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.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion