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March/April 2014

Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014

TFI News
A free fashion industry newsletter

Brought to you by:
Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI)
A dynamic non-profit organization offering made-to-measure business solutions for new & established fashion designers, entrepreneurs, professionals & students

Sponsored by:
City of Toronto Economic Development


March/April 2014
Volume 22, Issue 2

2. World MasterCard Fashion Week Fall 2014
3. Thank You TFI Donors
4. Scene & Heard
5. Top Picks
6. Fashion Calendar


After an in-depth selection process and much anticipation, the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) has revealed the four emerging Canadian designers who will complete in the TFI 2014 New Labels® Fashion Design Competition for Most Promising New Label presented by Suzanne Rogers. Toronto-based designers (image below L-R) Miriam Baker (Alice Azur), Laura Siegel (Laura Siegel Collection), Christopher Paunil & Chalo Barrueta (Christopher Paunil Designs), and Ashley Boutchér (Nomad of the Sun), will vie for this year's grand prize: $25,000 cash, a full-page feature in Flare magazine and production of a lookbook for the winning collection, provided by CoverGirl and Pantene.

Fashion VIPs and industry aficionados will gather in support of the non-profit TFI on May 5th at One King West where the winner will be chosen and announced. Master of Ceremonies Jeanne Beker will host TFI's New Labels® Fashion Show & Fundraiser where guests can network with industry influencers and the city's tastemakers while enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Net event proceeds from the sold out fundraiser will benefit community programs, services and training for new and emerging fashion entrepreneurs.

2. World MasterCard Fashion Week Fall 2014
By Susan Langdon & Doris Montanera

Here is our summary of the best shows, product launches and off-site showings in and around World MasterCard Fashion Week (March 17 to 21, 2014):

Anu Raina
Newcomer Anu Raina attracted a celebrity audience at her debut showing on the final day of the week. Mayoral candidates Olivia Chow and Karen Stintz snagged front row seats as charming dresses and separates of stylized and abstracted Toronto cityscape prints made their way down the runway. Woven together by a common thread of black, the palette was punctuated by greens, blues and purples. Chow was later seen sporting one of the looks at the city’s first televised debate.

David Dixon
Always a fashion week favourite, Canadian designer David Dixon surprised audience members this season by debuting David Dixon White, his premiere bridal collection. For those who missed the runway show of pretty, feminine and elegant looks cut in a variety of textiles such as silk organza, chiffon, Chantilly lace and appliquéd tulle, a selection of Dixon’s gowns will be available for brides-to-be at the new Kleinfeld bridal boutique opening May 1st at The Bay in Toronto.

DHL Fashion Panel
On March 18, DHL Express Canada hosted the DHL Fashion Panel, a candid discussion about the business of fashion and top industry trends and issues on the minds of young designers. Now in its fourth season, this session’s panelists included Shawn Hewson, creative director, Bustle Clothing; Susan Langdon, executive director, Toronto Fashion Incubator; Marissa Freed, president and creative director, Freed & Freed International Ltd.; and Ashlee Froese, partner at Gilbert’s LLP, board member of Fashion Group International and owner/editor of Topics included how to start a fashion business, how to legally protect and promote a brand, finding the right manufacturer and how to import and export a collection. The session was moderated by Greg Hewitt, president of DHL Express Canada.

Elan + Castor
Held three weeks after Toronto Fashion Week, local designer Leah Antoinette debuted her fall/winter capsule collection of merino wool sweaters, separates and dresses mixed with silk or leather at Parlour, an edgy underground bar on Adelaide Street West.

Farley Chatto
The Canadian menswear designer debuted his line of luxury fur outerwear for men and women and unisex accessories such as trapper hats, messenger bags and fur infinity scarves. Along with finely rendered fur staples such as opera coats and chubbies were non-traditional pieces such as pastel mink scalloped jackets and white mink scalloped coats.

