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November/December 2014

Posted Thursday, December 11, 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

November/December 2014
Volume 22, Issue 6
Happy Holidays!

1. WMCFW Wrap-Up Spring 2015
2. Starshot Partners With Toronto Fashion Incubator
3. APPROACHING A BUYER: How to Captivate Curiosity and Interest - A 4-Step Process
4. Scene & Heard
5. Thank You TFI Donors
6. Top Picks
7. Fashion Calendar

1. WMCFW Wrap-Up Spring 2015
From October 20 to 24, 2014, Canadian designers revealed their spring 2015 collections at World MasterCard Fashion Week (WMCFW). Here's TFI News' coverage of the top shows and events held under the tents at David Pecaut Square, as well as some off-site, post-fashion events:

DHL Fashion Industry Panel
International shipping and logistics leader DHL hosted its fifth panel discussion at WMCFW featuring designers Karen Beach and Laura Siegel, DHL's Greg Hewitt, TFI's Susan Langdon, and IMG Fashion's Carolyn Quinn. The discussion, moderated by Globe & Mail reporter Deirdre Kelly, focused on the challenges of starting a fashion business, expanding internationally, how to promote and protect your brand and how to finance your business.

Maison Matthew Gallagher
Toronto-based brand Maison Matthew Gallagher featured minimalistic, polished womenswear cut from luxe fabrics such as duchess silk, crepe, and silk satin. The palette included pale, ice-queen neutrals such as pearl, silver, and bisque, with pops of claret and black. The overall look was wearable elegance.

For the first time in four years since Mercedes-Benz launched its Start-Up program for emerging Canadian designers, the company offered a $30,000 cash award to the first-place winner. Six designers competed in the finals: Beaufille, BLAK.I, Eliza Faulkner, Sid Neigum, Laura Siegel and Vaiken. All of the finalists presented tightly edited collections but it was TFI resident designer Sid Neigum who walked away with the grand prize that also includes one year of business mentoring and a free fashion show at the next installment of World MasterCard Fashion Week.

Mikhael Kale
Toronto-based Mikhale Kale proved once again why he is among Canada's top creative talents. His masterful use of fabric, intricate patternmaking skills and innovative designs were clearly evident in his spring womenswear line. Details included cutouts on jackets, skirts and leggings, frayed and embroidered organza, and hand-beaded crystal detailing. Featured fabrics were a mix of latex, mesh, lace and cotton. Kale's designs were cheered on by front-row supporters and clients including Sylvia Mantella, Vonna Bitove and other ladies who lunch.

Party With Flare
On October 21, Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha sat down with Flare editor-in-chief, Cameron Williamson, to chat about her new book Study of Pose, an in-depth exploration of the movement and flexibility of the human body, featuring 1,000 black-and-white photographs taken by world-renowned photographer Steven Sebring.

Sid Neigum
If there was ever a banner year for the former Drayton Valley (AB) designer, 2014 is it. Immediately following his stellar show at fashion week that featured inventive modular origami creations, laser-cut dresses and layered, asymmetric knits, Neigum won the Mercedes-Benz Start-Up award valued at $30,000. In addition, the now Toronto-based designer racked up another $2,500 by winning the Minnie Mouse design competition that asked designers to create a modern look inspired by the iconic Disney animated character. Neigum is also up for a Fashion Group Rising Star Award and a CAFA Emerging Design Award. In 2012, he won TFI's New Labels® Most Promising Designer Award presented by Suzanne Rogers.

Yes, Target is a retail chain and not a designer, but the spirit of a Target show is pretty contagious especially when the runway room has been transformed into a sea of red and white. For the happiness factor alone, TFI News gives one thumb up to Target. We were also pleasantly surprised by the clever styling of the 49 runway looks from the fall 2014 retail collection for men, women and kids. And thank you for providing the audience with a line list! These were sorely missing from most runway shows, but it makes reporting so much easier. Tip of the day: if you want the media to write about you, make it easy for them.

