Canadian Fashion at Your Fingertips
By Alyssa De Rosa – Montreal Times
Supporting local designers is something I hope more people start doing, especially since the Canadian market offers its client’s high-quality, contemporary fashion. A lot of the time fashion savvy women don’t have an idea as to where they can find their favorite local designers. Luckily, thanks to Leigh Thompson, you can find your favorite local designers from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal at Fashioncan.com , a virtual shopping hub showcasing Canadian fashion.
Fashioncan.com is the first of its kind to exist in the online world – offering designers their own online boutique
http://www.fashioncan.com/show/shop. This season you can find collections from Allison Wonderland, Pillar, Birds of North America, Broken Doll Clothing, Dagg and Stacey, Jennifer Glasgow, Laborde Designs, Mia Melon, Oyuna, Rachel Sin, Skinny Sweats and Valerie Dumaine
Fashioncan was born when Toronto-based Leigh Thompson decided she wanted to create individual store fronts for designers in order to help them get the word out to their customers. Thompson had her own online boutique for nine years and then in 2007 decided she needed a change of pace. When she closed she noticed a lot of designers didn’t have an online outlet to showcase their clothes and just like that, with a lot of work of course, Fashioncan was born.
The website acts as middleman between the consumer and the designer. Upcoming designers can set up their own website through Fashioncan and unlike other online boutiques there isn’t competition with other designers. All designer websites are created and generated by Fashioncan. At the moment Leigh is working with 13 individual designers from across Canada.
“It’s a place where people can support Canadian design. For each designer it’s up to them how they want to promote
themselves to differentiate themselves from other labels. The Canadian content sets them apart from other online
websites,” explains Thompson.
Unlike other websites like Beyond the Rack or Asos.com where consumers are bombarded with sales, and too many designers, Fashioncan is curated and doesn’t accept just any designer. “We feel the quality of what we are offering clients is very high and we cater to a certain clientele by picking designers that will share the same aesthetical view.”
I had the chance to speak to three of the 13 designers featured on Fashioncan. Hayley Gibson from Birds of North America designs vintage inspired dresses all made in Canada. She began her line 7 years ago and has been with Fashioncan for the last 5 years. “Being a part of Fashioncan has improved the business, most definitely,” Gibson explains. “It’s really amazing. Your average person doesn’t know how to set that up and manage inventory so it’s been really good for me to have Leigh set that up.”
Gibson studied at Ryerson University in the fashion design program and worked in costume and tailoring before designing her own clothing line. “It’s important to me that it’s made in Canada – we’re known for our quality and it being produced here I can keep an eye on it and do really good quality control.”
“Working with Leigh made it easier to sell my line out of province and it’s helped a lot to get exposure elsewhere in
Canada.” Gibson explains that unlike other online websites she feels that Fashioncan is very personalized and looks and feels like her brand. Through this outlet she still has complete control over what she wants to do.
You can purchase pieces from Birds of North America at General 54 located at 5145 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Belle et Rebelle – 6321 St-Hubert and at Les Coureurs du Jupons on 2627 Rue Masson . birdsofnorthamerica.ca and at
Fashioncan shopbirdsofnorthamerica.com .
Montreal Designer Valerie Dumaine has had her fashion line for 10 years now and started selling her collections in Spring 2004. Her designs are minimalist and feminine with a classy touch. Influenced by architecture and contemporary design, Dumaine loves subtle details in her clothing and is often inspired by older fashion trends. Dumaine had never thought about having an online website where people can purchase her clothing but when Leigh approached her with the idea she immediately hopped on board.
You can purchase Valerie Dumaine’s collection at Unicorn boutique at 5135 Boulevard Saint-Laurent and online as well at shopvaleriedumaine.com. For more information visit her personal website at valeriedumaine.com
Jennifer Glasgow, also a Montreal designer creates a line for working ladies that juggle work and pleasure. Inspired by art and fashion Glasgow mixes everything with a bit of a modern edge. “We’re inspired by the countries we visit and pick up on culture, feelings as well as the clothing they wear,” she describes. The Montreal based company has been in business since 2003 and sells its collections across Canada and the U.S.A. Owner of General 54 boutique where clients can also find Birds of North America pieces, Glasgow’s brand is also Canadian owned and made.
“When Leigh contacted us the company really wanted to get into the online fashion boutique business so Leigh helped us achieve that.” “She not only manages our online boutique but offers retailers promotional deals. We saw potential in the business she was developing at the time. She created a forum for all us Canadian designers.”
You can purchase Jennifer Glasgow’s designs at her General 54 boutique and online at