How Toronto Has Become a Major Player in the Fashion Industry

The creative minds of Ontario’s multicultural capital have given the city an international platform in numerous industries.

The creative minds of Ontario’s multicultural capital have given the city an international platform in numerous industries. Toronto is better known as “The 6” these days thanks to a certain Hip-Hop/R&B superstar who goes by the name of Drake. Rising artists from the same city include Jazz Cartier and Dvsn, who have helped Toronto gain recognition as a breeding ground for musical talent.

The film industry is making grounds as well, and with sports teams like the Raptors and Blue Jays calling The 6 their home, Toronto always seems to be putting itself on the map for all the right reasons. That said, one would expect a talented, diverse and creative city to be known for its fashion, too.

Yet, only recently has Toronto been recognized for the garments its population designs and wears. In this post, we’ll take a look at how things have changed and the major players responsible for giving the city a platform in the fashion world.

Room for Improvement

Like all industries, fashion started on a fairly small scale as Toronto’s population grew in diversity. Those who don’t look much further than the selection of affordable garments at the closest mall stick to a casual, outdoor style that local apparel brands like Roots made the city famous for.

Until recently, there was never a particularly large selection of local fashion publications or blogs around to push new trends. While this didn’t exactly result in stagnation, it did give Toronto’s fashion industry an uninspiring image that could only be changed by innovative young minds.

Greener Pastures

Many designers found the fame they sought when they moved their business abroad. This was very much the case for high fashion label DSquared2.

Designers Dan Caten and Twins Dean had moved to Milan when the brand took off and continued to operate from there as DSquared2 became a household name in the industry. Moralioglu of ERDEN took his business to London, while Tanya Taylor built her self-titled label in New York.

These Toronto-born and bred designers are some of many to have sought and found their fortune outside of Canada, but their success has inspired countless young designers back home to follow suit. This helped push the recent increase in innovative design and a community who preferred to refrain from conformity.

Local Innovators

In order to be recognized in today’s fashion industry, you have to offer something that exists outside of established norms. Self-taught designer Vejas Kruszewski is a perfect example. At only 19 years old, the Torontonian has gained widespread recognition for his unique take on everyday garments.

Kruszewski employed the talents of transgender model Hari Nef for his 2016 look book, showing the world that conformity is one thing fashion should not be synonymous with.

The Gordon sisters took the knowledge they gained from their Fine Arts degrees and established a line of jewelry and clothing under the name Beaufille. The name of the label itself is an accurate description of the style of products Chloe and Parris sell, translating to “handsome girl,” striking a stylish balance between masculine and feminine design.

While these young innovators have achieved critical acclaim for breaking gender norms, another local designer has established herself in the industry for her focus on ethical manufacturing.

Laura Seigel’s self-titled brand is known for its intricately designed garments that are crafted by artisans in India. The company goes to great lengths to ensure their workers are cared for, which inspired a documentary on Laura’s efforts to create her products as ethically as possible.

These are just some of the countless designers who have helped Toronto’s fashion industry flourish. Much of this success is owed to an increased focus on providing infrastructure to facilitate this growth.

Incubating Innovation

Canada’s fashion-forward customer base may not be as large as more established cities like New York, but locals have gone to great lengths to ensure aspiring designers have what they need to succeed. Management firms like The Collectors are constantly on the hunt for creative minds who need a platform to show their work.

Toronto also has its own Fashion Week, along with an event focused solely on men’s fashion. These organizations take newly found designers and help them find their target market by giving them resources that are otherwise inaccessible to them.

Ryerson University graduates Todd Lynn and Erdem Moralioglu claimed a spot on The Business of Fashion Global Fashion School’s Top 30 list in 2015. The Canadian Arts and Fashion awards hosts an annual gala where deserving designers can have their work recognized.

The provincial and federal government has also played their part in growing the industry by working with the Fashion Design Council of Canada.

The number of organizations like these is only growing. As a result, it’s easier than ever for new labels to find success, making Toronto a great starting point for both locals and international designers looking to make a name for themselves.

See It for Yourself

If you’re interested in heading to Toronto and witnessing what the fashion industry has to offer, there are more than enough ways to do it, from Queen Street and Kensington Market’s flourishing boutiques to frequent exhibitions at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Textile Museum of Canada. There are even bars and restaurants that give customers a unique taste by introducing them to new concepts in fashion.

Flights to Toronto can be picked up for more than reasonable prices from Fly Porter. Their website features a handy interface that helps you book your flight and organize arrival and departure times all on one page.

Great deals year-round will leave you with all the extra cash you’ll need to enjoy everything fashion related in Toronto. Head to the following link to book your flight today:

Industry Superstars

While it’s safe to say that Toronto’s fashion industry has only recently exploded, current industry leaders who hail from the city have been around since the mid ‘80s. One such example is makeup giant MAC’s creative director Donald Robertson. The fashion illustrator helped put the makeup brand on the world stage as a Toronto native before moving to Los Angeles to expand business.

Another local by the name of Linda Evangelista was Karl Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman, helping the acclaimed designer make Chanel a household name. Leslie Fremar left Vogue and worked on a number of successful projects, including fashion blog Into The Gloss.

America’s Next Top model wouldn’t be the show it is today if not for the creative minds of Toronto natives Winnie Harlow and Jay Manuel. Tommy Ton found major success as a street style photographer, while Coco Rocha and Daria Werbowy became familiar faces on countless catwalks around the world.

It’s clear that Toronto has the talent a city needs to stand out in the fashion world. It’s simply a matter of having sufficient infrastructure to help this talent flourish from a young age. As long as the resources are there, Canada will continue to see growth in its young but potential-rich fashion industry.


With enough creative minds ready to unleash their potential, it’s only going to go up from here for the culturally rich population of Toronto. Do you think that Toronto can become the leading city for fashion in 2019? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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