TFI Press & Buyers Brunch Tradeshow
Canadian fashion insiders gathered on Wednesday, October 22, and Thursday, October 23, to celebrate emerging fashion talent at the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s Press & Buyers Brunch at World MasterCard Fashion Week. The boutique-style trade show hosted top retailers, media and VIPs from noon to 2pm to explore the spring/summer 2015 collections of 15 emerging apparel and accessory designers from across North America. While perusing the lines, guests were treated to a brunch catered by top-tier hotel the Ritz-Carlton. Over two days, approximately 165 media and retailers attended, including Andrew’s, Holt Renfrew, Hudson’s Bay, Shop Girls, Sporting Life, TNT, ZANE, Canadian Living, Canadian Press, CBC, Flare, Globe and Mail, Glow, The Kit and Reuters. Exhibitors included TFI New Labels® 2014 winner Miriam Baker, Annina King of Granaté Prêt from the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, Jennifer Torosian, L'Momo, Brit Wacher, OPPELLE Inc., Jon De Porter Jewelry, Laurie Fleming, NAEVE, Mizdragonfly, Janine de Dorigny, Louis Mile Designs, Blanc de Noir, and Zarucci.

Post-Fashion Week Events:

Whitney Linen Partners With Yasmin Warsame
On November 5 at Toronto's Shangri-La hotel, design label Whitney Linen presented its spring/summer 2015 collection alongside a limited-edition collection of luxe, printed wraps created in partnership with supermodel Yasmin Warsame. The collection is called “Somali Hido”, Hido meaning culture, tradition and lifestyle in the Somali language. Each piece reflects an image or a landscape that captures the beauty of Somalia, Warsame's homeland. Twenty percent of the profits from the YASMIN WARSAME FOR WHITNEY LINEN Somali Hido Collection of wraps will benefit The African Future, a charitable organization established in 2007 that works with local and international NGOs to support African youth and improve the quality of their health and educational institutions (

Greta Constantine
Held November 12 at Kool Haus nightclub, design duo Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong presented an outstanding collection of day and evening looks for their Greta Constantine womenswear spring 2015 collection. The spotlight was on luxe and glamour, with a focus on the female form. Fabrics such as cotton eyelet, silk-wool and matte jersey were wrapped, draped, slashed or folded, and presented in vibrant jewel tones anchored by midnight blue.

P&G Beauty Awards
Cat Deeley, charming host of So You Think You Can Dance, hosted the 2014 P&G Beauty Awards on November 17, held at The Arcadian Court in Toronto. Twenty-one awards were presented in categories that ranged from Best Cover and Best Beauty Editorial to Best Fashion Blog and Best Beauty Vlog. Notable winners include Best Fashion Editor of a Magazine, George Antonopoulos, Fashion magazine; Best Fashion Blog, Sharon Ng Hayes, The Backseat Stylers; Best New Face – Presented by Olay, Sophie Touchet, Sutherland Models; Best Beauty Feature, Vicki Hogarth, Flare; and Best Fashion Feature, Clara Young, ELLE Canada. For a full list of award winners, visit


2. Starshot Partners With Toronto Fashion Incubator
Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) has retained Starshot to develop new marketing strategies for corporate partners to connect with the millions of consumers who are touched by the fashion industry in Canada each year. Starshot will also represent the consolidated marketing interests of TFI in market. The Starshot Sport and Lifestyle practice will lead the new partnership.

“We feel there is a significant opportunity to approach fashion differently, as both a business and lifestyle,” said Glenn Young, senior vice president, Starshot. “When we look at the programs TFI manages and the volume of interest Canadian consumers have for the industry, we see great opportunity to develop integrated programs that not only provide corporate partners with value, but also enhance the experience for the fashion consumer.”

Founded in 1999, Starshot is a full-service marketing agency specializing in events, demand generation, digital and sport and lifestyle marketing programs. With offices in Toronto and Chicago, Starshot provides clients with services that drive sales, create brand experiences and leave a lasting impression on audiences.

Images: George Pimentel

Top row: Miriam Baker, New Labels® winner 2014

Second row: Sid Neigum, New Labels® winner 2012

Third row: Sarah Stevenson, New Labels® winner 2013


4. APPROACHING A BUYER: How to Captivate Curiosity and Interest - A 4-Step Process
By Catalin Asody

As one of the mentors for Toronto Fashion Incubator, I can relate to the journey taken from design idea to the exciting point of launch. Immeasurable hours spent fiercely executing both a passion and a vision, from a dream to reality beginning with an inspiration, interpreting this to sketchpad, sourcing materials, building a team, to the metamorphosis of the idea, and finally giving birth to the finished product. You have reached the summit, and then… ‘smack’! Now what? The question I am consistently posed with is “How do I approach a buyer?” This is where a lot of designers hit a wall.

