Opt for “Made in Quebec” when it comes to Fashion.
by billybastien on August 29, 2017 - 1:26pm
It’s no longer a secret for who’s read Janna Zittrer Appleby’s article “City of Style: How home-grown fashion thrives in Montreal” appearing on The Globe and Mail as of August 14th 2017 that Montreal is established as an important fashion hub in North America. It is globally acclaimed for its well-known brands like Aldo, Frank and Oak, and Lolë to name a few. They are proud to call Montreal their home as they bear witness that the city could hardly be a better place for fashion design. Aldo Bensadoun, founder of the renowned Aldo Group, states “I strongly believe Montreal provides an incredible backdrop for the Canadian fashion industry”. In fact, the designers explain that all stars are aligned to make things work out. There is sufficient government/municipal funding, cheaper business rents than elsewhere, and a vibrant culture in Montreal. It even goes to the extent that the culture which emerges from a bilingual city like Montreal is an advantage. Appleby uses the words “creative freedom” to describe the city’s fashion industry, which can count on a “combination of education, community and support” to breakthrough. As the CEO’s and founders share their love for Montreal, the article takes a different tone in the second half. Appleby states “Still, there are challenges. Montreal is no longer the thriving textile- manufacturing hub it once was.” What’s more, there is no comment on the consumption culture of fashion in Montreal. Do Montrealers buy what is home-produced? It is unfortunate to read that textile manufacturing isn’t thriving anymore, especially when we all know its true. The few textile manufacturers that are still operating in Montreal hardly keep-up with the cheaper and quicker manufacturers abroad. We tend to single out the matters we look at, yet looking at the bigger picture allows us to understand and act towards change. We must first recognize the magnitude of our fashion industry, which consists of a huge value chain. Calculate how many people can be involved in getting the clothes designed, produced, distributed, and marketed in Quebec. That is thousands of people who work everyday for fashion throughout the province. Losing those manufacturers to the benefit of our neighbours overseas would probably mean the end for real Quebec-made fashion. We must also consider the lost in cultural identity and pride that the fashion industry fosters. As a society, now is the right time to make our fashion industry sustainable by changing our consumption habits to “Made in Quebec, Bought in Quebec”. This news summary doesn’t intend to cease global commerce, it intends to make readers more conscientious about sustainability and their consumer behaviour, which can have a great impact on Montreal’s and even Quebec’s economy and culture. If we go out and buy thousands of dollars worth of clothing imported from overseas, we are sending a message directly to the people in our fashion industry that whatever they do to keep Montreal’s fashion scene alive, we’ll just buy what’s cheaper and that isn’t from them. The only change will come from each and every one of us getting involved. When designers will feel that the Quebec society is wearing their labels, this will allow them to pursue their activities through international markets. This, with more confidence and stronger customer bases, which could allow them to be less dependent of the global economy. So next time you walk the streets of Montreal, think of this before buying your next piece of clothing.