Fashion & DesignBig names like Club Monaco, Caban (later sold to Polo Ralph Lauren), Pink Tartan, Roots, Danier Leather, Phantom Hosiery and Tilley Endurables is evidence that Toronto is a fashion and design a powerhouse, It is also home to Canada’s largest retail market and biggest design workforce. Visionary style collectives, like the Toronto Fashion Incubator, the first official incubator of its kind in the world, have helped solidify the city’s place on the global fashion map. Through a successful combination of apparel industry leaders, internationally acclaimed designers and award winning fashion schools, Toronto has become an iconic North America style destination.
With over 25,000 people, Toronto has the largest design workforce in Canada and the third largest in North America. This highly skilled group is well educated: 34 percent of designers having a university degree. Toronto’s internationally acclaimed design leaders include Umbra, Teknion, Keilhauer, Yabu Pushelberg, Hambley & Wooley, Eventscape, Quadrangle, Bruce Mau and many others.
Toronto’s apparel industry leaders like Holt Renfrew and HBC, along with well organized Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) like that of Bloor Yorkville with its international boutiques, and local concentrations of independent retailers in hip, fashion destination areas like Queen West, are the driving force behind Canada’s largest retail market.
Toronto’s fashion and design schools develop and nurture the next generation of creative entrepreneurs. The city’s high profile fashion schools include Ryerson University, George Brown College, Seneca College, Humber College and the Academy of Design while the world-class Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD)—in its distinctive building perched on stilt-like pencils—is searched out by design students from around the globe.
Toronto has a number of groups and institutions that promote the city’s fashion and design initiatives. The Design Exchange is Canada’s design centre and museum. Offering more than forty programs that target all ages, its mission is to promote the value of design across all disciplines through its competitions, education programs, exhibitions and industrial design collection. LG Fashion Week includes 36 runway shows and events and is the second largest fashion week in North America. The city also hosts a number of trade shows throughout the year, including the Ontario Fashion Exhibitors Market, the Toronto Shoe Show the Interior Design Show and Design Thinkers.
To help further promote design of all kinds, the City of Toronto established the Design Industry Advisory Council (DIAC) in 2001. A multi-disciplinary think-tank, its membership includes representatives of the six design disciplines (architecture, landscape architecture, fashion, graphic, industrial and interior design), educational institutions, the Design Exchange, the City and the province.
Established in 1973, Roots is Canada’s leading lifestyle brand known around the world for its quality leather goods, active athletic wear, yoga wear, accessories and home furnishings. Starting with a tiny store in Toronto, Roots now has more than 120 retail locations in Canada and the United States, and more than 40 in Asia. In addition, Roots has a state-of-the-art leather goods factory and design centre in Toronto.
Roots is proud of its Canadian heritage and its strong link with Canada. The nature, culture, sports and human diversity of Canada have always been a major source of inspiration at Roots. It’s an intrinsic part of the company. Roots employs nearly 2000 people in Canada and contributes to the employment of thousands more through its work with suppliers and other activities.
Roots is also a leader in the sports field and a supporter of amateur athletes. It has designed Olympic collections for both Canada and U.S.
For further information, please see: www.roots.com
M•A•C Cosmetics is recognized as one of the most revolutionary and influential companies in the global cosmetics industry. Founded in 1984 to support the creative needs and high standards of professional makeup artists, today M•A•C stands at the epicenter of fashion, beauty and popular culture. The company's extraordinary ability to create innovative products and cultivate new markets has led to its unparalleled growth and expansion, with more than 750 locations in 48 countries around the world.
Makeup Art Cosmetics (M•A•C) was established in Toronto when makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and beauty salon owner Frank Angelo brainstormed a makeup line. Frustrated because of the lack of colours that would shoot well with photography, their aim was to develop a studio line makeup line that would fulfill their professional needs. M•A•C was homegrown in Canada—literally. The two entrepreneurs cooked up the cosmetics in their kitchen and sold them from the hair salon. Their first customers: fellow makeup artists, models and photographers. Then came stylists and editors. With every colour, and every magazine credit, word-of-mouth popularity grew.
In March 1984, the duo officially launched the line from a single counter in the basement of Simpson's department store in Toronto. It was heavily staffed with professional makeup artists, an industry innovation. Package-wise, it stood out, too: it was chic utility. Everything came in black pots rather than compacts, without mirrors or sponge applicators. One of the most popular new offerings was an intense matte-red lipstick that was used on a photo shoot with a New York cabaret star named Madonna.
In 1995, The Estee Lauder Companies purchased 51 percent of M•A•C, effectively extending the brand's distribution across the globe. Freestanding stores and counters at the world’s leading retailers opened at a record pace.
In 1998 Estee Lauder acquired the remaining shares of the company. M•A•C is now based in New York City and maintains an office in Toronto.
For more information, please see: www.maccosmetics.ca
Established in 1987, the TFI was the first official fashion incubator of its kind in the world. Cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Dublin, Aukland, Kobe and Cape Town have turned to Toronto for inspiration to create their own fashion incubators.
The TFI Membership Program provides a nurturing, creative environment with ten private or shared studios and industrial equipment. It also provides made-to-measure business solutions for new and established fashion designers, entrepreneurs, professionals and students. The TFI Outreach Program offers business consultation, access to the TFI resource Centre and meeting rooms as well as mentoring. TFI offers its members exclusive promotional and sales opportunities, as well as discounts through the TFI Membership Rewards Program, to hundreds of entrepreneurs.
Each spring, TFI hosts New Labels, a prestigious national fashion design competition and runway show featuring TFI members. The event attracts over 1,000 retailers, buyers, stylists, editors and fashionable consumers, with a prize package valued as over $35,000.
Every fall, TFI invites the most influential media and retail buyers to meet with Canada’s hottest upcoming accessory and apparel designers at the TFI Press & Buyers Breakfast.
For more information, please see: www.fashionincubator.com
Headquartered in Canada, for over 30 years, Decoustics is an international leader in the manufacture of custom architectural acoustical ceiling and wall products. Their advances in the use of interior acoustic products have established them as a preferred supplier based on reliability, innovation, service and quality.
Decoustics’ fully integrated CAD/CAM manufacturing system is able to work to very tight tolerances, producing complex shapes with great accuracy. This provides architects and designers with the ultimate creative flexibility.
For further information, please see www.decoustics.ca