During my career, I have been fortunate enough to experience the perspectives from both sides of that wall. I sold my designs to independent retailers and I was also the buyer for my retail store, purchasing from designers. Because of this I have been able to develop a four-step strategy to approaching a buyer:

1. Do Your Research
• Make a list of prospective retailers. When doing this, my advice is to be realistic and start small, with independent buyer/owner operated stores. It is easier to maintain and control production, obtain feedback about your product and recover from mistakes with less damage when you can establish a strong working relationship with a buyer/owner.
• Investigate their websites to gain knowledge about their business philosophies.
• Visit their stores, undercover. Do NOT impart that you are selling a product at this time.
• Once you are out of the store, document details of the following: competitive lines, price points, store traffic, customer profile.
• Determine two KEY points: (1) Where would your product FIT IN. (2) What VOID would your product fill. This is a very important piece of information to identify. Once face-to-face with a buyer, this will be a strong selling tool.
• Without asking, determine the contact name of the buyer. Usually, in an independent boutique, a business card at the cash register will include the name of this person. If not, try their website.
• Gather your information and develop your personal strategy.

2. Market Your Product, Market Yourself
• Develop a tactile teaser to be delivered to prospective buyers. In today’s age of technology, we are constantly inundated by emails, which only address one sense… namely sight. By creating a tactile teaser, you not only appeal to the sense of touch, you also have the power to capture a longer attention span. Currently, the average amount of time spent viewing a random website is eight seconds! Every second counts, so capitalize on that attention. By tactile, I mean touchable. The package should be creative, professional, visually appealing and clearly establish your company's feel and philosophy from the outside in. Here is where you can hone in on your creativity and interpret it into a business task. From first sight and touch, the exterior containing your pitch should pique the interest of that buyer. Visually, it should tie into what you are selling. Create flow and consistency. For example, if the line you are trying to sell is fire engine red, make the envelope the same. If you are using unique buttons, bows or finishings, include them in a creative way. Inside, perhaps provide a swatch of fabric. This is a first opportunity to introduce a buyer to what you and your product are about.
• The tactile teaser should include the following: 1) A short cover letter. 2) Your lookbook. 3) Examples of media editorials or other exposure.
• Either hand deliver or courier this directly to buyers on your list.
• Keep track of who you sent this package to.
• Within a few days, if you haven’t had an interested response, move on to step three……

3. Email
• By now, hopefully, prospective buyers will have received your tactile teaser and have been introduced to your product. You captured their attention once, and now its time to do it again. Send an email, which mirrors your tactile teaser. A buyer will already be familiar with your image so seeing an email version will not be foreign. In your email, include the following:
• (1) A follow-up statement. Something simple like, "I hope that you have had an opportunity to look through the package I sent to you a few days ago. Please take a moment to view my website. I look forward to speaking with you soon to set up a meeting." (2) Your website and attach your lookbook. (3) Media editorial or other examples of exposure. Basically, this should replicate what you have already sent by way of your tactile teaser.
• By now, you have familiarized the buyer with your product. If you haven’t heard any interest by this point, it is time to tackle step four.

4. The Phone Call
• No need for panic! You have already established a connection with your tactile teaser and your email follow-up, therefore, you have broken the ice, and the dreaded phone call is not actually a cold call. If you do have to make that call, be confident that the buyer knows who you are. From here, you can easily set up an appointment to show your line.

Some additional words of wisdom: BE CONFIDENT! You have created something from nothing—now show it to the world! Believe in your product. It is amazing how confidence is infectious. Your confidence must transfer to everyone you speak with.

The next step to is to SEPARATE YOURSELF from your designs. It’s done. Now set it free. Too many designers stay attached to their creations and can’t let go. Disconnect your emotional attachment and get it out into the marketplace.

And now for the dirty truth…as much as your goal is to create something that will be admired by your peers and accepted by the fashion world, you need to make a living and keep the wheels moving. You must SELL. The only way to accomplish this is to morph from a creative designer into a creative businessperson.

Creativity has a wide scope. If you are a creative designer, you can use that creativity in business as well. It’s called MARKETING. Here is a chance for you to market your designs using your unique talent of creativity. Once you have confidence in your product, emotionally separate yourself from your creation and don your creative business hat, you will be ready to leap over the wall, and approach that buyer with success.

To gain more insight about how to approach retail buyers and how to seal the deal, make a mentor consultation appointment with Catalin today. Contact Nina Facciolo at 416.971.7117 x 21.


