Toronto Fashion Incubator Launches Showroom Canada to Support Designers

The Toronto Fashion Incubator, through a partnership with the Government of Canada, is creating and launching Showroom Canada, a digital wholesale showroom for designers and the industry, on the JOOR platform.

The initiative is being launched February 16 in partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Apparel Federation, bringing world-class fashion to a global audience of about 200,000 retailers.

JOOR is one of the industry’s leading B2B wholesale platforms.

The showroom’s 11 featured brands include: Freed, Furb Upcycled, Furious Fur, Joeffer Caoc, Kate Austin, Kuwalla Tee, Maison Marie Saint Pierre, Shelli Oh, Sid Neigum, TORI.XO, and UNTTLD.

“Traditionally, the wholesale buying experience has happened offline, but the pandemic caused both designers and retailers to quickly pivot,” said Susan Langdon, Executive Director, TFI. “Showroom Canada will give Canadian brands access to thousands of global retailers including key UK targets such as Net-a-Porter, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols. This is an exciting new chapter for the Canadian fashion industry.”

The brands represent top-tier talent in apparel and accessories with a strong focus on sustainable materials and innovative design. They are located in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

Susan Langdon
Susan Langdon

“We are delighted to partner once again with the Toronto Fashion Incubator for our highly-anticipated biannual celebration of Canadian fashion. Showroom Canada brings top-class Canadian designs to the United Kingdom, in an all-new innovative digital way. The participating designers feature all that Canada’s fashion industry has to offer, including our vibrant diversity, commitment to the environment, innovation and so much more,” said Her Excellency Mrs Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the United Kingdom.

Retailers can visit Showroom Canada by registering here on the JOOR site.

“TFI is a non-profit organization that was established in 1987 by the City of Toronto to help fashion entrepreneurs to understand the business of fashion so that they can become successful,” said Langdon.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic has been very devastating for the fashion industry.

“When the pandemic hit almost a year ago, a lot of designers were trying to sell their fall 2020 collection but then those orders never came through, or if there were orders placed, a lot of them were cancelled or came with really difficult terms. It was really difficult for the brands to manage,” said Langdon.

“A lot of them ended up relying on ecomm, creating masks. That was a real lifesaver in many ways. But for some brands it definitely brought in some much-needed revenue by selling direct to consumer.”

Langdon said the 11 brands will each have their own individual showrooms on the JOOR platform which they can brand how they wish. They can upload images. They can upload video. They can upload price lists.

The brands are selling to retailers for the fall 2021 season.

The following is a brief description, supplied by Langdon, of the businesses involved in the digital wholesale showroom:

FREED

For 100 years and four generations, Freed & Freed International Ltd. has been a full-service garment manufacturer that designs and develops products, both domestically and internationally. FREED, its new apparel line, is proudly made in Canada using ethical and sustainable practices, vegan fabrics and recycled materials whenever possible. FREED is committed to creating accessible fashion that is always luxurious, fun, and functional.

FURB UPCYCLED

FURB Upcycled creates handcrafted sustainable pieces by repurposing garments and discarded materials into refined luxury fashion and accessories. Backed by a team of highly experienced craftspeople, the company upcycles valuable and sustainable fabric in the spirit of shaping a thoughtful, ethical future.

FURIOUS FUR

Furious Fur is a socially conscious brand launched in 2017 by mother-daughter duo Philippa and Samantha Madigan. Although their closets were filled with vintage fur coats that they cherished, they set out to create products made from faux fur that had the same luxurious and glamorous quality of real fur. FURIOUS FUR combines classic vintage styles with a modern edge.

JOEFFER CAOC

Established in 2005, JOEFFER CAOC has become synonymous with enduring style. Designer Joeffer Caoc, the three-time winner of the Canadian Designer of the Year award, is a skilled technician, pairing a seemingly minimal aesthetic with meticulous construction. The fluid lines and classic tailoring of his womenswear are balanced by unconventional features and engineered draping, creating the JOEFFER CAOC signature. Using the finest European fabrics, it is proudly manufactured in Canada to ensure uncompromised quality.

KATE AUSTIN

Kate Austin is a sustainable lifestyle brand of print-focused casual clothing and accessories for women. Kate Austin values diversity, transparency and environmental responsibility. The brand’s original print designs are hand-blocked on organic cotton, silk, linen and wool. The colourful clothing and accessories are made in both Toronto and India by World Fair Trade Organization certified artisans.

KUWALLA TEE

KUWALLA TEE creates ready-to-wear basics for men and women who refuse to compromise comfort for style. As a North American leader in the world of premium streetwear brands, its Beyond Label Essentials ready-to-wear is created with the environment in mind, minimizing waste wherever it can. Using high-quality fabrics, KUWALLA TEE designs “essential” items that are timeless and easy-to-wear.

MAISON MARIE SAINT PIERRE

With 30 years of tradition and excellence, Maison Marie Saint Pierre redefines modern, luxury womenswear. Designer Marie Saint Pierre has won numerous awards and is a leader in Canada’s fashion industry. Her brand is not only known for its use of innovative fabrics, but also for its elegant balance between power dressing and sculptural art.

SHELLI OH

The shelli oh collections for women and men infuse a refreshing vitality and vision into high-end clothing, with a signature focus on distinctive details, unique textures and stylish charm. The womenswear collections are defined by ethereal femininity and enhanced by hand-sewn detailing that creates elaborate tactile landscapes. The menswear collections are characterized by traditional tailoring with a whimsical twist and an art-house dandy air.

SID NEIGUM

Multi-award winning designer Sid Neigum aims to challenge convention and question tradition. He uses a mathematical approach, infusing geometry and precision into his innovative, modern womenswear looks.

Known for experimenting with pleats, shapes, movement and origami, the Alberta-born designer has shown in Toronto, London, New York, Paris and Dubai.

TORI•XO

TORI•XO jewellery has gained international momentum since its debut in 2008. Stylists have dubbed the brand “effortlessly elegant” and “truly one-of-a-kind”. The brand’s distinctive feature is a technique developed by founder Tori Poynton. Handmade vintage French lace is pressed onto silver; no two pieces are ever exactly the same. The award-winning brand has been worn by musicians such as Jill Barber and Taylor Swift.

ATELIER UNTTLD

Since its inception in 2011, Atelier UNTTLD has won several awards for design excellence. The brand is devoted to materializing a sense of power, drama and glamour, where the historic, the exotic and the poetic transcend to create timeless elegance. Through sensual tailoring, rich materials, and impeccable fit, creative directors José St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger handcraft high-quality, elegant designs with a distinct point of view.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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