Canadian designers focus on international fashion Identity
Who is the most fashionable Vancouverite? It’s impossible to name somebody the most fashionable due to the subjectivity of the matter but how many people would really be in the running for the title if they wanted it? The fashion culture of Vancouver, and Canada as whole, is limited to those who are creating culture within it. Canadian culture is hard to define. During the 2010 Olympic games Opening Ceremony the poet Shane Koyczan said that the cultural diversity within Canada is “an experiment going right for a change”, well if that’s so then why is it that our fashion is limited to first nations motifs and Hudson’s Bay point blankets? Dress is, after all, such a large part of a nationality. Where most countries get their stylistic inspirations from their past, Canada is much too young for that. I highly doubt that Chip Wilson sought inspiration for his LuLu Lemon yoga pants from ancient Inuit artifacts. What is it that you picture when someone says: “that dress is so Canadian?” There is no obvious response besides, perhaps, that it might be red and white. We can tribute that to the unfortunate trend of Canadian talent leaving our borders to establish themselves as artists abroad. This takes away from developing the culture and communities necessary to encourage and cultivate new emerging fashion talents within Canada.
Several examples of this exist. A talented young designer named Jeremy Laing attended Ryerson University for Fashion Design in Toronto and has operated his export business out of Toronto for years, showing at New York fashion week. He hadn’t shown his collection in Toronto, or any Canadian venue, until Toronto’s Fall/Winter 2012 fashion week this past spring. He chose to make a name for himself in the U.S. before bringing his designs back to Canada. Why is it that we allow our most talented individuals to flourish elsewhere before we can embrace them ourselves?
A further example would be Montreal-born Erdem Moralioğlu. Also a Ryerson Fashion Design Grad, after completing his undergrad in Toronto he relocated to London, England to further his education. He started his business in London and operates out of London today. Yet another unbelievable talent lost to the international fashion scene.
There are some exceptions. Paul Hardy, a Calgary- born designer that is sold at Holt Renfrew, has his only free standing shop in Calgary and is proudly Calgarian in all of his international exploits. David Dixon, also a Ryerson University graduate started his business within the Toronto Fashion Incubator and continues to operate his business in Canada today. He is definitely a strong representative of what Canadian fashion has to offer.
We live in such an internationally accessible time that no one person is limited to where they’re from anymore. Where one is from is more of an identity than a geographic place. We need to develop a strong Canadian fashion identity that is worthy of sticking around to be a part of. Canada is a country to be proud of. The British Columbian license plates say that this is “the most beautiful place on earth” so why don’t we show the world our beauty through our fashion? We have the talent- so let’s embrace it.