In July IMG announced the shutdown of Toronto Fashion Week and since then attempts by several questionable fashion groups to capitalize on the absence of a flagship fashion event in Toronto has occurred.
The need to support local designers and artisans has become even more apparent for Canada’s most populous and frequently hailed city. This year, The Economist ranked Toronto as the fourth most livable city in the world and the city’s most prominent ambassador, Drake, consistently gives ‘The Six’ shout-outs, most recently at the 2016 American Music Awards.
It is no secret that Toronto’s fashion scene has lacked widespread support. However, it begs the question, what if things started differently with a focus on business first?
One unassuming place whose sees the importance of focusing on the business of fashion is Kingston, Jamaica. The vivacious city is burgeoning with creative talent and a five-year-old affair called Collection MoDA is addressing this. Collection MoDA is a week-long fashion and trade show event whose aim is to expose and engage the country’s residents to support local and international design talent and artisans. During a recent trip to check out this event I spoke with several MoDA participants, from designers to a boutique owner, on their experiences and on the evolution of the style in the country.
Michele Coulton, owner of SoHo Boutique
With more than 20 years of business experience Michele Coulton is a Caribbean retail maven. Her upscale store SoHo Boutique carries brands such as BCBG Max Azria and Parisian brand Alicia D. This is her boutique’s first year participating in Collection MoDA and she hopes her involvement will help to “take our [Jamaica’s] views globally.”
What surprised Coulton about participating in the event was her exposure to the island’s many talented artists and designers. “My hope is that it will open up business ventures and allow our artists and designers to be appreciated on a more global platform” she says.
When asked to describe the style of Jamaican women she states it is “very elevated;” however, the economics of the country can pose problems. “We have issues with finances, which is not a secret” Coulton says “but wardrobe building is something that we’re big on here. You have to be very selective with your shopping but smart — and still look awesome.”