Why Aren’t More Canadian Fashion Brands Going Global?

  • By: mvadmin
  • Date: April 5, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Improvements in manufacturing, logistics and communications have made it easier for designers to deal with competition and expand their presence.

Canada has many talented fashion designers, yet not many of them have tasted international success.

Some Canadian names have become familiar in the international fashion scene. Simon Chang and Peter Nygard are well known in the global circuit. Pink Tartan, a ready-to-wear collection sold at upscale department stores, is led by Toronto-based Kimberley-Newport Mimran and has many fans.

A few others, including another Toronto based designer Sid Neigum who recently had a showing at London Fashion Week.

But these success stories are not aplenty, and they remain very low compared to the number of talented designers the country has.

It is not easy to become accomplished in either Canada or abroad in the fashion industry. New entrants to the fashion world usually work crazy hours for very little recognition and remuneration. But there is another reason the designers of Canada do not see success internationally.

Designers, who are usually very creative-minded people, are not experts on the business side of their profession. They work hard and are very talented but could lack an entrepreneurial mind which is very important in running a fashion company, industry experts feel.

Our domestic designers could be missing out on many global opportunities. Canada, which exports about $1 billion in textiles a year, should certainly be doing better in the international fashion scenario than it is now. Most of Canada’s fashion exports are to the U.S.

The brands also face issues with infrastructure in various markets as different products have specific customs and import rules which can be complicated.

Another reason could be the speed the business requires. The fashion industry operates based on speed, seasons, and fashion change. Producing a collection and then having it stopped somewhere for non-compliance with export or customs regulations is one of the worst things for a designer.

Designers don’t have access to easy funding, either, and they have to face various hurdles and borrow from lenders to start their businesses. However, very talented designers are sometimes spotted by business experts at events and can get help running their business.

It also remains true that the world’s first official fashion incubator was established in Toronto in 1987, named Toronto Fashion Incubator; it is a not for profit organisation that supports Canadian fashion and entrepreneurs.

Apart from the fashion incubator, Industry partners such as Mercedes-Benz and DHL help designers deal with infrastructure issues. Social media, too, has played a role in giving visibility to talented designers.

Improvements in manufacturing, logistics and communications have made it easier for designers to deal with competition and expand their presence.

“Coming up with ideas is one thing; execution is the main thing,” he said. “Once a Canadian designer gets a customer base in the U.S., you have to have a strong financial backup and logistics.” Patrick Assaraf, president of PYA fashion house, said.

Artists value creation while entrepreneur creates value for their design. For our domestic brands to become more visible and accessible globally, both would have to coexist and work in unison.