Hilary MacMillan
Recent travels to the North of Scotland and the Scottish Highlands inspired Hilary MacMillan’s fall collection. Evoking the sport of pheasant hunting, the designer chose a palette rich is reds, blues and winter whites with tartan plaids and details taken from traditional hunting attire. The Canadian designed and produced label retails between $160 and $400 and is currently available at Elle Hardware in Toronto and Fashion Island in Brooklyn, NY.

Jeanne Beker & The Shoe Company
On March 21st fashion industry icon Jeanne Beker revealed her curated collection of moderately priced shoes and purses for The Shoe Company. Cool and sexy footwear retailing between $70 and $90 include pumps, gladiator sandals, t-straps and stilettos. The collection hit 200 stores nationwide at the end of March.

Laura Siegel
Laura Siegel, a finalist in 2014’s TFI New Labels® fashion competition, paid homage to the origins of quilting, which can be traced back to Mongolian craft and tradition. Outerwear pieces fashioned from hand-knit suede, chunky wools and soft leather incorporated quilting and Kantha embroidery techniques. The fall/winter collection of softly draped and layered looks featured a palette of deep, rich browns, medium to dark greens and warm creams.

Toronto-based Line offered a fresh and bold collection of knitwear not just in silhouettes but colours. A mint green leather bustier, pink skirt and calf-hair vest were nestled among the groupings of bordeaux and cobalt angora shorts and cropped sweaters, and slim-fitting soft grey, ivory and mint green angora skirts, velvet tees and sweeping maxi sweaters, that made this season’s collection a standout.

Melissa Nepton
Montreal designer Melissa Nepton is quickly becoming a Toronto fashion week favourite. She continued her signature look combining comfort and fashion with brocade geometrics, quilted fabrics and metallics mixed with soft, flowy fabrics in raw-edged jumpers, circle mini skirts, and wide-legged pants.

Mikhael Kale
Perhaps the highlight of World MasterCard Fashion Week was the Mikhael Kale show. Showing first at the tents this season, Kale did not disappoint devotees such as socialite and philanthropist Sylvia Mantella who was there to cheer on the designer. Sexy, glam, rock n’ roll black studded jackets, separates and dresses cut from cashmere, leather, lace and organza were standouts in the presentation. Following the edgy all-black looks, Kale revealed his softer side with form-fitting, re-embroidered ribbon-lace gowns in pink, nude and mint.

Designed by Nikki Wirthensohn, a TFI New Labels® finalist in 2011, NARCES is a Toronto-based after-five and eveningwear collection. For fall/winter 2014, Wirthensohn transformed lace, tulle, organza and sequins into Oscar-worthy red carpet looks and fancy frocks perfect for prom.

First established in 1999 and returning this spring under new Canadian ownership, Piloti is a lifestyle brand targeting car enthusiasts, racing fans and men who enjoy professional motorsports. Creative director Elena Conte, a TFI resident alumna, was on hand at the fall/winter product launch held March 17 at The Shore Club in Toronto. Casual leather jackets, sneakers and satchels in brand colours black, grey and orange, will no doubt appeal to its celebrity followers who include Patrick Dempsey, David Letterman and Jay Leno.

Sarah Stevenson For Target
Unofficially ending Toronto fashion week, the much-anticipated Sarah Stevenson For Target collection hit stores across Canada on March 23rd. As the winner of Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels® fashion design competition in 2013, Stevenson was awarded the opportunity to create an exclusive apparel collection to be carried in most Target stores across Canada. Inspired by nature, specifically flowers she saw throughout Toronto last spring, Stevenson created exclusive textile prints for the timeless and elegant collection. The 15-piece line includes dresses, blouses, blazers and pants ranging from $24.99 to $59.99.

Sid Neigum
One of the most anticipated shows was Sid Neigum, winner of TFI’s 2012 New Labels® fashion award. Inspired by origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, and by a book about boxed packaging, deconstructed fabric “box” coats, tunics and jackets were laser cut in heavy silk ottoman and featured sterling silver clasps. The abstract, asymmetric, pleated and folded shapes marked a decidedly new direction for the Alberta-born designer.

