Men's-wear designer Zakariah Milana produces his line, The Feral, in Toronto, and has shown his collections at Toronto Men's Fashion Week (TOM) and FashionCAN, a runway/retail platform at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. This season, though, he's one of a handful of Canadian designers travelling to Europe to present his Fall 2017 line. The presentation, on Jan. 19 at Cube Showroom in Paris's Marais neighbourhood, will hopefully give him access to European buyers and editors. In previous seasons, Milana would attend trade shows in New York, but today having a North American presence is no longer enough.
"The market is very different now," he says over the phone from Florence, Italy. "Before, the shows were so busy in the States – New York was the prime spot for fashion. But now a lot of the European and Japanese stores are staying in their hometowns, so [labels] have to travel more."
Milana is in good company. On Jan. 8, Montreal-based label 3.Paradis presented its latest collection, Irreversible, during London Fashion Week Men's. It's a return to the label's roots of exploring the connections between streetwear and high fashion, with a nod to the hip-hop artists of the early 2000s. Showing abroad is a natural fit for designers Emeric Tchatchoua and Raymond Cheung, who hail from Paris and Hong Kong respectively, and the payoff can be substantial. When Alberta-born Sid Neigum made his London runway debut last February, it helped to land him a spot on Vogue's list of 16 "young designers who won 2016."
That's not to say these designers are turning their backs on Canada. In Milana's case, it took gaining an American retail presence and celebrity following before Canadian retailers came calling. Today, The Feral's markets are primarily in Europe and the U.S., where it's stocked at Lazaro in New York, Moda404 in Atlanta and Politix in Los Angeles.
"I do very well in the States and overseas," he says, "but they have more dollars and there's more consumerism and a bigger population in those countries to support that, while it's still kind of growing in Canada. To make a brand really special and big, you have to think a little more globally. Hopefully, we do get there."
THIS WEEK'S STYLE HAPPENINGS
- Toronto’s Interior Design Show is back at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the 19th year. Running from Jan. 19-22, find hundreds of local and international talents and brands showcasing upcoming trends in design, from the use of mixed materials and the maker movement to innovations in lighting and revisited classics. For more information, visit www.interiordesignshow.com.
- Vancouver will be receiving some special visitors this week. Through Jan. 16, Louis Vuitton will be displaying some of its more rare pieces, including hardsided luggage, haute maroquinerie, exotics and watches and jewellery at the brand’s Vancouver location. For many pieces, such as the Chinese Tea Ceremony Trunk, this is the first time they’ll be seen in the Americas. For more information, visit www.louisvuitton.com.
- Sephora is hosting a mixer for Montreal’s budding beauty entrepreneurs. Held on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. at WeWork L’Avenue (1275 Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal), the event will provide information on Sephora Accelerate, a program for beauty-brand founders that begins with a weeklong boot camp and continues with ongoing mentorship. For more information, visit www.sephorastands.com/accelerate.