With New York and London Fashion Weeks having just ended, and Milan Fashion Week only just beginning, no one can forget who are the established capitals in the business. In the meantime, designers in cities such as Toronto are grinding to put themselves on the map.
Boutiques such as Launch Toronto are particularly determined to see Toronto rise, showcasing some of the hottest, most-talented designers in the city. Despite being just a few months old, Launch Toronto has already attracted some of Toronto’s best up-and-coming designers including Think Reese, Street Chief, and Beaucoup Fashion House, who will be showcasing at Toronto Fashion Week later this year, and appeared on CTV Morning Live Ottowa for their Fashion Week earlier this month. Amidst the beautiful rails of handpicked samples and the sound of Toronto’s homegrown artist The Weeknd playing in the background, I talked to owner of Launch, Meagan Jett, about the boutique’s unique designers, building the city’s fashion reputation, and what we can expect from Toronto Fashion Week 2013.
What is it which sets Toronto apart from the established fashion capitals such as London, Paris and Milan?
In terms of fashion, you can’t even compare Toronto to London and New York, they’ve been established for so long. What makes Toronto different is that it’s filled with people from around the world, that’s what I love about it. It’s a community of different cultures and diversity, which is great. The downside is that it’s hard to get everybody together sometimes because everybody is butting heads with conflicting ideas. This is where our inexperience can be seen. Established capitals like New York really get each other, they hustle, they understand the grind, everybody is working around the clock to make that money and support each other, and in London it’s the same. But make no mistake, we’re getting there, and Toronto is rising.
How is your location in Toronto important to your aims as a fashion company ?
Queen and Spadina is the heart of the fashion of the city, it’s the best location possible. We have Chinatown right down the street, and Kensington market is a ten minute walk away, where people source their vintage pieces or crazy pieces that they rework, and sell for like triple the price in their stores. No one wants to shop at H&M or The Gap, and no one wants to shop at Gucci and Prada and pay $3000 for a keychain like the ones you’ll find in Yorkville. You don’t see those designers here because everyone on Queen wants that individuality. It’s a new breed of creatives here: designers are hustling, doing their thing. Location is everything.
Tell us a bit about your designers
If I’m going to carry local designers; I want it because I want to put Toronto on the map for something special so Launch is a no-basic zone. I curate unique designers who are really positive, supporting the community around them, and have as much passion for the success of the city as I do. They are visionaries, they are creative, and they are individual. We want to carry the dopest, flyest designs, and we’re already getting there. I carry Reece, who does swimwear which is super sexy, and she does jewellery and has a great following. Beaucoup Fashion House is another I love here, which is super-edgy streetwear with an avant-garde feel. I want designers to help merchandise, converse with the customers, and make Launch a community space. Likewise I want my designers working together, to learn from one another and to grow.
How important is Toronto Fashion Week this year, and the next few years for local designers, and putting you on the map ?
To be honest, Toronto Fashion Week needs help, but it’s getting better every year. People don’t take fashion week seriously out here and we want to change that. It used to be the case that they would showcase fabulous designers, but there was no room for emerging talent. I always look forward to Mackage and Vawk, but I always wanted to see more up-and-coming designers as well, and that’s starting to happen. This year we’re really pleased that one of our own, Beaucoup Fashion House will have the chance to showcase, so things are definitely getting better. The whole point of me carrying designers who are part of fashion week is to give people the chance to become more involved with those brands. People can shop fashion week here; it’s more than just the clothes, it’s a whole movement for the city.
What are some of your favourite pieces in the store?
I love all of the designers I carry, but I’m a very unisex person, so if I can wear it and a guy can wear it, it’s a plus for me. I love Beaucoup Fashion House a lot, and you can tell because I do so much work with them; styling, shoots, editing. They have such a great vibe and such a great energy and creative street-style aspects, which I love. I love Reece bathing-suits because they’re so sexy and I can work them into unisex outfits, like with boyish baggy pants or a crop top. Every single brand in here has their own way of doing things and I love that. They’re all different, they take shapes and designs we know, like t-shirts, and give them a quirky edge. The designers I carry all have an acute attention to detail, and that’s what’s important for standing out.
What, for you, is the ultimate fashion crime?
I don’t hate anything, but I will say that I dislike flip flops in the city. I feel like there are too many germs, and I also dislike Uggs and Crocs. It’s not even about the fashion, its people who follow the bandwagon and don’t do their own thing, that’s what I hate. You can wear anything and make it look good and be an individual. If someone is wearing flip flops and rocking it, loving it, who am I to judge. I don’t want to see the same thing all the time, I want to see the city rise.
What would be your tips for putting together a great outfit?
Colour, texture, shine. You’ve got to have a balance of those three within your outfit, but confidence is your best weapon. You could rock a straw hat and garbage bag if you’re comfortable and you present yourself well.
Follow Launch Toronto :
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LaunchToronto
Twitter – @LAUNCHXTORONTO
Mini interview with Beaucoup Fashion House coming up so do watch for that.
Missed part I of the Toronto series? View it here: http://wp.me/p2IM8R-q5
PART THREE OF THREE UP NEXT WEEK!