TFI Press & Buyers Brunch Trade Show
With support from the City of Toronto's Economic Development division and IMG Canada, the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) brought Canadian design talent to the forefront with its TFI Press & Buyers Brunch at World MasterCard Fashion Week for the third consecutive season. A highly anticipated group of new and emerging designers from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Regina, Saskatchewan, showcased their fall/winter 2014 lines. The curated collection of noteworthy apparel and accessory designers were presented to retail buyers and media on March 19 and 20. This season’s roster of designers included womenswear designers Aime by Monica Mei, BLAK.I, Dean Renwick, Hortense Salvatore, Jameson Kane, Jennifer Torosian, L'Momo, MASABNI, Masha and Roberto Fashions; accessory designers Jon De Porter Jewellery, Liana Marie, OPELLE Inc., Pontus & Hawke, Sappho by Kim Smiley, Simple Smiles & Co., Slashpile Designs, Tuck Shop Trading Co. and Wild Works; and women's and menswear line Rigor Lux.

Making a special appearance, Toronto’s Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, councillor Michael Thompson, chair of the Economic Committee, and TFI Board director Kathy Cheng, president of WS&Co. welcomed guests and perused the collections.

Sunny Fong created a deceptively simple black and grey collection of suiting, punctuated by biker and bomber jackets, python shirts and silver leather croc skirts, as well as slim-fitting dresses and gowns featuring lace or knife-sharp V cuts around the waist, elbow and neckline.

The Shows
This season, The Shows took place at the Storys Building in Toronto on March 11 and 12. The intimate venue was packed with a select group of media, social media, industry stalwarts and local celebrities who braved a winter storm to witness the fall/winter presentations from Antonio Azzuolo, Bellavance, Steven Tai and Kaelen. In a post-show chat with Alexandra Palmer, the Royal Ontario Museum’s Nora E. Vaughan fashion and costume curator, Vancouver-raised Tai said the inspiration for his line was about a girl who broke up with her boyfriend and kept all of his clothes. Oversized sweaters, coats and jackets with deconstructed seams and fringe were standouts (image below left). In contrast with Tai’s show which kept to a more somber palette of indigo, charcoal and black, Kaelen Haworth sent out a parade of pretty looks in ice cream shades such as vanilla, peach and orange sherbet. While jackets and dresses favoured flounces, ruffles and draping, the effect was not overly sweet thanks to the loose cuts and touches of leather and fur (image below centre). Nolan Bellavance and Ava Hama of Bellavance riffed on the theme of rebellion bred by rigidity. To that effect, they reversed pleats and darts to expose the construction of garments and used the reverse side of menswear shirting fabric so the shiny side face outward. Favourite pieces included their finely pleated jersey garbage bag dresses, and mohair/merino wool skirts and cropped tops screen-printed with an oversized chainlink motif (below right).

3. Thank You TFI Donors

Thank you to our donors for your support of our non-profit organization. Your financial contribution enables TFI to carry on its important work of encouraging job creation and economic development in the community. This month we send a BIG thank you to Benefactor Kyla Morgan and to Contributors Iris Guillermo, Cynthia Cheng Mintz, Rachel Arlene Singh and Arif Usman for their very kind donations.

If you like reading TFI News, please make a donation to our non-profit by clicking here. Donor categories: Contributor, $50 and under; Supporter, $50 to $100; Benefactor, $100 to $500; Patron, $500 and up.

