What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, the Canadian dollar was worth about $1.05, due mainly to the strength of Canada’s resource sector, particularly oil and gas and metals.
But with the current economic slowdown bordering on a recession, demand for those products is down and so is the Canuck buck, which has been trading around 80 cents for most of the fourth quarter of this year.
As a result, cross-border shopping in the U.S. has come to a “screeching halt,” according to the Consumers Association of Canada, and is making things interesting for the trade show sector, especially when the precipitous dive in the U.S. economy is factored in.
“Last year, exhibitors were concerned because our dollar was so strong, making their products so expensive. Now, the reverse is true,” said Alice Chee, organizer of the Mode Accessories Show being held at Toronto’s Doubletree International Plaza Jan. 25 to 27.The show will feature a capacity 220 exhibitors and is expected to attract around 4,000 buyers.
“But there’s concern about what’s happening with the U.S. economy. Although our economy is on a more stable footing, we will still experience some volatility. It may even streamline our industry, which would be positive,” said Chee.
Both Montreal Fashion Week and L’Oréal Fashion Week in Toronto, taking place March 9 to 13 and March 16 to 20, respectively, continue to vie to be the number-one fashion week in Canada.
Jean-François Daviau, president of Sensation Mode, which produces MFW, said the October edition of MFW was the best to date, both in terms of the quality of designers and the number of buyers and media.
“We brought in 50 media and buyers from Toronto and our major sponsor, Procter & Gamble, brought in 15 more media. We also had about 30 international buyers, including 18 from the U.S. and eight from Japan, a first for us. One of the Japanese buyers was from Itochu, a major department store in Japan.”
A new initiative that MFW plans to expand in March is an on-site showroom that featured 100 apparel and accessories companies.
“A lot of designers don’t want to be part of the fashion shows, and this gives them a nice alternative,” explained Daviau.
LFW draws bigger crowds than its Montreal rival, mainly because its fashion shows are open to the public and it is the media capital of Canada, which draws some Montreal designers to Toronto.
It also includes non-Canadian companies, such as Spanish retailer Mango, which put on a fashion show at its October event, at which model and actress Mónica Cruz, Penélope’s sister, made an appearance.
“There will be significant growth in the number and international range of designers as well as continued sponsor growth” in March, according to Megan Loach, communications coordinator of the Fashion Design Council of Canada, which organizes LFW.
With its new Beautifully Canadian branding campaign unveiled in Russia in September and China this month, the Fur Council of Canada is optimistic that its North American Fur and Fashion Exhibition being held May 3 to 6 at Place Bonaventure in Montreal will generate big numbers, both in sales and attendance from overseas.
“We felt a bit of a weakening last year, and whether it will affect our show in May is tough to say at this point,” said Alan Herscovici, executive vice president of the Fur Council of Canada, which organizes NAFFEM. “On the bright side, the weaker Canadian dollar will make Canadian furs more attractive for U.S. buyers.”
Attendance at last year’s show was down slightly at 3,300 buyers, about half from the U.S. Herscovici hopes the Beautifully Canadian campaign will attract more buyers from Russia, which reached 30 last year, as well as China.
There was one casualty on the trade show circuit. After combining its men’s wear and women’s wear shows last year, FashionNorth has dropped its women’s wear portion of the show due to a lack of support, and might even cancel its men’s wear edition in February for the same reason, according to show organizer Ralph Weil.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)