4. Scene & Heard
Still Time For Holiday Shopping
Check out these nine designer gift items by TFI members that are sure to excite everyone on your list:













1. Golden Nickle-Free Chain Wristlet With Lambskin, 5"x7", $39
thomasina CAMIKA
2. Limited-Edition Holiday 100% Silk Satin Sleep Mask, $45
DIA Collections
3. Handmade Knitted Alpaca Wool Scarf With Lacework Fabric, $165
Hortense Salvatore Contact designer
4. Sterling Silver & Leather Wrap Cuff, $135
Citrus Silver
5. Cocktail Power-Hour Necklace With Black Onyx Beads & Brass Chain, $110
Sakina Jewellery
6. Whimsical Slouchy Hat With Genuine Fox Fur Snap-Off Pompom, $225
Cindy Goble
7. Two-Tone Infinity Scarf, 100% Alpaca, Approx. $198 CAD
8. Leather & Musquash Aviator Style Hat, $185
The Wild North
9. Ultra Limited-Edition Wonder Woman Cuff With 24K Gold-Plated Base, $88

Peclers Paris Spring 2016 Outlook
On December 1 at TFI, leading trend-forecast agency Peclers Paris presented the key influences for women’s fashions for spring 2016. Overall, expect spring looks to be diaphanous and feminine. Gone are the stiff, thick textiles from fall; new fabrics are light and fluid. Skirt lengths are generally longer, from below-knee to mid-calf, and pant widths will widen as waistlines rise. Influences come from safari and workwear (think cargo pockets on shirtdresses), ’60s bombshells (think Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot) or the 1970s (Halston, Giorgio di Sant ‘Angelo jersey dressing). Boxy cuts may still prevail but these are always cut in soft, lightweight fabrics so that the female form beneath is not hidden. From bold to pastel, the colour pink will make an appearance for women and also for men. Get the full story on spring 2016 trends by browsing the Peclers books in TFI’s Resource Centre. For an appointment, contact 416.971.7117.

One More TFI Mentor To Welcome
Starting December 3, 2014, Olga Koel will be joining the Toronto Fashion Incubator's mentor program. Olga is a proven executive with experience in apparel and accessories manufacturing and the retail sector. A former VP at one of Canada's leading retailers, Olga is a respected leader who can motivate and help take your business results to the next level. Every first Wednesday of the month, Olga is available to help members with their sourcing issues from packaging to accessory findings to fabrics to contractors—both domestically and abroad. In addition, she can advise TFI members about production management and scheduling. We're delighted to welcome Olga to TFI and members can book consultation time with her by contacting Nina Facciolo at 416.971.7117 x 21. For a list of TFI’s mentors, please visit

Mexx Canada Bankrupt
The Mexx Canada fashion chain filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors in December, as did its Dutch parent company. The retailer has a month to provide a restructuring plan. Currently, its 95 stores are operating business as usual, according to the Globe and Mail. Mexx is just the latest fashion retailer to announce fiscal problems.

MUJI Comes To Canada
Japanese lifestyle retailer MUJI, known for its simple, streamlined stationery, household and apparel products, opened its first Canadian store late November at 20 Dundas St. in Toronto. To date, it operates 270 shops around the world and, according to the Globe and Mail, plans on adding two more Toronto locations by the end of 2015.

Book Your Spot For The Next TFI Press & Buyers Brunch
In partnership with IMG Fashion and the City of Toronto, the TFI Press & Buyers Brunch returns to World MasterCard Fashion Week on March 25 and 26, 2015. Designers interested in participating in the fall 2015 boutique-like trade show can contact TFI at 416.971.7117 x 21 for an application. The invitation-only Press & Buyers Brunch hosts top retail buyers, media and fashion industry VIPs. Space is limited so contact

Au Revoir
A coveted shout-out in Vogue magazine couldn’t save independent Queen Street retailer Bicyclette. The store announced that it’s packing it in as of February 2015 due to a difficult market. Also leaving Queen West is Magwood boutique, another Toronto shop that garnered mentions in WWD and As of December 24, 2014, Magwood will be available only online at or by contacting

Paper Jewellery
Here's an inventive idea that you can DIY with your leftover pattern paper. Jewelry Greetings are paper greeting cards that fold into 3-D wearable rings. Recipients simply punch out the design from the card, fold and wear. The card also includes space for your personal note. For more information, visit

Fashion Bids Farewell To Oscar
A private funeral service for designer Oscar de la Renta was held in New York on November 3. Friends, family, celebrities and other notables including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Anna Wintour, Michael Bloomberg and Grace Coddington, paid their respects to the designer who passed away on October 20, at age 82, after a long battle with cancer. De la Renta, who was one of America's leading designers, was celebrated in 2010 in Toronto by philanthropist and friend Suzanne Rogers at her inaugural benefit, Suzanne Rogers Presents.