4. Scene & Heard

Mobio Revenue-Sharing Program For Fashion And Beauty Insiders
Call out to fashion experts, fitness advisors, industry insiders, beauty bloggers, YouTubers, Vine stars and anyone with an engaged social media following: Do you have high engagement? LX Ventures Inc. (TSX VENTURE:LXV), an acquirer and accelerator of high-growth tech companies, and portfolio company Mobio announced the launch of its "Be Social. Get Paid." revenue-sharing program. Unlike existing major social networks that do not share their advertising revenues with the people who play the biggest part in generating them, the social influencers, Mobio INsider's revenue-sharing program gives users a chance to earn some cash. If you have a large and very engaged social media network of followers, see if you qualify to get paid now at

H&M Snags Alexander Wang
Following his third collection for Balenciaga, American designer Alexander Wang will produce a limited men’s and women’s collection for Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M. This marks the first time an American has been snagged to design for the mass-marketer. The line will hit stores November 6, 2014.

Canadian To Helm Yahoo Fashion
Hong Kong-born, Toronto-raised, Joe Zee is leaving Elle U.S. after seven years of serving as creative director. His new gig, which begins at the end of May, will be editor-in-chief and executive creative officer at Yahoo fashion. The move is part of Yahoo’s larger strategy for broadening its scope on topics such as fashion, beauty, travel, food, entertainment, technology and news. Zee’s replacement at Elle has not yet been named.

Toronto Startup Launches Fashion Inspiration Platform
Stylekick, creator of the popular style and fashion inspiration app, recently released version 2.0, which allows users to shop fashion looks presented and shared on social media. The new version comes complete with thousands of new looks sourced from bloggers and fashionistas around the world. In addition to users being able to shop fashion looks, users can double-tap multiple parts of an outfit to "like" and save their favorite pieces, tap and hold to share outfits on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and flip through full-screen high-res images quickly. The ability to like and save items in the context of an outfit is unique to Stylekick, and is proving to be a very addictive feature. The app is available now as a free download in the Apple App Store.

Yorkdale Celebrates Golden Anniversary
On February 26, Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, one of Canada's leading shopping destinations, held an intimate celebration to mark its 50th anniversary. Celebrities attending the invite-only event included Breakfast Television host Dina Pugliese and Fashion Television icon Jeanne Beker. Along with the unveiling of the Bryan Adams Style Maker Portrait Collection, was the announcement about the mall’s new 298,000-square-foot retail expansion to be completed in 2016. This expansion comes less than two years after the $220 million and 145,000-square-foot development that opened to the public in November 2012. Owned by Oxford Properties Group and AIMCo, Yorkdale Shopping Centre has undergone four major renovations since opening in 1964.

Launching A Jewellery Business
Tips & Strategies For Success Presented By Shay Lowe

On February 25th, Toronto-based jewellery designer Shay Lowe sat down with TFI’s executive director Susan Langdon for a one-on-one Q&A about launching and growing her business. In the 90-minute candid chat, Lowe shared tips and strategies that have kept her brand at the forefront of North America’s tastemakers. Among the highlights:
• It takes restraint to build a cohesive brand; file ideas instead of using them all in one collection.
• She’s particular about her brand and how it’s recognized. For example, if a magazine pulls a piece from her line, she insists that her logo and website are included in the editorial. She also asks stores to keep her pieces together in a showcase “for branding purposes”. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but if you don't ask, you'll never know.
• She often asks retailers if they have an event coming up and if they can display her pieces in the window during the event.
• When approaching retailers, remember that rejection only means “redirection”. Where else can you sell? What else can you sell?
• She sells online using Shopify because it’s easy to set up and use.
• When selling online, keep in mind the online customer can't try on a piece so make it easy for them to make a decision by including high-res, high-quality images. Be sure to include measurements and proportions so customers can purchase with ease.
• Be strategic when issuing marketing eblasts. For example, choose the right time of day such as 11:00am and 3:00pm. She regularly posts on Twitter and Facebook.

