Thursday, 26 September 2013

Bonjour, hello

Toronto may be the largest city in Canada, but I would argue that it is not the most fashionable. However, I do love Toronto all the same. Having lived in Ontario for most of my life, I have become very familiar with the metropolis that is the GTA. Perhaps a little too familiar.

It may be that i'm feeling a classic case of "the grass is greener on the other side" but I find myself infatuated with the city of Montreal. I have been to Montreal 4 times now, and every time I am discovering something new and exciting. Montreal is truly a globalized city (with a strong French influence obviously) that is full of great people, food, music, art, and of course fashion.

Being someone interested in Fashion, I realized right away that people dress very differently in Montreal. Montrealers have a certain elegance in the way they live and dress themselves, it's very expressive. It's sensible and put together but often more daring and avant-garde than what I typically see in Toronto. Toronto's fashion industry is frankly much more commercial. Sometimes I feel as if Toronto is trying to be like New York City, rather than creating it's own unique Fashion identity. Toronto is motivated by business and capital more so than creativity and art. I find it to be a much more judgmental, negative place than Montreal.

Now to be fair, this is just my personal experience. It's possible that as I become more familiar with both cities my opinions will change. I'm not saying one city has a better fashion scene than the other, i'm just trying to describe my current impression. It's hard to put into words, but I get very different vibes from each city. There is definitely a certain difference in culture in Montreal. This difference could very well be the European influence in the city, but truthfully I can't speak to that level of knowledge at this point.

Two reasons why I am so interested in the city of Montreal are as follows.

I have been looking at several Montreal based designers in the last few years, and I have been very impressed. My favourite of which is Rad Hourani. Rad Hourani is from Montreal, but originally from Jordan. Rad (who is now based in Paris and New York) designs beautifully cut, timeless, luxury clothing for unique and confident individuals. "Most of my designs are symmetrical and they are very graphic, 90 degree angles, very rectangular" Rad explains in a 2013 interview. I find Rad very inspiring as a creative mind. It's exciting to me that a Canadian designer from Montreal has become so successful. Rad gained world-wide attention when he debuted his entirely uni-sex couture collection in January of 2013 in Paris, France. Rad became the first invited designer by La Chambre Syndicale de La Haute Couture to design and show a unisex Haute Couture collection in fashion history. 

The following pictures are of some of Rad Hourani's work:

Montreal has plenty of great places to shop for clothing. My personal favourite is the Boutique SSENSE. SSENSE is a world renowned web retailer known for their large selection of carefully curated clothing from international designers. They are also known for their clean minimalistic website, free shipping offers, bi-annual sales, editorial work, collaborations with musician etc. I have watched the company become extremely successful in the last few years. If I could work for any retailer in Canada, SSENSE would be my first choice. I had the pleasure of visiting their first physical boutique in Old Montreal last time I was in the city. It was, with out doubt, the chicest shopping experience I have ever had in Canada. The interior design and display of the store was amazing. I was also surprised to find that the sales associates were kind and genuinely interested in conversing with me (which is almost never the case in Toronto). The boutique is located at 90 Rue Saint Paul Ouest, within the district known as Old Montreal.

The following pictures are of the SSENSE boutique in Old Montreal:

To conclude this post, I would recommend anyone interested in fashion, art, and culture to visit the the city of Montreal. I feel an inspirational, creative energy when i'm in the city. Hopefully other visitors feel something similar.