5. 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 thank Contributors Catherine Addai, Julia Leitch, Maria Ruginets, Lavleen Kaur, Oscar Mendoza Valdes, Fauck Canada Ltd., Laurie Fleming; and Supporters Kristen Melville-Laborde and Jennifer Torosian.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.

6. Top Picks
Discover how local duo The September has been making strides in online shoe sales
Designer Virginia Johnson reveals lessons learned from exporting the wrong way
An informative site with tips and advice such as understanding the supply chain process

7. Fashion Calendar

Click here for detailed info on the events below

December 24 - January 4, 2015
See you January 5th in the New Year!

January 26, 2015
Toronto lawyer Ashlee Froese shares valuable advice on how to protect your designs and brand

New York
January 4-6, 2015
Trade show featuring accessories such as jewelry, handbags, cold weather accessories, hair accessories, shoes and more

New York
January 4-6, 2015
Trade show featuring junior and young contemporary lines

New York
January 5-7, 2015
CIRCUIT is a comprehensive women’s accessory and footwear exhibition featuring designer and fine jewelry, handbags, footwear, scarves, belts and gift items

New York
January 5-7, 2015
Trade show for retailers looking to replenish all classifications of their RTW inventory

Los Angeles
January 12 - 14, 2015
Designers and Agents is an independent, international trade fair held in Paris that features hundreds of collections and thousands of retailers who help define the direction in life style and fashion

Los Angeles
January 12 - 14, 2015
SELECT is a juried exhibition of contemporary brands for the West Coast marketplace. It features Premium & Contemporary apparel, accessories & footwear brands.

New York City
January 13 - 14, 2015
Textile trade show for the upcoming season

January 19 - 21, 2015
A tradeshow with approximately 600 exhibitors from Denim, Sportswear, Street Fashion, Function Wear and Casual Dressy

New York
January 19 - 21, 2015
With a focus on menswear, PROJECT New York showcases the best brands in the contemporary and denim market

January 25 - 27, 2015
Canada's only trade show devoted to women's fashion accessories, casual apparel and fashion items

January 25 - 30, 2015
Haute Couture Fall Winter 2014/15 collection fashion show

January 26 - 28, 2015
"The world's most important accessory tradeshow," as quoted by buyers of The Room in Toronto

January 31, 2015
An annual gala celebrating Canadian arts & fashion

February 10 - 12, 2015
Premier Vision Paris is a textile trade show for the fashion and interior design industries

New York
February 12 - 19, 2015
F/W 2015 designer collections shown at Lincoln Center and various locations throughout the city

Las Vegas
February 17 - 19, 2015
PROJECT is the industry’s premier contemporary fashion forum, showcasing men’s and women’s advanced contemporary, premium denim and designer collections

Las Vegas
February 17 - 19, 2015
WWDMAGIC trade show provides the broadest selection of women’s apparel and accessories across every category, classification and trend

February 20 - 24, 2015
Fall 2015 designer collections and fashion shows

New York
Feburary 21 - 23, 2015
The world's leading accessory tradeshow is coming to NYC

New York
February 22 - 24, 2015
Tradeshow featuring progressive, sought-after apparel & accessory brands

February 23 - 28, 2015
Runway shows featuring the best in menswear design

February 25 - March 3, 2015
Fall 2015 designer collections

March 3 - 11, 2015
Fall 2015 designer collections

March 5 - 9, 2015
Tradeshow featuring men's, women's, children's, sports & western wear

March 8 - 15, 2015
A new trade show brings together a curated selection of exclusive fur and fashion labels with the high-end specialty boutique and fur salon in mind

March 23 - 27, 2015
Fall/winter 2015 runway shows featuring emerging and established Canadian designers

MAY 4, 2015 at One King West
Enjoy an open bar, hors d'oeuvres & the TFI New Labels fashion show at TFI's annual fundraiser

September 10 - 14, 2015
Tradeshow featuring men's, women's, children's, sports & western wear

September 18 - 22, 2015
Spring 2016 designer collections and fashion shows

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

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© 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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