Crowdfunding And Financing A Fashion Business
Presented by Greedy Giver

One of the newest sources of funding that’s quickly gaining momentum is crowdfunding, a web-based community platform where money can be raised for creative projects, new business ideas, worthy causes, and everything in between. For example, fashion brand Flint & Tinder successfully raised over $700,000 for its casualwear line using a successful crowdfunding campaign, and KNIX Wear, a Canadian lingerie company, generated so much attention on its crowdfunding platform that it was picked up by the Hudson’s Bay Company. On March 10th, Sabrina Nicosia and Apostolos Sigalas from Canadian crowdfunding site Greedy Giver held a seminar at TFI and shared these insights into what comprises a successful campaign:
• When you develop a campaign, about 95% of the work is done pre-launch. The best campaigns are ones where the person begins with an established network of friends, family and followers who will help make some noise on your behalf.
• When you launch a campaign, you need to be confident that the first 25% of the money can be raised from family, friends and loyal supporters.
• Posting a compelling video on your platform is KEY. In your video, be sure to mention, "We want to raise $XX and do ______. And if we pass our goal, we'll be able to do _____ and everyone will get _____."
• The maximum amount of time a campaign can be online is 60 days, however they are typically 30 to 35 days. With timing in mind, keep your goal reasonable.
• You need to think about what “perks” or rewards you plan to give your donors. The best items are limited-edition ones or experiences such as front row seats at your next fashion show.
• Greedy Giver offers its own perks that donors can choose instead of your perks.
• The site is different than other crowdfunding sites because even if you don’t reach your goal, you get to keep all the funds raised (less a commission fee).
• A commission of 5% raised goes to Greedy Giver if you meet your goal, or 9% of funds raised if you do not meet your goal.
• Greedy Giver pays out in Canadian dollars but uses PayPal to receive payments so it accepts donations from all over the world.
• Funds raised through crowdfunding have not yet been categorized by the Canada Revenue Agency so presently there is no HST on donations.
• Greedy Giver helps to promote its campaigns through its newsletter that reaches 10,000 people.

5. Top Picks
Fashion Group International summarizes the top selling colours, weaves, textures and patterns for spring 2015. Includes a list of New York-based textile agents
Quickbooks wants to give you $1,000 #SupportSmallBizCAN
109 Irresistible ways to get media attention
A Canadian membership-based online fashion directory designed for retailers to easily find valuable industry information and to contact leading brands, sales reps and distributors

6. Fashion Calendar


FREE fashion industry workshops for youth 16 – 29

New York

May 4 - 6, 2014
Trade show featuring junior and young contemporary lines

New York

May 4 - 6, 2014
Trade show featuring accessories such as jewellery, handbags, cold weather accessories, hair accessories, shoes and more


MAY 5, 2014, at One King West
Enjoy an open bar, hors d'oeuvres and the TFI New Labels® fashion show at TFI's annual fundraiser

New York

May 5 - 7, 2014
CIRCUIT is a comprehensive women’s accessory and footwear exhibition featuring designer and fine jewellery, handbags, footwear, scarves, belts and gift items

New York

May 5 - 7, 2014
Trade show for retailers looking to replenish all classifications of their RTW inventory


May 12, 2014
TFI Members: You're invited to our private members night (and bring a friend!)

FALL/WINTER 2015 Trendforecasting Seminar

May 26, 2014
Discover key colours and key influences in womenswear, menswear, and accessories


May 28 - 31, 2014
Trade show featuring products in all categories


June 5 - 8, 2014
Tradeshow featuring daywear, eveningwear and pageantwear

Los Angeles

June 8 - 10, 2014
SELECT is a juried exhibition of contemporary brands for the West Coast marketplace. It features premium and contemporary apparel, accessories and footwear brands

Los Angeles

June 8 - 11, 2014
LA KIDS MARKET is the West Coast destination for the industry's best kids and maternity fashion and lifestyle collections from around the globe

Los Angeles

June 9 - 11, 2014
Trade show for footwear buyers catering to contemporary and better boutiques


