 Dovercourt Rd. Networking reception at 5:30pm, seminars start at 6:00pm. Tickets are available at our online shop.

Session One: Establishing the Brand Hierarchy
June 21, 2005. Recapping the different strategies that can be applied to the architecture of a fashion brand, including derivative lines and line extensions. Case studies will be used to illustrate viable approaches for emerging designers to plan the optimal way to build their brand.

Session Two: Executing the Brand Identity
July 5, 2005. Exposing designers to the process of logo and brand language development for their brand and to apply strategic thinking to the execution of all communications, events and environments. Considerations for specific types of materials will be discussed in order to make the concept of executing against a brand as tangible as possible.

Session Three: Managing the Brand Identity
July 19, 2005. Once a language has been defined for a brand, assets must be managed over time in order to ensure that their integrity is preserved. We will walk through logo usage guidelines, brand language guidelines and brand filters in detail, with examples illustrating how to use these tools.

Session Four: Communication Mapping
August 2, 2005. The idea of communication mapping is to define “who needs to receive what information at what time and in what format”. This enables designers to determine material needs and to prioritize them based on business objectives. We will walk through an actual mapping exercise to illustrate the thinking behind it as well as the resulting directions.

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.
ITS is an annual, international talent competition for fashion design students and new fashion grads. Get more details by visiting the website.

See images from TFI’s New Labels show and Vin de Pays d’Oc’s wine reception held March 16, 2005.

Check out designer collections from L’Oreal Fashion Week held in Toronto, March 14 to 18, 2005.

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.

CHANGING YOUR ADDRESS OR EMAIL ADDRESS? Keep us updated so you don’t miss out on important opportunities and notices. Email TFI 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.

The Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), an innovative, non-profit, small business centre established in 1987, publishes TFI NEWS. 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
Canada M6J 3C3

Tel: 416-971-7117
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 2005 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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