Once again, the Montréal Fashion & Design Festival was stupendous! Though this one had two differences for me: 1. I was in the VIP section (HOORAH!), and 2. I noticed an immense focus on Montréal Fashion youth.
After a little investigation, I found out that, indeed, the main focus of this year’s Montréal’s Fashion Festival was The Succession.
If you know anything about fashion history in Canada, you know that many garment manufacturing factories were settled here in Montréal, mostly on Chabanel street. During the peak in the 1970s, there were more than 70,000 people working in these factories as well as in the other pillars of fashion, like design, retail, and wholesale-distribution.
Trade laws shifted and changed around the early 2000’s and suddenly it was way cheaper to outsource the manufacturing in countries like China and Bangladesh. The industry’s employment then fell by a whopping 60% and the most of the employees left are baby boomers…your grandparents’ age…
In Montréal, we have many fashion schools, and many connexe courses, workshops, and certificates. We also have great teachers and great training programs, basically all you need to form the new generation of a booming fashion industry.
I felt like this year’s FMD was to show us just that. To remind Montréal that we have it all to be the next fashion capital, like London or even NYC. I found that the shows, conferences, and performances worked wonders to inform us of what’s out there, what’s coming and what is already here.
Extravagant presentations from newly graduated students of l’École Supérieure de Mode de Montréal (UQAM): Rémi Van Bochove, and Gabriel Drolet-Maguire, as well as the Dossier Magazine show, introducing 5 new designers counting Julie Desjardins.
Decadent performances showcasing Montréal’s Identity for the 375e celebrations and clothing “Made In Canada” for the 150th anniversary.
The succession in the fashion industry is a forever pending issue, but to see all this talent displayed, and all this enthusiasm from the crowd gives me hope for the future of the fashion sector in Montréal.