June 25 - 29, 2014
Men’s RTW collections for spring 2015


July 6 - 11, 2014
Fall/winter 2014/15 Haute Couture fashion shows


July 8 - 10, 2014
A tradeshow with approximately 600 exhibitors of denim, sportswear, street fashion and casual dressy

Los Angeles

July 15 - 21, 2014
Presenting hundreds of the industry's leading gift, accessories, home decor, furnishings, novelty and lifestyle collections, as well as kids’ merchandise, fashion accessories and the West Coast's largest collection of holiday and seasonal merchandise


August 1 - 12, 2014
Canada's only trade show devoted to women's fashion accessories, casual apparel and fashion items

New York

August 3 - 5, 2014
Trade show featuring fine jewellery, handbags, footwear, scarves, belts and gift items

New York

August 3 - 5, 2014
An international exhibition featuring every category of children's clothing from newborn to age 12, layette items, fashion accessories, footwear, toys and gifts

New York

August 3 - 5, 2014
Trade show for retailers looking to replenish all classifications of their ready-to-wear inventory such as contemporary, denim, bridge and evening


August 3 - 5, 2014
Trade show that features womenswear, footwear and accessory brands

New York

August 5 - 6, 2014
A two-day textile and trimmings exhibit for designers, small manufacturers, private-label retailers, fabric stores, and event/party planners


August 6 - 10, 2014, and September 11 - 18, 2014
Vancouver's largest trade show featuring participating METRO members represent womenswear, menswear, children’s wear, as well as footwear

Las Vegas

August 18 - 20, 2014
Exclusive women’s-only fashion event, exhibiting women’s advanced contemporary collections, denim and accessories

Las Vegas

August 18 - 20, 2014
Independent trade show for the boutique market and leading retailers worldwide, featuring art and design- driven brands

Las Vegas

August 18 - 20, 2014
Contemporary fashion forum, showcasing men’s and women’s advanced contemporary, premium denim and designer collections

Las Vegas

August 18 - 20, 2014
WWDMAGIC trade show provides the broadest selection of women’s apparel and accessories across every category, classification and trend


August 24 - 26, 2014
Industry trade show for shoe wholesalers of moderate, better, bridge, contemporary and designer price points

New York

September 4 - 11, 2014
Spring 2015 designer collections


September 7 - 9, 2014
International trade show for men’s and women’s alternative clothing, footwear, streetwear and accessories

New York

September 12 - 14, 2014
An independent, international trade fair that features hundreds of collections and thousands of retailers who help define the direction in lifestyle and fashion


September 12 - 16, 2014
Spring 2015 designer runway shows


September 16 - 18, 2014
Textile trade show for the fashion and interior design industries


September 17 - 23, 2014
Spring 2015 designer collections


September 23 - October 1, 2014
Spring 2015 designer collections


September 26 - 29, 2014
An independent, international trade fair that features hundreds of collections and thousands of retailers who help define the direction in lifestyle and fashion

Los Angeles

October 13 - 15, 2014
An independent, international trade fair that features hundreds of collections and thousands of retailers who help define the direction in lifestyle and fashion

New York

October 19 - 21, 2014
An international exhibition featuring every category of children's clothing from newborn to age 12, layette items, fashion accessories, footwear, toys and gifts


October 20 - 24, 2014
Spring 2015 runway shows featuring emerging and established Canadian designers


October 22 - 23, 2014
A not-to-miss boutique trade show featuring 20 select Canadian apparel and accessory brands. Exhibitor applications will be available in July 2014.


A new trade show that brings together a curated selection of exclusive fur and fashion labels with the high-end specialty boutique and fur salon in mind

Interested in having your event posted? Send your submission with a minimum of 14 days notice to

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Editor-In-Chief, Susan Langdon
Senior Editor, Doris Montanera
Contributors Nina Facciolo, Jessica DeFreitas, Stephen Maciejowski

© Copyright 2014 The Toronto Centre for the Promotion of Fashion Design (O/A 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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