Joe Fresh departure planned long ago: Mimran

Joe Mimran greets the audience after the Joe Fresh show during Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto on March 20, 2013.
Joe Mimran greets the audience after the Joe Fresh show during Toronto Fashion Week in Toronto on March 20, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – While his recent departure from Joe Fresh may have seemed sudden, Joe Mimran said the transition had been months in the making.

Mimran said he’d been planning the move for the last 18 to 24 months with Galen Weston, president of grocery giant Loblaw Companies Ltd., which owns the Joe Fresh brand.

Mimran said the number of years he had devoted to the industry was among his reasons for stepping down.

“We’ve been talking a lot about succession and how do you do it right and how do we do it properly and how do we do it without disrupting the marketplace,” Mimran said in an interview at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week on Monday.

“There’s been a lot of thought that’s gone into it.

“I’m so proud of the brand and I’m so proud of the future of that brand and what I’ve been able to contribute to it.”

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Company president Mario Grauso has now taken the reins of the affordable apparel label. But Mimran said he still remains under contract for 10 days a year for the next few years.

“That’s a lot for a creative person. You can do a lot in that time.”

For years, Mimran and Joe Fresh had been a familiar presence on the Toronto runway. That all changed last fall when Mimran announced the label was ending future presentations, saying all shows would be geared towards the wholesale market.

On Monday, Mimran found himself in the role as style spectator for Pink Tartan, the womenswear label where his wife, Kimberley Newport-Mimran is president and head designer.

“It’s very different for me,” he admitted.

“I kind of miss the action of the show and sort of the adrenalin rush you get from a show. But, I also don’t miss the pressure. It’s nice for me to be able to just switch gears.

“I think, in a way, it’s what fashion is all about as well: (it) is not to get into a rut and to be able to switch gears and do different things and take on different challenges and look at the world in a new way, in a different way.”

Mimran is getting ready for his closeup as he joins the roster of business bosses fielding pitches from eager entrepreneurs on the CBC-TV series “Dragons’ Den.”

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Mimran said he is excited to hear of the new ideas and ventures when he films the new season airing this fall.

“The fashion business is the hardest business in the world and I think people will acknowledge that,” he said.

“I think that I will come in with a really interesting perspective on how hard it is to be in business and how it changes and how you have to be resilient.

“And I think I’m going to probably relate to a lot of the presenters, so that may be the danger. I may want to hug every single one of them,” he added with a laugh.


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