October 22, 2013 4:27 pm
Updated: October 23, 2013 9:25 am

Fashion Week Director defines Canadian style as ‘unpretentious urban chic’

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Global News sat down with Jarrad Clark, IMG’s Global Director of Production, to discuss Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week (WMCFW), one year after the international sports, fashion and media mega corporation took over Canada’s premier fashion event.

It is IMG’s third World MasterCard Fashion Week. What challenges still exist?

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The challenges are not exclusive to any country. It’s a moment in time for people to come together as one, as a unified front whether it’s designers, whether it’s buyers or whether it’s media.

With the advent of so much technology and social media, it’s the consumers and making sure we keep up with the pace of consumers who want to know what’s going on. The designers are loving the engagement and the buyers are loving the first-hand feedback.

The group of sponsors come together to create this opportunity for the designers to have this platform and to keep costs down and to give them the opportunity to create six months of good quality marketing material whether they’re going out to buyers or whether the product is going out to stores or sitting in their online retailer. They use this content for six full months.

Australia has really exploded on the fashion scene. What can Toronto learn from them? 

We can put that down to two things. One, the event has been going 18 years. It was the first Mercedes Benz fashion week in the world. There has also been a lot of change in how designers can market themselves, again thanks to social media.

Australian designers had the issue of geography and seasonality. Now we’re purchasing in a different way and product is available year-round. So Australian designers don’t have to go out with a suitcase anymore, they can do it online.

People are tuning into the product when Australia is asleep and they’re discovering Australia because it’s a good product with a unique point of view. All the Australian designers say it’s because of the distance. They don’t get caught up in what’s happening in the rest of the world.

The first learning the Canadian landscape can pick up is that Australian designers received extraordinary retail support. The major department stores started to fit for Australian designers. They all changed their ad campaigns to say they support Australian fashion. They would use the designers in their ad campaigns and they created celebrities out of the designers.

[Canada] has great retail here and we’d like to see more retail supporting more Canadian designers.

Are you seeing a measurable uptick in Canadian designers ending up in retail stores? 

Yes, we definitely are. We’re seeing more designers being picked up especially regionally. What we’d love to see is the big fashion landmarks like the Bay and Holts, especially with The Room and HR2, they’re really good price point locations for Canadian designers.

Speaking of Canadian designers, do you think Canadians are fashionable? 

[Canadians] have a sense of unpretentious urban chic in their styling and your designers are doing that very well. It’s just getting more awareness of the Canadian designers.

Who are you looking forward to seeing this year?

I always love to see what the alumni of [Mercedes Benz] Start Up are doing. Triarchy are back on the schedule. I adore those three siblings. They’re so proactive in everything that they’re doing and they have learned so much. They are like sponges. Travis Taddeo. I always like to see a Joe Fresh show because it always surprises me to see what’s there. Also, Pink Tartan.

World MasterCard Fashion Week runs from October 21 to 26. The public can see the trends on October 26.

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